I Am A Hunter
"I don't remember when I started hunting, but it would have been when I was very young. My family had a deer lease a few miles from our house, and we would hunt every winter. (For you Yankees: a deer lease is a property where the owner rents or leases hunting rights out for a certain amount of time; you pay your money and you get the right to go out and hunt. Y'all probably have different arrangements where you live, but this one is pretty common down here.) Besides deer, we'd hunt turkey, doves, quail—whatever was in season. 'We' meant my mom, my dad, and my brother, who's four years younger than me. We'd spend the weekends in an old RV trailer. It wasn't very big, but we were a tight little family and we had a lot of fun."
Chris Kyle, Navy Seal , American Sniper
How does a Hunting Lease work?
A hunting lease is a simple agreement between a hunter or group of hunters and a landowner. In exchange for a fee, the hunters are granted access to the property for hunting and/or recreational rights. What makes the hunting lease attractive to hunters is that they have more control over how their lease is hunted. Although a landowner certainly can set the parameters of the lease, including game to be harvested and weapons to be used, it is the hunter that controls when and where to hunt. Unlike hunting on public ground, hunters that enjoy a hunting lease can hunt with confidence that no other hunter will interrupt their hunt by walking into their area. By limiting the number of hunters to a particular lease or area, hunters create a much safer and more enjoyable experience. Parents with children that enjoy spending time in a blind or walking through the woods, will feel much safer having their small hunters by their side.
An arrangement that will make both hunters and landowners happy must have two components. The first is a written lease agreement. Anything less than a written document, signed by all parties, leaves too much room for confusion and eventually a poor relationship. The lease agreement provided to AHLA customers is a state of the art template that can be customized to fit any hunter's or landowner’s needs. The AHLA lease agreement has served as the industry standard for private landowners and leasing companies for several years and can be used with confidence.
The second "must-have" component is a hunting lease liability insurance policy. Without a proper liability policy, hunters and landowners simply put too much at risk. When a landowner invites hunters onto their property, whether for free or a fee, they assume some responsibility for their safety. A hunter that falls into an abandoned cistern/well breaking a leg, may claim he wasn’t informed of the hazard and seek compensation. A good hunting lease liability policy will protect all parties against these types of claims. The AHLA, unlike other companies, requires that all landowners be listed as "Additional Insureds" for your protection. In most cases, a landowner will either require the hunters to provide a policy or simply make the purchase themselves and pass the modest cost onto the hunters. IMPORTANT: Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover hunters or guests that have paid a fee to hunt.
Finding the right Hunting Lease for your Hunt Club.
Once you have decided that a hunting lease makes the most sense for you and your group, the search and preparation can begin. The AHLA has written several articles on finding, securing and preparing your hunting lease. (linked at bottom of page) There are many things to consider when looking for the right lease. What some might consider a good lease, may not meet the needs of another group. The simple way to choose a good lease is to set your group's expectations and budget first. Once you have agreed on those two principles, you are ready to set out on the search for the right ground and hopefully the one that will produce memories, enjoyment and of course plenty of game!
DIY vs Professional Hunting Lease Company
There are two fundamental ways to search for the right piece of ground. Both methods have their advantages, it simply comes down to what is best for your group. The first one and the easiest is to use a professional hunting lease company. These companies already have hunting leases available and usually list descriptions and provide aerial photos. Further, most hunting lease companies have all of the paperwork completed for you and may even handle your insurance needs. A simple internet search will reveal the companies that offer leases in your area.TIP: When searching for a hunting lease on the internet, try narrowing your search to meet your criteria. Instead of searching for "hunting lease", search for "Schuyler county Missouri hunting lease" or "southern Ohio deer lease".
As the popularity of hunting leases has spread throughout the country, smaller and less reputable "companies" have emerged. When searching for a reputable and trusted hunting lease company, always look for the AHLA Certified Associate logo on the company’s homepage. By displaying this logo, you (the customer) can rest assured that they are a professional company and have agreed to set of trusted business practices.
The other method is tried and true, but requires a little more work on your part. The advantage of finding your own lease and agreeing to terms with a landowner might mean a little more ground for a little less money. However, be ready for a more difficult search and don’t be afraid to wait for the right opportunity. Craigslist, local newspapers or farm trade magazines are good places to look for a lease. Another effective and affordable tactic is to place your own ad. Get aggressive and take the search to them! A simple classified ad in a local paper can pay dividends in the end. Of course, once you find the right landowner with the right piece of land, the paperwork needs to be completed.
The AHLA exists to make your hunting lease experience both affordable and easy. The AHLA offers a complete Hunting Lease Insurance package that includes a hunting lease liability policy, use of our customizable lease agreement, an AHLA membership and even space on our site to keep track of your lease agreements. All of this for one low price and conveniently available in an easy online process.
As always, the AHLA wishes you much success on your hunting lease. If you are hunting from an elevated tree stand, please remember to always wear a safety harness and stay connected from the time your feet leave the ground.