Hunting Lease Lawyer
Hunting Leases for Farms and Ranches
Hunting leases are gaining popularity across the nation as alternative income for farmers and ranchers. Nowhere is this more true than the midwest/southwest, especially in Colorado, Texas, and Kansas. From waterfowl leases of single, 30 acre ponds ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars to the mountain ranches flush with elk fetching nearly $150,000.00, the hunting industry is at an all time high and landowners stand to reap the benefits. Before you rush to get hunters onto your property, it is imperative your consult a knowledgeable attorney with experience in hunting and recreational leases. A qualified attorney can craft a lease that avoids the usual headaches and offers the highest profit with the least amount of intrusion.
Signs around your property indicating that the land has been leased for hunting are a great tool to deter trespassers or would be hunters. Signs like this indicate that you know the hunting value of your property and there are likely to be sportsmen in the area during the season
Important Considerations For Leasing Your Property For Hunting or Fishing:
PROVISIONS AND RESTRICTIONS
TERMS AND RENEWALS
LIABILITY AND INSURANCE
How Do I Lease My Land For Hunting?
Determine the property you want to lease: This can be as simple as saying that you want to give access to an entire ranch or parcel, or drawing specific boundaries within those parcels. While leasing your entire ranch or farm for hunting access may seem easier and less “hands on” than taking the time to draw out specific boundaries and access points, exercising the control over your property can pay dividends.
Find out what kind of huntable game you have on that property: It may seem simple, but you should take the time to document and find out what populations of wildlife you have on the property you’ll be leasing. If your deer or elk populations are good, determine as best you can the number that are using your property. If waterfowl or upland birds are using your crop fields, take a few days to track their movements to give a sound scouting report to your potential buyers.
What kind of restrictions do you want to have on your property?: It may be that you want to restrict certain activities like the use of rifles or the digging of goose hunting pits in your fields. These restrictions belong in your lease and will play a large role in who wants to lease your property.
Determine how much you want to charge: This is a hard question at times. The easy answer is to just implement a cost of what your property taxes are for that year. Your price will vary depending on quite a few factors including what you can prove about your property through scouting reports, trail camera pictures, or harvest reports from past hunters on your property.
Get a good lease drafted that protects your interests: Take the information you’ve gathered to your attorney. Not all attorneys will know the ins and outs of hunting and what kinds of things to look for in a lease, so make sure either you or your attorney have a working knowledge of the hunting industry. You don’t want any surprises halfway through the season.
Find the people that want to lease your property: Advertising your lease and finding the hunters that want your kind of lease can be a challenging feat. Several online resources exist to aid in the search process, but you may find more success in the long term dealing with locals in your area that you can develop a lasting relationship with.
Starting an outfitter or guiding business in Texas can be an exciting endeavor; Using an attorney who knows the outdoors to get your paperwork (Lease, Liability Waiver, Hunt Contract, and Business Formation) in order from the very beginning will set you up for success.
Liability Waivers in Texas must follow the Express Negligence Doctrine in order to be enforced by a Court. But what is the Express Negligence Doctrine and does it cover gross negligence, too?
What happens when the land you lease to hunters is all of a sudden unhuntable? Can your hunters cancel their lease agreement?
What happens if a trespasser on your property is injured while trespassing in Texas?
Liability Waivers are one part of a three part checklist for protections for your farm or ranch when considering drafting a hunting lease. Statutory protections provided by the state of Texas should be utilized as much as you are able.
Hunting Leases are a great tool for landowners to extract the value of the wildlife on their property. Working with an attorney specializing in the outdoor industry and drafting a unique hunting lease for your property is essential to protect your investment.
Using a liability waiver form or template downloaded from an unknown site for your outfitting or guide business is setting you up for failure. Learn three big reasons to avoid online forms and how an attorney can help you avoid these common pitfalls.
A liability waiver can help protect your business if a client or guest is injured during an activity. But not all releases of liability are created equal, and using a form on the internet could land you in rough water.
Hunters looking for hunting leases have more ways than ever to find coveted ground to pursue trophy big game and plentiful waterfowl and upland birds. However, just because it is easy to find a lease doesn't necessarily mean that you should sign right away.
Colorado is debating increasing the price of resident and non-resident hunting license fees. Where does Colorado stand on the national stage as far as cost of licenses?
Hunting and Fishing Outfitters like to hire independent contractors over employees for seasonal work, but if the contracts for those services fail to meet Department of Labor standards, the move could be more expensive than anticipated.
Hunting leases can be great opportunities for hunters and landowners, but are still subject to the same penalties as more common commercial leases for both tenant and landlord.
Private Land and Ranches for Elk and Deer Hunting Lease
In Texas, Colorado, and Kansas, many farmers are turning to hunting and recreational leases. Out of state, non-resident hunters looking to hunt in these highly coveted states often look for entire ranches or farms that may be available for lease, especially when seeking big game and upland. Having the entirety of the ground available for pursuing wildlife helps not only the hunter to take full advantage of the property, but also allows the landowner to drive up his price for leasing. Considering that having the entire property leased for deer hunting, though the season may be short, would most likely prevent the landowner from leasing the property for other species with longer seasons such as upland and waterfowl. This means that the landowner may feel free to charge the equivalent or more for a big game lease, even though there are fewer huntable days.
Big game leases are also special in consideration of “Trophy Availability.” The modern elk, pronghorn, mule or whitetail deer hunter is heavily concerned with the quality of the trophy and antler size of the animals on the property. Being able to show potential lessees certain quality animals will also affect pricing.
Hunting Lease Forms and Templates
Many hunters and landowners alike are often tempted to use forms and template hunting leases from online databases. While it may seem simple to click the first link on Google and download the first hunting lease you come across, this supposed convenience could cost everyone on the lease more in the end.
Often, these leases are not state-specific and may not even be valid leases in your state. Other times, the renewal clauses are not clear or use certain phrases like “Automatic Renewal” that may obligate the reluctant hunter or landowner into another lease term against their wishes. It is important to understand every single phrase, clause, and word in your lease. Hunting is a fun activity and having a lease can be a great advantage to the diligent hunter, but it is imperative to remember that the lease is a binding contract and failing to abide by that contract can have lasting and expensive consequences.
In the end, my clients that have used form or template hunting leases end up paying more to fix the situation created by using the form or template hunting lease than it would have cost to have a competent hunting lease attorney draft a custom-tailored lease in the first place.