How to get a hunting property.
In this blog I am going to tell you my journey of becoming a recreational shooter, and how I got my hunting properties. Along the way I will give you some tips and hints on how to find your own hunting property. By the end of this blog I hope you will see that finding a hunting property of your own is a very simple process, BUT it is not easy! Yes, there is a difference.
Simple: plain, basic, or uncomplicated in form, nature, or design; without much decoration or ornamentation.
Easy: achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties.
To start, a bit of personal background. Until 10 years ago most of my shooting and exposure to firearms was employment based. I have undertaken employment as an armed security officer, corrective services officer, police officer and an army reservist. In all of these roles I was exposed to firearms and undertook firearms training. I never really did any target shooting or hunting.
I enjoyed shooting, I just thought it cost too much and was too difficult to get a firearms licence. Not to mention getting a safe and all the other things that go with being a lawful firearms owner.
I also really liked camping, fishing, exploring and an outdoors lifestyle. Another thing I was getting interested in was our environment as I was seeing it decline (in my opinion) while I was out camping and fishing.
I started to think about using less, wasting less and ways I could help the environment. It was also at this time I started to hear things like “Eating meat is bad for the environment” and “Plant-based diets are more sustainable.” This is when I did some research and found that some plant-based diets which contain things like soy, avocados and palm oil can be devastating to the environment.
This is when I decided to become a hunter. I decide on what I knew and what I had researched, that the most sustainable diet would be the least commercial diet. Ideally I would love to be a hunter gatherer living totally off of the land but I had bills to pay and a wife that probably wouldn’t like to wear nothing but a loin cloth, no matter how good I thought she would look in one.
So, I got my category A and B licence and bought a few rifles, (All the wrong rifles but that can be a topic for a different blog.) Now all I needed was a block of land to hunt on. I thought being the fine upstanding and lawful citizen I am I would have no trouble at all! Boy was I wrong… It took me at least 5 to 6 years and many failed attempts before I got onto a hunting block.
Now I am going to share with you what I did, what failed and what worked, as well as why I think all this happened.
In the beginning of my search for hunting blocks, I asked family if I could hunt on their blocks. This didn’t work for two different reasons.
One of these reasons were that on my uncle’s strawberry farm there was too much infrastructure like pumps, pipes, tanks sheds etc. I am now allowed to shoot on this property and honestly it is really hard to get a shot at a rabbit or hair with a clear back drop where no damage to infrastructure will be caused. I can understand why my uncle would not let me shoot their until I built up my hunting experience not just my shooting experience.
The second reason that family would not let me shoot on their property was due to their political beliefs. Some people are just anti-gun and even being their brother will not change that! Although sometimes I have to wonder if they were adopted. Really who doesn’t like guns?
From here I moved onto cold canvassing. I lived in a semi-rural area which allowed me to easily drive from farm to farm and introduce my self. Or sometimes after a lot of rejection I would just leave a letter asking to hunt on the property.
I never had any success with this approach. Lets face it farmers are like the very attractive young lady at the bar. Every guy is trying to buy her a drink. To get her attention you need to be something special and put some time and effeort in. A sloppy letter or a handshake is not going to cut it this time!
I then joined a gun club and joined their help a farmer program. I did get one or two properties from this and it was great.
But they were not long-term deals like what I have with my current property owner friends. They would come and go as management of the property would come and go. These properties were often shot out, with one group of hunters leaving just as the next group rolled in the gate. They did however build my experience and from this I could start shooting on my uncles’ strawberry farm.
From here I kind of gave up on the dream of having a property I could go to regularly to hunt and fill my freezer with venison, pork, rabbit, and hare. I was just happy shooting at my uncles once a year and booking in a help a farmer property every now and then normally about once every 2 years.
But something happened when I gave up! I got access to not only my dream property but to three dream properties almost in one big hit!
This is what everyone wants to know how to do! It’s a questioned asked on every face book hunting group. And it is so simple to do!!!
In about 2016 or 2017 I worked in a small country town about an hour and a half from where I was living at the time. During the several months I was working in the town, I would live in the town on my work days and go home for my days off.
While I was living in town, I would eat dinner at the local pubs and buy my breakfast and lunch supplies from the local groceries store. I could have brought food from home or did a shop at the Woolworths in the larger city saving some money, but I decided I wanted to become part of the town while I was there.
In the few short months that I worked in the town I made some friends. I did this by having conversations with people while having dinner at the pub or while I was shopping for groceries. As these friendships grew, I would help out it may be just holding a door open for someone with their hands full or carrying some items to a car.
Eventually a farmer came into my work and needed a hand with some paperwork. I was extremely busy that day and could not give the farmer the time that we would need to resolve their questions, but I could see that they needed assistance.
I explained that I was busy and that I could not help right away due to how urgent the other things I was working on were, but that if they came back when I finished work I would dedicate my time to going through their questions with them.
Once I helped the farmer with their questions, they would talk to me at the pub while I had dinner. During these conversations, the farmer found out that I enjoyed hunting and fishing and it did not take long for an invitation to not only their farm, but a few other farmers from the town to follow.
So How do you get a hunting property the short version.
1) Be the best person you can be all of the time. You never know when your first impression will be to a land holder, or someone who can introduce you to a landholder.
2) Network! The more people you know the more likely you will know a land holder or someone who can introduce you to a landholder.
3) Join a group or club, that will make networking with like minded people such as hunters, shooters and landholders easier.
4) Take your time in asking. Don’t ask as soon as you meet a landholder. Get to know them first and let them get to know you. It’s much easier to trust someone to enter your property with a firearm once you know them a little. Sometimes this rule can’t be followed like applying for help a farmer clubs where you are literally responding to an online addvertisement asking to hunt. But if you can folow this rule it will go a long way to getting you access.
5) Make face to face contact. Don’t rely on tech for communication. If you can ask for access in person, do so!
6) Be grateful. No one has to let you hunt on their property (Not even family)! It is a huge privilege to be able to hunt on someone’s land even if you are paying for it.