For area hunters, now is a time of preparation. Dove season starts Sept. 1, teal season opens Sept. 10, archery deer and turkey season begins Sept. 15 and other seasons are soon to follow.
That means many people are getting ready for those hunting trips they’ve looked forward to all year. They’re making sure their firearms are in good working order, their shotguns are patterned and they have the proper permits (hunting permit, migratory bird permit, hunter education card, etc.).
They have a good knife, good boots and plenty of ammunition. All these things are important, but if you’re planning to hunt on someone else’s land, now is the time for another extremely important part of hunting preparation: making landowner contacts.
Few outdoors events put a greater number of people on someone else’s property than the fall hunting seasons. Even though Missouri has some great public hunting areas, a large portion of the hunting activity in the state each year occurs on private land.
That should come as no surprise since more than 90 percent of land in the state is privately owned. That means many people who want to hunt will be looking for opportunities on land owned by someone else.
If you’re someone looking to hunt on someone else’s property, here are some guidelines:
First, don’t assume that past hunting trips on someone’s property means you have permission to be there this year. Always ask first. If you’ve established good relations with the landowner, this will be a mere formality.
The landowner might even chuckle that you’re still treating your hunts on his or her property like a first-time event. Inside, however, the landowner is admiring your courtesy and you’re accumulating solid “preference points” for future hunts.
If you have been granted hunting privileges on someone else’s property for the first time, congratulations, you’ve attained an opportunity that’s not always easy to get. So, don’t blow it by being irresponsible.
Sometimes hunters make mistakes that, though they may be honest errors, are nevertheless very irritating to landowners.