Is Hunter Access an Issue?
The Following Text Transcription Is an Excerpt From The American Hunting Podcast Episode 001: You Can Find The Entire Conversation Here
So what about access? You know, when I talk to people who say access is the problem. It's the biggest issue we have is “We have no place to hunt.” The idea of walking to someone's front door, knocking on the front door and asking if I can hunt their property is just uncomfortable for me, personally. I can understand if guys hear no all the time from landowners like that, they can get discouraged. Then that leads them to just quit. Not even want to try anymore because they're just getting shut down constantly. I totally get that. I don't think access, knowing what I know now, being in the hunting industry and the position I'm in, I don't think access is the issue. I think it's obtaining the access. Guys don't necessarily know how to go about it the best way. They don't know what all their options are. And so they just say, “Well, there is no access.” There is. We just have to unlock the key to getting it for you, right?
I’m going to tell A real quick story. We have on this new lease, 160 acres. It's not a massive lease And I really don't know that they're seventy acres of woods, maybe ninety tillable. Then there was a patch of two to three acres of mature timber off of us. Actually, the first time I walked our lease, the fence was down. I didn't realize that. I'm standing in the middle of this edge of three acres of mature timber, like, “Oh, wow. This is nice, man. I can't wait to hang a stand here,” and I'm like, “Wait a minute.” I looked at my phone. I'm like, “Oh, no, I'm off.” So, you know, get back on the right side of the fence. That's nice. But there's really nothing else to hunt on that edge of our lease so we go to the GIS site. It's a free site. I Google the GIS for our county and then pick up or pull up that particular tract of land. Here's the landowners, A little tiny little bit of research, and we get the phone number. I call him on the phone. And I just left a message. You could tell their farming operation right in the middle of harvest. I don't expect an answer. And they didn't and I just left a nice message. Just said, here's who I am. I'm hunting a tract next to yours. I know it's only two or three acres, but, you know, it'd be really nice. Can we please hang a stand in there. Would that be okay? Very next day I get a phone call from Lady says, you know what? We never allow hunters. Seemed like a nice person on the phone. She's like, you're going to be alone in there. Good luck. We wish you well. And it was just okay. Would you like to meet us? She said no, not really. You're fine. You sound great. And so it's really just a matter of I made an offer of not money. You know, anything we can do for you to be happy to help. No, we're good. Okay, Fantastic. Now, I had planned on sending a thank you card for sure. Take some summer sausage. Something like that over there. But, yeah, we've got Basically, she gave us the run of that little area, And then what it did, was it gave us another whole area to hunt on our lease. I mean, it opened up and allows us to spread out. We hung a stand there yesterday, and when you were up there hanging it, I'm just kind of looking around going, “man, this totally changes the dynamic of our lease. We can access that piece now from her field. And we don't have to disrupt anything. We have a great lease and to me, it was amazing how two acres of woods can totally just change the outlook of it. It gives us another option, and, you know the thing I'm guiltiest of hunting is falling in love with a tree stand.
Listen to this. You know, I'm talking about we saw a big deer the other day, and I think we've hunted that area five times since because everyone wants to see him come back. And that's the worst thing you could do. Yeah, and so this gives us an opportunity spread out. Point being, though, is that we actually did ten minutes worth of work. A lot of guys that I think complain about how I can’t find a place to hunt. “I knock on doors all the time,” Okay? Do you really? And I would be real careful if you have and you've been shut down. I'm sure guys have, absolutely. But I think a lot of them just don't. Maybe they have. Maybe they did five years ago, and they haven't done recently. We've got a free, downloadable e-book on our Web site, and it's called The Secret to Hunting Private Land. You're free to go on our Web site, ahuntinglease.org and what we tried to do with this is put together tips when you're knocking on the door of what you can offer. Now, here's the thing. We didn't have to pay for that two acres, and it is two acres. If she would've said how much to lease it to you that two acres I would say “Okay, We were paying this amount per acre. I'll give you that times two”, you know? But she didn't, and that's fine. You don't always have to pay, and I get that. But at the same time, you know, their sales tools. Now there are methods of sales or whatever you’re willing to get into that. It called the wedge. And you've got to find out what people's pain points are. People's pain points have changed in 50-100 years. They don't need the fence fixed anymore. For the most part and again, yes, there are exceptions. I get that. I understand that what they need now, for the most part is they need to know that their liability concerns are met. They need a little extra revenue to help pay for, you know, operating costs and insurance costs and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah, that does carry more weight. So basically, what we've done in this e-book is just the secret to hunting private land. It's nothing. You don't have to read twenty pages before we give you a secret. It’s taking care of your land owner. And that's something we talk a lot about here is about landowners. Some people forget the landowner. So it's all about hunting, it’s dear it's coyotes. And it's all this cool stuff of hunting, and then they don't address the needs of the landowner.
Here are some right numbers here. Take this serious. So hunter’s spent, and this is in one year, $25.6 billion dollars on trips, equipment, licenses and other items to support their hunting activities in 2016, $25.6 billion they spent on equipment such as guns, camping equipment, four wheel drive vehicles. That's 48 percent of that, or $12.2 billion. 12.2 billion dollars in one year. You get all under armour stuff. You got all the Sitka gear you got the bows. We love elite bows. Then they don't want to give their landowner any. You know who reads these numbers? The landowners. They want a piece of that. How about a little something for the effort? You know, I'm saying, look, they have a resource that you have to have access to to use all the 12 billion dollars or whatever it is that you spend on things. It's worthless if you don't have a place to hunt. And if you don't own land, you need to rely on somebody else's resource. That's just the way it is. Unless you're hunting public. And then people do that. And that's great. We hunt public. I love to do it in Hoosier National Forest We just hunted turkeys down there. I hunt Kingsbury where I grew up. We love public ground. I want the government to buy more public. Absolutely. It's good. It's a great resource.
I think guys will agree, though that getting access to private land gives them the opportunity to kill that Booner or kill those deer that you see on social media that these guys dream about, and it gives you more freedom to control what's going on in that habitat. I think that the more I think, that's the bigger lesson. Can you kill a booner? Yeah, but you killed on a public. But you have the opportunity to grow deer for years, that have a better chance of living and becoming older and thus bigger. If that's what you're into, you'll whack a six year, a six pointer, a two year old one. That's fine. We're good with whatever. I love all of that, but, yeah, that landowners have needs because they're paying. They're laying money out for people to come access their property. It's our position, honestly, that before, we talked about this paradigm shift before you buy all the stuff that you buy and we know you're buying it. It's a fact. Even though the hunter who's a little on the tight budget, you're spending some money, you gotta have equipment. You got to. And, you know, I read something on our Facebook page about leasing. “It's all big dollar clubs, big dollar.” Give me a break. You know, give me a break. It's just not true. The vast majority of guys that we talked to I always say, they shower after work, You know, they're dirty they come home sweaty. They need 8 hours when they get home from work. That's who it is. And they've put a different priority on it. You and I and Tim, we are on our lease. What? We pay thirteen hundred dollars. 1300 bucks. Okay. Yeah, maybe somebody like, Well, that's a lot of money, But it is. It is a lot of money. Sure it is. But we're prioritizing access.
We talked earlier about some of the gear we're seeing on this property and that thirteen hundred dollars, that price. You know, I understand that I can't buy other things, and that's okay to me throughout the year because I want to be on this property hunting this property. It means that much to me. You know, you were a firefighter for 26 years. You're not a millionaire rolling around in new trucks, and you've been leasing for decades. You're the blue collar guy that we're talking about right now. You have a great story about one of your first leases. It was $4,700 bucks. And you literally broke it down to each guy. What it costs if we're going to hunt this many times, I mean, you can break things down on a granular level and the lump sum seems like a lot of money, and it is a lot of money. I'm not downplaying the fact that you just paid thirteen hundred dollars. I get that. But if it's really a passion, if it's really a priority. You'll make it work. I’ve got a set of golf clubs that maybe got out three times this year. Well, my passions changed. You know, before I’d golf maybe twenty times a year. It's not a big deal, it's just that's what I've decided to do. But I always take exception to people like, “well, we can't afford to hunt now because people are leasing” and it's not true. It's just not true. It's fundamentally wrong. That's nothing that we're going to harp on. I promise, because, I mean, I'm not. I'm happy to defend it, but I'm also kind of done defending it, because it doesn’t need defending anymore. If you're not leasing some ground, you might be missing an opportunity. And if you get your ground for free, like we are two acres God bless. Have at it! congratulations. That's a great thing. Yeah, I just want people out in the field.