Only a few more months until this year’s hunting season and we are all getting our leases ready for the rut. We have our tree stands hung, cameras put in place, and all of our leases are secured for the season.  By “secured” I don’t just mean we shook hands with the landowner and they agreed to let us hunt. We want to make sure the landowner is protected, we are protected, and everyone is happy with the deal. The best way to do that is with a lease agreement.

A lease agreement sounds like it could be scary. Like something lawyers would need to get involved with and it sounds expensive. Well, it doesn’t have to be any of those things. You can use our fully customizable lease agreement for free when you purchase a hunting lease liability policy. No cost at all. Just fill out the information that you and your landowner agreed upon, print it out, sign it, and you are both covered! You don’t need lawyers because we already had ours look over the agreement to make sure it has everyone’s best interests in mind.

For over 15 years, our lease agreement has been setting the standard for private hunting leases and hunt clubs across the United States. We included all the things that other lease agreements leave out because we know what we want out of a lease agreement, and we know what our landowners want as well. Our lease agreement includes our lease start and end dates, what type of game we are allowed to hunt, the methods we are allowed to hunt them with and so much more. There’s plenty of space for adding clauses that your landowner has requested as well! With a lease agreement like ours, there’s no more haggling mid-season on whether or not ATV use is permitted, it’s already been agreed upon when you and your landowner signed your lease!

Below are just a few of the standard clauses in our agreement and you also have the opportunity to add any clauses you would like as well:

a. To pay Licensor the sum of $______ as consideration for the use of the Licensed Area for the initial term. If Licensee desires to renew the license for an additional term, Licensee shall notify licensor in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the initial term, but in no way does this bind licensor to renew the contract. Licensee shall pay such sum to licensor no later than the beginning date of the renewal term. Failure to pay such sum within the time constraints herein imposed releases the Licensor from performance of this License and Licensor may relet the whole or any part of the Real Estate without recourse from the Licensee.
b. To not sublease the Real Estate, nor shall Licensee grant permission to anyone who is not a party to this License or a member of the Hunting Group to hunt or otherwise use the Real Estate. For purposes of this Agreement, the Hunting Group shall be defined as the Licensee, which can consist of up to 1 hunters.
c. To abide by any and all State, Federal and local hunting regulations, including any quotas prescribed by Licensor. Failure to follow said regulations, by Licensee or other member of the Hunting Group may, at Licensor’s option, cause immediate cancellation of the License as to that Licensee or to all Licensees (at Licensor’s sole discretion) and without refund of all or any portion of the license payment.
d. To maintain proper safety procedures regarding firearms, including but not limited to, ensuring that all firearms are unloaded while in vehicles and in vicinity of all buildings.
e. To maintain proper vigilance aimed at preventing fires or damage by other means to the Real Estate, and to immediately report any wildfires that may occur on the Real Estate to Licensor.
f. To ensure that vehicles are driven only on established roads and that all gates are left as originally found.
g. To maintain a no hunting or shooting zone within 100 yards of any occupied building and around all other designated areas.
h. To remove all personal property or structures placed or constructed by Licensee upon the Licensed Area at termination of this License unless the Licensor has provided prior written consent to leave any or all such property.
i. To repair any damage caused to the Real Estate and to return the Real Estate and property to the Licensor in the same condition that existed upon commencement of the License. Any clearing of underbrush must be done in a manner so as not to damage any trees or crops that have been planted.
j. To not place or drive nails, spikes, or metal objects into any trees or timber on the premises for any purpose whatsoever: however, notwithstanding the foregoing, licensee may use trees for posting purposes provided only aluminum nails are used.
k. To in no way hinder farming or damage crop production.
l. To not enter upon any neighboring land or hunt on any real estate not described herein.
m. To keep the Real Estate free of litter at all times.
n. That all property of every nature and description that may be on the premises during the continuance of this license shall be at the sole risk of licensee and licensor shall not be liable to licensee or any other person for injury, loss or damage to any person or property on the premises.
  1. Licensor hereby agrees:
a. To provide the Licensee with hunting rights on the Licensed Area during the term of this License, subject to the conditions and restrictions provided herein.
b. To not license to or give any other individual(s) permission to access for recreation, occupy for recreation, or use for recreation purposes, or hunt on the Real Estate during the term of this License.

Lastly, to further cover ourselves and our landowners, we always purchase Hunting Liability Insurance so that we aren’t just covered to protect our lease, we are also protecting ourselves from any legal damage we might do or that is done to us. Most written hunting leases have an indemnity clause and hold harmless agreement. Those release the landowner from liability that may arise because of the hunter’s actions. They don’t say that the neighbor who gets hit with a stray bullet can’t sue the landowner and they don’t prevent the hunter’s wife from suing the landowner if the hunter loses his life to an accident on the property. She may feel she has to sue just to keep food on the table for her family once they’ve lost an income. Hunting leases don’t provide insurance for either party. That’s why you need hunting lease insurance.