Tuesday, October 18, 2016
In Respect of Private Ground...
Sometimes, I feel like the land is mine I know it so well.
We park in the same spot, direct the dogs the same way each time and patrol the draws for deer in about the same pattern
I can tell you stories like the first deer we got on the property, celebrated with a bear hug with my dad and a long drag out across the channeled scablands
I can tell you which way the birds are going to flush, or what brush will stop a running pheasant.
I can just about point out most of my embarassing misses, and can recall the birds found by our labs Willow, Dakota and Murphy after we thought they were long lost in the sea of reeds and grass
I can tell you a lot about the family that graces us with permission to hunt on their land. Every one has a great story...... Who's retiring this year, who's getting married and who likes bottle of Canadian Whiskey on their doorstep as a thank you for the privilege of hunting on family land.
It's wide open country where a few families control or own most of the access. There are a few pieces of public ground in this area and private land is where success happens for the most part.
Starting over 30 years ago with a polite knock of a door here and a bar door there, OMR started the process of getting access on different pieces of ground in this ocean of private land.
Some years we loose some, some years we gain some.. There are stalwarts who greet us with a smile and a handshake and always say yes. Others it's a 50/50 proposition. Dancing back to the truck with an approval to hunt on a choice piece of ground is great, just make sure the landowner is at least back in the house before you do.
I cannot be a bigger advocate for public land preservation. On the other side of the coin, there are a great number of private landowners will give us as hunters and fishermen and women a wonderful privilege. I often ask myself would I have the grace to let someone else, often times a complete stranger, traipse about my property if I had it.
It's a hard question to answer, but I thank god that many nice families give us that permission.
And with that, a tip of a hat to all the people who stared back at me from the age of 12 years old to now that give us a great gift, to hunt on their land. If you get the yes, please do everything in your power to keep that relationship going and do all you can to not tarnish their opinion of others who also seek that access
All in all, dont be afraid to knock on a door or two. Smile and say thank you....the answer of yes comes a lot more than you'd think.