Putting the Property Pieces Together

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Most every hunter is on a seemingly endless quest for their next best hunting spot. Regardless of whether you’re hunting private land or public, large tracts of land tend to get all the glory. Hunters want room to run when it comes to the pursuit of whitetail deer. The result is public land parking lots full of trucks and overpriced lease ground most anywhere deer call home. 

For this reason, I’ve made a habit of capitalizing on small tracts of ground, on both private and public land. I like to take advantage of overlooked land that most hunters drive right past. 

Large tracts of private land lease ground are typically overpriced, and opportunities to get a foot in the door are few and far between. However, in recent years I’ve taken advantage of the Land Ownership Layer built into onX to start putting the property pieces together to turn small tracts of land into one sizable chunk of private land access. Here’s how I made it happen.

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Use private ownership info to unlock permission for the perfect place to hang a stand.

Aim Small, Miss Small

The Land Ownership data built into onX is priceless. I refer to it on a weekly basis as I research properties within easy striking distance of my home. The feature tells me who owns the land, as well as how many acres are in the tract. I’ve learned over the years that no tract of land is too small when it comes to a potential place to hang a stand. It may only be five acres, but if it’s the right five acres, it’s golden. 

In my neck of the woods, you can typically count on any property of 100 acres or more to be either leased or locked up with permission by friends or family members. That’s why targeting smaller tracts works so well. They are the leftovers that most hunters think are too small to mess with. 

Brodie Swisher connecting the dots.

Know Before You Go

Knowing the property owner’s name before you go to their door for permission boosts your confidence and optimism through the roof. And this is easier than ever when you’ve got onX Hunt loaded on your cell phone. 

I was driving the backroads a few years ago when I came across a piece of ground that looked like an ideal place for deer to be hanging out. A quick search of onX revealed that the property was owned by a guy I had briefly worked within the previous year. He owned 75 acres of pasture ground surrounded by oak ridges. 

I pulled into his driveway and made the connection at his front door. It was the easiest permission deal I’ve yet to make, and the land has become one of my family’s favorite farms for both deer and turkey.

However, despite the activity we encountered on this particular farm, we soon became lulled into the mindsight of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. We began to notice patterns of deer activity coming and going from the neighboring farms and wondered about the chances of securing permission there as well. The onX App showed the property to be just 20 acres, but it would open up the perfect opportunity to catch deer on the bed-to-feed transition. With the property owner’s name listed in the information included in onX, we knew who we needed to connect with to gain access. The results were the same. Another green light for hunting access.

As mentioned above, knowing the property owner’s name when you knock on the door allows for a personal connection right from the start. There’s no doubt it helps when securing permission on private land. After landing permission on the neighbor to the west, we turned our attention to the next two bordering properties, both of which ended up being relatives of the first landowner. The family connection was another advantage for us. It was priceless info to know before we went to knock on the door. 

A couple more front porch visits and we landed two additional farms. Our initial 75 acres of access had turned into 250+ acres of hunting opportunity. But it didn’t stop there. 

In an effort to get a secondary access for altering wind direction, we approached a landowner on the eastern side of the property. Our initial request was simply for permission to park and access our other properties through his land. However, after a lengthy conversation, swapping stories, and earning the landowner’s trust, he gave the nod to hunt his property as well. The additional ground put us at over 300 contiguous acres of hunting property for my boys and me to chase deer and turkey.  

Connect more Dots
Landowner networks, neighboring properties, deer patterns—all illuminated with onX.

Putting the Pieces Together

Utilizing the onX App, we were able to put the pieces together for deer patterns and activity before we ever set foot on the neighboring properties. We were able to determine access we needed to bedding areas, transition lines, water sources, creek crossings, and prime feeding locations in agriculture fields. After gaining permission on the properties mentioned above, we were able to go in and confirm what we had e-scouted via onX. 

Small tracts of land may seem insignificant on their own, but when you put the pieces together with neighboring farms, you’ll soon discover the ability to access a buck’s entire home range, from bed to feed, and everything in between. 

Put onX to work for you this season and experience what happens when you turn small tracts of land into big whitetail opportunities.

Brodie Swisher

Brodie Swisher is an outdoor writer, public speaker, and editor for Bowhunting.com. He is also a world champion game caller, having won the NRA’S Great American Game Calling Challenge World Championship. He lives with his family in West Tennessee.