The following content is provided by our friends from the DeerCast Mobile App: If the idea of leasing hunting property has crossed your mind, it’s time to put boots on the ground. Before embarking on this adventure, prepare yourself for all the hurdles you’re about to encounter. We’ve leased hunting property for about 15 years and have learned a few key aspects that always hold true.

First, prepare yourself for rejection. Like that special someone you wanted to ask out in Junior High, but didn’t for fear of rejection. Yeah, you need to get over that.  People are going to say “No,” and no amount of reasonable money will change their mind.

Second, we underestimate the vulnerability it’s asking for someone to allow you to access their land with weapons. Make sure to put yourself in the landowner’s shoes and truly understand their concerns. The relationship is undoubtedly a special one, so don’t take it for granted.  Below are some steps that we may help you in your quest to secure a hunting lease.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

There is a parlor game that is built on the basis that any two people on Earth are six or fewer links apart from Kevin Bacon. Apply this concept to the landowner. Do some research and find individuals familiar with the area, if you remain diligent you will eventually find a connection. (Farmers, hometown folks, tax assessors)

This will hopefully lead you down a path of respectable contacts and may give you the inside edge when it comes to setting up a meeting or conversation. You may also discover that the parcel you’re interested in may not be exactly what you had hoped.

Prepare your Hunting Resume

I know this seems a little much for getting rights to hunt someone’s land, but it may be the most necessary of all these tips. By resume, we truly mean contact card with the most essential & pertinent information.

Name, phone, how much liability you carry (ex. $2,000,000 aggregate) philosophy, references, etc. This card can become crucial in a callback opportunity.  In our experiences, landowners are hesitant to permit hunters or tenants no matter the situation and need time to ponder the idea.

Give them that time, they may need to inform others of the change before offering the leasing opportunity.

Like a job interview, you can always call back. Most importantly, if they initially say “No,” they can still change their mind, and contact you. Example: Money becomes tight and now leasing their ground becomes a feasible avenue to gain income. 

Leave No Stone Unturned

Over 15 years of leasing hunting ground, it has become apparent that the more detail and situational analysis you can communicate through contracts and conversation the less likely there will be any negative occurrences in the long run. Most of us that are serious enough to financially commit to hunting ground, are also serious in our approach to managing our hunting. You may want standing crops, the ability to plant food plots, access roads, and utilize atv/utvs.

Each and every concern should be discussed and considered when drafting a contract and/or during critical conversations. Items as miniscule as where you will park, up to complex & dynamic topics like food plotting & hinge-cutting, be sure to cover them all! Assume nothing, and you’ll save yourself future headaches and assure happiness and a successful relationship.

Little Things Make a Big Difference

It is paramount that through conversations that the landowner develops a comfort and safety having you and your tenants leasing the ground.  Small gestures like moving fallen limbs for the farmer, sharing your venison harvest, repairing fence, are just a few examples of inexpensive labor that tenants can do to build the relationship. Remember, the landowner must understand that you and your hunting cohorts care as much about the property as the owner himself.

Everything is Negotiable

As much as all hunters would love to have their own piece of ground to manage and hunt as they see fit, this is not the norm for those who lease. Be prepared and understand that the heritage of hunting runs deep in many families.

The family may wish to keep the gun rights for whitetails or turkey hunting rights for their own pleasure. Be understanding of this as you begin negotiating, and we must reiterate, your openness to negotiating will be a reflection of how well you can compromise and ultimately earn the trust and respect of the landowner.

Be resistant to rejection. Persistent in networking. Over-prepare for negotiations and be one step ahead of the next hurdle. Most importantly, approach the relationship as if you were the landowner looking for tenants to lease your ground.  Also, remember that being told “No” right now, doesn’t mean you’lll be told “No” forever!  Stay positive and go get that lease!

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