Hunting Lese Arangemets
in FOorida and the Southeast
by Wayne R. Marion and Cyndi A. Gates
!!,i 21 1] \ 'J
Universi'v f Florir -.
Wayne R. Marion is an Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Extension Wildlife
Specialist, Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences and Cyndi A. Gates is a former
Research Assistant in the Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences, IFAS, University of
Florida, Gainesville, 32611.
HUNTING LEASE ARRANGEMENTS
IN FLORIDA AND THE SOUTHEAST
Wayne R. Marion and Cyndi A. Gates
Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the nation and will very likely have the
third largest population by the year 2000. This is expected to result in higher land values
and development potential. However, many areas of the state will remain undeveloped. In
order to maintain these undeveloped or agricultural lands, property owners may be forced
to consider multiple uses for their lands. One possible avenue for increasing the value of
"undeveloped" land is the leasing of the property for various recreational uses such as
hunting, camping, fishing and other activities which result in minimal impact on the area.
Leasing land for hunting purposes is an increasingly popular option for landowners in
the South and Southeast. Many timber companies have long been aware of the value of
allowing hunting on their lands and the value of limiting access through hunting leases.
Increasingly, private landowners are becoming aware of the benefits of leasing their
property for recreational activities, especially hunting. The benefits range from increased
income for the landowner to better guardianship of the land by frequent lessee attend-
Hunting leases range from weekend leases to year-long automatically renewable leas-
es and a number of possibilities between these extremes. Types of hunting leases used by
each landowner depend on goals and alternative uses intended for the property.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO PRIVATE LANDS
Demand for outdoor recreational opportunities in the United States tripled from 1962 to
1983. Estimates indicate a loss of 1.5 million acres per year to urban expansion (Doig
1986). One-quarter to two-thirds of the remaining private rural lands have access
restrictions and this may increase to 80% in the northeastern states (Sampson 1986).
This trend toward a reduction in the public's free access to land is based not only on in-
creasing habitat loss and the increase in the recreation-seeking population, but on a
potential for income from leasing rights to wildlife and property damage problems caused
by trespassers (Lassiter 1985). These issues are gaining importance in the southern states.
Advantages of leasing, in addition to monetary gain, may result in fewer sportsmen-
landowner problems. Where sportsmen, as lessees, develop a proprietary interest in
game on leased lands, there generally are declines in poaching and crippling losses of
game. Increased control by the landowner over number of hunters often results in more
sustainable wildlife populations for future use.
A major disadvantage, concerning public relations, is that many Americans feel that
they should not have to pay to hunt; some consider free access to land and the game it
produces an "inalienable right" (Teer and Forrest 1968). Furthermore, liability risks and
the potential for property damage have contributed to closure of private lands and are
factors to be considered by landowners when leasing access rights (Kluender 1978, Lassiter
Governmental Efforts to Improve Access to Private Lands
In early efforts to relieve the public access problem, the Fish and Wildlife Management
Act was passed in New York in 1958. Under this Act, participating landowners agreed not
to post portions of their land in exchange for increased conservation law enforcement,
signs to delineate safety zones, habitat materials and advisory services (Decker et al. 1979).
In 1974, the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Services (ASCS) initiated a
pilot program for public hunting access. Farmers associated with ASCS could apply for
cash payments. This program was available in some counties of Alabama, Iowa, Michigan,
New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and South Carolina
(Brown and Dawson 1974). Although this program was popular among both hunters and
landowners, it failed to open significant acreage to the general public (Holecek 1983).
Furthermore, there was a need to relate the per acre subsidy to the quality of the land
(Brown and Dawson 1974). Hunter density was relatively high on these lands and land-
owners near urban areas were more difficult to recruit than were landowners in rural
areas, where a lesser need for public access was felt.
The Public Access Stamp Program in Michigan is a follow-up to the ASCS program
(Holecek 1983). The Michigan Department of Natural Resources leases lands for public
hunting access. Proceeds from the sale of special access stamps, required of all Michigan
hunters, are used to lease private lands. Payments to landowners varied based on quality
of the land. This pay structure also was adjusted upward for urban regions, thus reducing
some of the problems felt under the ASCS program. Average payment per acre in 1982
was $2.17 (Holecek 1983).
