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What is the average cost of a deer lease in your state? I know some of you guys just hunt public lands, but for those of you who lease I'm interested. I hunt in texas and the parks and wildlife department have started implementing antler restrictions, and as a result north texas is starting to catch up with south texas in trophy quality and prices are starting to go up up up. I'm sure the price of gas also plays into this. I'm not complaining I have a good paying job and can afford it. However the prevailence of $2000 a year leases is becoming more and more common and the hunting culture in texas is changing, the blue collar class seems to be getting priced out of the market and they're not happy about it.
Cost is directly related to "trophy areas" and how long the season is. Another factor that plays heavily upon cost is the length of the gun season. Texas is higher for the most part, but gun season is 2 months long, where-as some states it's only 9 days. Also, the number of Bucks you may kill factors into the equation.
In oklahoma, most average leases go for $3-$5 dollars per acre for a year round lease. (Rifle season is 16 days) The trophy areas go highly than that.
I've leased for several years and love it. I know who is hunting with me and can somewhat control what we harvest.
15 to 20$ an acre in some of the best areas of Wisconsin.
Between 5 and 30 an acre here in Arkansas; depends who owns the land; ever since people started "trophy" hunting around here, the price of land and the lease has gone through the roof; I'm glad to have my 40 acres and am glad that Arkansas has over 3.5 million acres for public hunting; hate to see where deer hunting is going
average 15-20 per acre here in Mississippi for average land, $40-$60/acre for some of the best, and this is 16th section land!
1983. I leased 2500 acres in three counties of middle Tn for $2750. I leased 640 acres in Hickman Co, TN for $225 and in 1998, I leased 400 acres in IL for $5000.
Let me add this. Hunters are not the most creative when it comes to negotiating a lease. There are leases and then there are leases and then there are ways to lease. There is even a way to lease prime ground that ends up costing you nothing.
But that kind of lease requires thinking of things besides deer.
I paid 8.75 an acre for my lease in Michigan.
160 acres, $1400.00 for the whole calendar year. Property could be used for turkey hunting, small game, coyote hunting, deer hunting and fishing (has a river on it).
I split the cost with one other person so it cost's me 700.00 this year. The landowner provided us with first option to lease the land for the next 5yrs so we will likely be there for at least that long.
It depends on the kind of lease you are after.
My lease is $950.00 for 2200 acres. We have 20 members and a 130 inch minimum.
I have a friend who leases 5000 acres with 50 people for $900.00 and they don't have any trophy management rules. Their average deer is a 1 1/2 year old 6 pointer.
There are leases with 500 acres and 25 members who shoot everything that walks that cost around $500.00.
Everything is relative, and the equation is something like this:
# of Acres / # of Hunters X Trophy Potential Area = Cost of lease
I came from a lease that we had in the 80's and early 90's that was over 5000 acres and cost me $250.00 a year. Cost has jumped for sure, but so have the size of the deer I'm taking.
Good hunting everyone!
Leases should be outlawed. It will sooner or later end our sport. To me it is no differant than selling the game animal itself. Our kids will never be able to find a place to hunt. It took a sport and turned in into a buisness.
Leases will not be outlawed but they are an unfortunate trend. The guys I hunt on here in Iowa are all plus 60 years of age and give us permission with no strings attached other than try and kill as many does as we can. Of course, we practice common courtesy and a respect for their fences, gates, not driving on wet ground, etc. There are three of us who hunt together and we give each farmer a smoked turkey or ham at the end of the season and they are very appreciative. I realize from articles and info on this blog that we are very fortunate.
JT, that is how it should be.
"Leases should be outlawed. It will sooner or later end our sport. To me it is no differant than selling the game animal itself. Our kids will never be able to find a place to hunt. It took a sport and turned in into a buisness."
It'll happen sooner, not later. And you are absolutely right, most kids will have a very hard time finding anywhere to hunt, and probably fish too.
"Leases should be outlawed. It will sooner or later end our sport. To me it is no differant than selling the game animal itself. Our kids will never be able to find a place to hunt. It took a sport and turned in into a buisness."
