Landowners benefit the most when they lease hunting rights to hunters.
Being a landowner can be considered a status symbol in its own right. Recently with the land and real estate market hitting extreme highs, owning land may seem like a luxury. However, there may be a gold mine sitting right underneath the land you already own in the form of hunting leases.
Leasing hunting rights to your land can allow a passive method of income, can reduce the incidence of trespassers, and allowing for wildlife population control are just some of the ways landowners benefit from their property. Liability insurance can also add extra peace of mind to this endeavor.
Landowners can be landowners for different reasons. Some owners never hunt, some hunt only specific game, some hunt everything, and some may even be owners to someday develop down the road but aren’t in a financial spot to do that yet. Leasing land to hunters can offer additional conservation outreach and help pay some property taxes, even if you don’t hurt yourself.
Earning Revenue from Otherwise Unused Land
Earning revenue through hunting leases on otherwise unused land could be considered a highly underrated way to earn some income. Depending on the size of your lot, quality of land, amenities, and game population, you could get anywhere from $10-$50 per acre in potential lease earnings.
There are a couple of different leasing periods that can be considered, as the lease itself has to be for a defined period of time. Some landowners choose a per-season agreement, some a per-hunt agreement, and some a per-acre agreement.
Generally, a lease for land will be more than a hunting club lease, yet lower than a land loan payment, and this can be very attractive to hunters. Even though it may be more expensive than a membership with a hunting club, a hunter engaging in a private hunting lease will deal with less pressure on a parcel.
Hunters may also enjoy other perks if the landowner is open to them, like influence over game and land management and long-term generational agreements to keep this tradition accessible for years or decades down the road.
Hunters usually deter trespassers, which can be particularly helpful with absentee landowners. Often landowners communicate with hunters at any given time to look for any trespassers, and if the proper paperwork is signed, hunters have the right to prosecute trespassers if needed.
Another aspect that can help further deter trespassers is posting highly visible signs on all boundaries or obvious access points. Locked entrances can also help, as long as the hunters that you lease to have access in accordance with leasing terms.
Random drop-ins are helpful in addition to periodically having leasees on and off your land in regards to reducing trespassers. Trespassers often target absentee landowners, so if possible, check-ins can be another step if you’ve had reports or concerns of unwanted people on your land.
Wildlife and game management is probably the most beneficial outcome of a hunting lease. Populations grow and flow within an environment, and sometimes predator populations or prey populations can get too large and unsustainable over the years.
A working relationship with the hunters can allow you to keep even closer tabs on game and predator movement. They may notice before you when a new pack of coyotes attempt to establish themselves or if a few transients are passing through.
Hunters can help manage these populations by addressing established coyotes or allowing them to roam if the area’s deer population is in a significant surplus. Hunters can also help cull excess deer if your property has an overpopulation issue.
Depending on resident herd health, keeping an eye on populations and individual animal quality can vary in priority. Various diseases can absolutely decimate resident herds in a season. Having a second (or multiple) set of eyes on populations within your parcel can help you keep equity within your lease and land value.
The landowners’ benefit can also be in the form of herd improvement, in particular with deer. Suppose the hunters you’re leasing to establish a great working relationship. In that case, you may even want to ask them if they can start fostering desired genetics through culling and systematically allowing certain deer to mature another season. Even bigger and better bucks can be on the horizon with this approach. Although if you don’t care much about the hunting, that may not be a concern of yours, and you can leave the hunters to their own strategies.
You Stay Protected With Liability Insurance
If you plan on leasing to hunters, liability insurance for you as a landowner is vital. Some landowners may choose to have an organization handle a lease, and they may require liability insurance; regardless, liability insurance protects the landowner should any accidents or damage occur at the hands of invited guests, leasees, family, or trespassers.
American Hunting Lease Association (AHLA) offers vacant land insurance with instant quotes. There are standard and premium membership options and a friendly, knowledgeable management team to help you every step of the way. AHLA can customize a liability waiver to use for your leasees and offers an online portal option for convenient management.
AHLA also offers coverage for land that has multiple owners. Vacant land policies can cover up to 7 land owners for free, and you can add however many additional landowners for a slight premium increase.
Old barns, sheds, and other structures like cabins are also covered with an AHLA vacant land liability policy. Suppose you, as a landowner, are offering a premium lease rate for hunters and include amenities such as hunting cabins, stands, barns, or blinds. In that case, AHLA has you covered in case a stray bullet or hunting party gone wild situation ever happens.
Hunting leases can be a fantastic tool for landowners benefit to make an asset work in their favor and earn extra income, help control wildlife populations, and limit trespassers long or short-term.
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