Deer Lease Question


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In a couple of recent posts there were a lot of replies where guys mentioned their leases. I may have an opportunity to lease a large property and have a few buddies that I know would be interested to join the effort. I’d like to hear what you guys pay for your leases. The online lease websites seem like a lot of wishful thinking by landowners. I know this will vary widely with your part of the country but it’d still be interesting to hear. Would be interesting to know the area, total size, cover vs crop ground percentages, insurance requirements if any, and any things of includes use of a cabin etc.

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We are paying 10-20 in va and 25-30 in southern Ohio. A whole lot of variables like you mentioned. Definitely a lot of wishful thinking by landowners but there seems to be guys paying it so who can blame them. I was offered a track of land in central va this year, 480 acres with 190 in crops, guy wanted 6k per year. It had two different Hunt clubs as neighbors as well as a state rd running through the middle of it in a area of known poachers so I declined.
I view it more as a property potential than so much as what the price per acre is.
A paper mill was leasing multiple parcels of wooded hunting land with no buildings in Pennsylvania for 15 an acre, parcel size from 100 to 500 acres. This included opportunity for the lessee to do several 1/2 acre food plots on old log landings. They had these parcels mostly sold out.
We are paying $10 acre for our’s 1500 acres. It is approximately 85% wooded and 15% cattle pasture. I am sure the owner is carrying insurance but we don’t. Only thing we have that is really nice at our camp is actual electric. There used to be an old house place down there that is long gone but we kept the electrical and actually the owner paid to have 3 more poles set to get it to our camp.
Wow. Those lease prices would make payments on a purchased 40 out by me. I don't really understand the lease culture, as it doesn't happen anywhere near me or in my circle of influence. Do you guys really hunt hundreds of acres per guy? That's the impression I get.
Wow. Those lease prices would make payments on a purchased 40 out by me. I don't really understand the lease culture, as it doesn't happen anywhere near me or in my circle of influence. Do you guys really hunt hundreds of acres per guy? That's the impression I get.
On our 1500 acres we split the lease between 11 hunters. Of those 11 spots only 6 regular hunters that would hunt the gun seasons and only 4 total that bowhunt so my cost is $1150 for a year around lease I can hunt and fish for anything I like and I have hundreds of acres at my disposal...can also plant plots wherever we like. I don’t plant any because I prefer just hunting the woods...
Some friends and I are on our 3rd lease. The first was 1000 acres at $2.25/acre, second was around 500 acres(I don’t remember exactly) at $3.50/acre, last is 469 acres at $4.30/acre. All prices include insurance. Anyone that hunts has to give us their name and hunting license number for insurance purposes. All of it has been timber company property and is mostly woods with small opening for plots. If it is farm land, it ranges in price from $8/acre to $20/acre and some land owners let you plant plots, some don’t. I liked our first lease the best because of the diversity of wildlife to hunt. The current one is nice, I just wish we had more space for plots and native browse.

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Wow. Those lease prices would make payments on a purchased 40 out by me. I don't really understand the lease culture, as it doesn't happen anywhere near me or in my circle of influence. Do you guys really hunt hundreds of acres per guy? That's the impression I get.

Where I am in Virginia, there are lots of people who want to hunt, but have no place to go as a large percentage of all land is privately owned. For this and other reasons, the concept of a hunt club was born. Now, if you don't have a place to hunt and you are lucky enough to be connected to a hunt club you pay your dues and get access to all the land the club can lease.
Or, at least that's the current state of affairs. Long ago, landowners came together to pool resources for a "common purpose." Such arrangements take tending and care.

The other thing is, there's no land for sale that the ordinary man can touch. Yes, the amount of cash outflow would pay the mortgage, but have to find something to buy first.
A huge amount of acreage in Texas is leased for hunting. We started leasing a pasture on the King Ranch back in 1990 [ I think ] when they first opened the country up for hunting. After a few years when the price got to $20/acre I bailed and bought a ranch in Mexico figuring if I could keep it 7 years I would break even. Price per acre is well above that now with typical lease size 22,000 acres and lots of very restrictive rules around that. Waiting list is for years.
My first exposure to a leased property was when I joined a hunting club along with a couple friends in 1988. This club was comprised of 200 members and had exclusive rights to 15,000 acres of woodlands which was leased from a large lumber company. This was an old club which was formed in 1894. The clubhouse was built about 10 miles from the lease land and had several amenities as well as serving for the monthly meetings. Built by club members with money lent to the club by one of the more well to do members.
Our state is broken up into hunting zones referred to as the northern zone and the southern zone. The lumber company's land was in the northern zone. At that point in time there was no doe hunting allowed in the northern zone. However the club leased 4 different properties in the southern zone where antlerless deer permits were available. When I first joined the club the permits were called 'party permits'. Four people had to be signed onto each permit and the antlerless deer taker had to be carrying the permit. Needless to say this created an uptick in hunting license sales as wives, brothers and sisters and children completed their hunting safety courses so they could sign onto the party permits. The club fee of $100 was very reasonable for all that was offered. You were allowed to take one guest with you onto the property.
My son took his first deer on one of the southern properties. Eventually the number to be a party was dropped to two and then one as the deer population continued to grow.
I built a camp surrounded by State land 15 miles from home in 1995. I had the same group of friends who wanted to hunt with my son and me. We didn't have enough club members to allow us all on club land so I dropped out of the club in 1996 and we hunted state land the first year I had the camp with limited success. The following summer I made a deal with a landowner I had known for years who lived 4 miles from my home. Nine of us hunted the property and we paid the owner $1000 to lease the land. Antlerless deer hunting was still not permitted in the northern zone.
The day before the southern zone opened up for the season our whole group went south seeking state land to hunt. We took 4 vehicles and we split up and looked for promising land to hunt on. I found a small chunk of county land which looked ideal. The day of the opener my son and I got up early, left the motel and headed out for our staked out piece of land while the others in our group headed for theirs. We were to meet at noon at a diner and discuss what success we had had.
My son and I got into the woods and found a nice spot and we set up about 20 feet apart waiting for daylight. Just as the first sign of sunshine illuminated the area I discovered we weren't alone. It was like sitting in the middle of a pumpkin patch. Orange vests and hats everywhere. There was an entire row of hunters directly behind my son and me. I stood up and hollered, "Marc, get to the truck". He didn't hesitate. If you ever wanted to see upset hunters this would have been your best opportunity ever. I have never been called so many names in my lifetime in one setting. I didn't argue, I just wanted Marc out of that circular fire fest if a deer did come by.
We all met at noontime and no one else had had any luck either although they had seen a couple deer well out of range for a shotgun. Rifles weren't allowed to be used hunting in the southern zone at that time. They all found the land they were on was overpopulated with hunters.
We had a quick lunch and decided to go in a convoy around the area and find an area with less hunters. After a couple hours we happened down a road and there was an older fellow sitting in a car while a young man was dragging a deer down a side hill. A couple in our group went up the hill and helped the young man drag the deer to the car. Meanwhile a friend of mine and I struck up a conversation with the older fellow who we found was disabled but took his grandson hunting. We asked the fellow who owned the land. He told us and said the owner lived just around the corner. He also said if we asked the farmer he might let us hunt there too. He did remark the landowner owned a lot of land. We drove to the owner's house and talked to him for a while then finally asked if we could hunt his land. He said,"Sure, just be careful and shoot all the deer you want to. They keep breaking my fences down." As it turned out this was a farmer who had over 1000 acres of land and raised Angus beef cattle. The farmer even took a couple of us in his truck and pointed out access points to his land and where the most deer were.
We started hunting mid afternoon and by the time it was starting to get near sunset we were coming out a trail where our vehicles were parked. The farmer pulled up and asked, "How'd you do?" We showed him five does and one nice buck in the back of our trucks. In the meanwhile Marc came out of the trail dragging a large trash bag. The farmer asked what he had in the bag. When Marc showed him the bags contents consisting of old beer and soda cans, coffee cups and other trash the farmer was really surprised. The farmer invited us back to his house saying he wanted to talk to us.
We all had a cup of coffee and the farmer asked if we'd be interested in leasing his land to hunt on. He had previously had hunters leasing his property but had thrown them off because they always left a mess behind. I said we'd be interested if the price was right. When he said we could lease the land for $1000 per season I didn't hesitate.
I think we leased the land for about five years. We got a call in the summertime telling us the farmer was retiring from farming and he had sold all his land except a piece behind his house etc. which joined up with his son's farm. The son's children had grown up and wanted to hunt themselves so we were out of the picture.
Things fell pretty well into place though. Shortly afterward the northern zone started to issue antlerless permits I had bought the 101 acres behind my home from the farmer who was no longer farming it in 2001. He had sold off some building lots and the only access to the land was from my land as the land behind the building lots was too swampy to use for access unless you spent thousands on building a road. Basicly the land was left landlocked. I paid a fair price but you can't go somewhere and buy land and drag it home. It just doesn't work that way. In 2008 I was able to buy the land across the road from me which is on a hill behind a couple houses. I have a legal right-of-way as well as a 150' strip of land which leads to another road which is presently impassible. This strip is 1950' long but had to be included in the sale as the land was subdivided from the owner's land I bought it from. Our town requires a 150' frontage to a road for a subdivided lot so the legal right-of-way did not apply. No one will ever build on my hill. Just running power up there would cost more than a house.
Wow. Those lease prices would make payments on a purchased 40 out by me. I don't really understand the lease culture, as it doesn't happen anywhere near me or in my circle of influence. Do you guys really hunt hundreds of acres per guy? That's the impression I get.

There was a time not that long ago that I could say the same thing Mark. It’s amazing how quickly things can change. 20 years ago no one here would’ve dreamed of paying to hunt, it has fast become the norm. Yet another downside of population density.

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I repeatedly saw this year guys leasing $500/person for group of 4 on 100 ac for just the 2 wk rifle season. I'm kinda thinking dang, I could do that on my 100 ac and pay my yearly property tax of 80$ and come out pretty good ahead, and personally hunt the other farms I have permission on. And we have millions of acres of public land in the state as well as equal number of energy company owned land that is available at no cost. Kinda sad as it seems most would just soon write a check as opposed to learning to hunt and do so on free land. My opinion.
In the past I owned a 217 acre tract for 11 years. I improved on it quite a bit from what it had been. It was about 50/50 lowland and upland and the hogs loved it. I had deer, some good bucks from time to time (for East Texas) but since it was mine, I found myself spending too much time and money on it. Especially money !

I joined a lease twice as close to home anticipating selling my place and a couple years later I did. I have fewer deer on the lease I think, but better bucks for the most part. Five of us pay $500 a year for approximately 350 acres. Two members don’t hunt much, so the three of us that do virtually have most of the season to ourselves. We split the cost of the little food plotting we are able to do, and I furnish the tractor, implements, and driver:) Altogether, it’s very affordable and I’m satisfied with the arrangement, especially in light of the fact that my best friend, his son, his son’s lifelong friend, and another friend of mine are the members. We are not all on the same page on management, but we’re close. My best friend and I won’t shoot does, because we feel like we don’t need to. We also encourage the others to only take 3.5 year old or older bucks, but the lease is in one guy’s name, and it ain’t me !

