Looking to score hunting permission to the perfect private deer hunting property? It’s something most hunters dream of. And it’s no wonder. Having the keys to a great tract of land opens great possibilities. But finding the right permission ground, and securing access to it, are two significant challenges. Now the good news. Both are made much more possible with help from a HuntStand Pro upgrade. Here’s how.
Locating High-Quality Ground
One of the best features of HuntStand Pro is unrestricted scouting from above. While you can’t trespass, or access a property where you don’t have permission, you can scout these areas from an aerial perspective. HuntStand offers that ability and does so in high definition, which really helps visualize “new-to-you” terrain. This is a huge component of scoring deer hunting permission on a worthwhile tract.
Some might question the relevance of doing this, especially when you’ve not yet gained access. Simply, this is a very important step when trying to find the best-looking properties to target. Why waste your time knocking on doors to subpar lands when you can concentrate on much-better options? Use app layers such as Contour, Hybrid, Satellite, Mapbox Satellite, and 3D Map to visualize the terrain in detail. Furthermore, the Monthly Satellite layer is excellent for getting virtual real-time updates on crops, controlled burns, timber harvests, and other changes to the landscape.
Look For Basic Needs
Whitetails have basic needs, including food, water, cover, and security (lack of predation and hunting pressure). While you can’t gauge the latter of these, HuntStand Pro can help you analyze the other three. Use aforementioned layers to decide if basic needs are likely present on the landscape. You won’t get specifics, or get it absolutely right 100 percent of the time, but you can get impressively close more times than not.
Likewise, in addition to aerial scouting for basic needs, you can often “grade” the quality of the habitat on the property. I make it a habit of doing this. Whitetails prefer early successional habitat, which is primarily young growth. (Think tall native grasses and young, thick timber.) Basically, areas with higher stem counts are preferred over mature timber that’s open and doesn’t offer as much cover or food. HuntStand helps find these areas, which are likely whitetail hotspots.
Changes in topography greatly influence how deer use a property, too. Using HuntStand Pro map layers, such as 3D Map, Contour, and Terrain, help read variations in elevations. In addition, they show how topography changes “flow” throughout the property.
Gauging Property Size
Never again guess the size of a tract of land, especially those you’re asking about. Use the Property Info layer to determine the precise size of a tract in question. Also, if you’re playing the limited access card (which is asking to hunt part of a property rather than all of it), you can use the Area Measurement tool to help in this effort.
Examining Crop Rotations
Being able to determine what crops are on a given property can and should influence your interest in it. Again, the Monthly Satellite layer updates 12 times per year, whereas most satellite imagery updates every one to three years. That’s a big difference, and now allows users to see what’s happening in crop rotation, among other things.
Studying Access Routes
A property is only as good as its access, which makes scrutinizing hunt-ability very important. No matter how many deer live on a property, how big they are, or how great the stand locations, it’s all useless if you can’t get into position without alerting deer. While there’s no way to be 100-percent accurate from the app (it takes some boots-on-the-ground scouting to know for sure), you can often gauge the access-route quality from an aerial view. If it’s obvious the access is terrible, you just saved time and effort by crossing a potential property off your list. In contrast, it can help drill down on surefire hotspots, too. This helps you prioritize your asks in the order of importance.
Obtaining Contact Info
Using the Property Info layer, HuntStand Pro users can gain very useful information, including landowner name, property address, mailing address, land tract acreage, and land tract perimeter distance. In addition, this information can help you find additional info, such as a phone number, if you prefer contact in this manner.
For those who don’t like talking on the phone, another option is writing a letter. Fortunately, HuntStand Pro provides everything needed to do this. Craft a good message, including your background, intended purpose, references, contact information, and a stamped, self-addressed, envelope. (Do the work for them.) Then, send it to the listed mailing address and wait for a reply.
Finding the Right Landowners
One way to boost the odds of success is by locating the right landowners. While HuntStand can’t identify or classify landowners into categories or personality types, you can use the provided information to conduct additional research and draw your own conclusions.
For example, in rural areas, farmers are popular targets for asking permission. They have the most land and are natural people to ask for hunting permission. Sometimes you get it, and sometimes you don’t.
Don’t Overlook Smaller Tracts
It’s also important to think of hunting permission in terms of supply and demand. Currently, supply is low, and demand is high. Therefore, getting permission to high-profile properties, such as large rural farms, might prove difficult. In contrast, targeting low-profile properties, such as smaller tracts, or even suburban properties, might see less competition. And ultimately, they might provide higher permission success rates.
