Determining Hunting Land Status

To avoid trespass when hunting the West, it’s vitally important to know exactly where you are at all times.

Determining Hunting Land Status

In the West of my childhood, you basically hunted wherever you wanted. Times have changed. Transplanted hobby ranchers, high-priced big-game hunts and a litigious society making landowners less tolerant of strangers utilizing their land. Trespassing is now serious business, with hunting privileges commonly revoked on the first offense — and you’re responsible for knowing where you are, with no posting required.

It’s vitally important to know where you are at all times, because private property is often interspersed inside public grounds. At the very least, keep a detailed land-status map on hand, the best typically available from the Bureau of Land Management, though Forest Service maps often show enough detail to keep you out of trouble.           

In the modern world paper maps are old hat and electronics rule. One of the originals, onX Maps, supplies state SIM cards that plug into compatible GPS units. The system provides land status and even landowner information, making it easier to make contact. Of course, the smartphone era introduced nearly endless apps that turn cell phones into a GPS. HuntStand is one of the most popular hunting apps, offering an aerial view of properties, weather information and prevailing wind direction. Land Glide, Base Map and The Land App are other popular options.


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