I’m rambling a little, but my example is about the least you’re gonna pay for a lease in Texas. The average would probably fall in the $10/$12 an acre range. The top end will be somewhere in the $20’s per acre year for big deer, multiple bucks, amenities, etc. for low fence places. For high fence places, there may not be a limit. I’ve seen some godawful $$$ thrown about for leases on high fence places. But......if you have limited time, unlimited money, and a yen for a monster freak on your wall........
While I prefer to own my own land it's not for everyone. If you can find a lease you can drive up to, get out of your vehicle and go hunting and bring a trophy buck home without having to do any ground work you may be many many dollars ahead.
I my case before I bought the 101 acres behind my home the farmable land was in a government set aside program. The program was set to expire in 2000. For permission to hunt the 101 acres the farmer who owned it said all I had to do was to have it mowed once a year. I hired this done for three years and finally decided to buy my own tractor and mower to mow approximately 21 acres of tillable land besides the 10 acres of land he owned butting up against my back lawn.
In 1994 I bought a 1957 Ford 601 gas powered tractor for $3000. Then I bought a 4' tow behind Brush Hog mower. This was a slow process but I enjoyed doing it. I got into trouble twice with this set up both in about the same spot. Each time I was mowing my side lawn which was just grass and weeds. There is a ditch which runs along the bottom of the slope in the lawn and each time I got into trouble I had backed up to the ditch to mow the edge. The 601 didn't have a live PTO and even pushing the clutch in the mower was spinning and the force from the mower would transfer through the PTO and keep the tractor moving backward. This sucked me into the ditch. The first time I went straight backward, the mower dug into the bank on the other side and everything came to a stop. I got the tractor out of gear with the PTO off and was able to pull the tractor back onto solid ground. The second time I got into trouble I had backed up at more of an angle. I couldn't get the tractor stopped and it started to tip over. I bailed off the seat over the right fender and tire and let it go. The tractor finally did stop and came back down on all four wheels. All that time my wife was watching the whole performance. She ran across the lawn asking me if I was alright.
I told her as far as I know yes. When I told her what had happened and how, she said I was to get a different tractor so that wouldn't happen again.
I traded the little 601 in at the local John Deere dealer and bought my 1987 Ford 4 WD 2110 Diesel. Shortly afterward I sold the Brush Hog and bought a new 6' 3 pt. hitch rotary cutter. This made all my mowing much faster and more comfortable. I used this set up until 2006.
I was down back mowing away in the hot sun and began to feel dizzy and sick to my stomach. I started to head to the house but for a reason I will never figure out I abandoned the tractor under a shade tree and walked the last 1/4 mile back to my house where I collapsed on the back steps. My wife, son and daughter were at the house and between the three of them they pulled and carried me inside and threw me into a cool shower. After a couple minutes I started to come around but I had a headache like I'd never had before. I started looking around for a used cab tractor with AC. Everything I found was either too big or worn out. I looked at new but when I discovered the cab with heat and AC was a $10,000 option I stopped looking. My wife kept insisting I buy a tractor with a cab so I finally ordered a 2007 John Deere 5225 4 WD with a FE loader and the options I needed. This might have been overkill at the time but I have never regretted it. I use the 5225 for mowing in the summer and have an Erskine FM 840 front mount snowblower I use in the wintertime. I had the loader on and off the 5225 a few times the first year I owned it. The following year I bought a JCB 1400 C backhoe. This eliminated having to use the loader on the 5225. The loader hasn't been on this tractor in 11 years. It's stored away in my pole barn and still looks like new.
