Private Land Hunting: Playing the Game

Jess Kinamon // March 16

There’s a ton of pride that comes with public land hunting, especially when you can be successful. I consider myself a mostly public land hunter and I am proud of that. However, there seems to be a lot of controversy around private land hunting. 

Private Land Hunting | hunting private land

Everybody wants to be successful on public land. Lots of hunters like to talk down on private land hunting. It may be considered too easy. However, when hunters get a chance at private land access they jump on it. Private land access is just another way to play the game, and here’s how to play it. 

Hunting Private Land

Asking for private land access

For some reason, this scares the crap out of people! Very few hunters want to call landowners or go knock on their doors. But the worst the landowner can do is tell you no! And most are extremely nice about it! Every now and then you’ll have a landowner who can be rude, but there’s no reason to let that stop you. A lot of landowners actually benefit from hunters, whether it's for harvesting does that are eating off their feed for cattle/horses or picking up sheds that are a hazard to their tractor tires. Don’t be greedy or pushy about the access. Just because they let you on doesn’t mean they want you harvesting their largest bucks. Don’t be afraid to throw a little incentive for the landowner either. Whether offering up a helping hand, a case of their favorite beer, a bottle of whiskey, or a lease proposal! 

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Leasing private ground 

There are tons of outfitters, hunters, and shed hunters who lease private land to hunt all over the country. Landowners use this as one more way to benefit from their property and make a little extra money. If you can afford it, leasing is a great way to approach access to private land, especially if you want to be the only one accessing it. 

Private land challenges 

Public land hunters can get a sour taste in their mouths over private land. I’ve even had a sour taste for it at some points. I’ve heard remarks like, “Oh well that big buck was taken on private,” and then that hunter's credit gets taken away because it couldn’t have been a challenge since they were on private property. But private land poses a whole different set of challenges. You have to climb through so many tough hoops to get that access if you get access at all. Getting a hold of a landowner is tough enough, and getting them to say yes is even tougher. Chances are you won’t have that access for very long either. Once you gain access to that ground you have to scout all over again and figure out the chunk of land. It may have a bigger payoff than public but it can be just as challenging. 

Don’t be afraid to call that landowner this season.

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About the Author

Jess Kinamon

Jess grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana hunting elk, mule deer, whitetails, wolves, bears, and coyotes. She and her dad have been hunting together since day one and they have grown both physically and mentally. Jess knew at a young age that the outdoors were her passion and something she always wanted to pursue as a career. Mule deer and elk hunting are two things that she cannot live without, but she enjoys other things such as riding horses/packing mules, and painting with acrylics.