You may have heard or have the perception that hunting participation is on the decline, but one thing for sure there is no shortage of people looking for hunting leases. With the internet, it is easier than ever to put your property out there to potential lessors. Our company, Hunting Land Rentals by Owner (www.hlrbo.com), allows landowners to advertise their property for free.
We have compiled our list of “fundamentals” that we have learned throughout the years that we highly recommended you follow when leasing you land to hunters. If you follow these simple rules you will not only limit your liability but make this a successful endeavor for years to come.
Fundamentals of Hunting Leases on your Land:
1. Have a Written Agreement (HLRBO has an agreement template). Your agreement spells out payment terms, cancellation terms, number of individuals that are allowed on the property.
2. Require the hunter(s) to carry hunting lease insurance. These policies are available and are becoming more common. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive for the hunter to purchase. A quick google search will show dozens of options from reputable sources.
3. Do a walkthrough with the hunters before they are allowed to start using the property to make clear any expectations you may have. Also, this is a good time to show them the boundaries of the property. This is also a good time to show them any safety related items such as fence locations, gates to keep closed, and any dangerous areas to avoid.
4. Have a way to communicate with each other. Discuss how you much or little you would like the hunter to discuss access with you. Would you prefer they contact you before any time they will be out on the land with a quick email or call? Make sure you set the expectations early. You can also name the individuals that are allowed on your property in the Agreement to avoid unwanted additional people that are not under contract.
5. Discuss what you are willing to allow on your property for hunting structures. Are you alright with deer or duck blinds, tree stands? While hunting safety incidents are extremely rare and are sharply declining statistically, a large portion of the injuries involve tree stands. At the least it may be a good idea to review what type of tree stand they intend to build or use. Then you can use your best judgement on whether to allow it or not on your property.
6. Require the hunter(s) have valid hunter safety course completion certificates. Classes are easily available across the country including online. The National Shooting Sports Foundation publishes statistics available at www.nssf.org that show a sharp decline in hunting related injuries since hunter and firearm safety courses have been required for obtaining a hunting license.
7. Make sure that the lessor understands that there are rules that if violated will cause termination of the lease. Such as not following state or federal laws and regulations, especially the safety rules.
If you have additional questions about leasing hunting land as a landowner or hunter please contact us at email@example.com. We look forward to helping you.