Let’s say you’ve located a piece of deer hunting property that really looks like great whitetail habitat and you’d love to get on there and give it a whirl hunting. Assuming you’re in your vehicle locate the nearest home (that looks like it might be the owner) take a deep breath – turn the steering wheel sharply into the drive – pull up the drive – stop the vehicle – get out – walk up to their door – either ring the door bell or knock on the door – and wait for someone to answer. Once you get to this point you’ve just completed the hardest part. No it’s true. Getting up the nerve to ask is the toughest element to conquer.
Now here’s a couple of great tips for you to follow.
First make sure you’re NOT dressed like a hunter. I don’t even like to be wearing camo of any kind, including a hat. You want to look like a regular guy or what seems to be a regular guy. If you’ve got a nose piercing or something hanging from your ear go ahead and take that out for the time. Just wear a pair of jeans and a button up shirt of your choice. Be shaven and have your hair combed. In other words – just look decent and presentable.
DO NOT be wearing any school sweat shirts from any high school or college. I don’t care if you graduated from Duke (which I did). Leave all that stuff in your truck or closet at home. Hey, you want to get permission to hunt or not? I’m just trying to help here. You’d better listen to me for now.
The first impression is important and you only get one try for ‘the first impression’. One. So you want to put your best foot forward – first. Don’t have asking for permission on your mind. Let me say that again. Don’t have asking permission on your mind. Have this on your mind and this ONLY!
TO THE PERSON WHO IS GOING TO BE ANSWER THE DOOR – YOU WANT TO RELATE TO THAT PERSON ABOUT SOMETHING. That’s it.
If you can relate to the person in charge your chances of getting a ‘yes’ just went up 500%. I’m always on my toes looking for something to say as soon as they answer the door. I’m hoping they are wearing some school paraphernalia to give me a good start. Here’s a quick example. Let’s just say they are wearing an Alabama sweat shirt on or a hat. Right after saying hello and telling them my name I’m going to make some kind of remark like, ‘Hey WE won another national championship last year. It was tough but we did it again.’ I don’t care if you are an Auburn grad. On this day you’d better be thinking, ‘Roll Tide Roll.’
Many times the person will answer the door with a child next to them or holding a child. There you go. You got any kids? ’Hey I’ve got 3 kids myself. Let’s see. She looks like she’s about 3.’ Just strike up a conversation about anything and wait for a response. Say something to get it going.
‘Hey you look familiar. Didn’t we go to different high schools?’ Come up with something to get the ball rolling.
Now if it seems awkward and the person is annoyed just get to the point and tell them why your there. Do this however you like. They may not even be the land owners. So just use common sense and ask them if they own the land you’re looking at. It may be a bad time for and they are just busy. It’s their time your taking so respect that. Remember they don’t owe you anything including their time!
It looks like great whitetail habitat and I really love to hunt. Do you ever grant permission to hunt your property?’ After you do this a few times you’ll better get the hang of it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Well I suppose they could jump on you and pick a fight but generally that’s not going to happen. They could get mean and say bitter things. They may even swear at you and threaten to call the law. This doesn’t happen very often either. But it could. I’m talking about the worst things.
When it’s all said and done you’ve taken very little or yours or their time and you just never know what may happen. I don’t try and be too polished or clever. I just always try and relate to the person about something. Carry on a little conversation and then be friendly no matter what their answer is. Because my next stop may be the next house down the road or across the street.But here’s the million dollar question you always want to leave them with. DON’T FORGET THIS AND BE PREPARED.
Before you leave reach into your pocket and hand them a piece of paper that has your phone number on it. I prefer to use paper where it is obvious I just tore it off the corner of something. Don’t hand them a business card. Just don’t do it. That will go in the trash before you get to the end of the drive. Hand them a hand written note from yourself with your number on it and say this, “I appreciate your time. If you ever need anyone to help you with anything please just give me a call. I’m a pretty good handy man and have free time on weekends. I’d be glad to help you if I can.” And then head to your vehicle and leave.
