It's for the Birds

If landowners are new to the business, experts recommend they start small to get their feet wet. Once they've got a handle on things however, the sky's the limit. There're any number of mediums for marketing hunting leases -- from word of mouth to Web sites -- but one selfless (albeit clever) strategy deserves a mention. Landowners can donate a hunt to an organization such as Ducks Unlimited (the farther away the better, it brings more exposure) who can use the hunt as a fundraiser through raffles or auctions. This helps raise money for wildlife conservation efforts and helps attract interest to property owners' money-making efforts. A match made in heaven!

Prices of Hunting Leases

At this point, it probably doesn't ­come as a surprise that setting a price on a hunting lease is no cut-and-dry matter. Many factors go into lease pricing, so it's a good idea to do a little research beforehand. Comparison shopping to find out what similar properties are charging is beneficial, and this is one of the ways extension agents (along with bankers, real estate agents and farm managers) can be of assistance. Brokers can also act as go-betweens during the dealings and assist with setting the price. While there are some bidding wars and dirty dealings in the world of hunting leases, educating yourself and getting some solid advice can go along way.

Now let's take a closer look at some of the aspects that influence the price of hunting leases. Many of these are intuitive, but some may come as a surprise:

  • The location, accessibility and acreage of the property
  • The aesthetics and maturity of the land
  • The quality, diversity and size of the wildlife
  • The length of time the lease is in effect for and the amount of time the owner spends on land management
  • The services being offered (whether by the landowner or the hunter) and the amenities on the property
  • The number of hunters using the land and the amount of wildlife the land can support
  • The activity on neighboring properties and the amount of trespassers frequenting the area

All of these factors -- even the ones a property owner can't necessarily control -- can have an effect on the price tag of a hunting lease, so it can be a little daunting for beginners to figure out what's a fair market rate. But whether you're the landowner (the lessor) or the hunter (the lessee) finding a fair compromise is important in the transaction, especially since if everything goes well it can be the beginning of a lasting and rewarding partnership.

On the next page, we'll take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of hunting leases, and how land can be improved to get a better deal.