Thats hilarious, if that happened in texas the economy would take a huge hit in south as well as west texas. There are some towns like llano in west texas who make 90% of their income on opening weekend of rifle season. The hunting industry is big business here.
Hunting is a business and will continue to be so. Landowners in Texas are making far more money selling deer leasing rights than they could ever hope to by scratching out an existence by ranching cattle or sheep. The trend has been for those same landowners who recognize the economic value hunter's dollars are bringing to act as better stewards of their properties, thereby benefitting all wildlife which might otherwise suffer as a result of overgrazing and alternative land uses. Further, the increase in leasing and corporate hunting opportunities has lessened the prevalence of land fragmentation where farmers and ranchers can't make ends meet and wind up selling their land in broken up parcels. With that said, I admit I am playing devil's advocate. I hunt in South Texas which is arguably the most expensive place in the U.S. to lease quality land. This has certainly limited my access to good ground and I currently pay a whopping portion of my annual income to pursue whitetail each year. With very little public land in this state, what other choice is there? Fortunately, I am leasing from a rancher friend who is providing an 1800 acre pasture of PRIME brush country habitat to us for the bargain basement price of 7 bucks an acre. While that may seem not-so bargain basement to many of you, other parcels on the same 68,000 acre ranch are leasing to Houston and Dallas hunters who gladly shell out between $18 and $20 an acre for much, much larger holdings. The average price for quality land (meaning property containing deer and excluding quail hunting rights) in my region of the state is between $2,800.00 and $3,500.00 per hunter for year-round access. For "prime" acreage, the dollar figure is probably closer to $5,500.00-$6,500.00. I have a friend who gladly spends $10,000.00 for season access to a pasture of the King Ranch. Will these figures continue to increase in the future? Sure, as long as there is demand. However, blue collar joes are being priced out of the game at the same time we are increasingly becoming an urbanized culture. With fewer individuals actually doing the hunting, there will be fewer people willing to pay for access. That must have some affect on prices eventually, but who knows what that effect will be. Face it, hunting is increasingly becoming an elitist pursuit in some areas. How many mill workers and truck drivers do you know who are capable of spending the kind of money quoted above? Especially since that does not include the costs associated with getting to and from the lease and the costs associated with building a camp, blinds, feeding, etc. (none of which are typically included in the fee charged by landowners). Sad situation, but there is little else we can do other than end capitalism or try to make more money so we can share in the upward economic pressure being exerted on hunting access fees... sounds a bit like a "catch 22," eh?
In Georgia, we just passed a wildlife bill which protects over 2 million acres of land for hunting for the next 50 years.
There are many trophy opportunities out there on public land in the form of quota hunts, and most of the people that lease land with me enter those quota hunts on an annual basis. Leasing is not going to end free hunting here in Georgia thats for darn sure. As for free hunting on private land, you can still do that. It just happens on smaller tracts of land.
I lease property so that I can see more game, know the people i hunt with, and maximize my potential for killing a big deer.
If you outlaw leases than you better outlaw land ownership to because there are a lot of landowners out there who won't let your kids hunt on their land either. Make all land in the world public and then we can have more threads dedicated to the struggles of hunting on public land.
My opinion is probabaly skewed because 1) I live in Michigan and we have tons of public land 2) I lease land to hunt on and 3) I have family that owns land that I am allowed to hunt on.
I just don't follow the "leases are the death of hunting" train of thought.
Why is it so bad for a farmer to make some extra money. I have a friend who was going to let me hunt 350 acres this year but someone wanted to hunt it so bad they paid him $5 an acre. So he let them hunt it. He didn't necessarily want to lease it for money but if some hunter is going to pay it then he will gladly take it. I have other land of his that I hunt so it didn't leave me high and dry. But it is the hunters that have done this to themselves and now it is becoming a way of hunting life.
This is a stupid question but why do you feel you should be given free access to private land that you don't own?
IMO, if you want the free access, use public land. For the landowner there are many expenses and if access to hunting defrays those cost, a hunter given access shouldn't mind paying for it.
Another option, purchase some land. In most cases, the capital investment is the obstacle. Exactly the reason you shouldn't mind paying some dollars to the person who has put his signature on the dotted line.
