I think it might have all started when the chance to find land to hunt on was getting real hard to find. A monster of a deer was killed close to Edmonton, Alberta. And people that heard of the record where soon buying themselves bows and arrows to do the same. I heard about all kinds of stories of people driving across swathed fields, cutting fences and trespassing galore. It soon all slowed down when the opportunists realized it wasn't that easy. Still the damage was done, it was a hard task to convince landowners that hunting on their land shouldn't be a problem.
Course how do you convince someone that you really mean what you say?
So over the winter months I put together a plan, I started out with a business card, with all the appropriate information about myself, like name, address, phone number, email. I then put together a news letter, one with who I was, and what I stood for, I also put together a list of rules, that I planed on following.
So in the spring, right after most of the landowners of farms had finished seeding the ground or drilling the ground as some say. I started knocking on doors, an eight hour day was about 5 to 6 visits to homes. Some said yes, most said No. But I kept trying and it didn't take long and I secured thousands of acres to hunt on.
With the opportunity to hunt on private land came the rules that I followed to a tee and also the chance to gain references so that maybe I could open up more land. Which worked the following year, and to make it even more better I opened those closed doors to other hunters by letting the landowners use the same rules that I followed.
What Rules you may ask?
Well, first getting permission is tough enough sometimes, just finding the right person to talk to that actually owns the land can take some research.
But lets look at the first one that I think is the one that convinced some people to change their minds and give me a chance.
A low impact approach to hunting
First of all how do you have a low impact approach?
Easy, foot traffic only, no driving on the land you plan on hunting, and what about those tree stands? Easy again, I designed and built a stick ladder that straps to the tree and my stand also straps to a tree. I keep the trees I hunt in, as little disturbed as possible. Well how do you get the animal out? Easy, I built a card 36 inches wide with bicycle wheels that easily fits between swathes. I never gut an animal in an open field, I always move it to the field edge if need be. And I always retrieve my arrows, even if it takes me a few days, in the event that I don't find the arrow right away I let the landowner know. So that I don't have to pay for a tractor tire in the case that he didn't know I lost an arrow in his swathed field.
Those rules alone opened doors!
But I still went even further, by letting them know when I would be hunting. In the off season I let them know that I was researching their land to see what the carrying capacity was and what population density of wildlife was on their land. I learned lots, from the landowners, and their land. And they learned lots from me, friendships grew, and soon, we bow hunters weren't all that bad.
To me hunting is more of a science than a sport, I study maps, aerial photographs, human development, human travel, and terrain features. I then record all the information I discover in the field into a note book, and plot the information gathered into a master plan and map.
Okay, okay I think you get the point. So over the years I met other hunters that wanted to know how I got permission to hunt on so much land. It didn't take long and well now there is us, how big this will grow only time will tell.
Richard W. von Aschwege
Founder of World Class Hunter
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