Preserving Permissions

In many places in the country, large game hunting seasons are winding down or are over. Although I enjoy the extra sleep I am getting, I am already thinking about next season and how I will improve my odds in fooling whitetail bucks to unwarily walk by locations I chose as ambush points next year.

Between now and the beginning of next season there are many tasks that need to be done and in my mind, this is truly the beginning of the hunting season where preparation, maintenance and information gathering are essential to the later part of the season when the climax of those efforts grants us with properly placed shot and your prey on the ground.

This enormous list of duties should be started with one thing that will help you in improving your chances for next season. This one thing is to retain permissions on private hunting property you already have hunted. In some cases you may have hunted property of family, friends or general acquaintances for years and it is just expected that next year is in the cards. You may have also hunted properties that were new to you for this last season and access was obtained by knocking on doors, through social networking (not the digital kind) or cold call letters. In either case going out of your way to do something special will help secure your permission for the next season and show your appreciation for the opportunity to access a property that you have no true legal right to enter. 


Offering of the Harvest from the Landowners Property

If you were successful on a land owner’s property, one of the first things I think you can do after the season is to make an offering to the land owner with several packaged and frozen cuts of game taken from their property. Delivering this offering to the land owner is a great cornerstone for a conversation in securing next year’s permissions. The quantity is up to you but somewhere between 10 and 20 percent might be a sweet spot.

Additionally since I prefer to process my own deer, when I make my offering I discuss the care I take when processing the meat, how it is packaged, what they are receiving and proper thawing and cooking methods. It is true that most of the time these owners are well seasoned in wild game meat preparation but discussing these things can achieve a few things:

• Shows you take pride in how the wild game that was taken from field to table.
• It can lead to discussions of past wild game meals and future cut choices of the land owner.
• Obtain proven methods or suggestions you are not aware of that you learn from the land owner.
• Opens conversation for next year’s permissions to scout and hunt.

Discussing the offering of a self-processed deer plays into the psychology of this “deer hunter/land owner “equation. In doing this I and preventing money from being involved in the equation. By money involvement I mean this, if you kill a deer (or any other game) on someone’s property that they are giving you access for free, and then you go pay someone to cut up and process this animal that you took on their land, why would you not pay the land owner for permission to take the animal? You never know if they have been approached by others for hunting permissions with offerings of cash and with the rise in “pay to play” hunting land, this can be a safe assumption. If you already have free permissions for a property, it may be a fair assumption to make that they value good quality hard work, the exchange of ideas and your humbleness to acknowledge the value of those permissions more than a cash offering and a hunting club running all over their land.

As a second tool, regardless of having a face to face with the land owner, I send a letter or card to the owner. This letter can be any length as long as it shows your appreciation. I have included an example of one of mine here:


Mr. and Mrs. Land Owner,

I wanted to send you an additional thank you for allowing me to both scout and hunt on your property this past year. The opportunity to spend time on your property is a privilege. I hope my presence on the property for the future is welcomed and viewed as respectful to your kindness.

From the beginning of the hunting season until its close, I spent about 20 mornings and 10 afternoons hunting on your property at a number of locations both from ground blinds and on my portable tree stand. During that time I was able to view many does in the herd and even three bucks. One of the three bucks presented itself in low light and just out of range during bow season so I did not attempt a shot. A second buck was seen staring me down and bounded away as I made my way along the trail to my stand. The third buck was seen emerging from a bedding area about 70 yards from my portable stand on December 3rd at about 8:30AM and I was able to make a clean shot.

The packages I delivered to you on January 2 are processed from this harvest and I hope that if you have had the time to prepare a meal from the packaged top sirloin roast, butterflied back strap steaks, ground venison or canned bone broth that they were enjoyed.

If anything can be done to help you out on your property or if I need to alter any of my methods to help preserve the property during future scouting and hunting access, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks again for allowing me to enjoy your property and as always, I will call ahead to make sure it is okay to be on the property.


This letter is for a land owner that I can call and have a comfortable relationship with but not a person that I have long frequent visits with so it is still kept semi-formal yet personable.

I recapped some of the hunting time, some of what I saw and reminded them that, of the one deer taken from the property after about 30 separate hunts, they received some of the bounty.

I also offered up some help on the property if they need it. On this property, I have not been asked for anything but on another property nearby; I have helped gather loads of firewood and done a few light repairs on the owner’s home that took a few hours.

Additionally, for properties with an old timer who still likes to hunt, I offer to shore up old tree stands and share information on what I see when I am in the woods. The amount of work is up to you but don’t get wrangled into weeks of back breaking work if you aren’t up for it.

For a property owner or manager that you don’t have direct access to for a face to face offering or handshake but were granted permissions, I would still follow up. Here is a letter that was sent to a property management company after a year of access was granted.


Mr. or Mrs. Manager,
Last year you granted me permission to hunt and scout the property located at [Property address]. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to access this property during the 2017 Turkey and Deer Season.

As I reported and shared photographs with you earlier in the year through email, the property has been marked to prevent unauthorized entry per the North Carolina Land Protection Act and I removed 10 small garbage bags of debris I found during scouting and hunting.

Although there was sign of both deer and turkey on the property, I was unable to harvest an animal. If you are still in agreeance, I would like to continue to remove manageable trash as I find it, maintain the property markings for the ability to scout and hunt the property for the 2018 season.

I appreciate that I was permitted access to the property during the past year and hope you can continue to grant me permissions to access the property.

I have included updated permission forms for this season with new dates permitting me to access the property until January of 2022 and an enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope.

Thank you for your time and please contact me with any comments or concerns.


These two letter examples just add an extra layer of appreciation that helps retain the permissions you already have obtained. You may feel that letters like these may seem a bit much for someone that you can walk up and directly say “thank you” but it is not. I assure you that if you take this extra step beyond any offerings of labor or offerings of your harvest, the land owner will hold you in higher regard.

A land owner that enjoys hearing from and interacting with you will be more welcoming to you than any others that may currently hunt or request to hunt the property. These extra steps of appreciation may help reserve a special place in the land owners mind should they be asked permissions by another hunter that may add hunting pressure to the property.

Respect the property, respect the land owner and take the extra step in showing your gratitude. 

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