During hunting season everyone is looking for the hunting permission that is not overrun with people. At the same time, one that is riddled with deer and elk. Getting to that place is no easy task in today’s world.
That said, you can be certain that every rancher in elk country has a host of critters that need to go. The right approach could get you on, not only for elk hunting but, for year round stalks.
With coyote and wolf numbers where they are, you know that every farmer or rancher carries a long iron when he is out on his land. Predator and varmint control is a yearlong effort.
Becoming Familiar with your Surroundings
Keep in mind late winter and early spring is calving season for ranchers; instead of making the first contact at o’dark thirty during hunting season, make a special early winter trip. Time it for when it is most likely you will catch the landowner around the barn or even at the house. Before you get there familiarise yourself with some landmarks and think about places you have seen a coyote from the road or to demonstrate you know something of your surroundings and the livestock. A little talk about cows and calves, horses and chickens is what his word is all about. Through it all an offer to help a rancher mend fence or brand calves when the time comes can also go a long way.
Asking if you can do a little predator control serves many benefits. The fewer predators, the better offspring survival rates are for both livestock and the game you hope to hunt come season. Join a coyote derby and you can also make a little cash. For that matter, wolves are worth a pretty penny to any taxidermist. On top of all that, calving season brings the coyotes into the field making them easier to hunt. It is much easier to get to hunt coyotes, gophers and badgers than it is to hunt big game.
Getting to know the Landowner
This offseason interaction with a farmer gives you great time to establish a real relationship and learn the landowner’s views. This way come elk season, you are not another hunter waking up a landowner to go shoot a cow. You are a trusted acquaintance who might get an invitation to shoot a bull. If that does not happen, there is a better chance that you can get a youth hunter their first opportunity to harvest a big game animal. Nothing better than being part of any hunter’s first harvest.
You might not get to come and go as you please but even better to have a day or two with the ranch to yourself for that special hunt. If you take time to establish this relationship in more than one or two places think of the hunting opportunities this creates. Once you are in with one rancher consider the reference you have to knock on the door of neighbor ranches. When you can tie properties public and private and legally cross fences while on the hunt it doesn’t get any better for a working class hunter.
Thanking the Landowner
The follow through does not end with hunting season. A thank you note in the mail, box of homemade cookies or a pie does not go unnoticed. Be sure to let the landowner know that you appreciate the opportunity, whether or not you harvested. A little story, especially from your youth hunter will put a smile on their face. Always report back with what you see or even don’t see. Let them know if there is anything that may seem strange or out of place. Keep in mind the owner can’t always see the whole place every day.
Asking if you can do a little predator control serves many benefits
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