Hunting has inherent elements of camaraderie, tradition, and friendship. Many hunters don’t hunt on land they own on paper, and most of the time, seasons pass without any sort of accident or misunderstanding.

Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN an accident or injury happens. No matter if it’s family or a friend, it’s best for each party to be covered from the inherent risk of trekking out into the woods. I highly recommend going into this next hunting season with hunting lease liability insurance.

The American Hunting Lease Association has affordable and comprehensive policies that protect the land owner, hunt club, or individual hunter from unsavory legal situations that can make or break the bank. They’re also super easy to get a hold of and have been an industry leader for the past decade.

A Few Examples

Now, each state will have its own landowner liability laws that outline what a hunter could and could not sue for; however, this doesn’t help the landowner prevent a hunter’s lawyer from exploiting loopholes. You’ll want coverage if nothing else than to avoid a court date.

Besides the obvious physical injury to a hunter, property and equipment damage are also very possible. AHLA policies cover damage done to your property by another party, something typical homeowner’s or landowner’s insurance doesn’t. AHLA will also cover other incidents that a lot of landowners might not think of, like damage to vehicles, fire, and adjacent land damages.

Accidental Shooting

Accidents happen, and that’s a fact of life. Accidental shootings often happen due to negligence either to another person in the hunting party, a non-hunter on the same property, or someone on an adjacent piece of land.

In the case of a hunter accidentally shooting another hunter, just those two parties are usually involved. You may be held liable if the hunter shoots someone, not in the hunting party or a pedestrian. Some arguments a plaintiff might have against a landowner for this kind of accident could include issues with signs or clear property line-markings.

Building Fire

Some properties are so expansive that a hunter or a hunting party might choose to overnight and camp or clean small game and cook it while it’s fresh in the field. If a fire isn’t put out properly and fully extinguished, those small smoldering embers can re-ignite or travel.

It only takes one hot ember or coal, and even a small fire can cause irrevocable damage to your structures as a landowner, adjacent land, or even spark a wildfire. An AHLA policy also protects buildings on your property from fire damage.

Vehicle Damage

Depending on the size of your land, you may be allowing hunters to use ATVs on your property for entry and exit or just for game retrieval. Typical homeowner’s insurance probably will not cover damage done to an ATV, side by side, or other vehicles.

AHLA specifically covers claims placed against a landowner in this instance. While vehicle accidents are unfortunate, what’s even more unfortunate is if a hunter that may or may not have had permission to be using this vehicle on your land, damages it and decides to place blame on you.

Damage to Adjacent Land

Adjoining landowners have mutual and reciprocal rights and obligations. Liability may vary from state to state under the guidelines of “reasonable” limits. These limits are usually broad with their own definitions, one of which being that a landowner will be able to use their land how they would like, as long as those activities do not cause damage to the neighbor’s property.

If a hunter on your property shoots and either misses their target or doesn’t calculate your property borders, and that bullet goes through a piece of equipment on your neighbor’s land, you could be held responsible. Again, AHLA can help with that and makes the process super easy.

WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LANDOWNER?
According to the law, they’re owed the highest duty of care. That means you’re required to regularly inspect your property, remove or repair any dangerous conditions, and also warn invitees about the conditions.
  • Regularly walk your property and stay aware of hazardous conditions on it, whether you’re inviting others onto your land or not.
  • With an attorney’s help, draft liability release forms for people who recreate on your property.
  • Draw up a specific list of rules for activities that take place on your land, and make them easily available to all visitors.
  • Get the right liability insurance for your needs. Insurance can protect you from legal gray areas.

How to Stay Protected

As a hunter, it’s always wise to carry hunting lease insurance, but many landowners don’t account for the amount of liability they may have if something were to happen on their land.

Vacant land insurance is great for landowners that allow hunting on their land. AHLA offers vacant land policies that have $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 per incident policies, and up to 7 landowners can be included for free.

Writing up a liability waiver often isn’t enough in the case of an accident. However, a waiver paired with a liability policy can add that extra protection. AHLA has that covered too. Let your family and friends hunt for free without worry of someone’s true colors showing after an accident and you as a landowner being held liable for their accident.

You can also require individual or hunt club insurance with your land listed on the policies. This helps protect the hunter and you in case of mishaps.

The great thing about AHLA is that they have a comprehensive policy for just about anything, at a rate often lower than competitors, without sacrificing coverage. Their agents are super easy to talk to; policies can be customized for coverages that you need depending on your land or individual needs, all with no deductible.

When push comes to shove and someone is faced with a stack of medical bills especially, they may just start looking for blame, even if they are family or close friends. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of it, fighting for your assets and racking up your own legal bills. Consider a hunting lease liability insurance policy.

Go check out AHLA to protect you as a landowner or a hunter; while hunting is an inherently risky sport, and we all want to believe that accidents won’t happen to us; unfortunately people do get hurt, and things do get damaged.