Using OnX Maps to Gain Permission on Private Hunting Land

If you want to encounter and harvest mature whitetail bucks, you need to hunt where they live. With the amount of information available on the web, finding states that hold a high number of mature bucks isn’t all that hard to figure out. It’s safe to assume most know the midwest states hold those big bruiser bucks. Some states you’ll have to apply for a license while others are over the counter. For instance, Nebraska offers fairly priced non-resident hunting licenses over the counter while Iowa, it’s next door neighbor, offers an expensive license which you’ll need to apply for. Figuring out what state you want to hunt as a non-resident is easy, figuring out where to hunt is the tough part.

This year, I am headed to Nebraska and Iowa on non-resident hunts. I am fortunate to have access to a private farm in NE that I have hunted for a few years. IA is a little more intimidating as I’ve never hunted there before. A friend and I choose a unit with a fair amount of public land but hoped we could gain permission on private land by knocking on a few doors. Here is where OnX Maps plays such a crucial role.

With OnX Maps, you can see property lines overlaid on the topography map. You can then click on the property and see the acreage and tax address. The tax address is important because it allows you to see if the owner lives on the property you are looking at. When digitally scouting those midwest states on OnX, you will find large tracts of private land which are typically agricultural farms. This is where the property lines and tax address information become very valuable. A good portion of property owners do not live on there farm property from what I have found. I try to be efficient with my time and only look for big properties where the owner’s tax address is also on that property. By doing this, you ensure the owner is living at the property you’re asking permission to hunt on. They don’t have to try to tell you where it is and you don’t seem like a creep by knowing where there 500 acre farm is if they don’t live on it. I’ve always felt it’d be creepy to knock on someone’s door, ask them to hunt their property that is miles away, and then explain how you figured out where they owned the property but knew where they live. Basically, I try to avoid the conversation that informs property owners about their acreage and tax address info being in the palm of my hand.

Another thing to look for is multiple properties with the same owner’s name in an area together. If you can get permission on one of those properties, you may end up with permission on all of them.

It doesn’t hurt to look for multiple properties where the different owners share the same last name. The property owners could be relatives and whoever you ask permission from first should be able to inform you what your odds look like of getting permission or possibly even give you permission.

I’ve had recent success using these tactics. I mentioned earlier we hoped to gain permission on private land in Iowa and that’s just what we did. We each picked five land owners doors to knock on and ask them permission to hunt. The third owner we talked to granted us permission on his 534 acre farm. After gaining that initial hunting permission and discussing where to access the property, we received permission to hunt on the owner’s cousin’s 156 acre farm. When it was all said and done, we had gained permission on 690 acres of private farm ground which looks like it will offer some excellent encounters with mature bucks this November.

To follow along on these hunts and everything else we’re up to at Hybrid-Outdoors, make sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube.

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