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How to Get Private Land to Hunt with Bruce Hooper


Before I look for private land to hunt, I have some business cards printed with my name, address, phone number, and the fact that I’m on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff. Also, I put the color, the make, the year and the license plate number of my truck on them. When I go up and knock on a door, I tell the landowner who I am, that I'm on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff and love to hunt turkeys. I’ll ask if I can hunt the turkeys on your property. Sometimes the landowner will say, “I'm sorry. I have too many people hunting my property right now.” Then I say to the landowner,“ This is my card with all my contact information. If something changes, and you don’t mind me hunting your property, I’ll appreciate a phone call, and I’ll come back and talk with you again.” 

Since I've been giving out my cards, I had one guy call me back and say, “Typically, I don’t call any hunter back to give him permission to hunt on my property. However, when you gave me your card, I looked at it, and I saw that you were an open book type hunter. You wanted me to know how I could contact you, the type of vehicle you drove and your license plate number. Because of that, I think you're the kind of person who won’t damage my property or my fences, because I've got all your information on your card. I also saw on your card that you said you'd treat my property like it was your own property, and I believe you're a man of your word.” I've found that presenting a card with all my contact info on it gives a landowner a feeling of security, because I'm telling him who I am and how to contact me if there is ever any problem on his property. Also by giving the make, model, color and license plate number of my truck, when he sees that truck, he’ll know who is hunting on his property. I've discovered that by letting a landowner know in advance that he can reach me if anything happens to the property that he thinks I may know about, often opens up private hunting lands for me. 

Hooper_day3Because many maps that you can get today show property lines, they also show the name of the person who owns that property. Many hunters will look up the landowner’s name and phone number, call him on the phone and ask him for permission to hunt his land. However, I feel that knocking on the door, giving the landowner my card, looking the man in the eye and telling him that I will take care of his property if he lets me hunt there makes a better impression. I feel I find more land to hunt than hunters who simply make contact over the phone. The landowner doesn’t know anything about that person other than he's a voice on the phone.

Using this system, I gained exclusive permission to hunt a farm whose owner was an older gentleman. He told me, “The people I had hunting the land before I gave you permission to hunt here would leave their coffee cups and candy wrappers on the ground where they left the truck. They also would throw out McDonald’s bags and litter my property. They just didn’t take care of my property like I would take care of it.” So, one of the first times I hunted that man’s property, I picked up a bunch of trash and was carrying it back to my truck when he saw me and asked, “What do you have in your hand?” I explained that I had found some trash on his property that I’d put in a bag in the back of my truck. He told me later that seeing me pick up the trash on his property really had impressed him. The next year he didn’t allow any other hunters to hunt on his property but my son, Luke, and me. 

I was running late one morning when I went to this land. The sun already had come up. I went around the edge of a field, back into the woods about 50 yards, sat down on a small ridge that was flat on top and began to call. Immediately a turkey gobbled down the other side of that little ridge. I estimated that the turkey was only about 45 yards away from me when he gobbled the first time. So, I got my gun to my shoulder. The turkey gobbled all the way to me. Just as he got his head up above that little rise, I squeezed the trigger. That little farm is only about 125 acres. Initially,the landowner only would let me turkey hunt it. But after a year or two, he let me hunt turkeys and deer on the property.  

Day 2: Bruce Hooper on How to Outhunt State Land Turkey Hunters 

Tomorrow: Going to School on Turkeys with Mike McGreevy

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