Year after year I cringe when I hear hunters say “I don’t have anywhere to hunt”. Finding a deer hunting lease is not easy but it is far from impossible.
You Never Know Till You Ask
The best piece of advice I can give you is still stay persistent and put yourself out there. If no one knows that you desperately need hunting land then they are probably not going to offer. Putting yourself out there means working the topic of deer hunting into the topics of conversation.
Here is the list in no particular order.
1 – Get More Than Religion At Church
Don’t be pushy just get to know people. Ask folks where they live. Do not assume there are no opportunities just because it is a small property. Many small farms and urban areas can be over populated for many different reasons.
2 – A Little Bonus At Work
Most of us come in contact with a lot of people during a typical work day. Be patient and polite and get to know everyone you can. The topic of hunting or deer being a pest in the garden will come up eventually.
3 – Community events
The youth group car wash at the Church will be teaming with locals. Lots of friendly landowners will probably be at the VFD BBQ fundraiser.
4 – Ag Stores
The local hardware and ag stores are always busy with people. Farmers loading up cattle minerals and chicken feed must have a decent size farm. The nice lady loading up tomato plants might also be looking for a way to keep deer out of her garden.
5 – Sporting Goods Store
Your local hunting and fishing store is a good place to start. Ask the clerk or owner if they can point you in the right direction. They may know about a hunting club looking for members. The store may also have a classifieds board where people can leave fliers about hunting lease listings.
6 – Talk to Neighbors
Talk to your neighbors. Let it be known that you are a responsible hunter in need of a place to hunt. As you get to know your neighbors you can ask about family land and farms. You will be surprised how many people have access to great hunting land and could care less about hunting.
7 – Ask the Relatives
Don’t write the in-laws off. They may be a thorn in your side but they might have access to land. Close family and extended family could all be sources.
8 – Permit Only Hunts May Work
Many states have a number of permit hunting opportunities. Waterfowl preserves and national forest area source for permit hunts. For a small fee any licensed hunter can purchase a permit to enter this hunting area during a certain time period. These small fees and time constraints can be a big barrier to some hunters which means big opportunities for others.
9 – Get Lucky with Draw Hunts
Draw or lottery hunts are different from Permit hunts. You are basically throwing your name in a hat and hoping to get drawn for the hunt. Draw hunts can be in city park, nature preserves. The odds of being drawn can be low but the rewards can be giant. Many times draw hunts offer access to great habitat and low pressured deer.
10 – Outfitters are Always There
Outfitters are in the business of guiding hunts. Buying a guided or a self guided hunt is a legitimate hunting opportunity. A guided hunt can really be a great alternative for deer hunters with very little spare time. Many outfitters also lease land.
11 – Land Brokers Won’t Break You
This is normally not the cheapest source for deer land but still an option. A broker is being paid a fee to handle the lease of the land. Lots of people use a broker to secure very small tracts in the middle of good hunting ground.
12 – Get Active in Hunting Forums
Make a frequent visit to local hunting forums. Most of the popular deer hunting forums will have a local classifieds section. While you are visiting the forums it is a great idea to respond to post and start new topics. Establishing a presence in the forums will make you more credible.
13 – Going Door To Door
Don’t wear camo! Put on some clean clothes, tuck your shirt in and start beating the street. Knocking on doors is tough! All the folks will be nice and polite but be prepared for rejection. If they say NO, then ask if any of their neighbors or family might be able to allow hunting.
14 – Join a Hunting Association
I am willing to bet that each state has a bowhunters association. Maybe even a xbow association or some other big game hunter association. Many of these clubs leverage their credibility in the state for deer hunting opportunities. Deer population control is a driving factor behind these groups gaining access to large tracts. Members in these associations in turn are allowed access to hunting land. Warning – do your research before paying.
15 – Grab the Newspapers
Yep newspapers are still being printed and people are still posting classifieds ads. Check the farms for sale section and look for long distance area codes. This is an indication the owner may not live on or near the property. These can be golden opportunities.
16 – For Sale Signs
Make note of any land for sale sign that announces a decent amount of acreage. This land could be a single owner or an investment company trying to turn a profit. Whatever the case, the land could be sitting there for years with no buyer
This is just a short list of 16 ways I have used to find a deer hunting lease. I hope it provides enough encouragement to get you out there looking for your own hunting spot. If you have another place that I did not list please leave a comment below.