Tips on Getting Permission to Hunt on New Ground

Tips on Getting Hunting Permission


FEATURE: Dan Aquino


Permission. Quite possibly the most frustrating word in a hunter’s dictionary. Not the weather, the season, or the regulations, or even the game…it’s permission. Getting access is something that strikes fear and frustration in the hearts of many hunters.  Hunting land is so parceled into segments and sub-segments it is no wonder those struck with a deep sense of wanderlust exit for the West when given the chance to search for larger parcels of land rich in the game to roam.  If you study history, you’ll realize a tax map of many areas around the country looks much like Europe during the age of the futile system. Whether it is just the times and everyone’s general distrust of new people or that there really isn’t enough room for everyone; perhaps the issues in some areas with deer numbers are not related to a lack of hunters, but a hunter access problem.


Getting Permission Should Be a Calculated Task 


Just knocking on doors is hit or miss.  More often than not the land behind house number one is not the owner of the property.  Sometimes this is the case and others it is not.  Using aerial technology to your advantage can help you identify the pieces of property you want to seek permission to hunt on.  This is a time-saving method to help you narrow in the handful of properties you want to target.  This makes finding permission more manageable and not as daunting.


Map in Hand


When you narrow down the properties you’d like to hunt, the next big problem is finding out who owns what.  Looking at all the land out there and trying to dissect the tangled web of ownership it in one sitting will leave you overwhelmed.  Half the battle to gaining permission is knowing where the land owner can be found. That house planted on the side of the road with a large swath of timber behind it probably won’t be the owner.  You can do things the old fashion way by getting a tax map.  However, town tax maps can be difficult to read as they are typically in vague black and white photos giving you only a small snapshot of the property you want to hunt. Tracking down the correct information is an additional hassle we don’t need to put up with in the age of technology.  OnXmaps is an easy-to-use platform which gives you all the information you need about property lines right on your phone or GPS.   You can see in real time who owns what and where the best address to contact the owner is to give you a chance to knock on their door for permission.


Being ethical about property boundaries is a must for hunters.  However, especially in the east where land has been divided and subdivided hundreds of times over the past two hundred years of this country’s existence, who owns what property can become down-right confusing.  Just looking at a map from the sky makes you shake your head.  In real time you can know where you are and who owns what property with this simple phone app.


Getting Over The Fear


There is an unnatural fear of knocking on someone’s door.  It is a fact that there is apprehension and a twisting uneasiness in our stomachs every time we pull into a random driveway and head for the door.  We become a blabbering mumbled mess of adrenaline. This uneasiness keeps many people from doing so.  Remember to simply relax and smile and keep in the back of your mind the worst someone can say is, no. So what if they say no? It won’t be the end of the world.

If you are feeling stressed out by the prospect of knocking on someone’s door remember the following tips.



Deep breathing exercises can naturally help alleviate tension in your body and help you relax. Do a few deep breathing exercises help to refocus yourself and stifle an adrenaline rush.

Much like taking a deep breath when shooting a bow, breathing distributes oxygen to all your vital organs in your body.  A reduced heart rate and normalized pulse will keep you focused on the task at hand and also relax your tense muscles. As you are driving up to the driveway to ask for permission, Inhale and exhale in a calm manner through your nose. Take the classic method of taking a deep breath, counting to four, hold for two, counts, and then exhale.


The worst someone can say is no. Quit thinking negatively.  Negative thought accelerates tension and stress which can turn you into a bumbling fool. Thinking of the situation positively with no expectation and help you overcome and control subsequent panic attacks.



Getting Permission | Landowner Perspective Tips


Put yourself in the owner’s shoes. They have probably been asked dozens of times for access.  Make sure to dress for success.  Business casual, jeans sans the holes and mud we typically associate with outdoor wear, is appropriate.   How you look when you knock on a door gives off the perception of how you will treat their land.  Appearance equals the perception of respect.




The time of year to ask permission also makes a big difference.  Two weeks before the season is not the best time to ask. Starting in the offseason a great Way to build trust is to ask for permission for small game or predator hunting. This is fairly noninvasive and allows you a chance to get to know people.  Don’t rush to ask for permission for a high-value target like deer or turkeys.

