Contributors to this thread:
Benefits of leasing.
The thread on the cost of leasing got me thinking in a different direction. I started bow hunting in the area that I grow up. I had lots of aunts and uncles and very few people bow hunted. I had access to maybe a thousand acres of private land and plenty of public land that held deer. Everything was free to me. I loved it and would love to have it back that way if I could. However, that is not going to happen. I started thinking about some of the benefits to leasing not for me but for others. These are economical and for us that consider bow hunting to be one of the gods it is hard to see past the spiritual. When a landowner gets $10 to $60/acre for say a100 acres that brings $1,000 to $6,000 into the local community. If enough land in the community gets leased that can have a very significant impact.
A comment was made that the public owns the deer. A guy from Base Camp Leasing told me that most of his clients for area with good genetics are from out of state. This means that the States can sell a lot more NR licenses and generate a lot more revenue. Local restaurants and hotel will also benefit.
When outfitters lease land in additions to the money for the LOs, they bring money into the community in payment for hunts and may employee peoples as guides, cooks and housekeepers.
People leasing land are more likely to grow food plots or bait. (I would love to see baiting eliminated but that is off of the point) This further helps the local economy. All of this is in addition to the financial impact from hunting shows and products that are helped by leasing.
A lot of the money coming into the State or generated locally is taxable with helps support everyone.
Economically it is hard to see a downside to leasing.
From a hunting point of view, LOs, business owners, DNRs, and Politicians now have a reason to support hunting that may not have before. This may help preserve our hunting rights. With the population getting too large for there to be enough recourses to allow the majority of people a place to hunt support for hunting may needs the economic benefits from leasing.
By me there is no public land for at least 10 miles. LOs are to a large extent, tired of trespassers and free hunting now that demand is so high. Leasing probably opens up more land for hunting.
For hunters there certainly are more mature bucks to hunt for people who enjoy hunting mature bucks. When I was growing up in WI, 90% of the yearly bucks were killed each year and there were very few mature bucks to hunt. Now there is good hunting for those who enjoy a day in the woods and some meat to eat and those that enjoy hunting mature bucks, for those who can find a place to hunt. I struggle each year to take enough does off of my property (which I neither lease nor lease out) and I will encourage friends and family to shoot does.
Here are some thoughts which I may not like but that does not make them any less valid. Flame away.
In Indiana, I believe the DNR has been a driving force behind leasing. We have a 16 general firearms season during the peak of the rut followed closely by another 16 day ML season where anything goes (inlines, scopes, sabots, etc..) and full crossbow liberalization across the entire archery season. The only things keeping Indiana on the map when it comes to deer hunting is the one buck rule (still not sure how we ever got that done?) and private deer management (owned and leased).
To be clear, I don't lease in Indiana (technically). Been hunting the same 800+ acre farm for 30+ years. The owners live out of state and we basically take care of the farm. Between three of us, we spend roughly $3,000/year on seed, fertilizer, chemicals, fuel, etc... and provide roughly 500 hours / year of combined "sweat equity". Requires alot of work to maintain...but we love that farm. Money and time well spent for sure. If the owners told me tomorrow they are initiating a lease fee...I wouldn't hesitate to accept.
Good posts by goyt and pav.
That's an interesting take on a controversial issue. What you advocate does indeed bring more money into the economy.
But there is also a downside. A huge downside. What does the hunting community need more of today, more money or more young hunters?
The concept of bringing in more out of state money has locked out many local hunters, especially new hunters. They simply can't find a place to hunt so why bother. It's kind of like building a ski area near an established community. It completely changes the dynamic of that community and drives out the old so it can bring in the new. Not always a good thing. I'm not sure it's ever a good thing.
I can agree with a lot of it, but the comment about there being more mature bucks may be a regional thing. The opposite is very true where I live. Having all the surrounding land leased by outfitters who put clients that will shoot any decent buck (week after week for the whole season) has ruined hunting for a lot of people. Age class drops rapidly at first then even seeing bucks becomes an issue. Doing this over feeders can deplete bucks for many surrounding properties.
In the US there are millions and millions and millions of state and federal lands open to hunting. There is always a place to hunt, at least for those willing to try.
Yep, more than one way to look at it. Leasing can be an impedement to the local young would-be hunters, and drives away non-residents too who would otherwise be buying hunting licenses and benefitting the local economies.