Depending upon location, the Conservation Reserve Program may alleviate some
problems with private land closure and lead to improvement of wildlife habitat. However,
in Florida, this program has had little or no beneficial effect on opening lands for hunting
or on improving wildlife habitat (J. Vance, pers. comm.). One reason for this is that
currently enrolled acreage averages only 40 acres per farm--too small to be of practical
use for leasing. Furthermore, most of the acreage enrolled in Florida is planted to pine
trees, which are generally of low habitat value to most wildlife species.
Private Leasing Operations
Private landowners in a number of states operate profitable, well-accepted leasing
programs. The "users pay" system is most highly developed in Texas, where it began in
the 1920's (Burger and Teer 1981). Nearly all of the 254 counties in the state had com-
mercial leasing arrangements on private land by the late 1960's. Many Texas landowners
run sophisticated operations which may include services such as hunting guides, field dogs,
field-dressing of harvested game, lodging, meals and other amenities. On a large ranch in
Doss County, Texas, charges assessed for a 2-1/2 day deer hunt were $300 per person
with additional costs for game harvested ranging from $100 per doe to $2510 per buck
(Welge 1986). Smaller ranches tended to lease on both a daily and a seasonal basis, while
larger ranches tended to lease only seasonally. Thus, higher returns per acre were real-
ized on the smaller ranches (Boykin and Forrest 1971). Table 1 (pp. 4 & 5) provides exam-
ples of leasing fees in Texas and other southern states.
Leasing of hunting rights by large corporations is increasing, particularly in the
Edwards Plateau and Rio Grande Plain of Texas where deer and turkeys are abundant. In
other cases, outfitters lease duck and goose wintering habitats, or other acreage, and sell
hunting rights for either a daily or seasonal fee (Burger and Teer 1981).
Recently, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department set up a deer hunt lease registry
program to help hunters locate landowners in the regions they wished to hunt. More than
850 landowners are listed in the registry with nearly 4 million acres of land available
(Wildlife Management Institute 1987).
Hunting may contribute greatly to the local economy. In Sutton County, Texas, 8% of
the county's agricultural income is derived from hunting, with an estimated lease income
of over one million dollars (Ward 1985). Furthermore, increases in land value in parts of
Texas have been shown to be correlated with deer densities (Andres 1967). Under adverse
conditions for agricultural production, leasing of hunting rights has provided essential
income. For instance, in Texas during severe droughts, returns from leasing helped pay
for range improvements and justified lower livestock numbers on moisture-depleted ranges
(Sargent et al. 1958).
Although landowners often have a legitimate concern about overharvest of game on
their lands, a Texas study showed that deer herds on some ranches were a liability be-
cause of inadequate harvest (Ramsey 1985). When deer herds were maintained at high
population levels, forage costs were prohibitive. However, under optimum harvest con-
ditions, (i.e. 20% to 30% of the herd), the net return per animal unit of deer compared
favorably with returns from livestock (Ramsey 1965).
Three major factors contribute to the success of commercial hunting operations in
Texas. First of all, there is little public land with free public access available. Secondly,
trespass laws are strictly enforced. Finally, a large number of game animals can be found
on the extensive range and forest lands of the state (Burger and Teer 1981).
PRIVATE LEASING ARRANGEMENTS IN THE SOUTHEAST
According to Wiggers and Rootes (1987), over 50% of the privately owned land in
Florida is leased for hunting. Furthermore, growth of lease hunting was high, with a 16-
25% increase. Although it was concluded that lease hunting was not detrimental to habitat
quality in the state, the practice was not endorsed by governmental agencies because of
the apparently low benefit to wildlife resources and habitat.
