-By Randy Cooper
Here in Georgia, I’m proud to say, I have four different landowners who have given me full access to their property to hunt. I have nurtured my relationship with these people over a period of years and we have become close friends. We know each other well enough that if we ever needed one another, for any reason, all it would take is a phone call and we would be there. It’s hard enough to find a friend like that in today’s world, let alone one that will let you hunt his property.
Being a bowhunter has helped open a lot of doors for me. People are afraid of a stray bullet coming through their house or having a family pet or an expensive cow or horse killed by mistake. They know that a bow is a short range weapon, virtually eliminating the chance of mistaking livestock for game.
I’ve put together a very effective PERMISSION REQUEST LETTER that covers some important issues to help the landowner feel more comfortable giving you permission to hunt.
- Include contact information: address, phone numbers, and even e-mail address at the top of the page.
- Tell the landowner about yourself, including how many years you’ve been hunting and how long you’ve been shooting a bow. It’s important they know that your very proficient and haven’t just started shooting.
- Assure the landowner of your respect for them and their property; you won’t leave gates open so cattle can get out, won’t park in the way of any vehicles or farm equipment, etc.
- Stay in contact with the landowner and always call and ask if it’s okay to hunt. They may have family in or it may just be inconvenient. Never assume it’s okay and just show up.
- Offer to do chores. I mend fences and even post property lines if they need my help. I also offer to share any game I am able to harvest.
- Always present yourself in the best way you can, with respect and politeness. Assure the landowner of your passion for hunting and that you are an ethical hunter.
- Lastly, offer the land owner a liability waiver that waves any responsibility to them, their property, family, or business if your are hurt or killed on their property while hunting.
Writing an effective letter has helped me access properties that I could have otherwise only dreamed of hunting. It has also led to some fantastic relationships with great people. At this time of year I want the landowner to know how much I appreciate his kindness in allowing me to hunt his land so I give him a gift. Throughout the time I’ve spent talking to the landowner and getting to know him I pick up on his interests, the things that really mean something to him in his life.
Giving a gift of your heart to him always takes him by surprise because he never expects it. It goes a long way toward securing permission on his property for the next season as well. This holiday season, give a little something to the person whose property you hunt on. One of the most appreciated gifts I’ve ever given was an aerial photo or a plat of his property that I purchased from the tax assessors office in his county. I placed it in a nice frame. The landowner beamed with pride and hung the picture on his living room wall for all to see. His property is his pride and joy and to have a picture of it to share with friends and family made his day. It doesn’t take much to just say, “Thank you so much for your kindness, I really appreciate it.”
Try putting your best foot forward next time you find property that you would like to gain permission to hunt on. You may find that doing some of these little things may lead to the best places you’ve ever hunted as well as some great friends.