Archery Only


Offering to regulate yourself to archery only seasons is another great way to shed any previously held stereotypes the landowner may have about hunters. Explain the quiet and noninvasive nature of bow hunting to the land owner.  Landowners who may have been left with a bad taste in their mouths from past party hunting experiences will be wary of many people wanting to hunt in groups.  Positioning yourself as a solo and quiet hunter willing to help out around the farm or house can help gain the confidence of landowners.




Trust and Networking


When stepping out of your comfort zone to find permission to hunt it is easy to see that many areas have such deep roots among community members, earning trust is not going to happen by simply knocking on the door. Growing trust does not happen overnight so here are a few things to do in order to help network in local communities and engage with landowners.




Engaging with a complete stranger is difficult.  Remember to ask the owners questions and let them talk. Take notice of things around their property, pictures and ask about it.  If someone can become comfortable with you quickly there is a better chance they will let you have access.


Offer To Help


This is not a one-way road.  Offer to help with chores around the property throughout the summer in exchange for access.  Simple actions or offers lets people know you are serious and can be trusted.  Offer to cut tails or mow, watch pets, find something to do to gain trust.


Always Say Thank You


Maintaining a relationship is paramount to future success.  Always send a card in the offseason around the holidays or share meat from your successful hunt.  Food goes a long way to winning people’s hearts and again lets people see you are of good character and are eligible for earning their trust.



Remember The Public Lands System


The one piece of property you don’t need permission on is public land.  Now, when the word public land comes to mind some people automatically discount the idea based on apprehension and fear.  Sure, the risk of bumping into someone is higher.  However, the unnatural fear of law enforcement and unruly crowds has protected would-be dynamite hunting spots.  For some people, especially if one is new to an area, to look at all public land options is the only choice.  Public lands come in multiple forms more than most people realize.  There is the more well-known federal ownership of lands such as wilderness and national forests, refuges then there are state game lands such as wildlife management units. Some state parks allow for activities such as bow hunting which you can learn about with a bit of research.


Then there are land trusts, privately held lands open to the public through the application.  These take a bit more digging to find but can have incredible results.  Knowing what public land options are available are key to success. If you can compartmentalize fear of public lands, the world is your oyster. Scouting is the number one key to hunting public lands in order to build familiarity with the area but also to find out how the animals move when the pressure hits.  For some, hunting public land is an afterthought.  For others, it is the only choice.  While some may have a fear of hunting on the public ground, there may be a day where it is gone permanently.  Taking the time to learn to hunt public lands keeps a great resource for all sportsmen across the country alive. With government eyeing public lands to divest them for money, it is important to become invested in something we all own to protect it for the future.


Garnering permission for hunting grounds is becoming more difficult.  It takes the time to build relationships and earn the trust of landowners.  Regardless if you hunt on private ground or on the public, we have a responsibility to care for the lands.  Pack out what you take in.  Don’t leave messes for the next person since it only hurts the chances of being invited back to hunt those private ground the next season.

Ground Blinds 101 | Guide to Using Ground Blinds

Ground Blinds:  A Viable Solution for Hard to Hunt Areas



Often ground blinds are overlooked by hunters as a viable solution for successful hunting. Some seem to feel that it is cumbersome to carry a ground blind in, erect it, then to have to take it down, repack it, and carry it out. The advantages to using a ground blind far outweigh the slight inconvenience of carrying, setting up, and brushing in the ground blind and can be the difference between a harvest or taking a tag home.


Ground blinds can be an advantage to hunters in many ways. The most important factor is concealment from the game animal hunted. Other factors add value to using ground blinds such as an ideal way to introduce youth hunters to hunting, setting up in a place that would be otherwise inaccessible for a hunt, and providing some shelter from possible rain, snow, or other weather conditions.


Ground Blind Styles


There are several different styles of ground blinds available on the market from chair blinds to hub-style ground blinds in a variety of sizes for up to four people. Where spring steel ground blinds are the lightest, hub-style ground blinds offer the most durability and are a little more convenient to erect. What type of ground blind you choose is going to weigh greatly on your intended use. If multiple hunters or a cameraman and hunter are going to share the ground blind, a ground blind with a larger footprint will be more convenient.



