To Lease Or Not to Lease Your Land for Hunting !

With Bow Season just around the corner here in Tennessee, there are always hunters looking to snag a new place to hunt. Every year I see on Facebook and hunting forums, hunters looking for new territory to explore that my hold a Boone & Crockett buck. Some hunters are just looking for a place to get outdoors and away from the headache of urban or city living.

Farmers and land owners can get an extra return on their land in the form of payment as well in controlling the population of wildlife and assisting in prevention of crop damages.

The land owner should take several things into consideration before just allowing anyone onto their property.One question that seems to come up all the time is, will the property owner be sued if the hunter(s) have a accident while on said property. According to the Tennessee Recreation User statue:

The Tennessee Recreational Use statute provides that landowners or anyone else in control of the land or premises (such as a renter or occupant) shall have no duty of care to keep the land or premises safe for use by others for recreational activities. The statute provides a number of activities as examples:

  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Trapping
  • Camping
  • Water Sports
  • White Water Rafting
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Sightseeing
  • Animal Riding
  • Bird Watching
  • Dog Training
  • Boating
  • Climbing
  • Skeet and Trap Shooting
  • Skiing
  • Off-Road Vehicle Riding
  • Cutting and Removing Wood

This is not a complete list and other activities may apply.

The 2nd thing that property owners should consider is what type of lease will you have with prospective hunters. You want to make sure that it is an enforceable lease. The property owner will want to make sure that they have some or all of the following:

  1. The lease should be in writing.
  2. the land that is being leased should be identified by legal description (address and acreage)
  3. The lessor (property owner) and the lessee(who is renting the land) are named on the lease
  4. It should be signed by both parties with a legible legal signature.
  5. The signatures should be Notarized

Other thing’s to consider is what is included in the lease . For instance:

1.A description of the property to be leased, defining the boundaries of the leased property.

2. A list of activities that are forbidden by lessee on said property.

3. Whether or not the lessee is allowed to sub-lease the property to other hunters.

4. The number of hunters allowed on the property . also, are you leasing the property to an individual or group of hunters. Will the leasee be allowed to bring guests.

5. The amount $$$$ of the lease and the duration of the lease, and when payment is due.

6.You should have a Termination Clause included. This may become necessary should someone damage the property or not abide by the agreed rules.

7. The land owner should consider how the wildlife will be managed. I have heard people say things like, (if it;s brown it;s down) you may want to only allow deer that are eight points or better to be taken.

8. The limit of wildlife to be taken each season. Like, do you want the hunters to take several deer (like fill their tags) or do you want to limit it to a few deer each season.

9. What type of game will you allow to be taken. Will the lease be for Deer only ? or will the lease cover all open seasons. (deer, Turkey, Squirrel. etc)

10. Will the land owner also be allowed to hunt also. Maybe you want a chance a nice buck on your own property or maybe you just want a nice deer to make jerky.

11. What type’s of vehicles will you allow on your property. Will you designate a parking location and only allow ATV’s or UTV’s on the property and ask them to stick to existing log roads or roadways.

12. You may want to consider having the hunter to provide a liability insurance policy to further protect the land owner.

I am not a lawyer and don’t play one on TV. So, don’t just rely on this blog for land owner protection. I would suggest that you consult a attorney or contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, they can direct you to further information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *