All of the deer hunting gear in the world doesn’t do a hunter any good if they do not have a place to hunt. The answer to this problem can be solved in a few different ways. The five different scenarios for finding a place to hunt whitetails are: public land, outfitters, asking for free permission on private land, leasing private land on your own or leasing land through a hunting lease company. Depending on what kind of hunting experience you are looking for, each of these scenarios of finding hunting properties have their positives and negatives. Let’s dig a little deeper into each type of property, and then discuss how to lease a place to hunt and why it may be the best option.
- The Good – You may not believe this, but there are a few good states where a hunter has a very good chance at harvesting a mature whitetail on public land. For those who are willing to do a little work, and possibly travel from home, states like Ohio, Kansas, Iowa and a few others have great whitetail hunting on public land. In some of these states the chance of taking home a true trophy is quite possible, and these lands may offer a hunter a better chance to score on a big buck than private land does in more pressured states where you might live. Also, one great plus is the fact that no one can tell you that you can not hunt here anymore, as these lands are open to all.
- The Bad – Most states where hunter numbers are high usually have very poor hunting on public lands. Some states have poor management programs that often lead to very little game on these public lands. Rules on many public lands may also restrict the use of treestands and certain other hunting equipment placed in the woods. Furthermore, you have no more right to where you hunt than the next guy or gal, and anyone is welcome to encroach on your hunting set-up at any time.
- The Good – Outfitters are a great way to hunt some of the well known whitetail destinations, especially when you have very little time to travel and do all the work yourself. There are many great outfitters out there, and they can put you on a whitetail of a lifetime even when you are restricted in the amount of time you have to hunt each season.
- The Bad – Although most outfitters are good there are also a few bad apples in the bunch, and knowing which ones are bad can be difficult. The cost of an outfitted hunt can be pricey, along with the fact that sometimes it costs extra to be allowed to hunt where there have been larger animals spotted. Furthermore, the stand you are sitting in today may have had dozens of hunters sitting there earlier in the season. Also, most hunts are three days to a week in length which does not allow you a lot of time in the woods. Finally, if the weather is bad, or your hunt does not go as planned, you are done for the season and usually can not come back for a re-match with “Mister Big”, the whitetail of your dreams, unless you book another hunt.
- Nexthunt.com – This is a great website where you can find ratings, reviews and research on many of the whitetail outfitters in the industry. If you are interested in booking a deer hunting trip, a great place to start is at www.nexthunt.com.
Free Permission on Private Land
- The Good – If you are willing, and have the time to do a little work, gaining permission on private ground can lead to great hunting opportunities without the pressure of other hunters. With some good manners, the willingness to do a few chores, and possibly giving out a little Christmas cheer, a whitetail hunter may find themselves staring down a trophy buck in the wild.
- The Bad – After you have worked so hard to gain permission to hunt a certain property, this in no way stops the landowner from letting other hunters in on your “Hot-Spot”. It is difficult for anyone to manage the “hunting” on a particular piece of property when during any certain season the landowner may change his mind and allow relatives, neighbors, or other hunters to hunt, or worse close the property to hunting all together.
Leasing Private Land on Your Own
- The Good – I used to be anti-leasing until I leased my first property. It was the most enjoyable deer hunting that I had ever experienced. By leasing property you receive the privilege and the right to hunt, and also gain control of whom else has access to hunt. If you set this up on a long term basis you can manage a whitetail hunting property for many years; and can come back and hunt as much as you like without anyone else being there when you are not.
- The Bad – Most leases turn out well unless you do not have a good and legal written contract, or do not pay a fair value and reasonable market rate for the property. When this occurs the landowner is likely to bump you off the lease when offered more money, and then all of your hard work goes down the drain.
- American Hunting Lease Association – Here is one of the best tools I have found when leasing private land on your own. This website provides the hunter and the landowner with a lease contract that has been proven for over twelve years and protects both the landowner and the hunter’s rights and responsibilities of the lease. Also, for a very small premium the AHLA provides a one million dollar liability insurance policy to protect from accidents. This insurance is a must for piece of mind and security for both you and the landowner. This is a great tool to use to get a positive response from a landowner when you are asking to lease his property. To learn more go to http://ahuntinglease.org/
Leasing Land Through a Hunting Lease Company
- The Good – A hunting lease company can be your connection to great leases either in a particular area or anywhere in the country. Most of these companies work hard to find fantastic whitetail properties that you can enjoy for years. If you are looking for that special place just for your group to hunt all season, and do not have the time to knock on doors looking on your own, then this is probably your best option to find good whitetail hunting property.
- The Bad – Just as with outfitters there may be a few bad leasing companies, so it is best to try and find and to work with a reputable one.
- Base Camp Leasing – This is most likely the largest hunting lease company in the Nation, has been around for over twelve years, and now has a foothold in over twenty States in which whitetails are found. Base Camp Leasing has over 600 leases available, provides a proven lease contract, and provides a three million dollar liability insurance policy on each property. Base Camp Leasing has qualified whitetail experts scouring each State for superior whitetail leases. If you are looking for that perfect whitetail hunting spot then check out Base Camp Leasing at www.basecampleasing.com
Hunting Lease Tips
- There are two types of hunting leases, one close to home so you can hunt after work or on the weekends, and one where you lease a property farther away to hunt an area where the quality of animals increases.
- If the quality of the animals increase by driving one more hour you should do so as long as you can reach the property within a days drive.
- Make sure the layout of the lease provides for good access and hunt-ability.
- Do not have too many hunters on a lease, or you might as well hunt public land.
- Try to find a lease where the landowner lives on the property, or close enough to keep an eye on it from trespassers when you are not there.
- You should not lease a property if the landowner wants to also hunt, as they probably will be hunting every minute you are not there.
- Post the property with “Leased” signs instead of “No Trespassing” or “No Hunting” signs. If criminals see “No Trespassing” signs they think no one is there so they might as well sneak in and hunt, but if the signs say “Leased” then they know someone has paid to be there, and will probably catch them if they trespass.
- Always pay a fair market value for the lease, as it has to be win-win for both you and the landowner.
- Finally, always have a lease contract to protect both parties, and provide liability insurance if need be.