Why so many Canadian hunters owe a debt of gratitude to rural landowners

Why so many Canadian hunters owe a debt of gratitude to rural landowners

Homage: Landowners

The gracious gatekeepers to some of the country’s best hunting grounds

Most of us don’t have the luxury of owning land that we can hunt on. Sure, we can always venture onto crown land, but it’s often crowded and heavily pressured. Private land, on the other hand, is far more peaceful and often more productive, making it a true privilege when private property owners grant us access.

Some landowners even go a step further and share tips on where to find game, or offer to help retrieve downed animals. They may even participate in your hunt. Over the years, I’ve met many landowners and developed great friendships with some of them—I look forward to our annual visits over a cup of coffee to catch up on things before getting the skinny on where to hunt.

Then there are those landowners who go above and beyond to help. Five years ago on a -40°C day, for example, two brothers and their sons spotted my son and me retrieving a white-tailed buck and invited us into their heated shop to field dress and skin the animal. Then this past fall, the same men used their tractor to help us hoist and field dress a bull moose. When I asked if they needed to get back to their farm work, one replied, “We can work any time—it’s not every day you get to join the fun of a hunt!”

Of course, landowners do much more than make life easier for us hunters. They also provide areas of cover for ungulates and upland gamebirds, and wetlands for roosting waterfowl. And their crops provide food for wildlife to grow and thrive. So, to all landowners across the country, thank you for harbouring wildlife throughout the year—and for granting us a free pass onto your properties to hunt and enjoy nature. It’s appreciated more than you’ll ever know.

Saskatchewan’s Mike Hungle stresses the importance of asking for permission before entering private land.

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