HUNTING LEASES Agriscience 381 Wildlife and Recreation Management #8983-D TEKS: (c)(2)(C) and (c)(4)(D)
Introduction • There are two major benefits of hunting. • It gives the hunter an opportunity to get away from the daily routine and experience nature; and • It is a necessary management tool used to control the wildlife population.
Wildlife overpopulation can cause the following problems: • starvation, • disease and parasites, • increase in the number of predators, and • competition for space with humans.
Hunting is a privilege that comes with many responsibilities. The hunting lease provides both the hunter and the landowner with an outline of the responsibilities of each party. The hunting lease must operate within all state or federal wildlife laws.
Need for A Written Hunting Lease In the past, a person’s word was their bond. Verbal hunting agreements were common and both parties honored the agreement.
Misunderstanding and broken trusts caused a breakdown in verbal leases. A written lease clearly outlines the terms of the lease.
The most important aspect of a lease is to identify the responsibility in case of some kind of incident. Each party should receive and keep a copy of the lease.
Hunting Lease Contents The lease should contain easy-to-understand wording. It should contain enough detail to prevent any future disagreement.
Names of All Parties The lease should contain the names of the lessee and all lessors. It should state whether or not the hunters are allowed to bring guests and, if so, it should state whether or not they must accompany the hunter.
The agreement should state whether or not minors are allowed on the lease and the minimum age limit. If minors are allowed, the lessee should require that an adult be present with the minors. Photo by Ryan Hagerty courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The lessor should accept responsibility for the acts and actions of all of their guests.
Description of Lease Area The lease should clearly identify the area by tract, acreage, and boundaries.
It should reflect the quality and quantity of the hunting facilities on the site. The party responsible for the maintenance of the facilities should also be specified in the lease.
Lease Privileges The lease should clearly state all pre-season hunting activities available to the lease. Photo courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This should include the building of blinds or stands, which game may be harvested, the types of weapons that can be used when hunting, and if dogs can be used during the hunt. Photo by Jay Clark & Izaac Walton League courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The lease should also state whether the lessor can camp-out on the property. Photo by C. Zimmerli courtesy of Yellowstone National Park, National Park Service, DOI.
Lease Fee The lease should specify the cost of the lease, the type of payment, and the payment due date.
Generally, a down payment is required prior to hunting season with full payment due by the time the lease becomes active.
The lessee may opt to accept payments. If so, the lease should state the consequences if installments are missed. It should also state whether or not the lessor loses money paid, if the full payment is not made on time.
Indemnification Statement This statement should be included in all leases to protect the lessee against liability in case of injury or death to any lessor or guest. This statement should also cover the loss of damage of property owned by the lessor.
Provisions for Damages Where guns or vehicles are involved, there is always the possibility of damage to property, livestock, or facilities. Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park, National Park Service, DOI.
This section of the lease should identify who is responsible for payment in case of property damage. The lessee or lessor should have the right under the terms of the lease contract to seek retribution in a court of law, if necessary.
Hunter and Hunting Rights The lease should specify the game the lessee will allow the lessor to take from the property.
If the landowner has special permits, the lease should state whether or not the lessor will have access to those permits.
The lessee may place restrictions on the number of animals that can be taken, as long as it does not exceed the legal limits. The lessee may also grant the lessor the right to hunt varmints or feral animals. If granted, those animals must be identified.
Other issues may be addressed in the lease. One common issue is whether the lessee will also be allowed to hunt on the leased property during the contract period.
The lease could also permit the lessor to allow another party to assume part of the lease. If so, the new party should be required to agree to all parts of the existing lease.
Since feeding stations are legal for some game, the lease should specify details of their use, if allowed.
Duration of Lease and Rights of Renewal The lease should specify the beginning and ending dates of the lease.
The hunter and landowner may want to undertake long-term projects to enhance the habitat and hunting facilities. If this is done, the hunter may want to include a right of renewal in the lease to benefit from those enhancement projects.
Types of Hunting Leases Landowners tailor lease agreements to fit their needs, not the needs of the hunter. Hunters select sites that fit their hunting styles or schedules. Four types of leases give both the hunter and the landowner flexibility in lease development.
Year-round Lease The year-round lease gives the hunter access to the property throughout the year. The lessor is responsible for the maintenance of the lease for hunting.
Limited Lease The limited lease restricts the hunting to a specific game species. It also limits the time period the lessor can hunt.
This lease can last the entire season or a specific portion of the season. The lessee can also provide for one or two week hunting intervals, allowing for more to hunt on the property.
Day Hunting The day hunting lease requires more attention and coordination by the landowner. This allows for more hunters and provides for increased harvesting needs. This is a common lease for dove hunts.
The day-hunt lease often includes extras such as guides, dogs, and meals for the hunter. It is also common for a landowner to lease the property on an annual basis to a broker who will manage the day hunts.
Guided Hunt A guided hunt is a specialized hunting lease where one guide works with one or only a few hunters. The hunt can be short-term or until the client gets the desired result.
Guided hunts are commonly used for exotic game hunting. This lease can specify the length of the hunt and the type of weapon. This lease provides flexibility for both the lessor and lessee. Photo by John Simms courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Special Service The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department works with landowners to develop hunting lease agreements for their property. It will also help the landowner advertise their lease. This is a free service through TPWD’s Deer Lease Register service.
NOTE: An attorney-at-law or other legal counsel should be contacted to protect the rights of both the lessor and lessee.
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