Responsibility to the Landowner
Each and every hunter carries afield five basic responsibilities:
- Responsibility to the landowner
- Responsibility to wildlife
- Responsibility to yourself
- Responsibility to other hunters
- Responsibility to non-hunters
Wildlife is a product of the land. About 60% of Washington’s land is privately owned, while the rest is owned by the federal, state, or local government. It is the rare person these days who hunts on private property owned by his or her family. Almost all of us hunt on land owned by somebody else. Unfortunately, not all hunters ask permission. In fact, this lack of courtesy is one of the major complaints landowners have against hunters.
Whether you hunt on public or private property, respect the land as if it were your own. Don’t litter. If you camp, be sure you clean up!
Remember that hunting is a privilege. Don’t abuse it! Do not trespass. It is against the law to enter private property without permission even if the property is not posted or fenced. Always ask permission first.
If you are hunting on private property, be sure to ask the landowner about any special rules you should observe. Leave fences and gates the way you found them, unless the landowner gives you different instructions. Do you have permission to use the entire property, or are some places off-limits? Does the landowner want you to stop by before leaving his property? Take the time to talk to landowner. They will appreciate your interest!
All of us are governed by regulations which permit—and protect—land use. Due to high fire hazard conditions during certain times of the year, some wild lands must be regulated through restrictions and closures because the risk of wildfire danger becomes too great for people to use the land safely in a normal manner.
Fire regulations may be enforced on both private and public lands within any state. Some restrictions and closures limit use of the land more than others. For example, one type of restriction prohibits any open fires and another type forbids travel. Before going into any wild land area, be sure to check for current fire restrictions.
How To Ask Landowners for Permission
- Make contact well ahead of the hunting season.
- Wear street clothes—no hunting gear or firearms.
- Don’t bring companions—a “crowd” could be intimidating.
- Be polite, even if permission is denied. Your courtesy may affect the outcome of future requests.
Landowner Complaints about Hunters
- Don’t get permission to hunt
- Don’t tell the landowners when they arrive at or leave the property
- Make too much noise
- Leave litter behind
- Carry loaded firearms in vehicles
- Drive off the ranch roads
- Don’t leave gates as they were (open or shut) when the hunter arrived
- Shoot too close to neighbors or livestock
- Leave fires unattended
- Violate game laws
- Drink alcohol to excess