The weather has begun to cool slightly and this western New York summer seems to be starting to give way to fall. With that some of us have started preparing for a fall season in the outdoors. With so much to do between hunting, fishing, trapping, and more, enthusiasts seem to have countless options to choose from. It seems that the number places to chose from, however, has been dwindling more and more every year. So what is one to do when all you see is yellow posted signs in every direction? Go home? Of course not! Find a way to keep enjoying what you love to do, whatever that may be.
First, there is land that is always open to the public, whether it be state land or county land. There are plenty of great outdoor opportunities on these public lands. In addition there are some town owned properties that are open to hunters. Not many people know about some of these pieces of land and they could be new hotspots for you. There are also many streams and parts of streams that offer public fishing rights to anglers. In fact, there are more than 1,300 miles of public rights along more than 400 streams in New York. Clearly, there are plenty of acres and miles for you to hunt and fish in, but still most don’t like to hunt in public land because of dealing with others that are also afield.
Another alternative to finding land if you don’t want to share it, is buying it. If you own your hunting property you can basically manage it however you would like to. You would not have to worry about sharing your secret spot with some else. However, this is not an option for most. It seems today that land, even swamp land, can be extremely expensive. A popular option lately with outdoorsmen is leasing land and hunting/trapping rights off of a property, while still not owning it. Depending on the property, the price could vary. How you pay could be worked out with the land owner. Some guys are able to lease a property together with their friends to alleviate costs while still ensuring that no strangers are on the land. But what do you do if you can’t afford this?
My final suggestion, which should be the easiest, but for most isn’t, is simply asking permission of the landowner to hunt. Ideally, this is the time of year to do this. Farmers, who own a large part of the land, are not extremely busy harvesting crops yet. I’m not really sure whether most are scared to or are just are too stubborn to ask, but to the surprise of most, landowners are mainly nice and often allow you to hunt, fish, trap, or whatever you do. They may even tip you off on where they have seen a huge deer or something similar. Of course, say thank you. It is also a good idea to see if there is anything that they would have a problem with, like ATV’s or tree stands for example, before you do that. At the end of the season it is a very good idea to send a Thank You/Christmas card or maybe drop off a gift card to a local restaurant or a fruit basket; something to give them back for allowing you to hunt. Something even as simple as this could grow friendships with landowners and allow you to hunt there in the future.
Clearly, there are multiple options to avoid having nowhere to enjoy the outdoors at. These by no means are hard options to take; however, some still choose to ignore those posted signs and go wherever they feel like going. All that does is anger the landowners and possibly those who do
have permission to be in a certain area. Fortunately, game wardens also work hard to keep out those who don’t belong and to make sure they pay for what they’ve done by trespassing. If you are not allowed, respect the landowner’s decision, maybe someone else’s negligence is what prompted the owner to put up that sign in the first place. As you approach this season just remember: don’t be afraid to ask. The worst they can say is no, right? If you are fortunate enough to get permission treat the land and owner well and you may be set for seasons to come.