Many landowners face challenges caused by abundant deer. This animal evolved under heavy predation by wolves, bears, mountain lions, and Native American hunters. Their survival strategy, in addition to being well camouflaged and fleet, is to have many babies. A healthy doe normally bears one fawn when she is just one year old and twins or triplets in subsequent years. Wild predators have been extirpated but deer continue to reproduce at a rapid rate. When they are too numerous, over browsing of crops, trees, shrubs, and wildflowers devastates ecosystems. Deer numbers need to be kept in balance with their habitat to protect natural beauty and devastation.
Modern hunting is an effective substitute for predators. Deer hunting is popular but many hunters, or potential hunters, lack a place to hunt. Many landowners suffer deer damage but don’t hunt.
Successful match making between hunters and landowners can work toward their mutual benefit. However, the relationship is most successful when hunters are managed by the landowners with expectations clearly articulated BEFORE permission is granted to access property.
Most hunters are ethical but they sometimes stretch understandings, especially verbal ones. For example, if a landowner gives permission for one person to hunt, he/she sometimes assumes that gives them license to invite their relatives or friends to hunt the property. And, they may assume that this is perpetual permission and that they can hunt any species at any legal time without additional permission. Also, to control deer populations it is essential to harvest does, yet many hunters seek only big bucks. Landowners using hunting as a management tool may need to insist that does be taken.
Attached is a sheet of expectations that a landowner might present to anyone wishing to hunt. It articulates expectations and clarifies the relationship between landowner and hunter.
HUNTING PERMISSION FORM
to be presented to person seeking permission to hunt
I, (name of hunter)_______________________________understand that I am being given permission to hunt on the property of
(name of landowner)____________________________________________. In exchange for this privilege I agree to abide by the following understandings:
- I will abide by all local, state, and federal game laws and will be properly licensed to pursue the species and gender of animal the landowner is allowing me to hunt.
- I understand that permission is granted only to me and that this does not extend to relatives or friends unless the landowner specifically grants them permission.
- Permission is granted to hunt only the following animals:
- Permission is granted to only use the following weapons:
- Permission is granted to only hunt the following seasons or dates:
- Permission to hunt is for this year only and must be renewed in future years.
- I will not erect stands or blinds any earlier than one week before the start of the season. I will remove blinds, stands, and anything else I brought on the property within one week of the end of the season.
- I will not put nails, screws, or any other metal objects in trees.
- I will inform the owner of animals I harvest.
- I will treat the land with respect and will hunt in a safe and ethical manner.
- I will provide the landowner with meat if requested.
Hunter’s name Printed______________________________________
Signature of Hunter__________________________________________________ Landowner________________________________________________________________
Vehicle that will be parked near or on landowner’s property: