If you didn’t already know, a Midwest hunting lease is hot property.
These days, you have to pay to play if you expect to find a really good Midwest hunting lease. Land leasing companies and business minded outdoorsmen saw this trend coming years ago. Those who were able to get established early in the game are reaping the benefits today. For most, $3,000 may sound like a lot of money. When it comes to a prime land lease though, let’s just see what it get you.
If you are going to hunt deer, the Midwest is flat out where it’s at. The states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin produce big deer. In the old days, knocking on a door could get you great access. Now, too many cold calls from lease brokers telling farmers how valuable their woods are has ruined all that for the rest of us.
Indiana and Illinois
Based on available properties from Base Camp, just in Illinois, $3,000 doesn’t go very far if you want woods on your property. To put it another way, expect to pay about $20 to $25 an acre. If you’d prefer an open field with a ditch running through it, $15 an acre might be more in order. Most available leases in this price range consist of 150 up to 200 acres of open and flat land. Sure, deer will pass through when the crops are out, but probably at a high rate of speed because the few trees on the property won’t hold them for long.
Indiana is falling right in lockstep as far as prices go. There is still a lot of land to be leased in the Hoosier state, but available properties are falling fast. As all the small town farmers sell out, their woods go quickly under contract for huge amounts of money. Luckily though, $3,000 still goes pretty far. Expect to find some 200 acre properties that offer real potential. Soon though, that will be a thing of the past.
Iowa and Kansas
Being able to hunt land in Iowa or Kansas is the stuff deer hunter dreams are made of. However, you better have money to spend. $3,000 will get you a 100 to 150 acre field. There will be some travel corridors and maybe some oasis woods, but an open field. In both of these states, just that will run you between $10 and $15 an acre. If you want woods and a place where deer might actually bed down, double that.
Ohio might be one of the most leased states out there next to Iowa and Kansas. As we all know, this state always produces big deer for those lucky enough to afford the chance to hunt. Finding open leases though is always tough. However, if you are in the market, expect to pay $20 an acre no matter what. If you want woods and bedding areas, $35 to $40 an acre is firm. On the other hand, most $3,000 packages come with a fair amount of acreage. Does that acreage hold any deer? If you read the description, of course it does! If that assumption is based in any sort of reality, you’ll have to pay first to find out.
Michigan and Wisconsin
Michigan and Wisconsin were once proud deer hunting states and still hold some major deer populations. However, natural predators and disease sure has been taking it’s toll. Regardless, hunters are still going to pay good money to hunt here. Wooded properties in the $3,000 range consist of about 100 acres for two to three hunters. Non-wooded properties offer much more acreage, options for more hunters, but much less deer numbers for the same amount of money.
By and large, all hunting leases are going to be about the same. If you just want a place to hunt and don’t really have high expectations for a monster and would happy with some does, $10 to $15 an acre will probably get the job done for a small patch of land under 100 acres. If you want true trophy potential, expect to pay $30 to $40, if you can even find an open lease in the $3,000 price range. Most of the time, expect to pay much more than that.
Something else to consider out of all of these prices and packages is that these properties are designed to hold multiple hunters. In the $3,000 range, that normally consists of two to three hunters. Therefore, $3,000 divided up isn’t as big of a pill to swallow. However, for what you are actually getting, it might be. You will really have to find that diamond in the rough.
The Midwest hunting lease market has really started leaning towards the $5,000 range if you want quality land and a lot of it. On average, that will be around 300 to 400 acres with woods big enough to allow for 4 to 5 hunters. As long as hunters continue to pay those prices, the value will just continue to go up.
One word of advice when looking for any Midwest hunting lease, don’t just read the description and listen to the salesman. You really need to check the property out yourself. The salesman wants to sell leases and you want to fill your tag on a trophy buck. Those two goal don’t always align. If there’s a vacant lease, it’s probably vacant for a reason.