It’s a wide world out there, and yet finding a great hunting spot is somehow still a struggle a lot of the time. All the spots that are recommended in big hunting magazines and online are overrun with tourists and hunted out, so it’s always a balancing act between finding a recommendation and ending up somewhere that’s empty of game. Here’s the CIBTC guide to finding the best places to have a successful hunt:
The easiest thing to do, and the best way to find somewhere that’s relatively off the grid is to ask around your network. Post on Facebook, or call your hunter friends for their secret spots. One cool trick you can do to find people you might not necessarily think of is to search Facebook for your friends who “like” hunting, so you can see who to send messages to. You can also start groups to share with a few trusty friends who want to share spots but don’t want to let the whole world know about them.
You can also check your state hunting and fishing site, official wildlife page, or whatever it’s called in your state. It’s the site you’d go to for hunting season dates, licenses, and all that sort of thing. They also have maps of public and protected land that you can hunt on, which is a good place to start. A pretty sizable number of state and national parks can be hunted with the right permits, so doing some poking around can be really fruitful. The National Wildlife Refuge System has a good database for the whole country, if you’re looking to take a hunting trip out of state but still in the US.
Open hunt leases are another good place to look on the internet. They’re on Craigslist, although that tends to be sketchier than other sites, but you can also look on classified sections in local papers, or on twitter and other social media around where you live. Or just search “hunting lease” with your zip code and you should find a few options.
Of course, it’s better to find something that’s not advertised for everybody under the sun. So joining a hunting forum can be really productive. Don’t just hop on a bunch and assume you’ll get invites, though. Pick one forum that seems good, make a few comments, start some conversations, and then you’ll start having options left and right for places to hunt. It’s all about who you know in this world.
Last up, for folks who have some money to spare, you can also buy a plot of land somewhere really good for hunting, like in the Rockies or Appalachians, and keep it between you and your hunting buddies. It’s expensive, but it’s a surefire way to get control over a spot and make sure you always have a fruitful place to shoot.
So, get started searching, pack your bags, and don’t forget your hunting rangefinder!