Now we are really getting down into the weeds.
Do it yourself hunts.
Private land hunting leases.
In Kansas, Missouri and Iowa.
For deer, duck, upland and turkey.
That is what we offer. It sounds simple enough until examined more closely.
The Details, Always Details
Hunting leases are often believed a mode by which greater hunter success rates can be achieved. That is the primary motivation for their purchase.
It is believed that leases means above all else productive land that is left for the exclusive use of those who pay the cost. And, it does take hunting leases. Meaning multiple. To make for a good season.
That exclusive use facet while attractive is also limited.
Scouting we recognize as a great enhancement to success.
Experienced hunters will quickly agree limited hunter pressure on any type of hunting lease is not enough. It takes more for a good hunt.
The true answer is all hunting leases to be worth any money paid for them must have a habitat specific to the hunting discipline of choice. It must be within the right region which has a production history of wildlife of choice. And, have limited pressure. Leases of such nature begin to slim down the options. Just knowing where to put this together within any one state is enough to stop success before leaving home.
Lease Decision Criteria
Regional production decision criteria are often flawed. Data is frequently inflated and of a narrow range. Trophy whitetail deer give us an illustrative example.
Where to find information about a most likely area to provide greatest opportunity to harvest a trophy racked buck? Add to that a self guided hunt for a trophy whitetail? The quick answer is P&Y and B&C book. The correct answer is those references provide limited data on reported not actual or complete accounting of all harvested trophy deer. There go, they may serve as contributory decision lease location criteria, but not heavily weighted criteria for a lease purchase.
The problem grows as illustrated by Missouri’s introduction of a point restriction zone. Immediately on announcement of that zone, costs for hunting leases increased. However, it does narrow down a more defined area of potential trophy deer quality.
Magazine article writers also do a dis-service for hunting lease research. Their advertising a small area of better upland bird, turkey, deer or whatever production along with detailed descriptions of public and private land options causes pressure. Typically, these articles are written in exchange for a free hunt. The article providing advertising to an outfitter or guide who handed a hunt to the author. This level of information does not lend further definition of where to lease land. It diffuses where to look. Magazine articles are far more where an author received a free hunt than regional quality.
A Case On Point
The comment above about Missouri's original 4 point one side restriction zone has more behind it than a randomly selected region.
The older Missouri four point zone show at right is more trophy whitetail deer productive than the newer zone. Or, for anywhere else in the state.
Our hunting leases in this area are not by accident. We have had hunting leases in this area since the 1960s. Long before Missouri's official recognition to the general public.
The zone helps any hunter's research for where to hunt. The four point zone once identified increased hunter pressure through more seeking to secure a small acreage lease within it. The zone is surrounded by St Louis, Des Moines, Omaha, Lincoln, Kansas City, Columbia. Each city has many well funded hunters without places to hunt. They will buy their over the counter non-resident deer tags to hunt their lease each season.
What this zone has done to much surprise to many deer hunters has made north Missouri the most costly hunting lease land of our three states the Association operates in.
Then we have the savvy landowner. He knows when it comes to hunting leases there are legal issues.
“Many states have a "recreational user" statute that relieves the landowner of any duty of care when the property is used for recreational purposes and no fee or other benefit is received by the landowner. The purpose of this law is to encourage landowners to open their property for public recreation. This law does not apply to hunting leases. When landowners offer hunting leases and accept a fee (or any other benefit) for hunting on their property, they take on legal responsibility for the safety of the hunters. The paying hunter becomes an "invitee" and the law states that landowners have a "duty of ordinary and reasonable care" to their invitees.”
"... one of the most important facets of hunting leases: A lessor should try to ascertain whether the lessees are honest, careful, trustworthy and compatible with the lessor. It is more important to have good people participating in the lease than to receive maximum income from a lease. Choosing the right lessees will help avoid many potential problems in managing the lease."
MAHA screens its applicants. Not all who apply are allocated memberships. Further, we do dis-enroll members for cause. In our case any lease is always superior to any hunter.
Hunting leases also carry second order effects.
These effects range to performance of any hunter paying for or operating any of the variable types of leases extends beyond safety of the immediate hunter to who which may be harmed by a hunter’s actions.
A savvy landowners work around these technicalities.
What a savvy landowner seeks is a no record cash payment. By not having a paper trail he can claim no compensation of any kind was received. Or, the hunter was not on his land by permission. The landowner has insulated himself from any consequences. Or, for any performance responsibility, of his relationship with any hunter. A verbal only contract lacks proof. Therefore a hunter who pays cash without a written/signed contract notarized by a sanctioned person is left without any recourse to enforce his agreement with the landowner. Essentially, the hunter just gave the landowner money and hopes it works out.
The perceptive hunter on the other hand will quickly raise he would not enter into any contract unless written. Even if payment was by cash. Such contracts are readily available through magazine articles (again written by authors seeking to fill pages for payment) or on-line. Some state DNR web sites even promote their version of well written leases. All this of course is meaningless to a savvy landowner as he knows he will find some hunter or hunters who will pay cash and there go a no liability relationship. The landowner simply waits. There will always be a gullible hunter.
And There Is More
What is often lacking is liability protection. In the form of bonded insurance protecting landowners.
This is not personal liability insurance that comes with most property insurance. That type of insurance applies to non-commercial activity such as a friend's vehicle is damaged by falling hay bales.
With a hunting lease the relationship is commercial. That changes insurance laws just as it does liability laws. The problem is such hunting lease insurance is expensive. It is also not the type of coverage that the NRA advertises for sale to hunters. A commercial based relationship insurance coverage is expensive. It is beyond the means of average hunters. It is the type of insurance a reasonable landowner would demand proof of coverage included within a written contract.
If that insurance is provided then the landowner is secured from liability. And, a hunter has further proof of contract complete with landowner performance requirements as the landowner is named on that insurance.
Mid-America Hunting Association does insure the landowner. Further, with the Association being a "business entity" the laws are different. The landowner assumes none of the personal liability of the hunter. The business entity does.
Jeremy out scouting for spring season.
What is a good answer to all these lease issues -- Mid-America Hunting Association.
We provide liability protection to landowners who leases their land. Along with a redundant hunter release of liability form.
Additionally, we have a lawyer on retainer. That relieves all of this concern. Right down to include all the technical lease language that makes for bulletproof leases protecting landowners and our business relationship. This allows hunters to simply hunt. More importantly have a self guided hunt on private lease land with less pressure than public or any of the other types of lease he may individually enter into.
A skeptical hunter may state this article is nothing but self-promotion. That is true. What is also true is everything written in this article. A perceptive hunter will agree to that.
Spend your time hunting rather than hunting for a place to hunt!
Pictures are just so easy. Shot opportunity just so hard.
Not our bets land, not our worst hunting land. Just average. We will never oversell this organization by posting only the best looking land.
Classic example of how aerials do not show sufficient detail. The open ground on this spot is all native grass. Ranging from 4 to 6 feet tall. Any bird or deer hunter who knows what grass provides would consider this a first choice spot.