Full disclosure. I lease. Part of a group that is one a 900 acre farm. However that farm is being turned over to a land trust and will be open to the public next year. So, I'm looking...
Comment is made about non-resident dollars. No one sees the problem with trading a decrease in resident opportunities vs increased non-resident dollars?
JSW nailed it.
"The concept of bringing in more out of state money has locked out many local hunters, especially new hunters. They simply can't find a place to hunt so why bother. It's kind of like building a ski area near an established community. It completely changes the dynamic of that community and drives out the old so it can bring in the new. Not always a good thing. I'm not sure it's ever a good thing."
Like I said on the other thread, I don't have an answer, but the FYIGM mentality is not one. Not in the long run.
Bowbender I'm a huge anti when it comes to leasing for that very fact. I have watched the youth in my area give up on hunting. What was once a great family tradition has been priced out of most of the local families and it has hurt the kids. I don't have the answers either and hold no ill will towards anyone who leases (either land owner or hunter), but what the situation has become sucks for many locals.
Any landowners who do not maximize their cash returns are not wise investors.
I’ve done it. I no longer do it. However, if I had to in order to hunt, I’d do it again in a second.
Up until 25 years ago there was very little leasing in my county. Locals hunted and finding a place to hunt wasn’t tough. Now 70-80% of land and 98% of the good hunting is leased. Sure hunters frequent the local motel, diner and filling station. Anything else they need they are going to bring from home or likely buy out of county. Locals would buy much of that same seed etc. and buy it locally. Corporations lease thousands of acres and all the good duck ponds. Now land prices have doubled and instead of a farmer making a living some investment banker from Chicago has the land solely for hunting. That’s not leasing but part of the same issue. Now local kids have nowhere to hunt and the can’t compete in the leasing game with players from out of state. Sure land owners get some lease money but if they try to expand their operations they are paying ridiculous prices for land, it’s a wash. I don’t begrudge anyone for leasing but I think the positive impacts to the community are negligible. The impacts to the future of hunting by its commercialization are hard to spin as positive.
Leasing has no positive benefits for the long term viability of the hunting community, nobody ever stated that. Leasing is however greatly beneficial to landowners, including farmers and ranchers who are more than ever faced with increased holding costs and inflation.
There is no turning back, I would suggest hunters invest in their own properties, lease private,or hunt the available public lands, and stop crying entitlement. America voted to be more like Europe, which includes the privatization of hunting. How did you vote?
"Any landowners who not maximize their cash returns are not wise investors."
Missouribreaks, you are 100% right. But, everyone has their line in the sand when it comes to profits and community. I know farmers who ripped out all their tree rows and filled in ponds so they could farm every square inch. Also know farmers who left treerows, planted buffer grass strips around ponds, installed guslers, leave a corner of dryland corn for wildlife, tip decent at the local coffee shop, and go to high school football games. I'm probably bias as both types have been a big influence in my life but I think the world would be a better place if we had more of the latter.
"No one sees the problem with trading a decrease in resident opportunities vs increased non-resident dollars? "
I think it depends on how much leasing there is in a given area. 'A few' leases are not going to make much difference, if there is plenty of open land, public or private, available to the locals. But when most private land is in leases, and little public land exists, there will be 'attitude problems'. (And I have no idea how to figure the best 'balance'.)
My issue with leasing is that from an overall outdoor recreational perspective it is an inefficient use of property. Maybe I am wrong but my understanding of most leases are deer hunting centric and geared toward creating an environment where deer are less pressured or unpressured, and therefore more likely to show themselves during daylight, grow bigger, etc.
In order to achieve this, the overall recreational use of the property is severely limited. So instead of property that is used year around for small game hunting, upland bird hunting, predator hunting, trapping, target shooting, and general horsing around, the property is intentionally unused and dormant for the majority time.
I don't see how hunters choosing to severely limit the use of available property for such a particular purpose (unpressured deer hunting) doesn't have a negative impact on hunting overall and outdoor recreation generally, especially for youth hunters.
Sure if a kid wants to go squirrel hunting they could find public land to do it, but it would be a lot easier to walk across the street and knock on a door and go hunt the neighbors back forty.
I want to make perfectly clear that it is completely up to the landowner to decide what to do with the hunting opportunities on his/her property. I don't think any sane person would think otherwise.
