Be ready and have something to offer especially if you’re looking for a last-minute place to hunt. A solid way to gain access in a pinch and keep access open for coming years is through sweat equity. Think about your own home. Wouldn’t you love to have someone come for a weekend and fix that sticky door, chalk the windows, paint the trim and dozens of other repairs you’ve been putting off? Now multiply those chores by 100 and start offering to give up a few hours of labor in exchange for hunting rights.
Fixing fence, painting buildings, cutting wood, haying, spraying weeds and even cleaning farm buildings can lead to open gates. These odd jobs and chores don't take a doctorate degree, but they do require you giving up a weekend or two, or evening hours. Oh yea, you’ll also likely sweat.
A couple years back one of our hunting properties exchanged hands. It was a small property and one I used to keep my son hunting while I was on the road. We didn’t wait to re-secure access. I coached my son on how to ask for hunting permission by offering to help with chores from time to time. It worked. Today he not only has the run of the property for hunting, but the landowners pay him for his work efforts. He’s shot whitetails, mule deer and turkeys from the property.
Do you have a unique trade or education that others search out for professional assistance? If so consider bartering your area of expertise in trade for hunting permission. Bartering is nothing more than exchanging goods without money and we all have goods, oftentimes in the form of expertise, we can exchange. Consider ingenuity and what would be a fair trade. For instance, research what leased land is going for in your zip code and then compare that dollar for dollar on what you plan to barter for the amount of acres accessible.
And you don’t have to be a doctor, lawyer or dentist to put a good barter together. Sure a free physical, neck adjustment or a tune-up on your will is hard to ignore, but most working-class stiffs have something to offer.
Everyone drives a car and many landowners use heavy machinery like tractors. These combustible companions need maintenance. Offer to fix a farmer's truck, tractor or his wife's car if you’re a mechanic. Plumbing needs attention and a well could be giving a farmer fits. Maybe accounting is your forte. When it comes time for spring taxes, offer to balance the landowner's books and prepare taxes for free.
The bartering opportunities are unlimited and only impeded by your own creativity. Study the landowner, their family, what keeps them busy and what you could do to save them some money and time. Now start bartering and offering sweat equity in exchange for hunting opportunities that may last a lifetime.