Hunting Lease Considerations: What Happens If We Can’t Hunt?

May 21, 2021

Texas Hunting Lease Attorney Nathaniel gilbert

Landowners should never offer guarantees related to game in their hunting leases.  However, hunters looking to sign hunting leases should be careful when signing leases that do nothing to cover certain events that may make the pursuit of a particular animal on the property no longer possible.

“Frustration of Purpose” is a legal phrase in contract law that boils down to the idea that the intent of the parties to the contract can no longer be carried out due to some intervening cause.  In the case of hunting leases, we want to look at things that make the property unsuitable for the specific type of hunting pursuit that used to be there, but now is not.

Examples of this kind of intervening cause in hunting leases might be a fire that wipes out the standing timber on a deer lease, a break in a dam that causes a lake to empty on a duck lease, or the only roads to the property being washed out or becoming impassable during the season dates.  These types of intervening events directly cause the hunters to miss out on the opportunity that they are paying for.  However, the hunter not getting to hunt is not a blanket cover all for frustration of purpose.

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Leases are a give and take arrangement.  The landowner has to know that any kind of event like those above will result in the cancellation of the lease and possible refund of any money paid.  Similarly, the hunters must understand that their personal misfortune or inability to hunt the property or harvest game is NOT a sufficient intervening event to qualify as frustration of purpose.  In states where certain seasons are short, if a hunter is somehow unavailable or unable to travel during the dates in question, they should not expect to be able to cancel the lease.  Similarly, failure of game to migrate onto the property or any natural changes in game trails or flyways is not sufficient to cancel a lease agreement.

The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert helps landowners, outfitters, and hunters with hunting lease agreements that are custom tailored to the property and hunting available.  Attorney Nate Gilbert is also an avid outdoorsman and shares the passions of his clients, giving him the ability to understand the common concerns with hunting leases.

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Nathaniel Gilbert is the sole attorney at The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert, PLLC. Practicing in the areas of Real Estate and Business, Nate serves the states of Texas, Colorado, and Kansas. He can be reached at 726-999-0087.