Beware: Pitfalls of Leased Land

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The landowner walked down the fence at 8:00 am… banging a stick on the old fence and on the fence posts, calling out loudly and blowing a coach’s whistle all the while.
From my vantage point in a 20’ + tower stand, I could see – and plainly hear – him coming.
The three does that were feeding in the center of the bean field clearly heard him, too… and made haste in the other direction.
I watched as he made the corner of his property and turned and followed his fence line at a 90 degree angle – doing the same antics as he walked up the other way.
This was not the first time he had done this… heck, it was not even the second.
When I accosted him the first time he did it, he rambled on incessantly about how “we were going to shoot him or his grandchildren… and a man could not even walk his own property without someone holding a gun over his head”.
It was obvious that he could not be reasoned with and it was obvious that he was set on ruining any hunt or hunts that he could.
This was a small lease and it adjoined his property for about 25% of the property line, but it was easy for him to disrupt a little 88 acre piece of property.
The game warden was contacted and informed us that as long as the antagonistic land owner was on his property, he was powerless to do anything about it.
This is just ONE of the pitfalls of leasing land – and this happened to me on a 2010 lease in South Carolina.
Had I known this was going to happen, I would have chosen not to lease this farm…
Here are many other pitfalls of leased land that I think all hunters should be aware of:

    • Hunters on adjoining properties that hunt right on the property lines and may even shoot deer across the lines
    • Houses that border your lease boundaries – the tenants or owners often feel they have a right to hunt “behind the house”
    • Easy poacher access, particularly for open fields or agriculture fields that border fairly well traveled roads
    • Leases that have very difficult access – you may have road access at one section, but do other sections have difficult access – like creeks that are not easily crossed but you do not have access from the other side of the creek
    • Leases that may flood when the rainiest seasons come along
    • Leases that may be subjected to partial or even total timber cutting
    • Leases that adjoin dog hunting clubs
    • Leases that have dog problems simply from local dogs that live at the surrounding houses
    • Leases that do not foster good relationships between the hunters and the farmers that lease the land for agriculture
    • Leases where expectations and requirements – on both sides – are not clearly spelled out and discussed between the land owner and the hunters
    • Leases where land boundaries are not very clearly spelled out and understood
    • Leases that lack an understanding (even a written agreement) about the duration of the lease – in that someone may take a lease, put in plots, upgrade the roads, put in a rifle range and deer cleaning station – only to find that the landowner then fails to renew the lease

There are many other problems that could arise – but these are certainly some to be aware of.

Leasing a property – when the conditions are right – is a great way to gain a private place to hunt. Many incredible memories have been made on leased land.
Understanding the pitfalls, doing your homework and asking the right questions before taking the lease, however, will go a long way toward making sure you take the right property in the first place!
The attached image shows the lease from 2010 - the yellow boundary was my 88 acre lease and the red boundary was the property of the disruptive land owner. He was not a deer hunter - so he was not trying to stop us from harvesting "his" deer - he was simply being spiteful!


ManOfTheFall's picture

Wow! That is a very

Wow! That is a very unfortunate and sad situation. I would have never dreamed something like that would happen on a leased property. I hope you have much better luck in 2011. Will you be going back to Illinois again, or trying somewhere different? What will you be doing different this time in hopes of avoiding that again? Did you talk to the leasee and see if you could of had any portion of your money refunded? I am fortunate that I have always had a different couple of private farms to hunt on. I was actually considering a lease just to increase my chances on possibly harvesting a larger buck. But after reading this horror story I think I will stick to my private farms. Thanks for the information.

groovy mike's picture



Wow, I have never leased land and judging from the horror story you tell I am glad that is the case.  I know that this is probably an exception to the rule but wow, how rude!

The only explanation that comes to mind is if that guy had some past experience with irresponsible huunters and or the land owner who leased to you. But at best it is a difficult and unpleasant situation.

Sorry to hear that it didn't work out for you in that case, and I thank you for the warning.  Should I ever find myself thinking about leasing hunting land I'll be sure to check out the references of current or former hunters and talk to the surrounding land owners before I put my money down as well.

Your warning is much appreciated!


ecubackpacker's picture

Jim, it sounds like you have

Jim, it sounds like you have hunted on some of our past leases. All the land we lease now is leased via a written contract detailing most if not all of the points you mentioned.
The pitfalls that can't be addressed in the lease which are out of the landowners control are what can really affect the quality of hunting you'll have.
We have run into a lot of what you're talking about in this tip. So anyone looking to lease a parcel of land can use this tip as a guideline.
We have found the neighboring hunters hunting our land, even watched them climb a tree climber and face our way-hunting our farm when he was only 50 yards from the line.
We even found out the farmer was telling the neighbor where and when to hunt the line and even where to hunt our side.
We've had a neighbor drive down the path which is on the line while we're hunting, disrupting the hunt. But there is nothing you can do except watch as he rides by. Funny thing is, he has done this on a Saturday afternoon during the middle of the rut. When we told him a out

jim boyd's picture

ECU i am taking a new lease


i am taking a new lease in 2011 and while i have tried very hard to ask the right questions -  i am praying that i do not run into any of these issues!!

ecubackpacker's picture

Good luck because you never

Good luck because you never know what you get into until after the fact. You may find a gem of a lease. I hope you do. You had a tough time of it in Ill, so who knows, maybe you'll get paid back with a trophy buck on your new lease.

jaybe's picture

Sad but True

This story is sad, but very true.

It can also happen on property that you own.

My son recently told me about a piece of property that he and his bro. in law own that has a neighbor much like the one in the story.

He'll drive slowly back and forth on the road when he knows the guys are hunting.

He'll walk on his property line next to the property they own.

He'll take his dog "for a walk" that just happens to be upwind from where they are hunting.

When confronted, he'll always plead innocent - he's just doing normal things and wouldn't think of harassing them (right!).

Good luck finding a much better place to lease in the future.