kansas hunting lease

Can I hunt private land in Kansas that is not posted? Kansas trespassing, criminal hunting, and written permission laws.

Many hunters from across the nation will be converging on Kansas towns in the coming days for pheasant and quail opening weekend followed quickly by the rifle deer seasons.  While some may have family farms to return to or other private leases to hunt, others will be trying their hand on public lands and looking to find other private land that may be available.  The laws concerning where you can hunt are crucial when looking for that new honey-hole, especially for non-resident hunters unfamiliar with the nuances of Kansas hunting regulations.

Hunters may not hunt private land in Kansas without permission, even if it is not posted.  “Criminal Hunting,” is defined as hunting private land or water without the owner’s permission in statute K.S.A. 21-5810.  If you find private property that does not have signage saying “No Trespassing,” you still must determine the owner and get their permission before hunting the property.  This is different than some states with earlier pheasant seasons that hunters may be accustomed to, such as North Dakota.  Unless the land is clearly posted as public ground, such as Kansas’ “Walk In Hunting Area” land, you must have the permission of the owner before hunting there.

Purple paint is legally recognized as "No Trespassing" in many states, including Kansas.

Purple paint is legally recognized as "No Trespassing" in many states, including Kansas.

Where property IS posted, hunters in Kansas must carry written permission in their possession while hunting.  Kansas statute K.S.A. 32-1013 states that posted property in Kansas, that has signs saying any variation of “No Trespassing,” “No Hunting,” or “Private Land,” requires all hunters who are on the property to have written permission.  Verbal permission from the owner of the land, no matter how long you’ve known the owner or have hunted the property, is not enough and will result in trespassing tickets for your group. Purple paint on posts, fences, or trees surrounding the property also counts as “posted” property for the purposes of this statute.  Essentially, if there are signs or purple paint on the property you are hunting, you must have written permission to show the game warden if asked.

If you receive a trespassing ticket, you have a few options and should consult with an attorney before simply pleading guilty and paying the fines.  Nate Gilbert, attorney in Colorado and Kansas, grew up in Kansas and has defended trespassing charges for hunters in both Colorado and Kansas.  Drawing on the experience Nate has in dealing with these charges, a consultation with Nate will help you determine your best course of action and whether you have any defenses available.  

Kansas Migratory Bird Calendar Now Available For Download

Click Here for the 2016-2017 Kansas Migratory Bird Season Calendar from The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert.

All seasons for all units and zones for: Dove, Rail, Snipe, Woodcock, Ducks, Geese, and Cranes incl

Leasing Property For Hunting and Fishing

If you've hunted or fished public land before, you've probably thought about getting your own private hunting ground.  The pressure on public land can lead a great number of outdoorsmen to seek out private ground to buy, though the most common approach is to lease established farm ground.  Leasing a farmer or rancher's property can carry risks and responsibilities and should not be entered into lightly.

When approaching a landowner to inquire about a hunting or fishing lease, you need to have your ducks in a row.  What will you be hunting? What are the seasons for that animal? What kind of equipment will you be using?  Do not assume that every farmer or rancher immediately knows what all will be entailed in a "Deer Hunting Lease" or a "Duck Hunting Lease" or "Bass Fishing Lease."  It is in your best interest to have all of the information about your particular desires for the lease in mind and written out before you even think about approaching someone.  

Additionally, be prepared to retreat from some of the things you ask for.  A rancher may not like the idea of rifles on his property between September and November while cattle still graze on the grass, while he may be open to late season hunts in January after the cows have been moved to harvested corn fields.  This illustrates how important it is to be completely prepared with exactly what you are looking to do.  Finding out in September that the farmer doesn't want rifles near his place may leave you without a spot to hunt.

When you sign a lease, you are looking to be the exclusive user of that property for that purpose.  Your lease absolutely must reflect this.  Many state's laws state that the individual who leases the property for crops or grazing also leases the hunting rights to that property and may invite guests of his choosing to hunt.  Likewise, a landowner may not realize that even if you are there to deer hunt in December, that may mean his kids or grandchildren cannot duck hunt during or before that time.  What does your lease say about activity on the property before the actual season that you wish to lease it for? 

A common pitfall often seen in hunting leases is the failure to provide for unavoidable or unforeseen circumstances.  A farmhand may not know of the existing waterfowl hunting lease and drain the pond or flooded field that the hunters planned to hunt.  Who is responsible for filling the pond or field again? Was the draining a necessary action to prevent loss or damage to the farmer's crops or property? Your lease absolutely must provide for common eventualities like this that may leave your hunting property completely worthless for the whole season and give you no recourse for reimbursement.

At The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert, an attorney who actually hunts and fishes and understands the nuances and details special to hunting and fishing leases will review your lease or draft an entirely new lease for you and your hunting party.  Call Nate Gilbert to set up an absolutely free consultation to talk about your hunting and fishing needs.

Kansas Turkey Season Just Around The Corner

Hunters in Kansas are gearing up for what should be a stellar turkey season.  The bands of brutal thunderstorms that sweep across Kansas plains in the spring will hardly stop the most die-hard turkey hunters in pursuit of long beards and sharp spurs.  

