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  1. #1

    Post Gaining permission to hunt private land.

    I'm hoping you guys can give me some advice and tips on how to approach land owners to request hunting access. I'm moving from Missoula to Billings and want to find some spots on river bottoms to hunt white tail. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    I would take some time to drive around and look for areas with good deer numbers then call the biologist in the area and ask about landowners who may allow hunting.
    Go knock on their door and tell them you are new to the area from Missoula, so they know you're from Montana, and ask if they allow any doe hunting. I would ask for permission for a meat hunt the first year then show how responsible you are while on the property. You could offer some labor over the summer also. We've had doe access turn into buck access by showing respect for the land and owner.
    Try not to pick a busy time to go ask; calving, branding or haying.

  3. #3

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    Not sure I would mention Missoula. The rest of wytex's advice is solid.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Don't ask during hunting season. As others have said, offer to help around the ranch.

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    Not sure why I wouldn't mention you've moved from Missoula. Everything Wyrwx said is spot on especially calling or visiting with the area biologist. It might be my first stop. Good luck.

  6. #6

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    Bring a kid.
    I don't kill rattlesnakes, and I don't eat sharks. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement..

  7. #7

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    seriously..

    Even with a kid or without, start off going after gophers, build up trust, be appreciative, help out. Then after a while, it might be time to ask about shooting does.
    I don't kill rattlesnakes, and I don't eat sharks. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement..

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Be honest...
    God's trying to bless America, there's just too many people getting in the way.

  9. #9

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    Zach has a winner.
    As a landowner one of the toughest things about hunting season is deciding who gets to hunt. There are far more people that deserve to hunt than can hunt the ranch and still have a quality experience. Not being honest is a sure way to get you eliminated.
    The more you bug me about hunting the less likely it will be that I invite you.
    Gaining access to good river bottom land in eastern Montana is not going to be easy. I would look at it as a multiple year project. First look for land that is not leased for hunting. The chances that you will gain access to leased land is slime to none. Don't over look small tracts of land. (80 acres of good riverbottom fields and brush could provide some great hunting.) The advice about asking to hunt does, or just about any thing other than big bucks is good advice. However if the landowner is unfamiliar with you he may not grant permission. Spend some time in the around the place you want to hunt. Go hunting on public or fishing at the access nearby. It could give you a chance to meet the landowner and you will not be gong in blind latter on when you ask for permission.

  10. #10

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    Good advice antlerradar and Zach. Took us a couple of years to gain trust and now we take care of hunting access and the wildlife on a decent sized ranch. The owner was willing to give us a chance one year and we helped out on branding and fence building after that. After getting to know us and seeing our respect for his land it worked it well for us.
    We deal with quite a few adjacent public land hunters. Most are respectful and as a result they get helped out when we can. We deal with some who think they should be able to hunt anywhere they want as long as some public land is near, others are very careful to respect the boundary. The same group of guys from Pa. that we have seen the last few years on the public now get a little access over the property line and gates opened to retrieve game. They have always been friendly and respectful. We would rather see and deal with the same guys year after year , but are willing to help out someone new if they show up and are trying to do things the right way.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by sneakypete View Post
    Not sure why I wouldn't mention you've moved from Missoula. Everything Wyrwx said is spot on especially calling or visiting with the area biologist. It might be my first stop. Good luck.
    I would mention I was from Missoula and not Billings, but had just moved to Billings. I've heard from more than one person, landowners among them, that Billings hunters don't have a good reputation. Hunting around Billings, I've been asked where I was from for the first question out of landowner's mouths more than once. Never anywhere else in the state has that happened.

    Just knock on doors and ask. Worst that can happen is someone says no. I was hunting around Martinsdale for speed goats and didn't get 1 person to let me hunt. The area used to have a bunch of block management and that year had 2 properties in. I got about 10 or 15 no's that weekend. But each no was followed by a 1/2 hour or more of conversation and laughs. I spent most of the weekend bs'ing with landowners that didn't give me permission to hunt. One lady, it was and hour and a half. It was better than if I had shot an animal.

  12. #12

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    Thanks everyone for the great advice.

  13. #13

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    I wouldn't ask while looking like Rambo in camo either.
    You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity.

  14. #14
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    Don't wait till 1 week before the season.... and if you don't know already, learn how to mend fences.
    God's trying to bless America, there's just too many people getting in the way.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Make sure you take your hunting rig and campers into a pressure washer and clean them as best as you can underneath the body and frame. Knapweed seeds can sit dormant for 7 years and still sprout so make sure you get those buggers cleaned off. I have had a couple ranchers ask about this when I hunted on their places after they saw the Missoula County plates. As you all know western Montana has a bunch of that nasty crap.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6mm Remington View Post
    Make sure you take your hunting rig and campers into a pressure washer and clean them as best as you can underneath the body and frame. Knapweed seeds can sit dormant for 7 years and still sprout so make sure you get those buggers cleaned off. I have had a couple ranchers ask about this when I hunted on their places after they saw the Missoula County plates. As you all know western Montana has a bunch of that nasty crap.
    A clean truck is a must. One time I had some hunters drive into the ranch one afternoon. Truck was bumper to bumper covered in mud. I quote "We have been driving all day on the forest and haven't seen any deer. Do you have any deer we could go after?" They had no chance of getting permission. Good thought about weeds, it is the first thing I think of when I see a 4 plate.

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    Lots of it really just comes down to just knocking on a door and being genuinely respectful and affable. All other advice aside, if you come off like a salesman or manipulative in any sense, country folks will send you packing.

  18. #18

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    Big bank account doesn't hurt either.Seems now days 99% of the landowners want money for hunting rights.If the won't grant permission I'd ask about leasing.Any property that is located in a good area,like river bottom whitetail land,have most likely had some business try and lease it.Whe there it's been from an outfitter or leasing agent.I personally would be looking for more of the small properties,20 to 40 acres,in decent areas.Those other guys aren't interested in those,and their plenty big enough for good whitetail hunting

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    Can't tell you what the secret is.
    After 30 years of occasional asking and getting the stink eye, I called a guy who happens to own a 40 acre chunk with nothing but a waterhole on it. Half an hour later I had permission to hunt Antelope on it "for life". We took him some Elk and Antelope and now he's thinking maybe he wants to try hunting. You never know...

  20. #20

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    Some good advice already listed : Don't wear camo - wear real work clothes, approach landowners in the off season, leave the VOLVO in the garage and use your pickup, educate yourself a bit regarding what the landowner does - dairy farming, beef farming, grain farming, etc. so you can have an intelligent conversation with him. Approach the landowner alone or with one other person MAX !! No landowner wants to be stormed by 6 guys pouring out of a pickup !! Be calm, polite and respectful of his time.

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