- 3 Ways To Find New Deer Hunting Spots | Whitetail Hunting Strategy
3 Ways To Find New Deer Hunting Spots | Whitetail Hunting Strategy
Eric Clark, Okayest Hunter
Deer hunting season is upon us, and for the Okayest Hunter, you're probably just now starting to think about where you're going to hunt. I'm not talking about which tree; I'm talking about which public parcel. Here are three things you may not have thought of to help you find and access new hunting land for the upcoming deer hunting season.
1. Check With Your State Wildlife Agency
Many states have programs that allow hunters to gain access to private land for deer hunting. The requirements and process vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your state wildlife agency for more information.
For example, Wisconsin (where I'm from) has Managed Forest Law (MFL) land. This program offers tax breaks to land owners that let the public access their property for hunting and recreation. Another program unique to Wisconsin is Voluntary Public Access (VPA). This is similar to MFL. However, it's a bit more accessible because it will be posted, and permission is already granted without having to seek it out.
2. Look Into Cooperative Agreements
Some states have cooperative agreements with private landowners that give hunters access to their land. These agreements are typically made between the state and the landowner, so again, be sure to check with your state wildlife agency.
Using Wisconsin as my example, some not-for-profit organizations promote conservation by buying up land and allowing public access to hunting and recreation. Some of these organizations have their own rules to play by. One that I am used to leveraging has a draw system. I pay $50 to submit an entry. If drawn, I'll be one of few people allowed access to a parcel of private property. Some of the rules enforced are things like shooting a doe first. Overall, this is an excellent resource as it reduces the number of hunters and increases my odds of seeing more deer. I've had a lot of success with this type of program.
3. Try A Day-Lease App
Several new day-lease apps akin to an Airbnb app for hunters have hit the market over the last several years. When I founded the Where to Hunt GPS app (now called OUTLAND®) to help hunters identify occupied and unoccupied hunting land, I was working on partnering with a few of these companies to help address concerns from the land owners. Some of these services might be better, depending on where you live. I've noticed that they tend to be heavily localized, as the founders likely leveraged relationships based on proximity.
Rentahunt is local to Wisconsin, so I expect to see properties closer to home for me. Others like, LandTrust or Outdoor Access might yield better results for your local hunting spots. I've seen a few of these companies come and go over the years, so it'll be interesting to see how these services evolve or get consumed by mergers and acquisitions.
Of course, you can always do other things, like knocking on doors to get hunting access or scouting further and broader. These are just some examples of things I've had experience and some level of success with. I'd love to hear what has worked for you, too. Of course, though, often as hunters, some folks are more reluctant to share where they hunt because they don't want to see their honey hole get exposed.