STILLWATER – Leasing land for recreational hunting can provide Oklahoma landowners will a little extra cash in their pocket, labor resources for their land, perhaps a few new friends and a reduction in trespassing.
“Leasing for recreational hunting has become a major source or revenue for landowners,” said Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist. “In fact, in many areas, revenue generated for hunting leases has surpassed lease rates for more traditional agriculture production.”
While leasing land for hunting seems very simple, there are some precautions that need to be considered by landowners to have a successful lease.
It is important for a landowner to carefully screen and select good lessees to reduce liability. To do so, it is advised that landowners should take time to visit with potential lessees.
Selecting the right lessee will help reduce liability of the landowner, as the lessee should also possess liability insurance. The lease also should have conditions for termination, a legal description of the property, rights granted or withheld, terms of payment, effective dates, liability waivers and acknowledgements of risk, Elmore said.
Property owners should consider leasing their private land for reasons besides monetary.
“Often, services provided by the lessee are of greater value to landowners, particularly older or absentee landowners who may not be able to take care of the land as they would like to,” Elmore said. “Many lessees would be willing to offer labor in exchange for access to private land.”
A final consideration for landowners is the compatibility of a lease with current land management. Management for wildlife can be very compatible with cattle and crop production, with the primary consideration of having abundant native plant communities.
“Introduced pastures are much less productive for wildlife, and will almost always yield much lower lease rates,” Elmore said. “Cultivated cropland can provide good wildlife habitat, and hence, good lease rates, assuming most of the landscape is rangeland or forest.”
Elmore offered one more tip to get the most bang for your buck.
“Farmers can help diversify their farm income by maintaining wide fence rows and field corners in native range or forest,” he said. “Having larger blocks of native habitat between fields also will increase the value of this land for lease hunting.”