When the intended use it to carry the ground blind in for a days’ hunt, the hunter should look for features that offer a lightweight ground blind that incorporates a carry bag with straps. The floor size should be adequate to accommodate a foldable chair and the hunter’s gear allowing at least an 180 to a 270-degree view. A standard two-person ground blind is going to have approximately a 60” x 60” shooting width and anywhere from a 54” to 64” standing height similar to the Big Game Quantum ground blind. If room for a cameraman, additional gear, or an additional hunter is required, blinds similar to the Big Game Charger ground blind with a larger shooting width is ideal.


Ground Blind Features


Ground blinds are available in numerous exterior camo patterns, and It is typical for ground blinds to have a black-backed interior to help conceal the hunter inside. Where ground blinds differ in size and height, it is also important to consider the features. Ground blind window styles will vary in features, with quiet adjustability and ease of use being the most important. Ground blind companies incorporate a combination of elastic hook closures, elastic curtain bands, zippers, magnets, Velcro, and/or elastic cord slides used in conjunction with material screen and window panels made of the same exterior material. The design height of the window can vary and should always be considered for the type of hunting you plan to do. Many ground blinds are designed with elongated corner windows for bowhunting. The more viewing and shooting adjustability a ground blind offers, the more useful the ground blind will be to the hunter. A corner back panel is used for the entrance/exit panel that incorporates a zipper for access.




When using a ground blind, a chair will be necessary and fully adjustable, swivel chairs work the best. There are several different styles of ground blind chairs available. If you are carrying a ground blind in for a hunt and plan to put it up at the beginning of your hunt and take it down at the end of your hunt, a small folding chair such as the triangle seat chairs will offer carrying convenience but does not offer extended sitting comfort. If the hunter plans to sit extended hours or multiple days, a fully adjustable ground blind chair will be a better solution for the hunter.



The interior of the ground blind will have one or more wall pockets to store small items and hunting accessories in while in the ground blind hunting. Some ground blinds offer a bow hanging system. Other ground blind accessories are available on the market to allow hunting gear to be accessible; window shelves, bendable hanging strips for a bow or light source, and hooks.


Placement of Blinds


The placement of ground blinds is always important for a successful hunt. It is important to strategically place the ground blind where there is a wide angle of view and where the hunter will have the advantage of the best shot opportunity. It is not as critical as to brushing the ground blind in and the length of time the ground blind has been placed before commencing to hunt in the blind when turkey and hog hunting. Turkey and hog do not seem to be as leery with new ground blind placements, and often hunters are successful with a shot opportunity on the same day the ground blind was placed.


With deer and other large game, it is critical to place the ground blind inconspicuously by brushing the ground blind in to the surrounding area, all the while keeping in mind the placement for the highest shot opportunity in direct correlation with the way the game being pursued is using the area. Many ground blinds will feature a way to secure limbs to the exterior of the blind for brushing in with limbs; either with ties or banded straps. It is helpful to keep in mind where the sun will rise and set to keep from placing the ground blind where the hunter will be looking directly into the direct sun interfering with hunter’s shot.


Ground blinds will come with ground stakes, and most will include nylon tie-down cords. It is always good practice to tie down the ground blind, especially if the blind will be left unattended for any length of time or on windy days. Most ground blinds will include a zippered carrying case with straps for carrying comfort and convenience. Often these carrying bags will have a pocket to store the ground stakes and rope in. With most of the ground blind bags, the main zippered compartment can accommodate a small folding stool.


Setting a ground blind up against a tree line, dense brush, cedars, hay bale, or some other object will allow the blind to blend in. Windows should be opened only to the width to safely make a shot with the weapon being used. Pay attention to the side or back windows because a see-through silhouette will be visible to game animals approaching from the sides of the ground blind.