I disagree that there's nothing to be done about it. I realize that this will probably never happen but a drastic decrease in non-resident tags in a state like Kansas would greatly diminish out of state influence on the resource. This dilemma has been created by basically unlimited NR tags for the past 20 years.
When an outsider is guarunteed to get a tag every year he is more likely to invest a considerable amount to ensure a quality hunt year after year. If he were to only get a tag every 3rd year or so, this would mostly go away.
Just like all of lifes greatest problems, the solution is very simple. The actual application of that solution not so much.
Those who think there is ample public hunting in midwest states for a new comer to get hooked on hunting don't really understand the dymanics. While there is some decent public hunting in Kansas, it is not sufficient to get most new hunters hooked.
I agree with MB that it will not likely ever return the way it was, so those of us wanting to continue participating will have to adapt.
Also agree with LOs needing to do what is best for them.
I grew up in the city and could never walk out the door and hunt. Did not know anyone who lived in the country to ask either. Since most kids grow up in the city, and some here bring up the need to recruit youngsters, leasing IMO offers an opportunity for these kids to find a place. Too often to me this is the lost component I hear older hunters talk about, that they just can’t find a local place for their kids like they had. But most kids in my lifetime never had that possibility, so I see leasing as leveling the hunting field.
We adapted by purchasing 120 acres. At times I miss the hundreds of private acres I hunted in exchange for helping the LOs. We became friends, but at times it was certainly inconvenient to help them when I had other pressing responsibilities at work and home and could not say no to them. Overall, purchasing is the second best decision we made.
Knock on doors, trade labor out, lease…do what it takes to just hunt. Competition for ideas is good, but I recognize these changes will leave some people out, and that will happen to me as well as age replaces ability.
Best wishes to all!
Have any of you on the pro side of leasing for deer hunting given thought to how it effects all other forms of hunting? I live in a state that caters to deer hunters, and this is pushing out all other forms of hunting. A food plot of clover or turnips does nothing for pheasants or quail.
I own land where I live, my brothers and grandmother own land here as well. I’m not crying entitlement but don’t try to pat yourself on the back and tell yourself you are helping farmers and ranchers. Leasing and the hunting industry is doing nothing but driving land prices up. Most of the farmers and ranchers I know are looking to expand when feasible. When land prices double because absentee land owners from the east coast think they need a few thousand acres to hunt, that doesn’t help farmers and ranchers. Like I said I don’t care if you lease or buy land, just don’t tell me what you’re doing is helping farmers and ranchers out. I happen to farm and ranch and I would be much better off without hunters driving up the cost of land.
"A food plot of clover or turnips does nothing for pheasants or quail."
That's cuz nobody names a pheasant or quail, or puts one on a hit list.
Leasing pisses off the residents. That's a fact. I used to lease 6,000 acres, and had to deal with the landownersletting their friends and family hunt. Roadhunters got at least a couple bucks. Most of landowners around here let neighbors and friends hunt after the lessors go home. It's a fact most don't talk about. "They want your money, but they really don't want you there"
LINK has it right, I also do think there is good public in all states. It has a lot to do with how hard you want to scout to find it. There is also land to be had by just asking permission. Don't believe that, in the last 5 months I have made hundreds of phone calls and recieved permission on over 4000 acres of private in 3 states. Is it any good? I know some of it is excellent, others pieces I have never laid eyes on. Its still free and I like free. I recieved permission on 3 pieces in Nebraska that total 1200 acres and was told there is quite a few big whitetails and few good mulies on it. I played the leasing game, it sucks as if you live 500 to 1500 miles away, its hard to know whats going on and what poaching and such may be happening. I do very well on public and better than average getting permission so in my opinion guys can have their leases but they are not for me. Shawn
I can see where the demand to own hunting land is driving up the cost of hunting land and along with it farmland. As someone who owns and buys land for hunting, I certainly look at the cost of land as being negative. However, I owned 50% interest in some property and my partner did not think that he had long to live. He wanted to dissolve the partnership for estate planning reasons. It was a slow process and we each got an appraisal and two years later we each got another appraisal. The appraised value when up 56% in 2 years! The plan had always been for him to buy me out. When he talked to his 6 kids, all but one wanted the money and not the land. I ended up buying him out and the high prices were great for him as a landowner but not so much for me as a buyer, but I was happy to get the land even at the higher price. His kids will now get more money which I would imagine they consider a positive.
