By Josh Boyd
When hunting, one should always expect the unexpected. A day’s course of events seldom goes as intended, and those who are unprepared for these matters of happenstance are often left scratching their heads.
One such matter that a hunter has little control over is the direction that a deer runs upon being shot. This can, at times, be especially true when bowhunting, as deer taken with archery equipment die of blood loss as opposed to immediate shock.
Occasionally, wounded deer cross onto a neighboring property before expiring, which creates quite the dilemma for those that have not previously obtained permission to venture onto the given property for this reason. This leaves a hunter with few options. If the landowner in question cannot be reached in an attempt to gain permission, little else besides sitting idly by is possible, when operating within the law.
However, this issue could have been avoided in the first place if adjoining landowners had been contacted prior to season, in a bid to be granted advance permission. The following are some tips to assist you in establishing such landowner relations, which could potentially pay dividends in the future.
When approaching a neighboring landowner before season, be friendly, yet upfront with your request. This eliminates any confusion and assists them in understanding what you are seeking permission for.
Explain that, while you make every effort to prevent a wounded deer from leaving your property, the possibility of such an occurrence does exist. Reiterate how important it is to you to retrieve all downed game, and that you feel it to be your ethical responsibility.
In many cases, when a landowner can sense your sincerity toward only doing what you feel to be right, they become less opposed to the idea. Taking this approach can also play a part in dispelling the negative connotations that a landowner might have had toward previous dealings with less scrupulous hunters in the past.
Show Your Respect for Their Property
It can also be quite helpful to explain why you felt it to be important to seek a particular landowner’s permission. Express your respect for the landowner’s property and acknowledge that the last thing you ever intend to do is to trespass.
Additionally, it can also be worth explaining to a property owner that you did not wish to bother them early in the morning or in the evening if the need to blood trail a deer onto their property should arise. This shows a level of awareness on your part and demonstrates that you do not wish to inconvenience the landowner if at all possible.
Make It a Two-Way Street
In many areas of the nation, you would be hard-pressed to find a property that is not being hunted. In a case of this nature, it is highly likely that neighboring landowners themselves are also hunters. In these situations, you can often help your case significantly by explaining that you wish to offer the neighboring property owner the same level of access to your land, to trail wounded game if necessary.
A wise hunter that finds themselves in the midst of such a conversation will likely realize the virtue of having a mutual agreement of this nature in place. Because of this, a proposition of this nature tends to be quickly hashed out and set in place. This also presents a level of common ground, which opens up a line of communication between two neighbors with similar interests, which can possibly be of benefit in the future.
A Talk Worth Having
There are few more gut-wrenching feelings than being forced to let a downed game animal lie in place to spoil, all at the hands of unattainable land access for the purpose of recovery. With trespassing being off the table, you are left without recourse.
However, by spending an afternoon speaking with those who own bordering properties, you can likely circumvent this issue altogether, and avoid such aggravating circumstances. You have absolutely nothing to lose by presenting such a request, and plenty of peace of mind to gain. Thinking ahead in the months to come can quite possibly alleviate future headaches that you never anticipated.