The more things change the more they seem to insist on staying the same. 40 years ago, a father and his daughter could knock on the door of a local farmer and ask for permission to hunt the farmer’s property.
The likelihood that the farmer would say ‘yes’, was fairly high, especially if the father was willing to sweeten the pot a little by promising to help with some work around the farm or share some of the venison he was able to harvest. The result was most often a new friendship and a new hunter learning to love the oldest sport our country has known.
Then things began to change.
America became insanely litigious. Following lawsuits and judgements against landowners by hunters and even trespassers, new laws were drafted granting rights to “invited guests”, hunters paying a “fee” (even if it was a stick of summer sausage or a day’s work) were awarded damages due to accidents occurring on the farm. Famers and landowners around the country had no choice but to dramatically limit the number of hunters permitted on their ground. In many instances, the result was for a landowner to simply say “No More Hunting”.
Who could blame them? With no protection available at the time and no structured program to manage the hunters, a farmer simply couldn’t risk losing everything they had. Many of the farmers were working ground left to them by their families and the very real possibility of losing it was just too great.
That same knock on the door was then met with… “I’m sorry, I would like to help you, but I just don’t allow any hunting on my property anymore” The frustrations of hunters was overwhelming. Access to quality habitat was the most important issue surrounding the sport of hunting. Sadly, many hunters hung up their waders and put away their hunting rifles for good.
Then things changed again.
The hunting lease concept had been around for decades in the south, but began making its way north and east. The inherent risk landowners took, paired with rising operational costs and unstable grain prices, made a hunting lease very attractive. A little additional revenue and addressing the risk issues were all that was needed for farmers and landowners to open their gates again.
The American Hunting Lease Association provides everything needed to arrange a secure hunting lease. The AHLA offers a complete risk management package that includes a $2 million Hunting Lease Liability policy that protects the hunters AND landowners. You also receive a custom lease agreement, account space to manage your leases and an annual AHLA membership.
So, put a new twist on an old technique.
Knock on the door of that farm you pass driving to work every day. You know… the one with the turkeys strutting in the field. Except now go armed to make a deal. Have a professional hunting lease contract and an insurance policy in your hand. Explain to the landowner, that you understand his/her risk and you want to make sure everyone is protected. Follow that with an offer that makes sense for you both and you might just be the one setting your decoys out in that field during turkey season.