One of the first things recommended once you select a ground blind is to erect the ground blind outdoors, spray down the exterior with an anti-UV spray, paying the most attention to the roof and three-quarters of the way down the exterior walls. This anti-UV spray will protect the color and finish of the exterior of the ground blind. After the anti-UV spray has been applied per the manufacturer’s instructions and has dried completely, a water repelling spray should be applied to the entire roof and the portion of the ground blind that would be likely to leak; typically to the top of the windows. This treatment will assist in repelling water. For seams and stitching holes, shoe goop can be applied to those areas sealing the holes from leaks keeping hunters and gear dry inside. Shoe Goop is a rubber type adhesive that dries to a pliable finish on nylon, canvas, plastic, and rubber. Make certain all areas applied are completely dried before folding down the ground blind for storage.


If it is ever necessary to pack the ground blind in the field wet from rainy weather, it is imperative to erect the ground blind for drying as soon as possible after the hunt to inhibit mold and to keep the blind materials from deteriorating. If the weather is not cooperative to set the blind up for air drying within a 24-48 hour period, the ground blind should be taken out of the carrying case and any water found should be wiped away with a dry towel.


If the ground blind zippers get mud in them, the zippers should be rinsed well with water by a direct stream of a water bottle with sprayer or spritzer top and dried off. If you find that the zippers are hard to zip and unzip, you can use unscented bar soap or a glycerin bar on the zipper teeth allowing the zipper to glide easier.




If a hunter is traveling to hunt public or private land, it is always a good idea to load a ground blind up for the trip; you may find the perfect hunting spot that does not work well with a stand. If unexpected weather arises, a ground blind could save the hunt. Utilizing a ground blind while introducing a new hunter or youth hunter to hunting; allowing more concealment and giving the mentor the option of to assist a youth with the shot. Erecting a ground blind will offer a hunter a viable solution in saving the hunter valuable hunting hours versus taking the time to erect a stand. There are many reasons to consider a ground blind for hunting that far outweighs the small inconvenience of carrying the ground blind in, setting it up, brushing it in, and having to take it down after the hunt. Adding a quality ground blind to a hunter’s gear inventory will prove to be a wise investment for a practical, viable solution for hard to hunt areas, high traffic areas not suitable for stands, when extra concealment is necessary, or cover for those days with not so favorable forecasts.

The Unsung Heros of Hunting| Hunting Accessories

Hunting Accessories | Critical Items You Need While Hunting

Feature Photo Credit: Joe Diestel

There is nothing better than enjoying an April sunrise from the comfort and seclusion of your favorite ground blind or tree, just as spending a November morning nestled in your best deer stand is also a magical experience.  Whether you are chasing spring turkeys or white-tailed deer hunting, taking to the woods in search of wild game requires you to be prepared for any situation.  These hunting accessories are the unsung heroes of the woods, critical to making your hunting experience top notch.



Talkin’ Turkey | Turkey Hunting Accessories

Spring is well underway and soon it will be time to dust off the shotgun and hit the woods to do some turkey hunting.  Anyone who has chased spring turkeys will quickly tell you that turkey hunting is a gear-intensive activity that can often require one hunter to carry multiple hunting accessories with them on a daily basis.  The reason is simple, you want to be prepared.  Turkey hunting can sometimes be a game of seconds, so when success is on the line you need to ensure that you have what it takes to get the job done.

There is no doubt that hunting from a ground blind is effective when it comes to turkey hunting.  That said, many turkey hunters much prefer to “run and gun” which makes hunting from a pop-up blind difficult to accomplish.  If you fall into this category, you have no doubt found yourself in a situation where the elements have felt as though they are stacked against you.  Springtime often means frequent rain events, and there is nothing worse than finally getting close to a gobbler only to have the rain set in.  When this occurs, you really have two options.  You can either wait him out and get soaked in the process, or you can leave.  Neither sounds all that appealing.  Luckily, you can do something about it!

A pop-up umbrella system is not only effective in the deer stand, but it is also effective in the turkey woods.  The umbrella can quickly attach to your tree and can be set up with little sound and movement required.  The umbrella system in combination with one of our ground seats will be the ultimate small and compact combination that can easily fit into any pack or vest and should always be part of your turkey hunting accessory list!

