Dan's Question of the Week: Lease Lessons

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Dan Schmidt
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Dan's Question of the Week: Lease Lessons

Postby Dan Schmidt » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:53 pm

Leasing land for deer hunting is old hat in the South, but it is a relatively new concept in many Northern, Midwest and Eastern states. My question for this week: Have you ever experienced a bad situation while leasing land for deer hunting? Share your stories here. It could be trespassing problems; a bait-and-switch deal; an untruthful owner or agent; or just about anything in between.

My biggest lesson? Make sure I spell out terms clearly in every contract. For example, I recently had a lease that was supposed to run for a minimum of three hunting seasons. I shot two mature bucks off of the property during the first season, and then the landowner wound up selling the property at the end of that year. I was out of luck, because I did not have "in case of sale" terms included in the contract. Lesson learned.

Now let's here your lessons...
Daniel E. Schmidt, Editor, Deer & Deer Hunting

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RE: Dan's Question of the Week: Lease Lessons

Postby JPH » Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:27 pm

I was involved in one lease, on a property adjacent to the one I own, and it ended badly. I was working with two parties that I did not know personally. We came to an agreement verbally. The paperwork was pending but the landowner told me I could go ahead and post it while the paperwork was catching up to us. Big mistake!

I was fishing one of the farm ponds after posting the land and encountered someone who had come in to fish. I tried to explain that the property was being leased and he reacted in anger. It ended up being the worst confrontation I've ever had over land use. Anyway, this guy complained to the landowner and he ended up deciding that the lease was too much trouble. The whole thing fell apart before it was ever signed. That property is essentially a free-fire zone to this day. Anyone who wants to use it can and does without asking.

What did I learn? Assume nothing, be patient and do not act until you have a well written, signed contract in your hand.   

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RE: Dan's Question of the Week: Lease Lessons

Postby Jon H. » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:50 am

What I found out is,  let's say you have 1500 acres, so you need 15 people to pay for it. If you don't, you have to make up the difference! and that can be costly. Second, the last people who get on a lease usually don't have a good spot and leave the next year. Also try to get people to work on work day is another problem. Let say you harvest a good deer and the land owner finds out they might go up on your lease! Or take the lease from you.  And as you know people have different hunting ethics witch can cause problems. And  we had people ( my self included ) argue about spots. The problem with trespassers, is locals living next to the lease. They like to ride four wheelers and horses at night! So the deer can't rest. Well, my experience  is not very good with leases from running them to being a member! I know I'm just a small minority, but that's what I got dealing with leases.   

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RE: Dan's Question of the Week: Lease Lessons

Postby Wanderer » Sun May 01, 2011 8:30 am

We have had our Alabama lease for over 25 years. The total acres owned by the landowner is about 3900. We lease 693 of those acres.The problem stems from a third party, let's call him George, who leased the entire acreage years ago, cherry picked the 1600 acres he wanted to hunt, and sublet the remaining acres to two other groups of which we are one. We lease 693 and our good friends from Birmingham lease the other 1600, including the camp house that we share, but we pay our money to George (he wants it in cash) We found out last year that George had been collecting from us, but shorting the landowner on the total lease fees. We also found out that he was marking up what he charged us by enough to pay for quite a bit of his own lease. Luckily, we found out what was happening, talked with the owner, and we now have the lease direct to us from the landowner. It's George who's SOL. But we could have lost the whole thing including 26 permanent stands and 14 greenfields along with our camphouse. I guess the days of trusting another "hunter" are over for us.

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RE: Dan's Question of the Week: Lease Lessons

Postby jonny5buck » Sun May 01, 2011 10:55 am

Luckily i havent been involved in the lease game so far. I am fortunate enough to have 2 huge State Parks close by to hunt,and another 200 acres split among family and friends that i hunt...one of the properties i simply clear dead wood ,and maintain it and am welcomed back each year....i also offer venison to the landowner and buy them a case of pop every year.

They are fine with that,and as long as i respect the land and dont bring anyone to hunt or try sneaking anyone one i have permission to hunt every year...i do not take it for granted and realize that this cash cow could come to an end any day...until then i continue to scout new areas every year and explore new ground.

I feel for the guys that lease and have heard of some ending badly ...the fine print or lack of it can be a !@#$%....

Jon H.
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RE: Dan's Question of the Week: Lease Lessons

Postby Jon H. » Sun May 01, 2011 12:26 pm

Right now, I'm hunting private land and WMA's. I fill that the money for the lease and every thing else that goes with it, I can put it into gas and put more time into hunting the WMA's.  But if I have to go to leasing again, I will lease just enough land for my son and myself!

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RE: Dan's Question of the Week: Lease Lessons

Postby PastorZig » Mon May 02, 2011 10:06 pm

I have been hunting leased land since 1996. Over the years, the other 5 guys have dropped off until a few years ago the last one quit. I tried to bring in two new guys but that ended in the loss of friendship so I have just continued with just my family.

Trespassing continues to be a problem and the neighbor's free-ranging dogs give me much grief.

There have not been any problems with the landowners. (I'm not superstitious but....... Knock on wood!!!)

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Re: Dan's Question of the Week: Lease Lessons

Postby danesdad » Sun May 15, 2011 4:33 pm

I've never had to lease. I've never hunted outside Pennsylvania and I have never hunted anywhere inside Pennsylvania where the quality of hunting was consistently at a level that I'd consider paying for the privledge of hunting that land. If I were paying to hunt there, my expectations for the quality and number of deer would be much higher than they are for the public lands and private properties where I now hunt for free. I might consider leasing if I were in Iowa or Kansas where I might see a 150 class buck, but I wouldn't lease around here.

In short, I've learned nothing about leases.
Hunting: 10% skill and 90% location.

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