Where I live now there is no public land to hunt at all. It is hard for me to think I won't be able to take my son hunting every weekend or everyday. Where I grew up we hunted anywhere we wanted and nobody cared. The city put the country back in me I guess. If I want to hunt now I have to fly 1000 miles home to my farm.
"Face it, hunting is increasingly becoming an elitist pursuit in some areas." I have a few friend blue collar friends I still keep in touch with from high school who have given up hunting all together, they just can't afford it. Back when we were younger a really good deer lease cost $500 tops in our area, in a little over 10 years that cost has more than quadrupled, but the deer herd has also gotten better, so what are you gonna do?
Here in Louisiana we are blessed with so many wildlife management areas( public land )that your choices are endless,its up to you how far you want to drive,in the south just like most other places those that have much are willing to pay much to hunt on leases,i myself cant justify spending $500-$1ooo a year to hunt when i can hunt a kill my share of deer for free, only catch is you have to deal with heavily pressured deer and the crowds of people. JMO.
Leases average between $5-$10 per acre in Kentucky. Depends on the area, size, and type of land. My father leases out 5 of his farms and guys are in line to pay $10/ac. for 40-150 ac. plots. It's crazy!
Ya know I read the line about "our kids not being able to find a place to hunt", and it made me think about something. Awhile back the son of one of my best friends called me to ask me if I would submit applications for he and his dad to re-join the bird hunting club I belong to. Now my buddy had been a member, an officer even of the club at one time but decided to quit when the dues were raised. I don't think he or any of his 3 boys have been hunting since. But the thing that bugged me most was when the son stated that he wants to go hunting but "just doesn't know anywhere to go". Now I live in NW Ohio and we have plenty of public ground both nearby and throughout the state plus Michigan is right around the corner. i kinda scolded Brian and told him that I didn't want to hear that he didn't know where to go and that all he needed to do was look at the DNR websites for Ohio and Michigan and he could find more ground then he could hunt in his life time. Nothing to do with leasing but I think it illustrates how some people want someone else to do the finding for them.MO
Deerslayer hit it on the head. Hunters, not landowners, have created this monster and now we don't like it. We, the hunters, are the ones that bought into it with the push of hunting parapanlia such as camo clothes, hunting videos, etc...We are the ones that created this billion dollar industry.
Centex,just to clearify and add my 2 cent's to what you said, its the Trophy hunters that created the monster,your average guy that just wants to hunt and enjoy the outdoors dose'nt much care about the size he's just glad to be able to go.So driving up the cost does not benifit him at all.MOst guy's i know that hunt on these hi dollar leases use feeders and food plots as tools to bag there game,nothin against that,just for me there is no greater feeling of acomplishment when you walk in,scout,use GOD given woodsmen ship and harvest a deer on public land that hundreds of other hunters have been walking around on.Those folks that have a need to impress everyone around them out of selfish pride have created the hi cost of hunting in our great country! Again JMO!
Droptine I agree. But even the average hunter buys all the camo, deer calls, and videos. The " Trophy Hunters " have just taken it to the next level and are the front runners now.
droptine, first change your handle to nubbin. than consider the fact that the plots also feed these deer though winter months that deer can't find food. secondly, how about the nutrition it provides for the overall herd.
so we do it for antler only..o.k. whatever. but, all the deer benifit, the entire herd.
camo propaganda? what are you 80 years old? if you want to hunt in a plaid red/black shirt go ahead.
i'm over 40 and my dads 70, and when he says thing like "we used to kill them smoking cigars sitting on stumps and we used did great. i ask him where's the proof, he always says things like deer were much smaller back than..lol.
he now has shot more 130-180 class monsters than i care to name. funny, he's never seen wearing those plaids anymore.
Hey DROPTINE!! OH I MEAN NUBBIN!! Your handle tells all!! How can you stereotype people that way?? Unless you hunt with flintstone arrow heads and home made arrows you should look at yourself in the mirror and say...... oh Im one of THOSE guys that drive up the cost arent I?!?! Maybe you get JUST as excited to shoot a doe as a DROPTINE buck...... then why your handle?? any one up for a little hippocracy??
