How Affordable is Leasing?
I'll tell you a story and you can tell pretty quickly whether or not you want to spend your money. if you tell your wife or your significant other “Hey, I'm just going to spend $5,000 dollars.” That isn't going to go over so well. Instead, let's do the math. Let's break it down per hunter, per hunt. How you can show that leasing is an affordable option. Every hunter at some point or another has gotten a phone call that said, “hey, we can't hunt the ground anymore that we were hunting and I was hunting on a friend of mine's grandmother's farm, she sold it. So that's gone, we have to take our stands down and we're out.” It's horrible news. It sad. That's a bad phone call, especially when you passed on a deer last year. Back to the story, I was retired. I had been with the Indianapolis Fire Department for 26 years. I had some friends in the fire department that also hunted. So we got together, I think there were 6 of us on this first lease. I said, “you know, here's what I think we should do. I want to lease ground.” There was a couple of guys that said “how does that work? You mean pay?” and the answer is “yes, but here's what you get for it”. So everybody agreed. “Okay, let's start looking”. We ended up going with a broker, Base Camp Leasing, and they had a 205 acre farm in Decatur County, Indiana, South Eastern Indiana. I'll put it up against anywhere in this country. It's just killer ground and the price was $4,200 dollars. So we go down. $4,200 dollars is a bit of Sticker shock right out of the gate. That’s not $4,200 apiece. $4,200 total, $700 apiece. That's manageable. That's a conversation I can have with my wife. So we go down, we walk out and check it out. Of course, it looks great. Just everything you want to see in a farm. We could really spread out on this 205. In fact, all 205 acres were huntable. There were patches of woods scattered and draws in between the crop fields. There wasn't a place you could go on that farm, and not expect kill a deer.
So we decided to lease it and we had a phenomenal experience that very first year. Back to explaining to my wife how I'm going to spend $700 dollars. And this was 10-11 years ago. So I'm still with the fire department, and we just got together. To my wife I was like, “here's almost $700. I'm going to work 2 overtime shifts, and that money, when it comes in a check, take it out. And I'm going put on it this lease.” She was fine with it. She knew I was kind of passionate about this kind of stuff. We have little bit more money leftover so we bought some community tree stands and the 5 or 6 of us would go out there and we'd hang stands. We'd put up cameras, set up a little group texts and stuff. Then we had a ball for the three years we were on that lease. Then a couple of guys’ sons grew up and they wanted to hunt some deer and so they just moved on. So we moved on from that lease and got another one with who was left. The point being, in the end, we were able to take that $4,200 dollars and really apply it to what was actually being spent on our behalf and what you were getting for that.
It was annual access, any game that was legal during that season. You could mushroom hunt. You can shed hunt. You can Waterfowl hunt. You can do everything you want on that property, recreationally, for $700 dollars annually. Plus, we got the first right of renewal. For $700, I think it's a steal. If you wanted to go with an outfitter in Illinois or somewhere around the Midwest, it would have been $3,500 easily. That's for you for five days. And there are people that have that need as well, that's why we've started working a lot with guides and outfitters now, and I understand it if you just can't get away for things except for three to five days during hunting season, you want to hunt with your buddy. You go out to Colorado or whatever. I get it, that's fine, and I've done that. But this is just a different option, and I think it's very affordable and I think, to me, It feeds my passion. We all have passions. We're all willing to spend our money, our disposable income, on those things. This one's for me, and it works.