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How to Build a Profitable Hunting Lease in Three Steps

Joe Ogden

A profitable hunting lease is within your reach when you follow three simple guidelines.

Last year in the United States roughly 13 million outdoorsmen took to the woods and spent over $35 billion in the outdoor industry. A portion of this mind-boggling number was spent on hunting leases, a popular way for hunters to gain access to some of the best fair chase hunting in the country.

With this in mind, many landowners find themselves looking to cash in on the demand for premium hunting ground by leasing their asset to area outdoorsmen looking for the perfect location to spend time in pursuit of the experience of a lifetime. And while this can be as simple as taking a guy’s cash to let him hunt, if you truly want to maximize your profitability you will want to consider a few tips.

Hunt lease 1

1. Showcase the Goods

Take the time to place trail cameras throughout the property. Take an inventory of the bucks you have on the property. If you have a wallhanger on your property you want to know it. More importantly you want the prospective leasee to know it.

“Introduce mineral sites on your farm, trace minerals help deer recover from stress and grow bigger racks. These mineral sites are a great place to set up trail cameras and see what kind of bucks you have on your farm. Being able to show potential lessees the age structure and size of your bucks is a sure-fire way to get them to commit,” says Jody Graff of Graff Habitat.

2. Have a Management Plan

A well thought-out plan to manage the deer herd will pay off in a big way when it comes to attracting a serious hunter. Keep in mind the land is yours and the health of the deer herd is under your control. You will still own the land long after the leasee is gone. A good plan will protect your investment as the years go by. In many cases the state conservation office will assist in building a program for a property.

3. Be Flexible

Work with the prospective hunter to adjust the property to fit their needs, staying within the master management plan. This is where food plot locations are determined, trail systems are to be implemented in order to navigate the property, and any other needs the hunter may have.

At the end of the day you will be able to charge on the upper end of what your market will allow. In my home state of Missouri, the going rate for a quality hunting lease is between $35 and $50 per acre. I’ve been told that in the glory days of Pike County, Illinois, leased ground would go for as much as $100 per acre. Each market is certainly different and will dictate you do different things to the property in order for it to maximize its potential lease value.

Photos via Joe Ogden

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How to Build a Profitable Hunting Lease in Three Steps