How to Deer Hunt the Best Private Land

By Marty Prokop

Let’s face it. Not all of us deer hunting own our own deer hunting ground. This leaves deer hunters two options. Hunting whitetail deer on heavily hunted public land or asking landowners if you can deer hunt their private, less pressured land.

Even land that looks unavailable may be available to you. A recent survey showed 25% of private landowners who posted “no trespassing” signs on their land would still say yes to allow deer hunters access.

Public or Private Land for Deer Hunting?

When I first started deer huntingyears ago I was in this exact deer hunting situation. I had two deer hunting options… deer hunt on public land or travel country roads asking farmers and landowners if I could deer hunt on their land.

Public land can hold many whitetail deer. But, it can also hold more deer hunters. The whitetail deer I saw seemed to be moving at full speed as they passed by.

Hunting private land, with the landowner’s permission, seemed to allow me to see more whitetail deer that were less pressured.

Marty Prokop Tips on Getting to Yes

How can you have good success in getting a “Yes” from private landowners?

If you hear “No,” don’t take it personally. Your knock on the door is the first time this person has seen you. The landowner doesn’t know you. When you hear “no,” thank the landowner and move on.

Start in the spring of the year asking permission to deer hunt during the fall. If the landowner has a working farm, wait until after crops are planted and never bothered farmers during milking cows either. They are busy working.

I stop by midday and introduce myself to begin cultivating a private land deer hunting relationship. Ask the farmer if he/she needs a hand. Whether it be cleaning the barn, mowing the yard or baling hay. I offered my help for free. The farmer will ask what you want for helping. Let them know you would like to deer hunt in the fall.

In my experience I receive more yes’s than no’s and was able to hunt great private land as a result.

Marty Prokop Tips on Keeping In Touch

Another thing I do is I keep in touch with the landowner regularly. I stop by and say hello at least twice a month. While I am visiting, I offer help with chores or schedule a day I can help in the field.

On some of my visits I bring the landowner a gift. I know what you may be thinking, “So you bribe the landowner.”

No. I do not bribe. If I happen to be at the local farmer’s market, have fresh produce from my own garden or perhaps caught fish I will bring some to the landowner as a token of friendship.

After hunting season and if I was successful, regardless of whether or not I harvested a whitetail deer from their land or not, I will bring the landowner some venison. (It is best to determine if the landowner likes venison on one of your visits prior to bringing venison to their house.)

I will bring venison sausage. Deer sausage, especially deer summer sausage, goes over very well. In all my years hunting private land, I have never had a landowner turn down the gift of deer summer sausage.

Giving these small gifts - whether it be time, berries or venison sausage and meat - to the landowner shows you are not just using them to deer hunt. It shows your true appreciation the trust they show you.

I even send the landowner a Christmas card. This lets him or her know you are thinking of them.

Marty Prokop Cardinal Rules for Hunting Private Land...

RESPECT the landowner’s property and wishes! If the landowner asks you to deer hunt a certain section, do it. They are asking for a reason. The bottom line is that the reason doesn’t matter. It is what the landowner wants!

Always leave the land in as good of or better shape than when you arrived to deer hunt it.

What does this mean? Great question.

If you pack it in, take it out with you.

Landowners have pride in their land. Most work really hard to make their land what it is. One sure fire way to not get asked back to deer hunt the following year is to leave garbage around your deer hunting stand site. 

Marty Prokop 7 Steps for Gaining Permission to Deer Hunt Private Land.

  1. Build a relationship with the landowner long before deer hunting season opens.
  2. Never take “No” personally. A “No,” in many cases, is simply the landowner wanting to get to know you better.
  3. Offer to help the landowner with some daily chores.
  4. Keep in touch with the landowner on a regular basis - at least twice a month.
  5. Bring the landowner some steaks, chops and deer sausage at the end of the season.
  6. Send a holiday card and a note of thanks.
  7. Respect the landowner’s property and wishes.

Follow these easy steps and you could be getting to “yes” to deer hunt the best private land.

Good luck and great deer hunting!

Marty Prokop

About Marty Prokop

Deer hunting expert Marty Prokop reveals closely guarded deer hunting secrets on how to get deer every time. Get his Free Deer Hunting Tips Newsletter, free deer videos and free online deer hunting game at Free Deer Hunting

Marty Prokop has 24-years experience deer hunting, processing deer for deer hunters and venison sausage making .  Marty Prokop teaches deer hunting, hunter safety, deer processing and deer sausage making classes. Marty Prokop has processed 7,805 deer, field dressed 422 deer and made over 991,990 pounds of sausage, smoked meats and jerky. Marty Prokop worked with Minnesota DNR programs. His deer hunting videos are used in statewide advanced hunter education classes. Marty Prokop is a successful speaker, outdoor writer and published author.

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