When to throw in the towel?

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by PineSapJunky, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. PineSapJunky

    PineSapJunky Well-Known Member

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    After nearly a decade of trying to manage roughly 2000 acres (1200 family 800 leased) I am considering letting the leased land go. It is becoming harder and harder to find the time and extra funds to manage everything. I've tried in the past taking on "members" to help offset the cost but find myself not being able to find anyone that stays more than a single season. They pay the dues, hunt, kill then disappear. Furthermore it is next to impossible to try and find anyone will the pay the ever increasing price of hunting. Lease land around my neck of the woods goes anywhere from $10-12 an acre. With my 800 acres costing me almost $8k a year. Y'all can do the math. Split 4 ways it comes out to $2k per person not including year round feeding and food plots. Furthermore I include the 1200 acres of family land in that price. All in all it comes out to $1 an acre for each person to hunt. Including myself I never have more than 5 people. That comes out to 400 acres per person (but you are not limited on where you can hunt) or $5 an acre of you look at it that way. I am hesitant to let the lease land go. I know somebody will scarf it up quick. Have 10-15 hunters on it tomorrow for $700-$800 a piece and decimate the deer herd I've work so hard to raise in short order. Furthermore I'll have to deal with neighbors adjoining our land and all the headaches involved. My question to y'all. Would you bite the bullet and keep paying for property or cut your losses and deal with the change in tides?
     
  2. wbpdeer

    wbpdeer Well-Known Member

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    I would ask myself if I can live with the changes giving up the 800 acres to new comers that I don't know. If they are a brown and down army then what you have been hunting and seeing will change in 18 months or sooner.

    With a young family and job responsibilities you likely have less time to hunt and manage land.

    I am tighter than most people, I would pay all that $$ out if I had 1,200 to hunt.

    What if you only allowed the lease hunters access to the 800 acres and not your ground. Does that lower the cost and make getting a good number of hunters more practical?

    Good luck with the path you travel friend.

    Wayne
     
  3. BenAllgood

    BenAllgood Member

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    It's tough to get and keep the right group of people. Why do you think they leave each year? I had a similar situation, and it was the lack of seeing lots of deer that kept a rolling membership.
     
  4. OkieKubota

    OkieKubota Moderator Staff Member

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    I don’t think letting the lease go is gonna be that big of a deal if you already have 1200 to manage. Heck the wife and I only own 90 acres here at home and along our east side we have 8 neighbors (10 acre hunting tracts) we have 1 neighbor across the north who lets MANY hunt including renters and family. Have 3 neighbors across the west side who all hunt and 1 neighbor to the south that doesn’t hunt but not much land and just on the other side of his is a poaching nightmare and you see the deer we take year after year...not everyone who hunts is a killing machine...
     
  5. PineSapJunky

    PineSapJunky Well-Known Member

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    A lot of it has to do with how long it takes for them to get here. I've had locals and I've had our of towners help with the cost. The locals are just as bad when it comes to not working as the guys that have to drive an hour or so. The only difference between those two are the locals spend a lot more time on the place hunting and pressuring the wildlife. Part of it probably has to do with not having a clubhouse. I refuse to let anyone setup camp on our 1200 and there's not a good place for a camper on the 800. I do have a heated and cooled building to hang out between hunts and use the bathroom. Most people that spend the money eventually can't justify the cost when they can pay 1/3rd the price and kill the same amount if not more (not the same quality) deer at other clubs. I really think it's the timber companies and insurance companies who are winning every year. Prices keep going up on land, long season and a very liberal bag limit (3 bucks, 5 does) per license creates a perfect storm in a steep reduction in numbers. To offset the cost clubs keep bringing in more people. I try to buck that trend. I still follow my camera surveys to set harvest quotas. Plus I don't budge on what bucks will be killed (you can never convince me there's such thing as a cull buck). I guess you add it all together and I've created my own mess
     
  6. PineSapJunky

    PineSapJunky Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I throw in my ground as a perk. Even at $2k per person and only taking 4 people that covers the lease for the 800. I eat the cost of planting all 26 plots, 10 tons of protein during the summer and the 8 tons of corn during the winter. Plus the wear and tear on my equipment. I already know the type of people who would jump on that 800 acres should I give it up. It is great ground and my 1200 benefit directly from me having it. I could see things going downhill quick. Couple that with having lethargic GW's it is next to impossible to deal with trespassing or game violations. I already have issues now with people on our borders. Its a lot of ground for one person to cover and they know that.
     
