One of the best aspects of owning property is being able to generate additional income through various kinds of leasing programs. There are a variety of leasing options available to landowners depending on the best uses of their property. For example, a landowner with a property rich in oil or other mineral deposits could lease out their mineral rights to a company that would harvest the minerals and cut the landowner a check.
Another fantastic leasing option is hunting leases. A hunting lease is an agreement between an individual and a landowner, wherein the landowner allows the individual to hunt on their land in exchange for money or services. Hunting leases are great because they often don’t require too much work on the part of the landowner and typically result in a better-managed property.
Benefits of Leasing Land for Hunting
As a landowner, there are many benefits to leasing your land for hunting, such as additional income, caretakers, and surveillance. The obvious draw to hunting leases is the generation of passive income through your property. Oftentimes the money gained from hunting leases will be enough for a landowner to pay off their property taxes for that year, or even to fund improvements around the property.
Another benefit to leasing land for hunting could be free caretaker work around the property on the part of the lessee. Many leasing agreements will include stipulations for the lessee to perform certain tasks around the property in lieu of a full-rate payment. These tasks could include mowing the grass, cleaning up trails, removing felled trees, and general upkeep of the property. In this way, a hunting lease could mean less work for the landowner to care for their land.
Additionally, having a few more people walking your property is good for the overall security of your property, especially when it comes to predators. It’s less likely that predators will come to your area if it’s an established hunting property, and if they do, you’ve got a better chance of catching their presence early with the help of your lessees. If you’re looking for assistance with predator prevention, then check out this article on our blog!
Types of Lease Agreements
There are a few different types of lease agreements typically used for leasing hunting land. Having an understanding of the different options a landowner has available to them will help them to choose the agreement that best fits their needs.
This kind of leasing agreement spans the course of a full year and is generally what most people go with, especially if this is a property that the lessee intends to hunt regularly. The timeframe for yearly leases usually runs from July 1st to June 30th of the following year, and the lessee is charged on a per-acre basis. This price can be further negotiated through exclusions in the lease, wherein the lessee agrees only to hunt certain game on the property, thereby decreasing their overall leasing rate.
Daily Land Leases are agreements that only run for a single day, meaning this type of lease has the lowest amount of commitment and risk on the part of the landowner. Since the hunters will only be on the property for a single day, the risk taken on by the landowner is significantly lower than in other kinds of leases.
However, daily leases come with their own unique challenges. For example, since hunters will be less familiar with the land, the landowner may need to act as a guide or provide transportation to designated hunting zones. While this may be more work for the landowner, providing extra services such as these is a great way to justify a higher leasing rate, resulting in more money in the landowner’s pockets at the end of the day.
Exchange of Services (Non-Fee Agreement)
The final common form of leasing would be an exchange of services or a non-fee agreement. This kind of agreement can be written or verbal and tends to be the least formal of the lease agreements.
In an exchange of services, the lessee is not charged a monetary fee to hunt on the land but rather agrees to render certain services for the landowner in order to hunt their land. The kinds of services performed by the lessee will vary depending on the needs of the landowner but could range from clearing debris from trails to keeping predators away from croplands.
Management Tips for Hunting Lease Properties
There is an overwhelming number of factors to consider when preparing to lease your land for hunting, so here are a few tips to keep in mind. One of the first things a landowner should look into would be hunting liability insurance. As NC Land Broker Aaron Sutton stated, “Fourwheelers, hunting with rifles, these kinds of activities can be dangerous, and you’ll want to be sure that you’re protected in the event something goes wrong.” There are plenty of companies that specialize in hunting liability insurance and will guarantee a landowner has all the right legal protections in place.
Landowners also need to ensure that their lessees are hunting in accordance with the state’s specific laws and regulations. Each state’s hunting laws are different, so it’s important for a landowner to be well-versed in these laws and monitor their lessee’s hunts to make sure they aren’t breaking any laws.
The final tip for managing a leased hunting property would be to consider if this endeavor is financially viable. Depending on the amount of work a landowner needs to perform, the profits gained from hunting leases may not be enough to justify leasing the property.
Speaking to this point, Aaron Sutton stated, “If you’re working every single day to manage this property, but are only profiting a few hundred dollars each year, then leasing may not be financially viable for your situation.” Before agreeing to any kind of lease, be sure to financially evaluate the agreement to ensure that it is worth the landowner’s time and effort from a financial standpoint.
If you’ve still got questions about leasing land for hunting, then contact one of our experienced Land Professionals here at National Land Realty! Our Land Professionals have the experience and connections to adequately address any land issues you might have.