By Steve Hickoff
Spring turkey season is coming. You’ll need a place to hunt. Often birds are on somebody else’s land. How can you access it? A few of these tactics might help:
WHO OWNS IT? Double-check the full ownership picture as possible hunting properties are concerned, no matter what unofficial sources might say.
How: Study courthouse records. What is the history of the place? Who really owns the land? Who calls the shots? Is ownership fragmented? Is it in transition? Who neighbors the property? Who holds access to it? Is the place posted? If so, maybe you can score the only permission available to hunters there. Sometimes you can secure hunter access from landowners directly, right on their property.
THE SECOND STEP: Explain who you are, and what you’ll be doing.
How: Once access is gained, develop and maintain a relationship. Describe what vehicle you’ll be driving when you hunt. Find where your rig should be parked. Is it okay to use your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side? Make the person giving you permission, or helping you gain it, as comfortable as possible. Put yourself in their boots. Imagine their position.
HOLD THE LAND: Gain the landowner’s trust. Maintain the connection.
How: Season to season, call the landowner up, and/or drop by and say hello. After your hunts, give them some of your turkey breast. Some of the best hunters I know have key contacts like this. They get to hunt private ground, which often holds some of the best land access opportunities around for un-pressured wild game of all kinds.
OFFER TO HELP: You’ve got a Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side. You’re able-bodied. Your four wheels take you hunting. They can also provide additional help for the farmer giving you permission.
How: Drop by in the off-season. Offer to mend fences, bail hay and assist with duties on the land you hunt. It’s their property but you can invest in your hunting future by pitching in.