Hunters are always on the lookout to add more available hunting land to their list of hunting options and a lot of hunters just don’t have the financial prospects to outright own hundreds of acres of land to hunt. This means asking permission to use other people’s land to hunt on and gaining permission to access that land. That can often come with some awkwardness and issues that are more complex than just a simple conversation and a handshake agreement.
In the litigious nature of our society, handshake agreements rarely hold up in court. Having a hunting liability insurance policy can give both the hunter and the landowner peace of mind and protection from any unforeseen issues that might arise with using someone else’s property for hunting activities.
Let’s take a quick look at what hunting liability insurance is and then dive into five ways that it can help hunters gain access to more hunting land.
What is Hunting Liability Insurance?
To put it as simply as possible, hunting liability insurance is a general liability policy with exclusions and endorsements that cover hunting activities and all parties involved. AHLA’s policy includes member-to-member coverage, the landowner themselves, and no exclusions for such things like tree stands, ATVS, firearms, or anything else that has to do with hunting activities.
1. Needs of the Landowner
Creating a relationship with a new landowner whom you wish to utilize their land can be difficult at first. Landowners can be especially wary of hunters, especially if they have never worked with or allowed hunters to use their land before. This is where hunting liability insurance can help you quickly develop that relationship by acknowledging the need of the landowner to protect themselves.
Landowners are and should be leery about allowing people to hunt on their land. It can be a dangerous activity when not done safely and responsibly. Put the landowners’ needs and worries to rest by talking to them about the issues that might worry them. Having that hunting liability insurance in hand to show them that they won’t be liable for any hunting-related issues on their property can create good will and show them that you are a responsible hunter who is looking out for their needs as much as your own.
2. Establish Accountability
When first starting out, establishing accountability as a responsible hunter and land user might be hard. Having that hunting liability insurance in hand from the get-go will help foster goodwill. Once you get that first landowner on board and create a good relationship, it can be easier to add new land and landowners to your hunting rotation.
Think of it like a hunting resume that has references and previous experiences with other landowners. If you have a good track record with other landowners and show a pattern of accountability for you and possibly your group of hunters it will make it easier to add more land to your repertoire in the future. Landowners want a good track record and someone they feel they can trust immediately.
- Instant Help with Access
Whether you are reaching out to a landowner via email or phone or you are knocking on their door to ask permission, having that hunting liability insurance in hand might just be the foot in the door you need. Instantly, you are showing responsibility and willingness to protect the landowner from your hunting activities and the risks that go along with those activities.
Many landowners are hesitant to take on risk by allowing strangers or those they don’t know very well to have access to their land. Be clear in how you plan to utilize the land and show that you are willing to take responsibility. Setting this standard from the get go could help with quicker, instant access.
- Hunting Groups
It is not uncommon for hunters to have their own groups that they run around with and hunt with, whether it be family, friends, or acquaintances. Leasing hunting land is also becoming big business for landowners and can get expensive for an individual hunter or family. By getting a small group together of like-minded hunters can really spread out the burden of paying for a lease.
Likewise, having a hunting liability insurance policy that covers all the hunters in your group can help entice those who are hesitant to join to feel comfortable. Knowing that in a case of injury or accident they will be covered can put their mind at ease about joining the group to pursue a land lease. It also increases the chances that you and your group will have to hunt more acreage and harvest more animals. Increased odds is always good.
- Track Record
As you get deeper into using hunting liability insurance and show a track record of having no claims or issues can really help you build a reputation of responsibility, which goes a long way with landowners and other hunters. It shows that you are safe, responsible, and less of a risk than other hunters who may not have the same track record. This should be very appealing to most hunters and landowners because it gives clear, solid proof of past good experiences.
Again, this is where your hunting liability insurance acts as a resume, but also as a log or diary of past responsibility and reliable hunting practices that make landowners wary of allowing new hunters onto their property. If your goal is to accumulate as much hunting land as possible by leasing or gaining permission, hunting liability insurance should be at the top of your list of musts.
Having hunting liability insurance is a no brainer, especially if you plan on hunting property that you do not own. If you are asking permission or planning to lease land individually or with a group, make sure you get hunting liability insurance first. It can go a long way in helping you gain access to land and set the landowner’s mind at ease about allowing someone they may not know very well onto their land.
Hunting is not a no risk activity. Protect yourself and protect your landowners. You won’t be sorry that you did when you are enjoying your hunts and harvesting game with a clear mind.
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