I would be surprised if many people buy land for the income from leasing hunting rights. I don't think that the numbers work. However, I have heard that Bill Gates is now the biggest owner of farmland and that Warren Buffet is positive on investing in farmland. I have a hard time understanding why vacant land is going up in price so much. As with most things a lot of people are benefiting from it. Most people want the value of their property to go up so that they have the option to sell for big money. I said most and not all.
Concerns with the world's food supply have to be contributing some to recent increases as crop prices have increased I would think.
How do you think demographics will affect all of this? If the trend holds and hunter numbers continue to drop, will leasing prices go down? Will it return to handshakes?
Had a student that purchased land so they could have free range chickens and such. How much of this is driving prices?
I think that demographics have a huge impact. I also think that hunter numbers can drop more before there is any shortage of hunters. I believe that access to land and access to tags in the western states is what is severely impacting hunter retention and recruitment. I routinely have people ask me about getting into hunting or starting to hunt out west. I tell them that I will be happy to teach them to shoot a bow and explain how I hunt but do they have access to hunting land? Most don't. I just setup one of my bows for my granddaughter's boyfriend. There is still interest. If by some miracle LOs can no longer find hunter that want to lease, I think that lease rates will drop. I doubt that we will ever see the free access that we had. As hunter numbers grow LOs had so many problems with hunters that there is some reluctancy to provide access broadly. I could be wrong. If deer and other damage gets too high LOs maybe more willing or LOs may avoid trophy hunters in favors of hunters who are willing to harvest does.
I also think that hunters may become disenchanted with their leases as leasing become more dominant in their area. If you are the only group in an area attracting and hunting deer seriously you stand a better chance of being successful. I see people shooting 4 bucks and 6 does off of 100 acres. That works if the neighbors are not shooting much. If everyone in the area is hunting all of the land those harvest rates are not sustainable. The same holds true for mature bucks. We may see lease rates drop as hunter expectations are not being met.
I have no idea what the impact of free-range chickens has on land prices. Our population continues to grow so overall demand should go up independent of hunting. People look for investments and some people just want to own some land to relax on.
I have thought about this quite a bit lately as many of us in South Dakota are trying to limit the number of NR archery hunters as the numbers are steadily increasing every year. We are glad you come to visit but this is affecting us. As the last state with unlimited NR tags, we need to do something. Everyone has a right to hunt where they can legally. Everyone has a right to lease their land to outfitters or hunters or simply buy their own land. How do we keep Joe public still hunting? Hunters themselves are a small portion of the community. Hunters leasing land or using outfitters is a smaller number. Numbers matter in some things. Like voting. If you take away 3/4ths of the hunters opportunities, will they be there for you when the antis come calling? Back to the NR's and leasers. So, if we cant get the game dept. to limit the influx, can we put a surcharge on all hunting leases and outfitted hunts that helps reward stewards of the land who choose not to participate in these activities? This is just a thought I have had. Now, our governor comes from a commercial hunting background and she says "were open for business" so that doesn't leave us much hope for changing things but the attitude that its all inevitable has got to stop. Things can change if we try. The economic benefits that some applaud create jobs for people that cant hunt. Would you want a job where you cant hunt. Don't give me that line that people are not willing to do all the things it takes to be more successful as there are a lot of us that bust our ass eveyday and watch this stuff continue to get worse instead of better. I think I have seen the golden days but I do have grandchildren and it would be nice if they could have opportunities as well.
Substantially raising non resident license fees would be the logical first step. This holds true in almost every state.
goyt, Thanks. The leasing market will continue to adjust as you point out, hopefully the peak of the craze is over!
The problem with with leasing there is always bigger pockets that will pay that you can afford then to the public land or sitting home. Know some that went through this.
“Substantially raising non resident license fees would be the logical first step. This holds true in almost every state”
Have to totally disagree with this. You want to limit NRs, be my guest, limit their numbers. But don’t use price to weed out people.
I agree with that if you have caps or quotas. If you're not going to limit it, then raise funds for alternatives.
I lease and have since 1999. I’ve watched the transition to big money. Will I be pushed out at some point? Maybe. Until then I’ll enjoy it and keep doing right by the landowner. Leasing isn’t the only avenue to kill animals, hell I killed my first 12 or so deer on public. It’s not doom and gloom.
I’m with Embry.
I’m fortunate in the area I’m in and surrounding properties for the last 6 years. Pretty sure it’s not forever but I’m also certain I could jump in on an opening if there was one in my area.