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How to find a hunting lease

Updated on July 25, 2012

Trophy tower hunting lease

This 186ac. lease has produced several trophy bucks, coming up from the swamp. We call it trophy tower because a radio tower stands on the next parcel. This lease runs, $10.60 per acre annually.
This 186ac. lease has produced several trophy bucks, coming up from the swamp. We call it trophy tower because a radio tower stands on the next parcel. This lease runs, $10.60 per acre annually.

Where to look for a deer hunting lease

There's several things you should know to help you find, choose, scout,and manage leased property for hunting. I wish someone had made this info available to me before I began leasing hunting tracts, it would have saved time, money and some heart ache. We look for an area, where hunting is good and it helps if hunting is popular among the locals. Then where are you going to be staying? A nearby hotel, friend or family's place, camping on the lease, it all matters when trying to decide.Once you've decide where your going to look, the process can begin.
The first place to start is the local feed stores, hardware and restaurants, most of these will have a board posted with some local ads. Also talk to the local people at these locations, many will know of something available. The next stop is at the deer processors or taxidermist, they usually can give you a few options as where to start. Right now you're not looking to lease but build a list of possible options to see what's available so keep an open mind. Hunting supply and farm supplies may help get you a few additional leads, also the local newspaper or weekly magazines. We've just drove some farm roads before looking for farms that look like they could use some help. One cattle farm we stopped to talk to the farmer and found he had thought about leasing for hunting but needed to run some fence and put in some gates first. We ended up working on it that day and doing all the work for him, and in return he used his tractor to turn up ground for our food plots, worked out great for both parties.
Another great way to find some quality land to lease is thru the timber companies. Most of them have a number of leases available and many people just don't know how to look for them. What I've found works pretty well, is to write down the names of the timber companies that have signs posted, then look them up online. Currently, we have several leases that we got that way, one from Forrest Resources that we've had for several years, another from Rayonier which has proved to be great hunting. Here's a list of several that we've contacted in the past, Plum Creek, Campbell, Crown Pine, Weyerhauser, Georgia Pacific, Rayonier and Forrest Resources. This leases are usually cheaper than leasing from a farmer, running from about $5 per acre up to $12.80. Farm land tend to run almost double that in most areas.
Using these tactics will help get a least a number of leases to look over.

Scouting for a hunting lease

When trying to decide which lease we want to hunt, we obtain permission to look the property over. After loading up our ATV's we carry a little flagging tape, an aerial map of the lease, a compass, a digital camera and then spend 3-5 hours just riding trails and scouting the property. Then we do this with several properties before deciding, and the one we choose will already have several key spots marked with flagging tape. You might as well do some scouting whitetail deer while trying to decide.

How to choose the lease that's right for you

When trying to choose a hunting lease begin with aerial views of each property available, this may help weed some out without looking at every possible property. You want to find a property that has water, a pond, lake, river, creek, swamp or some type of drinking water nearby. The next most important thing, you want to get a good mix of AG fields, hardwood bottoms, tree transitions and changes in contours. The better the food source the more game you'll have moving about. Using aerial photos can help eliminate properties that have no change in contours or water available. Once you've narrowed your search it's time to make some phone calls, load the ATV and go do some quick scouting on several of the possible deer leases.

As you can see by looking at the satellite view of the pine thicket map below, I like to be surrounded by agriculture fields. The map is too small to really show the running creek bottoms and big changes in contours(this is a 460ac parcel). It has everything deer need except that the swamp is small so It's up to use as wildlife managers to pick an off limit area for the wildlife's safety. They need a place to bed and get away from predators, if you look at the top map, you can see a heavy swamp thru the center of the lease. This swamp keeps predators out yet the deer have safe havens within, this allows us to grow trophy deer.

Pine Thicket deer hunting lease

These two leases are completely different, trophy tower is almost used to exclusively trophy hunt. We trophy manage the lease and have little hunting pressure around us. The pine thicket lease has hunters all around us but with so many ag crops there's plenty of deer to be had, it's used more for a meat lease. It's almost impossible to trophy manage property if your neighbors aren't willing. With all the shooting around this lease they force deer to us, as we have the most woods in the area. Really it's up to your hunting club to decide how to want to hunt.


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      steve 20 months ago

      i need hunting land