There’s a certain amount of trust that comes with a hunting partner. Do you trust yours? You trust they will share in the expenses of the hunt. You trust they’ll help you set up hunting camp. You trust they will help you get a buck or bull out of the woods. Finally, you trust they won’t tell others about a hunting location you’ve shared with them. Worse yet, you trust they won’t show up at a hunting location you shared with a truckload of friends.
As hunting locations become harder and harder to find with the selling of large parcels of deeded land and the burgeoning practice of private wildlife management, keeping a good location to yourself is difficult at best. If you hunt a private property you don’t own, the fear of others arriving on the doorstep of the landowner with Franklins in hand to lease the property are as real as summer sunburn.
Keeping these special locations to yourself often calls for a quiet approach to where you’ve been hunting. One day you might have access to a great farm simply with a hardy-handshake agreement. Unfortunately, don’t be surprised if you return later to discover that a wealthy businessman leased the property while you were getting ready for scouting season.
The same is true of public land. Sure it’s public, but you might have spent years in an area learning it and becoming successful due to this intimate nature. Locations like these oftentimes require hardy access, thorough scouting and multiple trips to find the sweet spot. With the advent of GPS technology and the ease of ATV access these public-land treasures are becoming as rare as the whooping crane.
That’s why hunting partner trust is so important, and anyone you hunt with understands that sharing a location doesn’t automatically make it their own. It only takes one slip of the tongue by a trusted hunting friend to open the floodgates for other hunters to invade a hushed-hunting location.
Before you bring a new hunting partner on board and introduce them to your favorite honey hole, set the ground rules. Tell them you are sharing a property with the trust they won’t tell others or hunt it without you. Agree to do the same with properties they share with you. Up front and direct is the best way to avoid a friendship falling out later. If a situation arises where either of you wishes to bring a nephew, niece or uncle along on a future hunt, discuss it openly, not in the awkwardness of the moment.
Have you lost a great hunting spot due to loose lips? Hopefully setting the ground rules before you take a hunting partner to a favorite hunting location will be the recipe to avoid hunting partner fallout.