My Ford still runs and drives like new with just under 2500 hours on it. In 2012 I got the new tractor bug again and started looking for a larger tractor to replace the Ford with. I finally settled on a 2012 John Deere 5065E 4 WD with a FE loader, a sun roof and the hydraulics I wanted, some extra lighting and a horizontal exhaust so I didn't have to breath the exhaust fumes in my face all the while. I had the deal all made and was to pick the 5065E on Saturday and trading in my Ford. On Wednesday of that week I was using my backhoe to do some ditching and I blew a steel hydraulic line in the rear boom. I called the dealer for parts availability and I was told I would have to remove the boom to replace the line. I had no way to handle a boom which is as large and heavy as that one. Trucking it to the dealer would have cost me over $700 each way plus parts and labor to fix it. I called my John Deere dealer and asked my salesman if he was interested in taking the backhoe in trade. I could sell the Ford outright. My salesman said he'd make a call and get back to me. Within 1/2 hour I got a call back and I was offered more than I thought the backhoe was worth in tip top condition. The J D dealership is 3 1/2 miles from my home. I pounded the steel line as flat as I could, overfilled the hydraulic tank and headed to the dealership with my son following me. I told him to bring along an extra 5 gallon pail of oil. I made it without refilling the tank and parked the backhoe in their back yard. My son, the salesman and I were up at their building talking when we heard a loud BOOM! It took a minute to realize the right rear tire on the backhoe had blown almost entirely off the rim. The salesman just looked at me and said, "I guess it's my problem now".
I had intended to write a check for balance of payment between the backhoe and the 5065E. That's when my salesman told me J D had just started a zero % financing incentive. This was for a period of 5 years. You can't buy money any cheaper than that so I agreed to finance and keep the money in my bank account.
Now I have three tractors. The little Ford is my go to tractor for smaller jobs using it's front end loader, I use the Ford and a brush cutter to trim along hedge rows and the Ford runs my broadcast spreader when using pelletized lime and fertilizer. It does get a good pressure washing after each time we use the spreader. My son loves the 5065E and runs it when needed and has used it to level his lawn, move rocks etc.left over from building his house next door to me. It also gets used with the brush cutters, York rake, back blade, discs, pallet forks and cultipacker. My 90" grooming mower is normally attached to my 5225 for the duration of the summer after we are done with the 6' tiller used for spring plots. I also use this tractor to pull my Brillion SS 5 seeder / cultipacker for planting clover, alfalfa and other smaller seeds. I don't like breathing dust on the open tractors. Nothing gets into that cab.
All my machinery gets maintained very well. My 2007 JD 5225 has had 11 oil changes in the twelve years i have owned it and I have roughly 1250 hours on it. The 5065 is on it's third oil change and it hasn't clocked quite 300 hours yet. The Ford gets the oil changed each spring regardless of how many hours it has run between changes. Fuel, air and cab air filters get changed per the schedules recommended in their respective manuals.My son and I spend a whole day or more doing maintenance on the tractors and all the equipment before they see spring's work.
I wouldn't give my land up for anything. I worked long and hard for everything I have and it's comforting to know it will be passed down through generations to people who will have an appreciation of that.
In the meanwhile I could have spent nearly as much on land leases and have nothing left but a memory. Or a cruise with naked ladies on the top deck which would likely result in a divorce. LOL
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I repeatedly saw this year guys leasing $500/person for group of 4 on 100 ac for just the 2 wk rifle season. I'm kinda thinking dang, I could do that on my 100 ac and pay my yearly property tax of 80$ and come out pretty good ahead, and personally hunt the other farms I have permission on. And we have millions of acres of public land in the state as well as equal number of energy company owned land that is available at no cost. Kinda sad as it seems most would just soon write a check as opposed to learning to hunt and do so on free land. My opinion.

I’d love to have those options. The largest tract of public in my county is 110 acres and the parking lot holds 9 trucks if that tell you anything!

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I was raised on old property were each family had about 100 acres and everyone could hunt anywhere you wanted.

Moved to Florida and what a quick lesson in Life. Here while there is plenty of Public Ground using it is either limited to the point of crazy to me (think 30 permits to hunt turkeys on over 13,000 acres) or it is so swamped with other hunters it is insane.

I looked for 3 years to try and find some land to lease or a Club to join.

In my area Clubs were asking from $1,200-1,500 for some places to $5,000-15,000 for others. They were all well established and you had to follow their rules or your gone.

I finally found 80 acre Lease 6 hours from home that is rough but we are working it. It will never be a Great Place. There is terrible soil and no fields to speak of, but it is all ours and my SIL and I are trying to do our best with it.

Cost is $10.00 per acre.

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