Other landowner types include investment holders, trusts, and LLCs. Individuals who own land for investment purposes might or might not allow hunting. Trusts might be the same way. However, accessing LLC-held lands is very difficult. These are generally business-minded owners looking to maximize revenue. Unless you know the owners well, free access might not be in the cards. Still, ask away.
Look Before You Leap
Looking at landowners through a different lens, certain types might offer better results than others. For example, elderly ladies tend to offer access more often than older gentlemen. Focusing on female-owned lands is a tactic some hunters use to improve results.
Classifications aside, some landowners give permission to virtually everyone who asks. So, if the landowner is overly enthused about allowing you on the property, ask if other hunters are present. However, this is something you should inquire about regardless of a landowner’s enthusiasm.
For those who already have access, but who want to branch out to other properties in the area, it’s beneficial to use HuntStand Pro’s “Property Info” layer to contact neighbors, too. This is especially helpful in scoring deer hunting permission if you don’t already know them. And even if you don’t gain hunting permission, it’s still wise to get permission to retrieve wounded game.
Private That’s Public
Some private lands don’t require permission from landowners. The permission is already secured by the state agency. Walk-in hunting areas (WIHA) are common examples. These often go by different names, but these are available to the public, no questions asked. For example, Kansas, Minnesota, Washington, and Wyoming are kings of WIHA. Also, consider Indiana’s Private Lands Access (IPLA), Iowa’s Habitat and Access Program (IHAP), Pennsylvania’s Hunter Access Program (PHAP), and Montana’s Block Management Program (BMP). Similarly, there is Michigan’s Hunting Access Program (MHAP), Nebraska’s Open Fields and Waters Program (OFW), and Nebraska’s Passing Along the Heritage Program (PATH). Not to be forgotten are North Dakota’s PLOTS, Oklahoma’s Land Access Program (OLAP), and Virginia’s Public Access (PALS). In addition, don’t forget about larger lands, such as coal, electric, timber, and other energy companies. And while the former opportunities are mostly rural lands, other programs throughout the country boost access to private properties in suburban and urban areas. HuntStand Pro will help you find these places.
Note: Always study detailed rules for hunting public lands, even those that are technically private property. Special restrictions almost always apply, and year-over-year changes are frequent.
General Permission-Gaining Tips
There are additional things that will help increase the odds of scoring deer hunting permission on private properties, some of which HuntStand Pro assists with. Start with learning as much as possible about the landowner in question. Get their name via HuntStand Pro, and then use online sources, such as social media sites, to learn more about them.
Talk to mutual friends and get their input. Knowing more about targeted landowners helps with breaking the ice, finding common ground, scripting your ask, etc. Spending time networking and getting to know the person prior to the big ask can help, too. Work your way up to it, rather than jumping right in.
Another important step in scoring deer hunting permission is wearing the proper clothes. Don’t wear camo. Instead, wear respectable street clothing that isn’t too casual or too dressy. It also helps to mirror your clothing to the person’s you’re talking to.
Start Now For Best Results
It’s also good to inspect your vehicle. Make, model, and year aren’t important. Cleanliness is, though. Showing up with mud caked all over it suggests you won’t be mindful of the landowner’s fields.
Another beneficial tip is starting as early as possible. People begin asking for permission as soon as late winter. Being the first to ask can make the difference in securing permission, or not.
Once you’re having the conversation, provide some background on yourself. Provide references. Discuss mutual friendships. And explain your role as a conservationist. Perhaps even bring along a youth hunter, or in some instances, a well-behaved dog. These things help put people at ease.
Partial Access Works Too
If the landowner isn’t budging, consider additional tactics, such as asking to hunt a small portion of the land rather than the entire tract. This can be especially helpful if others are already hunting there. A similar method is to ask for archery-only permission, which can tip the odds in your favor, especially for hesitant landowners. Securing hunting property insurance that provides legal protection for everyone involved can, too.
Whether landowners are hesitant, or not, it’s good to offer something in return. Consider offering free labor, helping with predator control, sharing harvested game meat, etc. Express your appreciation with a gift, even if it’s a baked good or gift card.
Keep It Positive
Regardless of what the landowner says, depart in a friendly manner. Offer a small token of thanks, whether they say “yes” or “no.” Then, maintain a relationship with the person moving forward. Over time, that hesitant “no” might turn into a resounding “yes.”
Fortunately, the off-season is the perfect time to focus on scoring deer hunting permission on private property, and nothing can help you more efficiently than a HuntStand Pro upgrade. For just $29.99, you get a high-definition mapping service on your phone. It offers a staggering number of helpful advantages. Make good use of it now and you’ll realize serious benefits come this deer season.