SS & C.Beck you guys must not be able to read,cause i clearly said i did not have anything against foodplots are feeders,your name calling shows just how ignorant you 2 realy are,everyone has a right to there opinon,i would love to kill a big trophy buck,we all would, but to me taking one on there terms is the ultimate! Every man for him self,i was'nt trying to make enemys,JMO.
How would you like to pay $50 to $75 an acre? I don't here in west central Illinois. Getting closer to England all the time. And we rank close to the bottom in public ground. Another subject that farmers don't like to talk about is welfare. We as tax payers are still paying them subsidies for their crops. Some are over $800,000 back here. Sorry for not feeling sorry for the farmers.
Just some food for thought.
Those that own land have the right to do whatever they want with it. It is benefit of owning property. No hunting, hunting, leasing, no leasing...whatever they want to do...it is their decision.
The days of free hunting private land are dwindleing. The cost of land and taxes make it difficult for land owners to not look at leasing.
One other thought provoking question...would you knock on someones house, ask to have access for the season, sit on the couch, take food from the fridge and free roam in the house? NO....so why do we assume we should be able to do the same thing on someones property to hunt?????
I agree we as hunter have caused the problem, the only solution is for everyone to refuse to pay higher prices, not likely to happen. One area where I know the hunters dictate how much they pay is in the east texas piney woods, most leases there cost around $250, the hunters there are so stingy they refuse to pay much more than this and if not allowed to hunt for this price they poach.
Guys. Be considerate and stick to the question asked. Start your own thread if you want to make a different point.
Leases in IN run the gamut from $1-10 and acre and more.
LA is higher than texas
Ranch across the road wnet for $7000 for 600 acres Next ranch over went for $27.000 for 4 hunters.
Tink in texas
Goatman, where does the money for public land come from? It's bad to subsidize the farmer but when it comes to your hunting, it's okay? Iowa, like IL, needs more public land. Respect for the landowner (farmer in many cases) may get you access to more hunting opportunities.
I don't disagree that every program has it downfall and certain individuals know how to capitalize on the system but I certainly would hesitate to tell a hard working individual that provides us with one of the least expensive food sources in the world that they are on welfare.
Hey Squid, what's for dinner tonight? Thinking about bringing the whole family! LOL
This is another way to think about leasing:
I pay around $2,000.00 a season for 1,300 acres of prime whitetail habitat which I share with only four other guys - all of whom I chose to be in our group and all of whom are hardcore traditional bowhunters. There is no cabin on the pasture, but the landowner has been kind enough to allow us to hook our trailers up to A/C and septic free of charge. We have full, unlimited access to the property year-round, which includes fishing in the summer, hog hunting whenever we feel like it, predator hunting (if any of us cared to do it) turkey hunting in the spring and fall and being able to use the place year round for whatever fun and recreation we choose.
We don't have to pay a mortgage on land which typically costs in the neighborhood of 3,000.00 per acre in that region (did I forget to mention the ranch is located only 45 minutes from my home?), we don't have to pay taxes on the property, I don't receive an electric bill each month, I don't have to worry about the well or whether a fence is down, I don't have to mow the place... need I go any further? $2,000.00 equates to a measly $166.00 per month. Most of us these days spend double that or more on a single car payment!!!!! That is not much more than the cost of my cable T.V. bill, for Pete's sake, and less than most folk's ATV payment. I spend nearly $2,000.00 for a DIY drop camp elk hunt in Colorado that lasts only one week.
I am not wealthy, but I love to hunt and share the outdoors with my friends and my family. To me, what little I have to spend is well worth the quality of the experience leasing affords me the opportunity to enjoy. I am only suggesting that you may wish to look at this issue from a slightly different angle.
You've got a good deal for the year round thing, but most of the 2 grand leases I'm talking about in north texas are deer season only, from jan 7th till sept 31st you're not allowed to step foot on the property.
