How To Ask Permission To Hunt Private Land

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Asking permission to hunt private property can provide access to low-pressure hunting areas. The best way to get permission to hunt private land is to ask. We cover five tips to improve your chance of success.

A bowhunter walks along a fenceline.

Write Letters

Knocking on a landowner’s door may work for some, but for a less intrusive alternative writing a letter to ask permission to hunt is recommended. The private landowner data in the onX Hunt App generally include a mailing address in addition to landowner names and boundaries. This is a great place to start.

Whether you’re driving through a potential hunting area and viewing public and private land boundaries on your phone or e-scouting with the Web Map, pay attention to any details you can reference in your letter to the landowner.

Here’s how to ask permission to hunt in your letter. First, introduce yourself. Include relevant background information, perhaps noting your place of work or familial ties to the area. Next, show that you’ve done your homework about the property and the landowner from whom you are asking for hunting permission. Begin to close the letter by explaining your hunting ethics and what you would like to hunt on their land.

End the letter by asking permission to hunt, what special rules or regulations they might have for their land, and when you can come by to personally introduce yourself. Be sure to include your mailing address, email, and phone number.

Anything you can do in return goes a long way with private land hunting. And once you get access to a property, keep it by doing what you said you were going to do.

Make a Strong First Impression

Whether you’ve written a letter first and gotten a positive response or you’ve knocked on a landowner’s door, making a memorable first impression will help your chance of getting permission to hunt private property. Look presentable at the meeting. Some hunters favor bringing along their kids, especially if they plan on hunting with their kids on private land.

If you do not gain permission to hunt their land at this moment, don’t ask for an explanation but do thank them for their time. You can also ask the landowner if they would recommend someone else who might allow hunting access.

The most reliable source for private property boundaries and names, updated regularly. Try the onX Hunt App for free.

Provide References

Either in a follow-up letter or to have with you when you knock on a landowner’s door, be ready to provide character references. If you have hunted on private property in previous seasons, ask a landowner to be a hunting reference for you. If you have a strong connection to a notable community leader, ask that person to write a letter of reference.

Showing the landowner that you’re aware of their private land boundaries on the onX Hunt App is another way to provide a credible reference. Having the Private Lands Layer turned on during your discussion with the landowner helps you plan exactly where you can and cannot hunt on their property.

At this point in the process, you may be asked (or required) to fill out and sign a private land consent form. Some states, like Connecticut, require filling out a consent form and having it with you when you hunt.

Remember, both landowners and hunters assume some legal risk when hunting. QDMA offers Hunting Land Liability Insurance to protect all parties against unfortunate accidents. As a hunter, you may want to offer to carry a policy for yourself and the landowner.

A hunter walks through an agriculture field.

Show Respect

This advice extends to when you already have permission to hunt as well as when you’re asking permission to hunt. Ways you can show respect to the landowner include listening more than talking, asking relevant questions so you don’t waste their time, and always keeping in mind you are a guest on their private property.

With showing respect, always show gratitude too. If you have a successful hunt on private land, consider gifting some of the prepared game or a relevant gift card to the landowner at the end of the season, and always consider sending a holiday card.

Ask What You Can Do

At all times during the process of asking permission to hunt, ask what you can do for the landowner. The types of landowners who may or may not give permission to hunt will vary, so it’s important to know what needs each might have. For some, you can offer to check fences while you’re on their property, or control predators you run across. For others, it might be helpful to cut wood, plant trees, mark private land boundaries or simply check in on them from time to time for company.

Anything you can do in return goes a long way with private land hunting. And once you get access to a property, keep it by doing what you said you were going to do. Keep in mind, if you think the property has potential, someone else probably does as well. These landowners are likely hammered by people seeking permission for hunting rights. Look to build a relationship of trust with the landowner and you will likely have access to that property for many seasons.

Ryan Newhouse

Though raised hunting squirrels and whitetails in the South, Ryan Newhouse has spent nearly the last two decades chasing Western big game in Montana and writing professionally about his travels and the craft beers he’s consumed along the way. He loves camping, fishing, boating, and teaching his two kids the art of building campfires and playing the ukulele. And yes, he’s related to Sewell Newhouse, inventor of the steel animal traps.