WHY DO YOU NEED HUNTING LEASE INSURANCE?
Hunting Leases are becoming increasingly popular since it has become progressively more difficult to find private property and obtain permission for the right to hunt or trespass. The days when sportsmen could roam the countryside looking for quality land and seeking owner permission to hunt on these farms or woodlots are long gone. Unless the hunter is willing to try their luck on highly competitive public land or has the good fortune to have a connection with a landowner having adequate hunting resources available, a hunting lease is often the only way to be actively involved in a reasonable and safe hunting experience.
Most written hunting leases do include an indemnity clause and hold harmless agreement; releasing the landowner from liability that may arise because of the hunter's actions. That clause does not say that the neighbor that gets hit with a stray bullet can't sue the landowner or a hunter's wife who loses her husband to a fatal accident on the property can't come after the landowner. Faced with no revenue stream from the bread winner of the family could force her to go to court to keep food on the table for her family. One of the biggest benefits of liability insurance is the fact that the insurance company is obligated to defend the insured and those defense expenses are included in the coverage, over and above the limits of the exposure.
Both landowners and hunters assume some degree of legal risk. Common law principles provide the legal parameters regarding the rights and duties of landowners. Under common law, landowners have a duty to guests, those paying to hunt (leaseholders or clients) and, to a lesser degree, trespassers. Landowners have the duty to inspect their property, remove hidden dangers, keep the property in a reasonably safe condition, and take precautions to protect users from foreseeable danger.
Many states have recreational use statutes that attempt to limit the landowner's liability exposure. However, most do not limit landowner liability exposure when they charge a fee. The amount of that fee varies by state but generally is very small and in most cases any compensation at all eliminates the statute, which could include barter arrangements.