BossBowman, you are correct. I hunt a small pasture of a 68,000 acre ranch near Corpus Christi in the South Texas brush country. There is no question it is prime land and there is no question that I am getting a very fair deal (I have known the rancher's family for years). I stick with my analysis of leasing even if I were paying double the figure I mentioned before. I love hunting and I use the place frequently. I could never, ever afford to buy the same piece of property for even remotely close to what I am spending and would not want to deal with the maintenance headache anyway. JMO
well said squid, i agree. how many hunters allow farmers to roam their real estate for free? expecting a "priviledge" such as hunting for free always is a little selfish to me. fair is fair, and raising money is no different than raising crops or raising beef. lets hear if for the farmers who feed all of the people on this site.
I have 55 acres in Pennsylvania. For years we allowed people to hunt our land. I would see ten or more vehicles parked in our fields. Hunters would conduct drives of ten hunters or more. Deer aren't rabbits and shouldn't be hunted like that. The hunters I'm seeing today aren't the hunters of yesterday. Most drive around in their cars and jump out when they see a deer. I've posted my land about ten years ago. Just my brother and myself hunt our farm now. It's been a full time job keeping these slob hunter from trespassing on our land. A few years ago they fracked our land. The gas company has a 360 degree camera on to of our hill. Now I can go to them any time I want and get video. All I need is a time and a date. There is a bedding area we never hunt. The bonus is we are taking some really big bucks, and the people hunting private land around us are taking bigger bucks just because we posted our land.
I believe in Canada it is illegal to lease land for hunting, wish it were that way down here..
You guys are lucky. 30 bucks an acre in western illinois.
A basic search of the web...I could find nothing about leases being illegal anywhere in Canada.
Well I have a buddy who took a. Lease this year, and he and two other guys paid 3600 for a little over 100 acres. Factor in his part of the lease 1200, gas ,food and lodging 1000 give or take, so 2200 dollars and he has shot one doe and that's it. He had a trip planned to hunt public down south and shot in 130 in eight point. To me paying 2200 for a doe is ridiculous, for that kind of money he could have hunted public killed a doe and bought a new setup. He wants to spend it on a lease more power to him.
Now, for those who think that leases are trouble for hunters in the future,maybe not. Where the trouble is going to come into play is for the land owner. There is talk already in Illinois to tax certain land as recreational instead of farmland. So for the guy who has more timber than crops his taxes are going to soar if this law goes throguh and when that happens it will jeopardize the land owner and he will pass those costs on to the leasee. The politicians are getting wise to the land lease thing and they want more dough in the til so get ready guys. The only way around this tax If it goes through is to cut your timber so that its less in acreage than your crop fields.
9 year old thread! Prices have changed a bit in 9 years! Ho Ho Ho!
In Ohio: If you own non-agricultural acreage it is taxed at assessed valuation which is pretty steep. If that acreage is used for any agricultural purpose (grazing, crops, tree farm, etc) the tax rate is significantly reduced. It's called CAUV and stands for Current Agricultural Use Valuation. Farmers and landowners catch a tax break for maintaining productive ag lands. These can be forested, but certain conditions apply.
As far as lease income to farmers and landowners, it's considered reportable income and is legally taxable. A landowner ignores this at his own risk. That goes whether leasing for recreation/hunting, timber rights, mineral/mining rights, farm use (example: leasing land to a neighboring farmer) and so on.
If the Illinois proposal (described above) ever becomes law, the only differences I can see are 1) higher lease costs which will not stop leasing, but will make hunting even more of a rich man's sport. 2) A reduction in hunting opportunities if landowners simply shut out hunters and/or harvest timber in an effort to achieve lower tax rates. Farmers and landowners are typically king in ag-heavy states like IL and the midwest, so such a tax would undoubtedly face heavy opposition from some very strong entities.
In any state beside Illinois I'd say that wouldn't stand a chance. I'm still saying it probably won't pass. Legislation is starving for money every where but, to stupid to look in the mirror for ways to solve it. God Bless men
No kidding, C!
I don't know where Ironhunter is talking about, all the leases in Wisconsin that I know of are $40-$60 an acre
Ha Charlie, isn't that the darned truth. Here is what I am seeing these days:
IL = $28 an acre KY = $18 an acre
I wish I had the foresight to get ten properties back then and do a long term contract :)
Makes me very thankful to live in New Mexico.
