Finding a Place to Deer Hunt

  • Where to Look and Why You Need to START NOW
Hunter Whiteley and a nice tree farm buck.

By Larry Whiteley

I know it’s a long time until fall, but if you don’t have your own land to hunt or know somebody that will let you hunt on their land, or have a deer hunting lease; now is the time to start looking for a place to deer hunt.

Go talk to school bus drivers and even the kids that ride the bus. Odds are that while they have traveled to and from school, they have seen lots of deer and can tell you exactly where and when they saw them, plus how big the bucks were.

You can also go to the local post office, as well as UPS and FedEx offices, and talk to delivery drivers. These people are out and about every day and I am willing to bet they are seeing deer. Highway department workers are another option.

Once you have identified areas with lots of deer sightings, contact the local Farm Bureau, Department of Natural Resources or Conservation Department office and ask if there have been any complaints of deer damage by crop farmers in those areas.

Kelly Whiteley with a big doe from a sheep farm.

If there were, go knock on doors and politely ask if they would allow you to hunt their property to help control the population of deer causing their problem.  Crop farmers will be more likely to allow you on their land than a beef or dairy farmer.  Deer can also do a lot of damage to tree farmers.

Nationwide, deer cause more than $120 million annually in crop damage. So if the farmers don’t hunt or have family that hunt, they should be very receptive to you asking permission.  If the husband is a little reluctant, his wife might not be, and especially if deer are enjoying dining on her flower or vegetable garden.

If he lets you, clutch him to your chest like a wealthy uncle, because verily I say to you, he is worth his weight in gold.  I’m just kidding.  Don’t clutch him to your chest, but do shake his hand and thank her too.

If there are no farms where the deer are being observed, go to the local county offices and check the tax records to find out who owns the land. It may be rugged, hilly land that the owner can’t use, but the deer sure do.

Now here is another crazy idea for you.  We see them all the time, but how many of us ever think to use deer crossing signs to find a place to deer hunt?

These signs are always put up at locations of numerous car and deer collisions to warn people to slow down and watch for deer.  That means deer consistently cross at that location so much that they have to put up the sign.  Find out who owns the land on both sides of the road and seek permission to hunt.

Always ask in person.  Phone calls are impersonal.  Make a favorable first impression.  Dress neatly and be polite.  Let the land owner know that you are safety minded and responsible.  Respect their land.  Do not drive in fields, litter or damage property.  Honor any of their special requests.  Offer to share your venison and even help them around the farm.  Follow up with a thank you card or gift at Christmas and you should have a place to hunt for many years to come.

Anna Whiteley with her doe that she wouldn’t have taken without getting permission to hunt.

Now, if all that doesn’t work it probably means finding somewhere to hunt on public land.  That can be good too if you find the right place.  Your state wildlife agency should be able to provide information on areas with the best opportunity for deer.  Other sources include National Wildlife Refuges, the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Large timber companies sometimes allow hunters to purchase passes to hunt company owned land.  Even some military bases and federal installations now allow hunting opportunities.

All of this can take a lot of time and effort.  That’s why you need to start right now and not wait until September.  The sooner you find a place to hunt the more time you will have to scout, hang stands, put out game cameras and all the other things you will need to do and have them done long before deer season begins.

Learn to use the internet effectively to help you find a place to hunt and provide contact information. You can also find more deer hunting tips like this on www.sharetheoutdoors.com that can help you become a better hunter on the deer hunting land you worked so hard to find.