Hunting Lease - An Essential Forestry DocumentPeopleImages/DigitalVision/Getty Images
Demands for land to lease for hunting is growing rapidly in the United States. The leasing of private forest lands for hunting, in the very least, can supplement a timber owner's income. It can often be a forest owner's primary source of revenue.
Dedicated hunters will travel long distances and are willing to pay a lot of money for a contract to hunt game animals wherever they are plentiful. If you have a property that supports plentiful game species you need to consider a hunting lease for your property for both lease hunting and fee hunting.
You should always develop a lease if you allow hunting for pay on your property. A lease and liability insurance are the two tools that will protect a landowner when entertaining paying guests. A lease can be written for periods of several days to decades.
This tutorial and guide on preparing a hunting lease are for an individual hunter or hunting club to use. These steps should be used as suggestions for building a legal hunting document that protects both the hunter (lessee) and the property owner (lessor).
The legal language will be bold and in italics. Put all the bold italicized print together to craft a legal hunting lease.02of 08
Hunting Lease - Record Who and How Long
First, you need to define the county and state where all game hunting via this hunting lease will take place. Then make an agreement between the owner of the hunting property and the tenant (hunter) plus any allowed guests. Most hunting leases come with all hunting rights but you need to be specific if that is not the case.
STATE OF __ COUNTY OF __:
This Hunting Lease Agreement is made by and between __________________________ Landowner hereinafter called LESSOR and ___________________________ Hunters or Hunting Club hereinafter called LESSEES.
GAME TO BE HUNTED AND COMPLIANCE WITH LAW
1. LESSOR does hereby lease to LESSEES, for the purpose of hunting (game species) during the season established and in accordance with the laws, rules, and regulations of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Game and Fish, the following described premises located in _________ County, _________ State:
(Place legal description of property here.)
TERM OF LEASE
2. The term of this lease is for the 20 _____ (game species) season, which season is scheduled to begin on or about the ____________ day of November and ending on or about January 31, 20 _____.
Hunting Lease - Record the Consideration to be Paid
Rent is an important consideration and should always be included in a forest owner's hunting lease. You should spell out the exact price you are asking for the privilege to hunt your land. It is advisable to include a clause that suggests that these privileges could be revoked if the following hunting lease is not followed to the letter.
The consideration to be paid by LESSEES to LESSOR in ____ County, State of ____, is $ _______ in cash, one-half of the total to be paid on or before _____________, 20 _____ and the balance to be paid on or before _______________, 20 _____ Failure to pay the second installment shall thereupon terminate and cancel the lease and the amount already paid shall be forfeited as liquidated damages for the breach of the agreement. If LESSEES default in the performance of any of the covenant or conditions hereof, then such breach shall cause an immediate termination of this lease and a forfeiture to LESSOR of all rentals prepaid. In the event that a lawsuit arises out of or in connection with this lease agreement and the rights of the parties thereof, the prevailing party may recover not only actual damages and costs but also reasonable attorney's fees expended in the matter.
Hunting Lease - Does This Lease Only Allow Hunting?
You might be surprised how broad a tenant can interpret his hunting entitlements when using your forest. You need to be upfront with what a lessee can and can't do on the premises when hunting game and that you have the right to conduct necessary forestry and land management work that cannot be delayed through hunting season.
LESSEES understand and agree that the premises is not leased for agricultural and grazing purposes. LESSOR reserves the right in himself/herself, his/her Agents, Contractors, Employees, Licensees, Assigns, Invitees, or Designees to enter upon any or all of the land at any time for any purpose of cruising, marking, cutting, or removing trees and timber or conducting any other acts relating thereto, and no such use by LESSOR shall constitute a violation of this lease. LESSEES and LESSOR further agree to cooperate so that the respective activities of one will not unduly interfere with the other.
Hunting Lease - Cover Your Assets With Care
Your hunting guests are purchasing the right to use your property and land for the privilege of hunting legal wildlife game species. All considerations should be made by the hunter and tenant to avoid damage to the leased property and to improvements like fences, roads, and livestock. They also need to be careful when using fire or smokes.
LESSEES shall take proper care of the leased property, the dwellings, and all other improvements located thereon, and shall be liable to LESSOR for any damage caused to domestic livestock, fences, roads, or other property of LESSOR due to the activities of LESSEES or their guests exercising privileges under this lease.
Hunting Lease - Property Meets and Makes Inspection
The hunter and his hunting group needs to walk over the leased property with you (the landowner) or your agent for an initial inspection and show-me-trip. All parties should then agree that the property to be hunted for legal game is in suitable condition for that purpose inferred and described by the hunting lease.
LESSEES further state that they have inspected the described property and have found the premises to be in an acceptable condition and hereby waive any right to complain or to recover from LESSOR in the future relating to the condition of the lease property or any improvements located thereon.07of 08
Hunting Lease - The Poison Pill Called Forfeiture
IMPORTANT: You should always reserve the right to cancel the lease if the hunter tenant or his club has not complied strictly with all the hunting lease provisions. The hunting lease should be terminated by a certified letter written to a specifically assigned hunter/lessee.
In the event any hunter in the hunting club paying consideration for this lease fails to execute the same, then those hunter(s) executing the agreement shall be deemed as agents for such other hunters and responsible for all obligations hereunder imposed upon each individual member of the party. Violation of any agreement or obligation herein by any member of the hunting club shall cause the lease, at the request of the LESSOR, thereupon to cease and terminate as to the entire group, and all rights granted hereunder will be forfeited.08of 08
Hunting Lease - Limit Liability Clause and Signatures
Hunting is a dangerous activity and that fact should be acknowledged by each hunter accompanying the hunter's signature. The hunter should assume all the risks involved as his own responsibility. He should then agree to hold the Lessor harmless against all claims of loss, damages, and liability. The forest owner should understand that this still does not completely eliminate all liability on his or her part.
LESSEES agree to protect and defend indemnity and hold LESSOR blameless from any and all liability, loss, damage, personal injury (including death), claims, demands, causes of action of every kind and character, without limit and without regard to the cause or causes thereof or the negligence of any party or parties arising in connection herewith in favor of: 1) any LESSEES hereto; 2) any employees of LESSEES; 3) any business invitees of LESSEES; 4) any guests of LESSEES; and 5) any person who comes to the lease premises with the expressed or implied permission of LESSEES.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have hereunto caused this Agreement to be properly executed this __ day of __, 20 __.
1. _______________ ____________
2. _______________ ____________
3. _______________ ____________
4. _______________ ____________
NOTE: If the hunting group is not incorporated, each member should sign the lease agreement. It is also suggested you put this liability release on the same page as the signatures and that each lessee has read and understands its meaning.