Here are a few tips that I have found very useful in gaining access to lots of provate land.
1. Get to know the landowner. I know cold calling is hard, but by building a solid relationship with the landowner a better understanding of your intentions will develop.
2. Create a portfolio. I have created and information sheet for each of my landowners detailing: My intentions, contact information, and photos of myself, vehicle, and atv. This allows you to reduce the liability if someone else would say park in the middle of the landowners prized corn patch.
3. Gifting is always nice. If I do not lease the land I still find a way to drop of a gift certificate or two. If you never have had to hunt crowded public land it is worth the money.
4. Follow-up. I stop in several times through out the year to visit my landowners. I honestly enjoy talking with them, helping out on the farms if needed, etc.
Word spreads quick when you respect someone elses property and take a personal interest in it. I have had bordering properties invite me to hunt there as well. I feel that alot of hunters get pinned as reckless, like we carry the plague to these farms or something. I have found many landowners are not against hunting, but have had bad experiences in the past. I have fun proving them wrong. One plus to gaining ground that had been previously unhuntable, you are the first shot at a safe-haven for deer.
Please feel free to list any of your gaining ground tips!