Hunting Lease Agreement

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A hunting lease agreement is an agreement between a hunter seeking rights to hunt on the land or a landowner. This gives the hunter broad or limited rights to hunt the wildlife that lives or trespasses on the landowner’s property. In the agreement, the parties will agree to a price and the length of the agreement.

The Basics

A hunting lease agreement is a binding legal agreement between two individuals (the lessor, and the lessee) for the purpose of hunting at one of the individuals’ (the lessor) land or private property. An individual can set up a Hunting Lease if they are interested in payment for the utilization of their property.

The individual must be the landowner of the property and the purpose of the agreement is to protect both the owner and the hunter(s). It will protect the owner by establishing that the hunter follows strict guidelines and regulations while hunting on their property.

The agreement protects the hunter by providing him legal documentation that they are allowed to hunt on private property. The agreement should detail out the duration of the lease, as it can be utilized for one day to several hunting seasons along with other potential requirements (i.e. no hunting on Saturdays, maximum hunters, price per hunter, hunting style, planting food plots, forfeiture clauses, etc.). Upon the document being signed by the lessor and the lessee, it will take immediate effect unless otherwise noted.

To avoid obtaining a hunting lease, hunting can also take place at a National Forest and some state parks. However, if any of the parties interested should consult with the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to ensure they comply with local state laws.

A local state license may be required to hunt on public land along with requiring additional permits and fees. The hunter will want to inspect the property as a precaution prior to leasing. Due to the cost that is associated with a hunting lease, there are several components that should be considered and can impact the cost, they are:

  • Farmland and Timber (MIx of fields, timberland, and crops)
  • Size
  • Landowner nearby
  • History of good quality game
  • Clubhouse or camp
  • Gates and Access (Easily accessible)
  • Distance from a larger city

Do I need a Hunting License?

A hunting license provides an individual the legal right to participate in sport or recreational hunting. A hunting license for an owner to hunt on their own land is not required. Individuals interested in hunting on private property or the tenants of a property being rented may be required to obtain a license.

Married couples must have both individuals listed on the property deed. In certain states, if a married individual is not listed on the deed they must acquire a license to hunt on their own land. The license should be reviewed for the particular animal that is stated, any animals not listed on the license cannot be hunted, even if the license holder is the landowner.

For traveling hunters, keep in mind each state will also require its own hunting licenses or permits. The hunting license is required to be carried at the time of hunting. The individual can carry an electronic copy of the license or a physical copy. A hunting license can be valid from a calendar year, up to a lifetime, which is dependent on the state.

How to Obtain a Hunting License

Prior to obtaining a Hunting License, it is recommended that an individual take a Hunters Safety Education Course. Requirements vary by state and individuals may contact their Department of Fish and Wildlife for further information. To obtain a license an individual will be required to submit one or more of the following items:

  • Certificate of completion of an approved safety course
  • Current valid hunting license
  • Evidence of a previously issued license

Other documentation may be accepted, which is dependent on your local Department of Fish and Wildlife. The application must be submitted to your local Department of Fish and Wildlife alongside the appropriate payment.

Open and Closed Season

A Hunting Season is a particular time of the year in which a hunter can legally hunt animals. Open Season is referred to as the time that a specified animal, bird, wildfowl, or game animal can be legally hunted in accordance with the local Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Open Season can be narrowed down to a specific time of day and the length of time can vary from several weeks to several months. Open Season may also have a daily limit of animals that can be hunted. There can be multiple Open Seasons throughout the year for the same type of animal, due to the type of weapon (archery vs firearm) that can be utilized to hunt.

Closed Season is the time of year that hunting is not permitted making it illegal and therefore can be punishable by law. Seasons are created to protect the animals during their most vulnerable time frame, protect peak mating season and population size. There is also an additional Limited Season that can be created by the Department of Fish and Game in order to create tighter controls over animals hunted.

Hunting Laws

Hunting Laws or Regulations vary by state. They were created to ensure animals, birds, and game animals can continue to exist, as well as provide individuals multiple opportunities to hunt. Hunting laws also allow for individuals not hunting to be protected by providing guidelines and regulations to the hunters. Common hunting laws are:

  • Not hunting from the road.
  • Tagging all animals as required.
  • Hunting with the appropriate permit within private property.
  • Documenting the gender of the animal.
  • Lawful possession of a species.
  • Hunting with the required license/documentation.

Outdoor Safety Courses

Outdoor Safety Courses provide hunting education and safety requirements in the individual’s state of residence prior to obtaining their license. The course is not required for any hunters hunting with an individual who is directly supervising, who was born prior to September 1, 1969. The courses can cover knowledge, skills, attitude, hands-on training, safe sporting practices, appropriate gear to use, and proper technique. Upon completion of the course, the individual may utilize the certificate as certifiable proof in order to obtain a hunting license.

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Declaration Statement

(1) Landowner Name. The full name of the Property Owner is required in the first statement. This is the Party who legally owns the property where the hunting grounds being leased is located.

(2) Property. The address of the private property this document concerns must be solidified. Be advised this must be the address needed to gain access (physically) to the hunting grounds. If the concerned property is located far from any access roads then use the legal lot, plot, or parcel information to identify this property’s location

(3) Property Jurisdiction. The State whose hunting regulations and property regulations govern the behavior of this lease and its Participants must be identified.

Designated Hunting Area

(4) Authorized Hunting Grounds. Define where on the concerned property the Lessee may hunt according to this lease. If this is the whole property then you may write in the word “whole property” or if the property is divided for this purpose, then record the way in which it can be identified on a map of the property, in your records, and found physically.

(5) Activity Purpose. Select every action the Lessee or Hunter is authorized to pursue while on the grounds of the leased property from the checklist provided. If the Lessor approves additional acts then list all such approved activities (i.e. photography, skinning, etc.).

Terms And Conditions

(6) Lease Payment. The dollar amount the Lessee (Hunter) must pay to the Lessor (Land or Property Owner) must be calculated as a single sum then established.

(7) Start Date. The first calendar date when this lease becomes effective (entitling the Lessor to payment and the Lessee to hunt) should be presented.

(8) End Date. Document the final calendar date when the Hunter (Lessee) will be able to access the hunting grounds on this property according to this lease.

(9) Provisions Or Rules. The Lessor may have specific rules of conduct or special state regulations imposed on his or her land. All such provisions that affect the Lessee’s behavior, rights, and restrictions on the hunting grounds must be documented in this agreement.

Signature Execution

(10) Hunter Signature. The Hunter must read this document as the Lessee once it has been completed. If the Hunter is willing to abide by the terms above and provide a binding signature then he or she should sign this paperwork and record the calendar date when this action was performed

(11) Landowner Signature. If the Landowner is satisfied that the agreement presents all terms and expectations that the Lessee or Hunter must follow and wishes to proceed then he or she should sign and date this document in the Landowner signature area.