Let’s face it. Why should they let you hunt their property? Is it because you are so handsome? Or nice? Or special? And you may be these things. But you are asking them to let you invade their privacy and trust you not to murder them or steal from them or sue them if you fall out of a tree. And you’re a total stranger. You know what? You’re asking for a lot aren’t you? But when you offer to help and are sincere about it you just broke down a great big wall called ‘distrust’ and they immediately will respect you for asking. Instead of taking from them – ‘Hey I’m really here to kill your deer’ – you are offering to give first. ‘Let me earn your trust and I’m willing to come out and help you work to do it.’
That’s a pretty fair trade if you ask me. If a guy would come out here and help me mow my lawn a few times during the summer. There’s a lot better chance I’m going to let him come out and hunt with me too.
Here’s a prime example that this really works from a secondary source. This is absolutely a true story. A few years ago I had a taxidermist friend of mine named Ed call me towards the end of November. The conversation went about like this:
Ed: Roger. This is Ed. I drew a Kansas Unit 15 deer tag this year and I haven’t had a chance to go up there and find a place to hunt. Do you know anyone up there that might let me hunt?
Roger: No. Not right off hand I don’t. You mean you put in for a Unit 15 tag without having a place to hunt ahead of time?
Ed: Yeh. I really planed on going up there this summer or early fall and find a place but I’ve just really been busy this year and couldn’t make the trip. I just don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve always wanted to hunt Kansas and I guess I just won’t go.
Roger: Well even though the season opens next week I’d go ahead and drive up there a day or two before hand. Unit 15 is a good unit for big bucks and I’ll bet you can find something on short notice.
I told Ed exactly what I just told you. He sounded skeptical but I told him to stick to the plan and just do it.
I was hunting in Unit 13 and on the second day of the season we had a real cold snap. The deer moved great that day and I shot a 160 class 11 pointer that afternoon. (find blog Hunt the Right Piece of Property) About a week later I thought I’d give Ed a call and see how he did. The fact is I wanted to brag on my buck. I’m only human.
Here’s how that conversation went:
Roger: Hey Ed. How’d your hunt turn out in Kansas? Did you go ahead and make that trip? Ed: Oh yes. I shot a giant Boone & Crockett buck scoring about 180 on the second day. I’ve
been meaning to call you and thank you. The evening before season began I was still driving around trying to find a place to hunt when I pulled into a house went up to the door, knocked and little old lady answered. She told me she was a widow and since her husband died she didn’t let anybody hunt and she wasn’t very friendly about it. But before I walked off I remembered what you said so I turned around to her and gave her my phone number and told her ’if there’s anything she ever needed to just let me know.’
She rolled her eyes at me and ask me if I would run into town and get her some groceries. I told her I would. After she gave me the money and a long list of items, I drove about 15 miles into town, got her things and by the time I got back there it was already dark. It took me about 2 hours to do this and after I brought her groceries into her house I just headed to the door to leave. I had one foot outside the door when she spoke to me and said, ‘Well I guess you can hunt in the
morning if you still want to. But we have other people who always try and sneak in here to hunt our place. I want you to run them off if you see them. You and only you can hunt.’ I just smiled and told her OK.
There were deer everywhere. I told myself I’m going to go ahead and be picky. On the second afternoon this absolute monster buck stepped out in front of me about 80 yards and I smoked him. It was the best deer hunt I’ve ever been on. Did you kill anything?
After hearing that story I didn’t feel much like talking about my little old 160 incher so I just said I shot a nice buck and left it at that.
You just never know where a conversation is going to lead you. You just never know what will happen or what it may lead to when you knock on someone’s door. One thing is for sure. If you don’t try and find new places to hunt and don’t take that first big step of trying – nothing will happen. Ed went grocery shopping for a little old widow woman who could no longer drive. Number one he did a good thing. He actually helped this lady with a real need. Number two because of that he gained sole access to nearly 1100 prime acres of great whitetail hunting and shot a world class buck on the second day.
Hey when I’m around a landowner whose an Alabama fan it’s, ‘Roll Tide Roll’. Yes sir! While I’m actually hunting his property and field dressing my buck it’s ‘Go Sooners!” What the land owner doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Will it?
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