Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Score Hunting Permission Now!

Sometimes landowners are more than willing to help you hunt their land. Steve Hickoff photo

By Steve Hickoff

You can’t wait for spring gobbler season to begin, so why not start now? That’s right. Don’t try to talk your way onto somebody else’s land later. Get on that challenge ASAP. 


Names and contact numbers should be listed on “no trespassing” posters. These can provide a direct link to information, so jot down these details. Other times such signs are left blank, as if the landowner wants to convey the message that visitors aren’t invited, and that they don’t wish to be contacted about the matter. Period.


You need to research the full ownership picture. If you can’t figure out who owns the land in a casual, conversational way, courthouse records can be studied. Who really owns the land? Who really calls the shots? Is ownership fragmented? Is ownership in transition?


Okay, that serious study effort didn’t work out. Off-site places and situations like roadside diners, town-meeting locations, grocery stores, yard sales, even Friday night at the local bar, can provide the connection you need. You could run into a person who owns the property, or a neighbor who knows the people who do.


Sometimes you can secure access directly by talking to the landowner. Other times you may need an intermediary. This go-between person can be your good-will ambassador, making subtle suggestions to the landowner. 


Sometimes posters might also hang on properties where access isn’t legally prohibited. They may have no right to post it. Make sure you confirm this with additional steps.


Verbal permission used to work in “the good old days” but this is a brave new world. Get it in writing. And make sure the person giving you permission this way actually has the right to do so!


Some hunters routinely pay annual lease fees for using posted landowner-held property. It can be on a daily, weekly, or annual basis. If cost isn’t an issue, reach for that wallet.


Let landowners know how you’ll hunt, where you’ll do it on the property, what you’ll be doing in there, and who—if anyone—you’ll bring along. Visit them wearing clean pants, a pressed shirt, and a smile on your mug, and you might pass the initial test. Image is sometimes everything.