Why More Landowners are Discovering the Benefits of Leasing Hunting Rights to Their Properties.

There is no question recent events have taught every American the importance of the “supply chain” and the effects that a lack of inventory can create.  As inflation begins to impact nearly every aspect of our lives, landowners are not only facing rising prices at the grocery store and the gas pump; They are also being hit with increasing property taxes and dramatic increases in operational costs. It should come as no surprise that many landowners are turning to alternate ways to generate income from their farms and land to offset their rising expenses.  What they are discovering is the hunting lease not only provides the added revenue they were looking for, it also offers several other benefits that might just be worth more than the money.

When you consider leasing the hunting rights to your land, the obvious benefit is the money. That is well established and understood. For this discussion let’s treat the money like dessert, it’s really good and maybe even the best part of the meal . . . so we will save it for last.

What are other benefits of lease your property and why are they important?

TYPES OF HUNTING LEASES

There are several types of hunt lease arrangements. The most common hunt lease is an annual recreational lease for all wildlife species.  Seasonal leases typically give hunters access to the property to hunt for one species only.  Short-term leases normally involve daily, weekend or week-long hunts, sometimes called day leases or “package” hunts.

Reclaim Control

One of the most mentioned benefits of leasing heard from landowners is the return of control over the land. Landowners are generous people by nature and over time it is easy to simply give permission to access their farms to too many people. Recently, on one popular podcast, as one of the guests was explaining how many landowners have simply lost control of their land, the hosts of the show were nodding and laughing because they knew all too well how it can happen.  A landowner can tell a friend or neighbor that they can hunt in the wooded area of their farm and think nothing of it. Sadly, over the course of a few years the original friend has now brought others or simply told his friends that the owner of the ground doesn’t care who hunts. In some instances, the original landowner has even passed away and his/her children have inherited the land and all the challenges that come with it. These scenarios play out every day!

The thought of having to tell each of these hunters (and their kids) that they are no longer able to hunt, is an unpleasant and awkward conversation for many to have. So, the lack of control continues to spiral out of control.

By leasing hunting rights to a set group of hunters, the landowner can reclaim that control. He can ask that the hunters post the property with no trespassing signs and that they politely inform anyone on the property that the farm has been leased for hunting.

Reduce Trespassing

Mentioned right after reclaiming control, is the effect on trespassing the hunting lease brought.

Trespassers have become an increasingly difficult (and unsafe) situation across the country. There is likely not a wooded acre anywhere that hasn’t been trespassed on. To be clear, trespassers are thieves and are guilty of stealing access and they are almost always searching your property for anything of value. Like thieves though, they are inherently lazy and are unwilling to risk getting caught and/or prosecuted. If they feel the risk is too great, there are other farms and properties they can trespass on.

When a landowner has a specific group of hunters that have established a presence on their farm, the trespassing all but stops!  Your hunters are going to take significant steps to prevent anyone from entering “their” lease and will undoubtedly hang trail cameras around the property. In fact, the trend in hunting trail cameras has shifted to cellular cameras that send a picture to the owner’s phone instantly. Trespassers know this and can’t take the chance they will unknowingly walk by a camera and have their picture immediately sent to someone. Once your hunters have placed cameras around the property and hung no trespassing signs informing everyone of their presence, no trespasser is going to take the chance.

Increase Security

To some degree security is the combination of both regaining control and reducing trespassers. A hunting lease will reduce the overall traffic on your property and in turn provide a much higher level of both security and safety.

It makes even more sense for a specific group of landowners and families.

There is an undeniable connection between long time landowners and their land. In many cases, it is where they raised their family, where they worked side by side to provide for their family and finally where they watched their children and grandkids play. Sadly, the time comes when one of them must live on their own and often they insist on staying on their farm. Adult children who may live in another state, are now faced with the worry of a elderly parent living alone.

Many adult children keep the names and contact numbers of the hunters routinely using the family farm and reach out to them often. Having someone to check in on a mother or father can be an invaluable benefit.  In fact, the most rewarding aspect of a professional hunting lease is the relationships that are made and the lasting friendships.

Leave your Legacy

A recent survey of rural landowners asked a very poignant question.

Why do you own your land?

The answer may surprise you. It wasn’t to make money. It was legacy.

Landowners have a connection with their land that is undeniable. Their desire is they leave the land in tact or even better than it was while they owned it. They long for their children to take over ownership and continue to enjoy the land peacefully for generations.

By reclaiming control of your land, reducing trespassers and by providing a secure and safe environment a landowner is protecting his/her legacy.

It can all be accomplished by finding a trusted group of hunters (or outdoor enthusiasts) who will share your passion for your ground and help you maintain it.

Revenue

Well, we have reached dessert. Hopefully by now you have started to see that there is more to a nice dinner than dessert.  Like a great meal, it all works together to bring you the experience you want from owning land.

As you read this, there has never been a bigger demand for access to private property for hunting rights.  The number of hunters and hunting groups far outnumbers the landowners offering to lease access.

That is great news for landowners. Simply put, the price per acre you can charge for exclusive access has never been higher and hunters have never been more willing to pay landowners to hunt on their farms.

Of course, there are many features of a property that will determine how much can be charged such as:

  • State and county
  • Game population
  • Diversity of land (crops/woods/water)
  • Number of acres
  • Tag availability

It is not uncommon for land in the Midwest, with quality deer hunting, to lease for $40 to $50 per acre. Other areas or farms with slightly less huntable game can easily bring $30 per acre or more.  These prices can provide many benefits of leasing your property to help pay for the yearly costs of owning the property.

The revenue a hunting lease arrangement can provide can be significant and is typically recurring from year to year.

How do I offer my farm to hunters?

Once you have decided that a hunting lease arrangement makes sense and you want to move forward or if you just have more questions, the safest option is to use a professional hunting lease broker. The benefits of their expertise and experience are undeniable and they typically have the demand (hunters) that can bring you more money that any other method.

Tangibly, a professional hunting lease company should provide you with two very important features. Liability insurance and a strong contract.

Although hunting has been proven to be safer than nearly any other outdoor sport or activity, accidents can happen, and you want to make sure you are covered for any liability. A professional company like Base Camp Leasing (www.basecampleasing.com) provides landowners with a $5 million policy as part of their service. Additionally, Base Camp uses their lease contract that has been revised and reviewed by attorney’s for over 22 years.

A hunting lease broker should do all the legwork and paperwork needed to properly market your property to hunters and make sure you are protected from every possible angle.

For decades, hunters have been using hunting leases to secure access to quality habitat because they understood the benefits.

Now landowners are seeing the complete picture of the hunting lease concept and are enjoying peace of mind while they make extra money to maintain their land and insure it can be enjoyed for many years.