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I trespass for a living (I'm a geologist) in Georgia mostly, but have in pretty much all of the Eastern U.S. So
So, when planning field work the first thing I do is get on the internet and search for county tax assessor's maps. The online maps will show who owns the parcels; state, county, federal, or private. If they are private then I'll do a white pages search on the land owners name and contact them and ask for permission. And I'm forthcoming and state what my purpose is. The

The success rate is enormously high. Over 99%. Often people will be happy to show me around, or can recommend the best access trails. On the other hand there can be absentee land owners, or the land is owned by a corporation (often a timber company). And often, the land has been leased to a hunting club. The

The last solution is to show up and knock on the door and ask for permission. 

All that being said, I've had guns pulled on me twice, also told to get out because they thought I was after their gold. And have been told "no" with no reason given. You don't want to encounter someone doing something illicit. So So, asking for permission creates an opportunity for a criminal to say "no" for your own safety. Utility

Utility easements also provide access paths. Have a look at topo quads or aerial photos and look for straight broad cuts through the woods that represent power line and gas line corridors. You should be able to park where they cross the road and walk in. And when you do encounter someone, be forthcoming why you are there. And don't park your car and block access to a gate or road, no matter how decrepit it looks. Murphy's law says that as soon as you are out of sight someone will need access. Like the first year I was doing this work we blocked a gate to come back to the truck to find the police waiting for us. The

The one other hazard would be dog packs. People have been killed by dog packs when approaching homes. So, if you need to knock on doors, use your eyes and ears before getting out of the car. I

I hope haven't made it sound too daunting. It's about expectations. The same land owner can be welcoming or furious depending if their expectations are being met or not. So the goal is to not unexpectedly present yourself on their land. Good luck, Mick 

I trespass for a living (I'm a geologist) in Georgia mostly, but have in pretty much all of the Eastern U.S. So, when planning field work the first thing I do is get on the internet and search for county tax assessor's maps. The online maps will show who owns the parcels; state, county, federal, or private. If they are private then I'll do a white pages search on the land owners name and contact them and ask for permission. And I'm forthcoming and state what my purpose is. The success rate is enormously high. Over 99%. Often people will be happy to show me around, or can recommend the best access trails. On the other hand there can be absentee land owners, or the land is owned by a corporation (often a timber company). And often, the land has been leased to a hunting club. The last solution is to show up and knock on the door and ask for permission. All that being said, I've had guns pulled on me twice, also told to get out because they thought I was after their gold. And have been told "no" with no reason given. You don't want to encounter someone doing something illicit. So, asking for permission creates an opportunity for a criminal to say "no" for your own safety. Utility easements also provide access paths. Have a look at topo quads or aerial photos and look for straight broad cuts through the woods that represent power line and gas line corridors. You should be able to park where they cross the road and walk in. And when you do encounter someone, be forthcoming why you are there. And don't park your car and block access to a gate or road, no matter how decrepit it looks. Murphy's law says that as soon as you are out of sight someone will need access. Like the first year I was doing this work we blocked a gate to come back to the truck to find the police waiting for us. The one other hazard would be dog packs. People have been killed by dog packs when approaching homes. So, if you need to knock on doors, use your eyes and ears before getting out of the car. I hope haven't made it sound too daunting. It's about expectations. The same land owner can be welcoming or furious depending if their expectations are being met or not. So the goal is to not unexpectedly present yourself on their land. Good luck, Mick

I trespass for a living (I'm a geologist) in Georgia mostly, but have in pretty much all of the Eastern U.S.
So, when planning field work the first thing I do is get on the internet and search for county tax assessor's maps. The online maps will show who owns the parcels; state, county, federal, or private. If they are private then I'll do a white pages search on the land owners name and contact them and ask for permission. And I'm forthcoming and state what my purpose is.

The success rate is enormously high. Over 99%. Often people will be happy to show me around, or can recommend the best access trails. On the other hand there can be absentee land owners, or the land is owned by a corporation (often a timber company). And often, the land has been leased to a hunting club.

The last solution is to show up and knock on the door and ask for permission. 

All that being said, I've had guns pulled on me twice, also told to get out because they thought I was after their gold. And have been told "no" with no reason given. You don't want to encounter someone doing something illicit. So, asking for permission creates an opportunity for a criminal to say "no" for your own safety.

Utility easements also provide access paths. Have a look at topo quads or aerial photos and look for straight broad cuts through the woods that represent power line and gas line corridors. You should be able to park where they cross the road and walk in. And when you do encounter someone, be forthcoming why you are there. And don't park your car and block access to a gate or road, no matter how decrepit it looks. Murphy's law says that as soon as you are out of sight someone will need access.

The one other hazard would be dog packs. People have been killed by dog packs when approaching homes. So, if you need to knock on doors, use your eyes and ears before getting out of the car.

I hope haven't made it sound too daunting. It's about expectations. The same land owner can be welcoming or furious depending if their expectations are being met or not. So the goal is to not unexpectedly present yourself on their land.  

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I trespass for a living (I'm a geologist) in Georgia mostly, but have in pretty much all of the Eastern U.S. So, when planning field work the first thing I do is get on the internet and search for county tax assessor's maps. The online maps will show who owns the parcels; state, county, federal, or private. If they are private then I'll do a white pages search on the land owners name and contact them and ask for permission. And I'm forthcoming and state what my purpose is. The success rate is enormously high. Over 99%. Often people will be happy to show me around, or can recommend the best access trails. On the other hand there can be absentee land owners, or the land is owned by a corporation (often a timber company). And often, the land has been leased to a hunting club. The last solution is to show up and knock on the door and ask for permission. All that being said, I've had guns pulled on me twice, also told to get out because they thought I was after their gold. And have been told "no" with no reason given. You don't want to encounter someone doing something illicit. So, asking for permission creates an opportunity for a criminal to say "no" for your own safety. Utility easements also provide access paths. Have a look at topo quads or aerial photos and look for straight broad cuts through the woods that represent power line and gas line corridors. You should be able to park where they cross the road and walk in. And when you do encounter someone, be forthcoming why you are there. And don't park your car and block access to a gate or road, no matter how decrepit it looks. Murphy's law says that as soon as you are out of sight someone will need access. Like the first year I was doing this work we blocked a gate to come back to the truck to find the police waiting for us. The one other hazard would be dog packs. People have been killed by dog packs when approaching homes. So, if you need to knock on doors, use your eyes and ears before getting out of the car. I hope haven't made it sound too daunting. It's about expectations. The same land owner can be welcoming or furious depending if their expectations are being met or not. So the goal is to not unexpectedly present yourself on their land. Good luck, Mick