Every one who is serious about hunting is always looking for new properties with bigger deer more turkeys or just plain and simple more hunting opportunities. Sometimes this is because the family farm has been sold or the land youve always hunted for free has been leased to someone with a deep pocket book.
This happens to people every year. The notion of going door to door and basically begging for a place to hunt is often times intimidating. This doesn't have to be. For starters before heading out on your trek to ask permission to hunt individuals lands consider the person your going to be asking and do as much research about them as possible you may want to find out their occupations and religious life styles and their family backgrounds. It usually never works to knock on someone's door who all ready hunts the property they own around them. Consider the time of day and the day of the week you are approaching their homes. Someone interrupting dinner is always a turn off, someone approaching while the land owners are getting ready for church is neither a good thing as well! Church isn't limited to Sunday mornings either here in the Midwest many people attend services on Saturday night or Wednesday evenings. If you do meet with some one at a bad time politely ask when would be a better time for you to drop by for a visit. Always when showing up to ask these favors make sure you are nicely dressed and presentable, Im not saying to show up in a suit and tie but a nice pressed shirt and pressed jeans this may be just enough to catch the owners eye and put out the feeling that you are the good well mannered guy you are going to imply that you are, and that you will be. Your second best chance is to work around your church community of your own or to speak to the folks at sporting goods stores that may know of a hunting lease or club that is within your affordability range.
Now Ill share a few personal stories on finding hunting locations that may give you some ideas or insight. The very first place I was allowed to hunt was a vast seven hundred acres in south east Oklahoma. The woman who owned the property had known my family for seventy plus years and had called to congratulate me on an award I had received in grade school then she asked if I would help her out by trimming some hedges in her front yard and I agreed once done she tried to pay me but I said that wasn't necessary and then asked her if I could hunt her property that was less than sixty yards outside my front door, and she promptly agreed as long as I talked to the guy with a cattle lease on the land and made sure he was keeping up to his part of the lease requiring him to keep fences in good condition and the fields sprayed and in good hay field condition. I happily agreed and with in six months of that day I harvested my first whitetail on her property a respectable 125 inch ten pointer with my primitive firearm. Needless to say I was very happy I trimmed those hedges! I have hunted that land for some ten years now and am so glad I made the bold choice to just ask. Other than that first deer I have harvested a couple in the 140 inch range and missed opportunities at much larger deer, as well as two triple bearded turkeys and many more.
My next story about finding some where to hunt may not connect to everyone but Ill go ahead and let you know about it, it will show one way of finding hunting land through just having commonalities. On Halloween night of 2008 I made a horrible decision of riding on the tailgate of a truck and was thrown from the tailgate doing about 45mph around a corner. I smashed my head against the curb. My injuries seemed minor at first but by the next morning it was obvious I wasn't okayâ I was taken to the hospital and they decided there was nothing they could do for me in that hospital so I was life flighted to Tulsa Oklahoma where I under went several brain surgeries and my family and friend were told many times I might not make it. Soon I was placed in a chemically induced coma to allow my body to heal around November 1st I remember none of this. I eventually woke up on November 16th and was not too happy about missing deer season. I was eventually released on December 8th once home it was still bow season so I obtained a crossbow permit and manage to harvest a yearling deer so the whole season wasn't lost. I had to tell that story to set up the next.
When turkey season finally rolled around I was doing much better, out on the lake everyday catching as many crappies as I could. I was no longer allowed to drive due to the fact that I had begun having seizures from my head injuries. I had a place to hunt in western Oklahoma loaded with Rio Grande turkeys and desperately wanted to get out there and hunt them. I obtained this property through a former boss that had met the land owner and had been invited to hunt but couldn't ever make it, so he gave me his number and I did the best I could and called him and explained that I was in school at Oklahoma State University about an hour away and he agreed to let me hunt on his property after I met him and he showed me the lay out. I had been hunting that property for three years before my accident. After my accident I was back home with my family in south eastern Oklahoma home to an abundant amount of Eastern turkeys. I began telling my seventeen year old brother stories of the Rios and the land lay out and he wanted to go just as bad as I did. We arrived at the property 283 miles from our home only to find new posted signs deer stands and trail cameras as well as a box call laying in one of the wheat fields. It appeared that the place had been leased or new people had been allowed to hunt there. There was all most zero turkey sign but abundant sign of human traffic. On the way to the property we passed an alfalfa field that seemed to have a strutting turkey every ten yards! But in a place we couldn't hunt. So as we called it a day we headed to a motel to get some rest and head back out in the morning and see if we could find out if I could still hunt there. We passed the same field that the night before had been full of gobblers and once again it almost looked like a turkey farm. So I instructed my little brother to pull in the first drive that looked like someone might be home and Id simply ask to hunt. We pulled into one drive just as a truck was pulling out so we backed up and went to the next house. As we pulled into that drive the truck that was pulling out of the first one zipped up beside us and said he didn't recognize our truck and wanted to know who we were and what we were up to. So I proceeded to explain to him that I used to be able to hunt down the road and it didn't seem so any more so I explained to him my accident and why I hadn't spoke to the land owner in over a year to know exactly what was going on. Then with a puzzled look on his face he asked what my accident had done to me, such as lasting effects? I found this slightly strange. But then he informed me that he had had a similar accident however he had fallen from a roof. I went on to tell him how far we had traveled just to get my little brother (Dustin) a Rio. He went on to tell us the birds we were seeing were actually on his families property and since we had similar accidents and Dustin had never shot a Rio hed let us hunt them as long as he went with us and we would take him on an eastern hunt next spring which we agreed to real quick. So magically my bad accident had turned into good fortune we quickly discussed a plan and jerry (the land owner) began to inform us that these birds were extremely call shy so our best bet maybe some sort of ambush attempt. First we went to a field that he said was even better than the one we could see from the road. He crawled high up a tower blind to glass the field I soon felt like I was on a free guided trip! He came down and said he didn't see any birds in the field so we would move in on the birds near the road. As we walked eighty or so yards into the field turkeys ran and flew every direction. They had been in a depression that jerry couldn't see from his vantage point. We continued on towards the birds we hoped were still were we last saw them. That's when the best sound any turkey hunter can ever hear a loud booming gobble came from right where we thought they were. We began a hunched crawl stalk between ceader trees and spars brush till we were situated under a big ceader sixty yards from at least four long beards an eight or so hens. We decided to let Dustin shoot first and if either of us had shots to go ahead and shoot. Once the birds had closed to forty or so yards Dustin's gun fired and hit but didn't kill the bird and mine shortly later fired and rolled a bird running away at about fifty five yards. There were more shots fired that day but no more birds put in the truck. Im sure Dustin would rather me leave those details out.
But the point of that story is to show that you never know when or how a hunting opportunity is going to arise so sometimes you just have to go out o that limb and ask. Good luck to everyone looking for a new place for this fall or next spring there's no telling how much luck you may or may not have but. Best wishes to all of you!