Sometimes it seems like the only thing that is constant is change. It sounds a bit contradictory but think about it. We graduate from school and leave home, get a job, then change jobs.
We move to new areas and sometimes even move to a different state. Meanwhile, all around us, new businesses crop up, properties are bought and sold, and highway construction and other new infrastructure redefine the landscape.
Eventually, everything changes.
But for many, there remains the drive, the desire to get out into the outdoors, to spend quality time among nature’s wonders, and to hunt. So, what if, through no fault of your own, your favorite hunting spots are no longer available?
Many of us who live in Lycoming County and the surrounding counties are fortunate to have acquired multiple places to hunt, fish, and spend quality time in the outdoors. Whether we pursue small game or big game and whether we prefer to fish for trout or bass, the majority of outdoorsmen who have resided in our area for many years have long since secured places to enjoy our sports.
It is often said that “Timing is everything,” and with that in mind, the next few months provide the best time to line up some new destinations for hunting opportunities.
We can all probably agree that one of the more disrespectful things we can do regarding a relationship with a landowner is to show up in our hunting outfit on the opening day of a hunting season and ask permission to hunt on his land. It isn’t much better if you show up several days before the season.
Throughout the summer months, knock on a few farmers’ doors and ask if you can help them out by reducing the number of coyotes that no doubt live on or travel through their land.
Establishing a good relationship with a landowner during the predator hunting season is a great way to show them that you are a responsible hunter and just might lead to an invitation to return to pursue whitetail deer or spring gobblers.
Who doesn’t like homemade apple pie? You may not think it would be appreciated, but I’ll bet that if you show up on a farmer’s porch with a freshly baked apple pie in return for his letting you hunt on his ground, you will likely cement a long-term relationship. Yes, a gesture like this is a bit out of the ordinary, but it will be remembered for a long time by a landowner friend. You may even secure sole hunting rights by offering such a genuine gift. And while most farmers are justifiably proud of what they do for a living, there is also nothing wrong with asking if there are some chores you can help with or if there are any tasks that he could use a hand completing. Common courtesy and a few nice gestures will go a long way in developing or maintaining a friendship and showing that you are a responsible outdoorsman.
Still looking for a place to go? Check with the regional office of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Ask the dispatcher or one of the WCOs if they know of any farmers or landowners who are troubled with coyotes or other predators. The PGC does get calls from time to time from individuals that complain of an overabundance of predators or too many black bears, or an excessive number of crows.
Again, any of these situations might allow you to get an invitation to hunt a new property, and if you conduct yourself in a respectful and responsible fashion, you might have lucked into a new hunting destination.
Who doesn’t like kids?
If you are looking for a place to take a young hunter or someone to mentor, make sure that you have them accompany you when you are meeting up with a landowner for the first time. It is much harder for a landowner to say no to a well-behaved youth who is accompanied by his parent or grandparent.
It also teaches the young person the value of courtesy and being respectful to the landowner.
Common sense and courtesy both go a long way to opening doors to new opportunities and this is even more true when seeking permission to trespass on someone else’s land. As responsible hunters and outdoorsmen, we each have an obligation to present ourselves in the best manner possible to landowners – in doing so, we create the best possibility of gaining access to new hunting locations.