Tag Your Hunting Truck - Inside MDT

Posted by Al Voth on 2023 Oct 19th

Tag Your Hunting Truck - Inside MDT

Hunting season is about to start in my part of the world, which means gear preparation. Like most of us, that includes getting my truck ready. As always, this includes a mechanical check and ensuring all the extra gear, like a tow cable, shovel, rope, and axe, are present and in good working condition. Additionally, I ensure my "truck tags" are in their designated spot in the cab and ready for use.

You've likely never heard of truck tags before, and that's expected as it's just a name I made up. What they are and how they came to be is an interesting story. Many years ago, I came home from hunting to find a message from local law enforcement on my home answering machine. An officer wanted me to call him because my truck had been reported as being parked on a farmer's property without permission. And since that farmer had recently been the victim of some vandalism, he was suspicious, called the police, and gave them my plate number.

Coyote In Back Of Truck

Seeing an unfamiliar vehicle parked along a country road invariably raises suspicions.

Of course, it was all a misunderstanding because I'd received permission from that very farmer to hunt on his land about a month ago. He'd forgotten the truck description I'd given him, and it only took a single phone call to straighten everything out. However, the episode was a great catalyst to start me thinking of a better way to communicate with landowners via my truck.

I was raised on a farm and thus have a little insight into rural life. I know that every rancher or farmer knows all the trucks in the area and who drives them. If a landowner sees a familiar vehicle, he's comfortable knowing who they are and likely has a good idea of what they're doing. But when a landowner sees a strange vehicle in the area, he wants answers to two questions:

"Whose truck is that?" and "What's the driver doing out here?"

Information Code

Leaving a little information on your vehicle helps establish good relations with landowners.

Knowing these were key questions led to some research, and eventually, I found an answer in truck tags. The idea is not original to me, and this is just my version, which I'll share in hopes something similar might also work for others.

A truck tag is simply a piece of paper with whatever information you want to share with people who see your truck parked somewhere "unusual" and are curious enough to come over and check it out. I target mine at the landowner, and on it, print what I'm doing, that I have permission, my cell number, and my name. I print them at home on heavy paper and laminate them, leaving the top edge stuffed between the side window glass and the weather stripping whenever I leave the truck.

I keep a handful of different variations in the truck, covering every species of game I hunt and wildlife photography as well. I usually make them about 3.5" square with an open space at the top so the writing doesn't get lost behind weather stripping. They're cheap, easy to make, and help with landowner relations. How I set mine up may work differently in your situation, so make whatever modifications are necessary, and feel free to use the idea.

Coyote with MDT HNT26 Hunting

Invitations from other landowners are a bonus to tagging your truck. 

Since I hunt mostly on private land belonging to a wide assortment of people, these tags turned out to have an unexpected bonus. Many landowners will typically drive by my truck when I'm parked along the side of a grid road, and they always have the same questions I mentioned previously: "Whose truck is that?" and "What are they doing here?" It means they'll often stop when they see my truck and check it out. Then they read the tag and, satisfied, they carry on. Or my cell phone rings with a number I don't recognize, and the caller says something like this: "Hey, I see you're hunting coyotes on Bill's place. I'm two miles north and a mile south. The coyotes have invaded my west pasture, would you have time to swing by and kill a few for me?"

Jackpot! Tagging your truck works.



Al Voth calls himself a "student of the gun." Retired from a 35-year career in law enforcement, including nine years on an Emergency Response Team, he now works as an editor, freelance writer, and photographer, in addition to keeping active as a consultant in the field he most recently left behind—forensic firearm examination. He is a court-qualified expert in that forensic discipline, having worked in that capacity in three countries. These days, when he's not working, you'll likely find him hunting varmints and predators (the 4-legged variety).


Recently viewed