Accessing hunting land

Most programs use a variety of land types for their hunting experience(s). Some use public land that has a special hunt, or has special access reserved for program participants; others use private land that they have some personal connection to; and some use public land available open to anyone. In some situations, the mentors or guides arrange for the land that will be hunted.

In some situations, private landowners who have restricted access policies have opened property because it was part of an agency-sponsored program that targeted young adults. When accessing private property, permission should be arranged well in advance. In some situations, a written agreement may be advisable that includes expectations and responsibilities, as well as insurance considerations.

For additional information on access to hunting land see the National Shooting Sports Foundation 2007-Best Practices Workbook for Hunting and Shooting Recruitment and Retention and Appendix C of the National Hunting & Shooting Sports Action Plan (Second Content Draft).

In any case, time should be allocated to scout the property and help establish participant expectations. Scouting should be conducted so that it is a learning experience for the participant, and they are involved in the decision making of where they will set up to hunt. Using aerial photographs or Google Earth is recommended as a scouting tool.

Sending “Thank You” notes from both participants and program managers to whoever assisted in making arrangements for access to hunting property is recommended.

Unfortunately, finding places to hunt may be a limiting factor for scaling-up programs in the future.

Resources

Access - Best Practices Hunting Workbook

Having a place to go hunting or shooting is critical for people to participate in these activities. Surveys have consistently shown that not having a reasonably convenient place to hunt or shoot is one of the top reasons why people drop out.

For hunting, not only is having a place to go important, but having a reasonable expectation of finding the game that you are seeking is also important. Actually harvesting the game you are hunting has always been identified as a less important motivator; but having a reasonable chance to see or get a shot is important.