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Hunting Leases

by James B. “Jim” Kea
Area Extension Forestry Agent – now retired
Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Hunting season is already upon us. If you have waited until the last minute to enter into a lease for the coming year or consider changes in your present lease, keep these points in mind.

If a landowner and a hunting club anticipate a lease, it is important to have a written contract. It is also advisable to seek the assistance of an attorney to make sure the document is correct.

In the preparation of a lease, there are a number of items the landowner should consider including: 1) a description of the property to be leased and a map showing boundaries, 2) when hunters may be present, 3) what species of game can be hunted, 4) what will the lease cost and when are payments due, 5) number of guests, 6) who is responsible for roads, gates, trash, etc., 7) dangerous areas or hazards on the property, and 8) if landowner retains personal hunting rights. There are other items that may be included as well.

Three items that should be in any lease are: 1) a hold harmless clause which states the landowner is not liable for injury to the lessee (liability is an issue of concern for many landowners, and more information is available in Woodland Owner Note No. 21 “Liability and the North Carolina Landowner” available from the County Extension Office), 2) means for terminating the lease by either party should they violate any of the agreed upon conditions, and 3) that all parties hunting will obey the state and federal fish and wildlife laws.

Finally, when working together, there should be one person in the club that the landowner can speak to who is responsible for the club. If there is more than one landowner, one of them should be designated as the contact that the club can go to.

Timber companies and many private landowners often require liability insurance. Policies are available from only four sources that I know of, the National Rifle Association (NRA) (1-800-544-9820), Carpenter Insurance Services (1-800-472-7771), the North Carolina Forestry Association, or through the Forest Landowners Association (1-800-325-2954). (1-800-231-7723). Most rates are based on acreage and membership.

DISCLAIMER: The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services does not imply endorsement by the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical.

Revised 2/16/2006.