Urban Deer Hunting Tips | Getting Permission & Urban Hunting Strategy
By: Dylan Hayward
A few years ago, there appeared to be a sudden shift towards a style of deer hunting called “urban hunting” and it has stretched even past just deer hunting, and now seems to represent turkey hunting, as well as even bowfishing. Urban deer hunting has many benefits. Deer that congregate near neighborhoods tend to be less skittish than deer that you would find in more rural areas, due to the fact they interact with humans daily, and don’t feel much hunting pressure. Also, because of this lack of hunting pressure, and even some regulations that will protect these animals in certain areas where houses are abundant, the deer tend to live much longer, allowing the bucks to mature into trophy class whitetails. Because of this, urban deer hunting has grown to vast popularity, and rightfully so.
Getting Access To Hunt Urban Areas
I feel that hunters are often timid and hesitant to the idea of asking landowners for hunting permission. But there’s an old phrase that I think applies perfectly to this situation, “The worst they can say is no”. Now, I definitely don’t advise bothering random landowners, asking for the right to hunt, but there’s ways that you can get creative with it. When my friends and I would drive by properties that looked ideal for hunting, they would say, “I bet Dylan could get us access to that spot.” This wasn’t because I had some special gift, I just wasn’t afraid to ask and I typically had a special way of asking. I would do things such as knock on someone's door and offer to help clean up trash around the property, or mow their lawn, I even told one older lady that I would be happy to run errands for her, all she had to do was call. The key is to be grateful, even if they say no. I once had a landowner say no, and I still offered to help clean up the property. Six months later, he called me and told me I could hunt his property anytime I wanted. Never burn a bridge, even if they say no, be grateful for them even listening to your pitch.
Throw Some of the Farm Hunting Strategies Out the Window
Something that is important to remember when urban deer hunting is that these deer are very different from the ones you’ll see on a private farm with lots of wooded acreage. Sitting in a treestand over standing beans is a great strategy, but those big ag fields typically don’t exist in the urban deer environment. Instead, find some good pinch points between cover and maybe some secluded food sources. Bedding and cover won’t be near as common in urban deer hunting, so when you do find some, that’s probably a hot spot.
Everyone knows the struggles of getting a deer to respond to rattling and grunting, especially in areas where deer are highly pressured and are likely to cautious to come running in to your rattling. Urban deer are much less pressured, and thus will typically be less cautious about responding to your calls. Use this to your advantage and really step up your calling game.
Take Advantage of Ideal Conditions
Urban deer hunting comes with a large set of challenges. One screw up such as getting winded, or spooking deer on your way in, can drastically decrease your chances of success on future hunts. Take advantage of good hunting conditions and make all of your sits count. Pay attention to the pressure, only hunt in spots with the right wind, use proper scent control, make the most out of each hunt.
Overall, urban deer hunting can be extremely productive and allow you the opportunity to harvest trophy class deer. Make sure to do your scouting ahead of time, go in with the right strategy, and make every opportunity count. Make sure that you’re always being a responsible and ethical hunter. Urban deer hunting means that there are houses nearby, so always ensure that there is ground behind all of your shots and never aim in the same direction of a residence. It’s also important to note that you need to have respect for the property. Remember, there are other people in the area that may not be as thrilled with the idea of hunting as you are. Don’t drag harvested animals across the front lawn, or drive through the neighborhood with your tailgate down while your deer is in the back. Use common sense and respect the environment and your urban deer hunting experience will be great!