  7. PineSapJunky

    PineSapJunky Well-Known Member

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    You truly do have an amazing place. There is no doubt. Unfortunately the soil here isn't the best and it takes a lot of money to amend it properly. Couple that with a low DPSM and a dwindling deer herd it takes a large chunk of land to get quality deer like you have right in your backyard. Plus we work on an honor system when it comes to tagging. No one knows or cares how many deer you kill which leads to a lot of people killing well over their limit. Another reason why I don't want to throw in the towel is the abundance of dog hunters. They'd love to run their dogs on that piece knowing fully there's 1200 that butts up next to it. There are no laws or punishments for trespassing dogs. Actually by law you are allowed to cross onto someone's property without notification if you are retrieving a hunting dog. Its just a headache. As for neighbors I already have close to 20 that surround the 2000 acres and we feel the pressure all the time. Giving up that 800 would only bring people that much closer.
     
  8. MarkDarvin

    MarkDarvin Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Hardiness Zone:
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    You’re spread too thin. I’d sell all but 160 acres and use the cash to fence what’s left. Every one of your problems will go away.

    Bills go down, work goes down, feed bill goes down, need for partners gone, dogs gone, deer live longer, neighbors neutralized, brown no longer down.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. g squared 23

    g squared 23 Active Member

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    Do they have to put in any work at all? It’d be easier to get people invested if they had a chance to have reduced dues by showing up to a certain number of work days. Otherwise, they’re not putting any sweat equity in and don’t care attall about “your” deer herd. Make them feel like it’s “ours” and not “his”. Everyone tears up a rental, but will take it easy on a lease. And keep rules to a realistic minimum.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. BenAllgood

    BenAllgood Member

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    Location:
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    I would maybe let each member have 200 acres to do with as they please as long as they follow guidelines that you set. Other members wouldn't be allowed on another's piece. Hard to control, but easier than controlling a lease not belonging to you.
     
  11. Triple C

    Triple C Well-Known Member

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    Only you can answer your own question. As for me...hard for me to imagine managing 2000 acres unless I had the financial means to have a full-time worker or 2 on the property rear round. I have a hard enough time on 287.
     
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  12. Drycreek

    Drycreek Well-Known Member

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    I think my decision would come down to money and time. If I weren't financially squeezed and had the time, I would just keep doing what you're doing. I would hate to have a bunch of new neighbors impacting what I had invested, both in sweat and dollars.
     
  13. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    If I'm interpreting this correctly you are working for free to provide hunting opportunities on 800 acres for four hunters who don't appreciate it anyway. While I'm the type that never says quit I think I'd seriously consider letting it go and putting that extra effort into the 1200 family acres.
     
  14. X-farmerdan

    X-farmerdan Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    So, I own land and I belong to a club that leases land. I pay the bills for both myself and the club. I understand economics and the economics of the situation. I guess I get your objectives, and, while noble, they are probably outside the realm of sustainable possibilities. I think $2,000 a year is a lot of money for a "membership" you want to continue year-after-year. I would speculate anyone with that kind of money will spend it on excursions to different places every year (or, frequently)....or, have the means to buy their own land.

    Our club leases about 1,800 acres and has access to another 1,800 free (?) acres. Our lease fees per acre run from about $6 to $10. We have 31 members, but less than 20 are long-time members. The others come and go mostly for financial reasons - and our dues are only $500 a year. As I see it, today people think they are going to WalMart all the time. They want a million dollars of product and service for a dime. Clubs or cooperative situations can't do that. If you can think of a way, let me know!
     
