Let's Do It. Choosing the Right Hunting Lease.
Articles in this Series
By Sean Ferbrache, COO, American Hunting Lease Association
The following is the second in a five part series of informative articles written for hunters of all experience levels, passions, and expectations.
From your first thoughts of a hunting lease to the second you put an arrow or bullet through his lungs, this series will guide you through the entire process.
You have seen the light! You have addressed your hunting club's expectations and the finances and are ready to begin wading through the infinite amount of information to find the right lease?
Like any "search" these days, most of us turn to our phone, tablet or laptop and begin our search on Google. I think Google (internet in general) is a pretty solid place to start when looking for a hunting lease as well. The vast majority of hunting lease companies have some type of website that lists their available properties. Unfortunately, the method that Google uses to list and rank these sites can be very complicated and most hunting lease sites just won't rank in a simple search. The AHLA helps with that by listing those companies that are AHLA Certified Associates on our own site at ahuntinglease.org. Companies that display the AHLA Certified Associate logo on their home page have agreed to a standard of best business practices and can be trusted partner in your search for the right property. There is an extremely high number of "here today, gone tomorrow" companies that you should be aware of. To avoid a potentially bad experience, I would highly recommend using an AHLA Certified Associate as a starting point in any search for a quality hunting lease.
Whether you are using a hunting lease broker or looking for a private arrangement with a landowner, it is always a good idea to inspect the property yourself. No broker or landowner should expect you to take a lease without making it available to you for an inspection. Take a good long walk around and make notes to look at later. Of course, you are going to be looking for deer sign (that's a given), but you aren't there to deer hunt this time. Instead, look for multiple access points for different wind situations, escape routes, bedding areas that deer might use year after year, water sources and even signs of other hunters. These are the factors that make a good lease and give you the best chance to enjoy your investment and harvest a mature whitetail. To fully benefit from a hunting lease, you really should plan on having it for a few years and the best way to do that is to start off with a quality property that you can learn and grow on.
To determine the type of property you are looking for asking yourself this question. "How hard do I want to work on this lease to make it enjoyable and successful?"
Your answer to that question should shed some light on the size, terrain and overall huntability of the lease you need. As a rule, the larger the tract of land you lease, the more work it will take to hunt. This is true from the time you park the truck and walk in, to the time you start dragging a deer out. I mention it because many of you aren't looking for a nature hike on your way to your stand. Furthermore, hilly or steep ravines can make even a short walk seem like an endurance event. Will you be hunting with a small child or an older "seasoned" hunter that may not be able to get up and down hills? These are all questions that must be asked and answered prior to settling on a lease.
On the other hand, those of you that enjoy spending days preparing for hunting season may well benefit and love hunting on a large tract with multiple stand locations and more opportunities to take full advantage when a Boone and Crockett buck finally makes a mistake. The chance to spend several days hanging stands and trimming shooting lanes is what I like the most about my own lease. This "work" is a passion and I look forward to that time on my lease. Obviously, a larger lease is going to hold more deer and allow you and your group to spread out a little. As always, when you lease land you can make those decisions and decide when and how you hunt.
Leasing hunting ground can be the best decision you ever make as a hunter. Do your best to lease a farm that everyone in your club can enjoy. Remember some in your group may just want to see a lot of deer, while others want to hike deep in and set up to kill a giant. The right lease is out there... it's just going to take a little time on a laptop and some comfortable hiking boots to find it.
To learn more about hunting leases and the American Hunting Lease Association, please visit our homepage.