Deer Hunting Accessories

Whether bow hunting or rifle hunting, the modern day deer stand has features to not only keep you comfortable and concealed but can also help improve your chances of punching a tag on your hit list buck.  Today, deer stands come in all shapes and all sizes.  What once consisted of a few 2 x 4’s, nails and a few railroad spikes now consists of ladder stands, hang-on stands, two-man ladder stands, climbing stands and this list goes on from there.  Today’s deer stand is generally lighter, stronger and more durable than deer stands of even two years ago.  As a group, hunters a generally not given the credit they deserve in terms of innovation and improvements that they continue to make in the field of deer stands and hunting products.

Pack Fillers

Selecting a deer stand in like selecting a car, it’s a personal decision that is based upon your needs and desires.  While the type of deer stand that a hunter might choose may vary, the list of accessories that typically fills their pack will certainly vary from deer hunter to deer hunter.  Who ever said that deer hunting was not and accessory driven activity was mistaken, as today’s deer hunter typically has enough equipment and gear to fill almost any field pack on the market.

Although there are certainly a number of items that a deer hunter can carry in their packs to help them attract a mature buck to their location, often there are the additional “pack fillers” that also add to the overall success of the trip.  These items are the unsung heroes of most deer hunting experiences, and while these items may often be overlooked make no mistake, these items can greatly improve your hunting experience while in the deer stand and can ensure that you are ready to go when the opportunity arises.

An Extra Hand

Unlike buying a house or a new truck, there is only so much storage that a deer stand can offer.  That said, regardless if you are archery hunting or rifle hunting, white-tailed deer hunting generally requires the hunter to have plenty of gear on hand.  Here in lies the problem, as there is only so much room on the deer stand platform.

Whether it is an extra tow rope, a multi-hook accessory holder or a multi-hanger, having the ability to have those critical pieces of deer hunting hardware out and available at arm’s reach is important.  Sometimes we can all use an extra hand, and each of these items can provide you with just that.  The best feature that each of these items can offer the deer hunter is they are light and can be neatly tucked away in any hunting pack.  They take up very little space, but can really save the day when called upon.  If you don’t have at least one of these items in your hunting pack, then you’re missing the boat.

hunting-accessories-you-need_pic3Clearing the Path

Maybe you are hunting a new piece of property, public land or maybe you are just hunting a deer stand that you haven’t hunted in a while, regardless of the circumstances having a limb right in the way of your best shooting lane is a problem.  While a multi-tool can tackle the small stuff, they are typically outmatched for limbs that are much larger than your pinky finger.

Having a reliable pair of pruning shears at your disposal is nothing short of a life saver.  A set of ratcheting shears can enable you to tackle a problematic limb that is large in size while to remaining concealed and quite.  A good set of shears can also be critical in helping you freshen up that old ground blind or ground set, and the best part, they take up about the same amount of room as two decks of playing cards.  Having a folding saw is better than nothing, but having a good set of shears will trump almost any alternative, and should find their way into your deer hunting pack before next season.

Marking the Way Home

Everything looks different in the dark.  No matter if you have hunted the same area a hundred times, or if you are looking at a brand new property, heading to your deer stand before daylight or making your way to the truck after sunset can sometimes be a challenge.  The last thing that any white-tailed deer hunter wants to do, especially if there is a big buck in the area, is go beating through the brush trying to find their way.


Having a clearly marked trail is an excellent way to ensure that scenario doesn’t occur, and utilizing reflective trail markers or trail marking tacks in certainly one way to accomplish this goal.  These reflectors will shine with even the lowest of light, allowing you to remain silent and move quickly to your location.  In addition to helping you find your way to and from your stand, utilizing these reflectors when blood trailing a deer after daylight can also pay great dividends in determining the path of the animal while also allowing you to easily retrace your steps if you happen to lose the trail.  Best of all, these reflectors take up virtually no room, but can certainly be a lifesaver when in the field.

Before you take out to the deer stand on your next deer hunting adventure, be sure to take inventory of your hunting pack.  If you happen to find that these three items are absent, hit the store and rectify the situation.  You’ll be glad you did!