  15. PineSapJunky

    PineSapJunky Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I think I've might of found a solution. A good friend of mine who leases 640 acres across the road from my 800 has a business partner looking for a place to lease. They are all from out of state. While the locals hate outsiders I know what kind of people they are and they're good folks. Yes they like their deer meat but it serves them no purpose to shoot up the neighborhood / investment. The only issue will be navigating the swapping of the lease. Normally when you give up the lease it goes up grabs, first come first serve. So more than likely I will be keeping the lease but acting as a go between. This might work out in the long run if he decides 800 acres is too much work or I run into issues with them. We shall see. Now my thoughts turn to whether or not I want to take down all of my shooting houses or not.
     
  16. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    I struggle at times to manage my own 150 acres....with work and the kids and the like. I can't imagine the time and $$ to manage 1,200 or 2,000 acres. All I can say is to remember we do this for the FUN of it. If it's becoming a job...then time to take a step back and evaluate.
     
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  17. Hoseman

    Hoseman Member

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    I would let it go and focus on hunting my family land. Take the money and time you had in the lease and go on a hunt somewhere you've always wanted to go like a mule deer or elk hunt out west. I am in a similar situation (on a much smaller scale) and find myself being the only person in the group doing anything on the property. It is very frustrating.
     
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  18. Drycreek

    Drycreek Well-Known Member

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    After reading all the responses, (which mostly all disagreed with me:)), I re-read your original post. Somehow the part where the members only paid for the 800 but had access to the 1200 went right over my head. So let me begin again.

    If it were me, I would not let the members hunt the 1200, only the 800, since that's really all they are paying for. I would also make it mandatory as a member to contribute $ and labor for any food plots or other lease improvements. If that wouldn't get you the type hunters you need, then letting it go might be your best option. I know nothing of how hunters appreciate a good place to hunt in Mississippi, but here you could sift through enough folks to wind up with a decent bunch of hunters in a few years. I hunt one place in Trinity Co, Texas (16,000 acres) that charges $5,000 a member and they very seldom are looking for members. I hunt free, but that's another story. Big deer and liberal hunting dates are the reason, plus the proximity to Houston and the surrounding suburbs.

    That said, the "doing it all myself" gets old quickly. I'm a member of a 400 acre lease about twenty minutes from my house, my best friend and his son hunt there too. But......I found myself doing all the mowing, the discing and planting, with very little help. So......last fall I delivered a little message in the form of inaction. I planted my food plot, I mowed the road I use, and I let the others sit as mother nature dictated. Lo and behold, this spring I had $ for seed and fertilizer, and help to trim tree limbs where I mow. A picture truly is worth a thousand words !
     
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  19. Deadeye

    Deadeye Active Member

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    Location:
    Central Florida with Hunting Lease in NW Florida
    Hardiness Zone:
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    If you have come to the point where you are being stressed financially and the burden of caring for the extra 800 is on your mind to the point you are mentally stressing about it, IMO you already have your answer.
    Time to get rid of it.

    You can not control everything with the deer herd anyway no matter what you think. There will be deer that wander off to be shot on others land and you will have the opportunity to shoot some that you have never seen before that another guy thinks is his.

    Unless you are hunting behind a High Fence you really can not control anything. If you are a single hunter hunting your land and you can not have a great time hunting on 1200 acres, I seriously doubt the additional 800 really makes a difference. Enjoy what you have and don't worry about things you can not control, like what happens on that 800 if someone else leases it.

    The TRUTH is many here and Country-Wide would give almost anything to have their own 1200 acres to hunt and live on. Enjoy your Gift.
     
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  20. THE LLC

    THE LLC Well-Known Member

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    Screw it. It's hard enough on me to keep up with the 250 acres I OWN. No way am I going to have some that I have to count on other bozos to help me keep up by paying a lease payment. Hell I can't get anybody to find extra time to help me work on my place in return for free hunting (except once season opens of course), so I can only imagine what you are dealing with.
     
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