Makes me thankful I live IN WV too. Unfortunately, there is a growing number of people that think the results of an increase in demand for hunting ground wont apply here. They seem to suggest $15 to $20 per acre lease fees are only subject to VA, KY, Ohio, etc.... That WV is inside of this protected force field.
"I don't know where Ironhunter is talking about, all the leases in Wisconsin that I know of are $40-$60 an acre"
Ironhunter made that post 9 years ago. Look at the dates. This thread was from 2006.
In Wisconsin it depends on which part of the. Buffalo county and other prime areas very high. Chippewa, Taylor, Central WI, where I hunt $10-$30 currently, but climbing.
Not surprised that lease prices are escalating. I paid less for just about everything 9 years ago. My property taxes have increased. Land valuation has increased. It simply costs more to own the same land as the years tick by. Many landowners view leasing as a way to mitigate some of the expenses of owning property. If you were a non-hunting guy who owned 300 acres and could buy a new pickup or boat simply by leasing to hunters...well, it's a no-brainer for many landowners. In fact, it's almost like money for doing nothing. Most guys won't turn that down if it's thousands of dollars; it's just common sense.
If property ownership continues to get more expensive (it will) I believe leasing will actually increase in an effort to offset that.
This is a quote from Mike U.'s website:
"It is actually illegal in Alberta to pay a landowner for hunting access."
Like you, I didn't find any details on a CA gov site (quick search) about this, but I did remember reading on Mike's webpage once that they did not have exclusive access to private land because it was illegal in Alberta to pay a land owner for access.
Be interesting if any Canadians would chip in.
From Alberta F&G site:
"Access to Public and Private Lands Except under authority of a Game Bird Shooting Ground Licence, it is unlawful to directly or indirectly buy or sell, trade or barter, or offer to buy or sell access to any land for the purpose of hunting any big game, furbearing animals or game birds."
So if you cannoty pay or even barter for access to land in Alberta, how easy is it to get permission from land owners to hunt their property?
I used to have several leases. I paid $1200 for 800 acres in Ohio 3 years ago. The problem was it was Union county and deer numbers were low. I did kill a good buck and saw a few monsters but I hunted about 35 days to do it. I will never lease again. I have found over the last 5 years, I can aquire permission on some prime ground just by asking. I killed a 160" plus deer in Kansas this year on private ground and all I did was ask. I killed a 140" deer in Indiana and again I juts asked. I did that 2 years ago in Illinois. You have to put your best foot forward and just be down right friendly but it works. I now have ground in 4 states to hunt anytime I want and all I did was ask. I have a secret for getting permission but I won't tell. I am also blessed to have a few hundred acres in NY(my home state) that I have hunted for close to 50 years. As I said I will never pay for a lease again. Shawn
Ive rarely talked with anyone who was really happy with a lease so I havent done it.
347 acres for $2100 for bowhunting only deer and turkeys per year in South Carolina.
In central Alabama I would say the average is $15 but the range is from $8 to $30.
$8.00 to $10.0 per acre in Oklahoma.
Yeah, thread is 9 years old, I'm sure the rates have gone up... while at the same time wages have flatlined or even gone down.
Still, even at those rates I must be missing the part about the land owners getting rich off of leases. At best all I see is something to help offset their costs or some side money for a little extra income.
That said I spent most of Sunday before last building cattle fence for our "lease". Built a couple welded metal gates for him last year. We have three smaller places to hunt with him, this one we are fencing now is about 100 acres and our biggest. Haven't hunted it yet but we've seen several deer there already. He hates deer (bust up fences and equipment) and likes that we watch the places and are archery only. And we don't have to share meat with him as he likes a big juicy beef ribeye best of all. =D
WRT Alberta (guessing there are different regs for each province?) Maybe private individuals cannot lease or sell hunting rights but I understand the government itself has no such restrictions regarding the sale of hunting rights for commercial hunting?
