New York Hunting
Ask, or you’ll never know…
For decades, hunter access to private lands has been on the decline. As properties subdivide, develop, and transfer, more land has been labeled as POSTED. Trespassing is illegal whether the land is posted or not, but there is a certain stigma associated with posted property that deters many hunters from even asking. Some landowners may be resistant to providing hunting access due to fears of liability, safety concerns, unruly guests, or personalobjection to hunting, but many others readily allow hunting to occur on their land.
Declines in access can reduce efficient deer population control and negatively impact hunter enthusiasm. When hunters ask for permission and landowners grant hunting access, it’s a win-win! But hunters must start this relationship by ASKING.
An on-line survey conducted by DEC revealed something interesting about hunters’ attitudes towards access. More than 55% of respondents believed that lack of access was directly linked to their lack of hunting success. Yet, more than 40% of these same respondents admitted they did not spend time seeking permission. Opportunities for hunters to gain access to private property exist, but many hunters are simply not asking.
Hunters wanting to increase their success must take initiative. Though past research indicates that landowners are most comfortable only allowing family and friends to hunt their property, 15-35% of landowners did grant hunting access to strangers who asked permission. This should be encouraging for hunters hoping to find a new piece of ground.
Jeremy Hurst, DEC Big Game Unit Leader
ASK PERMISSION stickers and record cards are available upon request. These items are a great way for landowners to encourage hunters to ask permission, improving the communication process.
Misconceptions: Private Land Access
- POSTED—THE LAND IS CLOSED TO HUNTING:
Most landowners want to control access, not eliminate it. In fact, less than 25% of landowners post because they disapprove of hunting. Show respect and ask in person.
- POSTED PROPERTIES ALREADY HAVE HUNTERS:
Posted signs can lead hunters to believe the property is already being hunted. This could be true, but some owners might not have contact with any hunters. You won’t know unless you ask!
- SMALL/SUBDIVIDED PARCELS—NOT WORTH IT:
Small parcels can deter hunters looking to maximize hunting ground acreage. However, more landowners means better chances of finding one who will grant access. But you must ask!
- HUNTERS—A RISK TO MY FAMILY AND PROPERTY:
Careless and irresponsible behavior by one hunter can ruin public perception for others. It’s up to hunters to change this stereotype. Ask permission, hunt safe, and treat the land and wildlife with respect.
- GRANTING ACCESS INCREASES LIABILITY:
The New York State General Obligations Law protects landowners from liability for nonpaying recreationists engaged in hunting and many other outdoor activities.