'Twas the Night Before Hunting Season

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2007

Last revision: Dec. 1, 2010

a property owner to get to know you better is to offer to help thin out the predator population. It just might lead to some other opportunities.

Getting permission from the landowner doesn’t mean you have free reign of the place. It’s your responsibility to find out from the owner exactly where on the property you can hunt and where you can’t.

Farmers usually ask me to leave my truck parked near a gate and walk in to keep me from making ruts across muddy fields. I’ve found this practice helps me, too, because I don’t scare game while driving in.

Also, make a point of learning the location of the property’s boundaries. The last thing a landowner wants is a neighbor who is upset because a hunter who had permission to hunt one property trespassed on another.

Generally, if you take the time to understand things from the landowner’s point of view, and in your manner and behavior show your appreciation for being able to hunt private property, you have a good chance at having a hunting spot for many years to come.

Doing Your Homework

Once you have a place to hunt—public or private—it’s time to do that all-important preseason scouting. One of the best ways to learn the lay of the land is to strap on your boots for a firsthand look.

Today’s technology can also help you gain a better picture of the property. If you’re hunting conservation areas, vist us online or stop by your local Conservation Department office to pick up free maps.

For public or private land, detailed topographical maps (available for a nominal fee from the U.S. Geological Service) can show landforms and vegetation that tend to funnel moving deer or rivers and streams that attract roosting turkeys. Aerial photos like the ones provided online are another valuable tool hunters can use to scout an area without leaving home.

Staying on Target

Hunters have a responsibility to the sport and to the game they’re after to hone their shooting skills. Grabbing your rifle or bow and shooting a few times the week or so before the season starts is probably not enough to stay sharp. By spending time at the shooting range throughout the year, your marksmanship will improve, and you’ll increase your chances of filling your permit during the hunting season.

One tip that’s always helped me harvest game quickly and cleanly is to always try to stop my quarry before taking

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