As we turn the page on another calendar year, it’s time to start thinking about your hunting goals for 2023.  Is this the year to find a hunting lease? Do you need to upgrade your hunting equipment and tools? Maybe your habitat management could use a few tweaks. No matter what your goals are, you’ll need to find a hunting spot to make your goals happen. Maybe you’re not a landowner but the idea of having a little piece of property to hunt on all to yourself is something you’ve always dreamt about. No more arriving hours before dawn to beat other people to your favorite hunting spot. And definitely no parking wars at the entrance to the wildlife management unit you’re trying to hunt.

The problem is that owning property may just be out of reach for many people. While most hunters don’t realize it, hunting leases are surprisingly affordable in many cases. They’re not as exclusive as you might think, and with the information listed below, you will have an even easier time getting one. So if you’ve been pouring through hunting lease classifieds, but all the best hunting properties are unavailable, here are the steps you will need to take. January is one of the best times to start looking for an opportunity to up your hunting game.

How to Find a Hunting Lease

You think it’s time for finding hunting leases, but you’re not sure where to start. The first place to start is to narrow down the location, amount of acreage you’ll need, how many hunters you would like to go in on and of course the amount you’re willing to spend.  You’ll also want to be armed with a leasing agreement and a hunting lease insurance policy at your fingertips.  This will show landowners your fore thought and attention to detail with their best interests in mind.

Word of Mouth One of the first steps would be is to seek leases through word of mouth. Letting friends, family and acquaintances know that you’re willing to pay a fee and armed with a hunting lease policy can be a powerful tool in your toolbox when searching for leases.

Several ways to put the word out would be to follow social media groups focused on listing and finding leases, create business cards to hand out to potential landowners and of course networking through your hunting community.

Realtors Rural recreation property focused land professionals have a network of clients and contacts that have access to hunting leases. Realtors often develop a wide network of land-owning contacts, some of whom might be interested in making extra funds from that land.

Knocking on Doors Another avenue to explore is the knock-on-doors approach.  This method often requires boots on the ground and time-consuming research that does not have a lot of success.  Many landowners are wary of having strangers on their property and may have had bad experiences previously.  Another drawback is that most times that landowner allows anyone to hunt their ground which means you will be on the same piece of property as several other hunters.

Lease Networks A final and more secure option to explore for leases are hunting lease companies, such as Base Camp Leasing. These companies will have a wide array of properties to choose from that will fit your budget, hunting needs and location.  The properties are fully vetted and the leasing agreements they provide have added benefits such as hunting lease policies.  There may be a premium fee for using these services, but there is more opportunity to successfully finding a lease that suits your needs.

How to Convince a Landowner

If a landowner really isn’t interested in hunting leases for their property, there’s probably very little you can do to change their mind. That’s just how it is. But if they’re not totally against the idea, there are several things you can do that might change their mind.

One of the most important things you can mention is that you’d insist on using hunting lease liability insurance (i.e., hunting club insurance). Liability is a scary word to a landowner when they’re thinking of allowing a stranger to use their land. But with one of our policies, both the landowner and the hunter would be covered in the event of an accident. You can get a free quote for hunting lease liability insurance on our site and include up to seven different landowners at no additional cost. The cost scales based on the acreage covered and each policy includes a basic American Hunting Lease Association membership and a fully customizable hunting lease agreement template.  This really impresses prospective landowners because it shows you’re serious about your commitment to responsible and safe hunting.

Other Ideas

Other subtle tactics include bringing one of your kids along for the visit. Most people will be more receptive to the idea if they see your intent is to teach a child how to respect their land. Just make sure they are on their best behavior when you show up for one of these requests! Additionally, you can offer to help out around their property (e.g., cut some firewood, maintain some fences, fix something, etc.) as a perk of the agreement. Similarly, make it clear that the landowner gets the final say in everything and that you’d be willing to only take does or help with some predator control first – anything you can do to earn your keep a bit.

When to Find Hunting Leases

When is the best time to look for and buy a hunting lease? In the most practical sense, the best time is whenever you can afford it!

January is a great time to look for a lease – many landowners may be looking for new hunters if they had problems with the previous hunters during hunting season.  Many leases will expire at the first of the year allowing you to take advantage of a property that has become available.  By securing a lease early in the year, you can plan your strategy and habitat management for the year and ensure that you have enough time to put in the work before hunting season arrives.

Think about what would be most convenient for the landowner too. For example, most row crop farmers are beyond busy in the fall when they’re harvesting their fields, and the last thing they have time for is to chat through a farm land lease. The same would go for the spring planting season. On the other hand, they would generally have much more availability during the winter or summer months. This would be a better time to approach them and work through the details.

But it does take time to get a hunting lease set up, work through the details, and get your insurance. So if you’re really hoping to get out for opening morning of deer season and you’re just approaching landowners three days beforehand, you probably won’t be as successful.

Hunting leases don’t have to be as complicated as you think, especially if you use the tactics above! In addition to these tactics, there are many resources provided in the links below for both hunters and landowners to make the creation of a hunting lease relationship smooth.