Hunter Interview: A Landowner's Guide

Pat Sesto, Town of Wilton

Landowners should ask a few questions to get to know the hunter before granting permission.  These questions should help landowners to get some idea about the hunter’s ethics.  An ethical hunter is one who is fair, courteous, and respectful to the law, the wildlife resource, the environment, landowners, and other outdoor enthusiasts.  Landowners should feel comfortable with the hunter before allowing them on their property.

Before the interview become familiar with the state hunting regulations.  This gives you the knowledge to ask questions you may have about hunter training requirements, seasons, legal times for hunting, or state laws and regulations (www.dep.state.ct.us).  The hunter’s responses should be consistent with the regulations and laws.

Getting to know the hunter:
•    Do you hunt other properties in this town?
•    How long have you been hunting?
•    How did you learn to hunt?
•    Why do you hunt deer?
•    What time of day do you usually hunt?
•    Where does the meat go?
•    Request references and follow through with them.
•    Require the hunter to show you their license(s).
o    In order to obtain the following licenses the hunter must have completed the applicable safety course(s).
•    CT Firearms Hunting License
•    Private Land Shotgun/Rifle Hunting Permit
•    Private Land Muzzleloader Permit
•    Small Game & Deer Hunting Archery Permit

You may want to ask situation questions (“have you ever…”) depending on your own concerns such as:
•    Have you ever been confronted by a neighbor who was not supportive of hunting?  How did you deal with them?
•    Have you ever had to track a wounded deer onto another property?  What happened?
o    In order to pursue a wounded deer on another property, the hunter must have permission from that property owner.

Things you may want to go over with a hunter:
•    Parking for hunter’s vehicle.
•    Types of hunting (bow, shotgun, rifle, muzzleloader).
•    Types of game you allow to be hunted (Deer, Turkey, and/or other animals).
•    Walk the property line with the hunter and be clear about your property boundary.
•    Where you see deer on your property.
 
•    How tree stands are installed and when they are removed.
o    Tree stands are recommended to ensure the hunter is shooting in a downward trajectory.
o    Stands that strap to trees rather than are nail/screwed to the tree are preferable to reduce the risk of permanent tree damage.
•    Are neighbors informed about hunting on the property?
o    We encourage you to let your neighbors know and accommodate their concerns to the extent you reasonably can.
•    Are there other hunters with permission to hunt the property?
•    Will the hunter leave anything behind when they remove a deer?
o    If the hunter seeks to gut the deer on-site, the offal can be buried, or in most cases other wildlife will take advantage of the easy meal and consume the offal within a day or two.  If desired, the offal can also be removed from the property.

As the landowner, you have the final say in how, who, and when hunting takes place on your land.  The hunter alone, not the landowner is responsible for knowing and abiding by the laws and regulations of hunting. If you are not sure you like what is going on ask the hunter, make changes if warranted. 

Most landowner/hunter relationships are developed over years of cooperation.  Trust builds with communication.  In time, hunters can become an asset. Many hunters notify landowners of storm damage, trespassers, fence damage and other property issues.  Landowners come to rely on the trusted presence of their hunter to help oversee their property.