West Virginia Hunting Ethics and Getting Landowner Permission

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Hunters need to obtain landowner permission for their outings before they begin heading to the fields and woods this fall, according to Frank Jezioro, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Asking permission to hunt is not always an easy thing to do, especially if the landowner is a total stranger.  The recent issue of the Ducks Unlimited® magazine (July/August 2011) published several tips on getting permission to hunt.

  • Don’t wait until the day you want to hunt to ask for permission. Ask landowners well enough in advance to give them time to consider your request so they can make an informed decision without undue pressure.
  • Show up at an appropriate time of the day to ask for permission.  Don’t inconvenience them because it was convenient for you. Take into consideration their work day and schedules.
  • Ask them while they are outside. People are typically more comfortable talking to others they don’t know outside their homes.
  • Give the landowner as much detail as you can; for example: what you would like to hunt, where you would like to hunt and when you plan on hunting.  Ask the landowner if they would like a phone call the day before you plan to hunt.
  • Ask permission only for yourself.  If your group wants permission to hunt, everyone should meet the landowner and get permission together.  If the group cannot all get together, make sure the landowner knows exactly how many hunters you are asking permission for.  Make sure you tell the landowner how many vehicles to expect and ask where to park.
  • If the landowner gives you permission, make sure you know the property boundaries and if there are any restrictions and places you shouldn’t be.  Take a map of the area so the landowner can point these areas out.
  • Show your appreciation to the landowner for allowing you to hunt and show respect for them and their land.  Remember, hunting on private land is a privilege.
  • Keep in contact with the landowner throughout the year, especially if it is a place you would like to keep hunting.  Send a thank you card and even a Christmas card.  Little gestures of appreciation go a long way.
  • If a landowner says “No,” be polite and thank them for their time and consideration.