This article is aimed towards people who don’t have a lot of experience in hunting on private property and will go into detail on what you should do when you first arrive, and subsequently what you should bring and do.
Arriving to a property for the first time can be daunting, especially if you don't have much experience on rural properties or in agriculture. We really want to set you up so you can make a great first impression and have a nice, safe, and successful trip. Happy reading!
Ideally you would have discussed an appropriate time of arrival beforehand, if so, stick to that time as best as you can. When you’re 30 minutes out, or at the last town before their property, send them a text to say so. The property owner may be busy and having a general time in their head to come to the meeting point is helpful. As with any first meeting (or, if you got your access through door knocking, second), a good impression goes a long way. Clean clothes are highly appreciated, along with a clean vehicle, as the property owner wants to know that the person who they are letting on their property is respectable and will respect their land. The other side of this point is to not make a bad impression. A point was brought up to not arrive with a beer, opened or not, in your hand, to not be stumbling as you get out of the vehicle, or have parked on their garden bed. Furthermore, the property owner doesn’t want a walking liability on their property, if you are stumbling over your feet or otherwise seem like you may injure yourself, this will not give them confidence.
If you have that sorted, the first task is to check in with the owner of the property. Understandably, each property owner will have a different thought process for this, some may not want to meet you, although most will want to. From here you want to have a conversation about where you can and cannot go, with the advice given by all was to bring a printed map as well as a GPS. This way the property owner can outline their exact boundaries, tell you where is out of bounds, and may even give advice to where some target species may be. Have your club membership card (as in, the club who you get recreational hunting insurance from) ready to show them as a sign of good faith, as well as any applicable firearm/weapon licences. If you’re bringing dogs to the property, have a copy of their vaccination status with you. Working dogs can go for upwards of $20,000, which on top of the fact everyone loves their dog, they don’t want to lose. Have a conversation about what firearms you are bringing to their property and how to handle them whilst hunting, whilst camping, and whilst driving around the property. Where are the firing lines? Where can’t you shoot? Is there somewhere to sight in? Those are all important questions and being safety conscious will be highly appreciated. Ensure to ask what else is happening on the property over the course of your duration there, as there may be planned maintenance on different parts of the property. You should also get contact details, swap phone numbers, and what UHF channel to contact them on, in the case of an emergency. On that note, have a conversation about what to do in case of an emergency, as the property owner may have a dedicated spot for helicopters or ambulances.
The topic of gifts
Whether or not to bring a gift to the property owner is discussed within hunting groups often. Some of the property owners mentioned that people have brought with them cases of beer, perhaps a bottle of wine, or some sort of dessert such as cakes. The idea behind this is that it is a show of appreciation for being allowed on to hunt, and this often is welcomed by the property owner. However, it was noted that if the property owner was someone who didn’t drink, and the hunter offered a case of beer, it could be seen as insulting. That is just to say to be cautious of what you’re bringing, although most people do understand it is the thought that counts.