On Saturday, thousands of hunters will head into the woods for Maine’s most popular hunting season in hopes of crossing paths with a deer.
If you’re among those hunters, do your neighbors a favor: Spend a bit of time refocusing on being a grateful land user.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding hunters that they’re fortunate that landowners allow access to their land, and respecting those landowners is crucial in order to maintain that access.
Maine observes a landowner appreciation cleanup day each year, but there’s no reason those who access the land of others can’t show their appreciation all year long.
In a press release, the DIF&W offered up seven ways to be a good land user. While they’ll likely sound familiar to most hunters, it makes sense to brush up on those tips.
Always ask for permission.
Learn what matters most to the landowner
Provide detailed information to the landowner.
Know the property boundaries.
Keep it clean.
Keep it legal.
Say thank you.
Among some other tips I’d add: Just because a landowner gave you permission to hunt on their land, that doesn’t mean they want you and all of your hunting buddies tromping around in their woods. If you’re looking to take a hunting party onto someone else’s land, ask specifically. Better yet, get the landowner to sign a slip that gives all of you — by name — the permissions you seek.
Who knows? The landowner might wind up turning into a friend.
Also, permission to access a piece of property doesn’t mean you’ve got the right to put up trail cameras. Again, ask specifically for the right to put up a camera. And while you’re at it, it makes sense to ask the landowner if you can leave your ground blind in the woods for the season. Be sure to let the landowner know you’ll take your blind and camera out as soon as the season is over.
Perhaps most importantly, make sure the permission form clearly lets the landowner know that you understand who owns the land, and who makes the rules. A simple statement can make that crystal clear, and can make the landowner feel better about granting access. Here’s one I highly suggest: “The landowner can revoke access at any time, for any reason.”