Important tips to remember while in the field gunning for turkeys this spring:

  • Hunting on land posted as "Hunting by written permission only" or designated with purple paint without physical, written permission from the owner of the property in your possession at all times is Trespassing.  It truly does not matter how long you have known the owner, how many beers your grandpas had together, or even if you've been hunting there for years without a problem.  For turkeys in Kansas, trespassing while turkey hunting under this rule is a misdemeanor and punishable by at least a $500 fine.
  • Using any kind of spotlight while you, or another member of your party, is even in possession of a firearm is illegal.  There are exceptions for agricultural or livestock purposes, but try not to be holding your turkey calls and wearing full camouflage while checking cows.
  • Before transporting your downed bird, make sure to attach the tag to the turkey's leg as described in the regulations.  Failure to tag the bird before you move it can result in receiving a ticket.  Forget your pen? Forget a zip tie? 

As always, if you receive a ticket for unlawful hunting in Kansas, reach out to The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert for an absolutely free consultation to discuss your rights and any available options that you may have.  Just paying the fine and pleading guilty may come back to haunt you later down the road.  A Kansas hunting violation can have consequences that may affect next year's hunting seasons or your summer fishing plans.


Hunting Leases For Your Farm/Ranch Ground

Today's farmers and ranchers are in a unique position to capitalize on the current overwhelming popularity of hunting.  More hunters means less available public land for those hunters to enjoy.  It won't be long before those hunters seek out private land to hunt and hold as their own private hunting area.  If you own land or water features in Colorado or Kansas that you do not personally hunt (or even if you do) then you could benefit from leasing your huntable ground to a hunter or group of hunters.  Before you start listing your land, there are a number of concerns that you should consider.  In the following paragraphs, I'll touch on some very basic concerns that a new owner may have regarding the prospect of leasing their land.  Obviously, leasing your Colorado or Kansas farm ground will require additional considerations, but these points will get you headed in the right direction.

1) Who Will Be On Your Property?

This may be the biggest concern of leasing your most valuable asset to someone.  Are you leasing to an individual? Can that individual bring guests that you are not familiar with and how many at a time? Is the person leasing your land an outfitter that will be charging other people to come onto your land?  These are big questions that you and your lease drafter or attorney will need to go over in detail.  Leasing to outfitters or guides or companies that charge per-hunt fees to other groups is a very different situation than leasing to a father and his son or daughter.  Increased traffic, unsafe conditions, and general wear and tear on your land may keep you from leasing to an outfitter company unless concessions are worked into a lease that provide for those types of considerations.

In Colorado, guides and outfitters are regulated by the Department of Regulatory Agencies which maintain records of compliance, discipline, and complaints and also requires minimum insurance for outfitters to provide.  Checking these resources if a Colorado outfitter wishes to lease your ground may save you headaches from dealing with a company with a a history of complaints.  This in turn, also gives you another avenue if the outfitter is found to be in breach of the lease or disrespects your property.  Kansas outfitters are not regulated and can even provide guiding services on public land.  While it may be a little more difficult to do your due diligence on the outfitter wishing to lease your property, it will be more than worth it should an issue arise.

Additionally, a hunter who pays a goodly sum to lease your land may not appreciate anyone else being given access to the land.  Leasing your land may mean saying "no" when your nephew or granddaughter or neighbor asks to put a deer stand or duck blind on your property for the year.  Even if the two parties are not hunting the same type of game, if their chances to harvest animals on the property is affected, you may be in breach of the lease and have to refund the hunter's payments.

2) What Will The Hunters Be Hunting?

This is hug for both the hunter and the landowner.  Not only will this affect the time of year that your property will be accessed, but also the kinds of structures that are allowed on the property and the type of equipment used to harvest the intended game.  A farmer with a smaller, 50-60 acre plot next to his house may want to allow a deer hunting lease, but prohibit any rifle or shotgun use on the property due to the proximity to house/people/livestock.  This kind of restriction is not only perfectly acceptable, but very practical and popular.

Many seasons, such as waterfowl, have early seasons as well as late seasons.  These early seasons, usually in September (Kansas Teal season) and October (Missouri early dark goose season), may occur during the harvest or calving times on your property.  It would serve the farmer or rancher well to advise the hunters of your estimated time frames for the real work on your property before they sign the lease and even provide that kind of clause as a condition of leasing.

3) How Much Should I Charge?

Now we're getting to the real meat and potatoes.  Why would you go through all this trouble unless you were certain you could make a profit or at least enough to make the hassle worth it.  Unfortunately there is no easy answer.  It essentially comes down to asking yourself what it's worth to you as the landowner.  The price will be different depending on the amount of usage as well.  An outfitter bringing clients in to the property daily will obviously pay more for a property than a group of three-four friends looking for a new spot to deer hunt a few days a year.  I personally have seen small ponds leased for hunting at around $500/year and ranches of several thousand acres fetching upwards of $30-40,000.00/year just for hunting rights in Colorado.  

If you think you want to lease your property, The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert will meet with you to discuss this new venture at your Colorado or Kansas property personally and go through the questions you may have.  The lease can be a rewarding opportunity for the landowner, but must be carefully considered and well thought out before allowing any hunters onto the property.  Nate Gilbert offers 100% free consultations on hunting lease drafting; Call Nate now to learn more about extracting the hidden value of wildlife on your property!