Actually it seems to me that "North American Whitetail Magazine" created the monster. Back in the late seventies when I started looking at this magazine the biggest bucks and the states they came from were plastered allover the pages Common knowledge back then was if you wanted a monster buck you went to Pike county Ill. or Iowa or Kansas or Wisconsin. No one back then new Indiana, Western Kentucky, Eastern plains of Colorado were trophy whitetail areas until North American Whitetail magazine showed up. With every new copy the biggest bucks almost always seemed to come from Southern Ohio. "Who would have known"? Once the out of staters started seeing this they had to grab a piece of the action and the land owners realized there was a fortune to be made for leasing out the woods on their property. Let the competition begin. I liken North American Whitetail magazine to the Whitetail hunters "Playboy" magazine. To me that magazine had the biggest impact on letting out the secrets and it created a monster.
ben Yehuda, thanks for searching up that interesting find on Alberta. I'm not sure about all provinces, but I do specifically know that several of them sell (lease) the rights for commercial hunting to outfitters. SK, BC, YK, NT just to name 4...there are others no doubt. Makes a guy wonder what would happen in the US if a state tried to make hunting leases illegal.
I always thought Texas was ground-zero for whitetail leases. Here in Ohio leasing wasn't a big thing until the largest landowner in the state decided to run with it. Mead Paper started a controversial lease program back in the 1990s, and it was a success for them. It still is from what I read and hear. When smaller private landowners realized what they were potentially missing, some of them began leasing also. I think it was around $10 an acre back then. A farmer who never hunts (there are many thousands of them) could instantly generate $3,000 on his 300 acres, and that's precisely why landowners jumped on board.
NAW Magazine (and other pubs) contributed to it through big antler mania. The national whitetail population was growing rapidly in the 80s and 90s. Farm commodity pricing was generally poor. Employment rates were very good and the stock market was accelerating...meaning hunters (plenty) had disposable income. States began actively promoting their whitetail hunting and deer quality. Bowhunting literally exploded from 1980 on. Call it the perfect storm, but a lot of factors went into the popularity of leases. Pointing a finger at just one or two of them is too simplistic.
The average in SD for prime real estate is 5000 per 160, but many are higher.There is no turning back from the leasing/selling of our wildlife in the US. It is very sad to see. I personally have the resources to lease land if that where my choice, and do own land I can hunt. But I find it morally wrong to put a price tag on a resource that is SUPPOSED to be considered a wild animal. I personally would prefer to NOT HUNT at all if the only thing going was leased hunting. I give free permission to all who ask to hunt our family farm as long as they hunt on foot, with short range weapons, and leave the property the same way they found it. I prefer to hunt destinations that still provide acces to free range wildlife. This normally require some travel. But I'd rather hunt a week in the Rockies for a wild animal in beautiful surroundings that pay for an animal that is supposed to be wild , but carries a price tag for any who want to pursue, in country cut up with fences, roads, and no tresspass signs. The opportunity is out there for all who would like to hunt the greatest resourse this country has and that is free range wild life in great country.
I own 60 acres. Our state has current use which gives landholders a property tax break for keeping their land open and undeveloped. My land is under current use along with a recreatioal discount of 20%. Hunters are welcome but no baiting and no tree stands. I also own 30 acres which is a great woodcock flight cover. Popular with bird hunters. My total taxes are $220. Without current use, $1000. With a deer density of 1 per square mile and thousands of acres of timberlands, leasing or posting are a waste of time. One group of city guys leased 22,000 acres up here, built a fancy lodge, never killed a deer in 5 years and gave it up.
This has been law in Illinois for several years. Greedy people always try to stick it on somebody who lives outside the taxing body in our state.
"But I'd rather hunt a week in the Rockies for a wild animal in beautiful surroundings that pay for an animal that is supposed to be wild , but carries a price tag for any who want to pursue, in country cut up with fences, roads, and no tresspass signs."
Absolutely. But a couple points:
Deer on leases and private off-limits land are still 100% wild.
The Rockies are too far away for daily deer hunting for most guys.
Deer on leases don't carry price tags and can't be purchased. Access is purchased.
The mountain west has plenty of free-access acreage. It also has plenty of off-limits ranches, barbed wire and pay-to-hunt property.
Where I live, all private properties are automatically 'no trespass' by law...signs are not needed.