Approximately one-third of forest industry land in Florida is in state wildlife management
areas (WMA's) (Lassiter 1985). Acreage leased to the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish
Commission for Type 1 Wildlife Management Areas brings about $0.34 per acre. However,
when landowners lease to private individuals or hunt clubs, income of $1.10 to $2.50 and
higher per acre may be realized. The average value of a private hunting lease in 1985 was
$1.43 per acre (C. Chappell, pers. comm.). In a survey of Florida landowners included in this
report, average dollars per acre derived from hunting leases in 1984 ranged (cont. on p 6)
Table 1. Examples of lease prices in several southern states.
4 Trout limit
Table 1. (Continued)
from $1.32 in the north-central region, to $2.73 in the central region of the state. This
brings about a substantial financial gain to the landowner as well as a decrease in the
number of users. Furthermore, lessees tended to "police their own ranks." Problems
expressed by landowners, however, included fear of vandalism and/or potential "burning
out" by disgruntled local people.
In south Florida, opportunities for high quality hunting are offered on several large
ranches. One 14,000 acre ranch offers a high density of animals and a low density of
hunters. In 1986, a two-day package deal for deer, turkey and wild hog hunting cost $160
per day. In addition to hunting opportunities, birding tours and photography are offered
on this ranch (L. Williams, pers. comm.).
Another large operation in eastern Florida offers commercial hunting opportunities for
day hunts (A. Alshouse, pers. comm.). Shotgun, pistol and archery packages are available.
Additional charges exist for animals harvested, depending on the species and the sex.
Prices for hunts in 1985 included:
1. A party of 4 for a weekend of deer hunting was $1,300 plus an
additional cost if a trophy buck was taken.
2. Bass fishing rights were leased to a club for $70,000 per year.
The two previous examples describe some of the more well-established and lucrative
commercial hunting enterprises. They represent opportunities for high net returns per
acre through short-term lease arrangements but require considerable landowner inputs in
the form of time, money and labor.
Other Southeastern States
In Mississippi, a large proportion (nearly 90%) of the land suitable as deer habitat is
leased by private hunt clubs (Guynn et al. 1978). A survey of private landowners in the
Piedmont of Virginia showed that 53% of the landowners posted their property, although
only 10% totally prohibited hunting. Most of the respondents allowed some fishing on
their property. Only 2% of the landowners leased hunting rights for monetary compen-
sation while over 80% exchanged hunting privileges with hunt club members (Bromley and
Hauser 1984). In a number of Alabama counties, fee hunting for deer is more important
to the economy than is row crop production (Waters 1985). Some farmers are realizing
substantial income from dove hunting on relatively small acreages of agricultural fields.
Private, non-industrial forest landowners in North Carolina leased hunting rights on 12%
of their land in 1984 (Franklin and Allen 1985). Average tract size leased was greatest in
the northern Coastal Plain (1,360 acres). Percentage of acreage leased was about 30% in
the Coastal Plain while only 12% of the Piedmont and 3% of mountain lands were leased.
Deer were the most important game species on leased land but efforts to further increase
quail numbers were in progress.
Lassiter (1985) surveyed forest industry operations in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and
Tennessee. Of the total forest land in the study, about one-third was leased for hunting
rights. Percentage of land leased ranged from 6% in Tennessee to 52% in Georgia. In
Florida, access rights were leased on 31% of the forest land. Alabama had the highest
percentage of closed lands and the highest average lease price per acre ($1.64). In
Florida, average lease price per acre was $1.46 in 1984.
In addition to the need for access rights for hunting and fishing on private lands, the
demand for access for non-consumptive uses is growing rapidly. Some see conservation
easements on private lands as an avenue for developing state parks, recreation areas and
wildlife preserves (Riggle 1986). As pressure on public and private lands continues to
increase, more users of all types seek landowners who will lease exclusive access rights
for a fee (Lorenz 1986).
Most of the forest industry lands surveyed in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee,
that did not require permission for access, were open for non-consumptive use on a year-
round basis (Lassiter 1985). Where access rights were leased, access for non-consumptive
uses was open only to lessees. Most acreage available for access in Alabama, Florida and
Georgia required a permit. Of this acreage, over 40% was available for camping.
Teer et al. (1983) foresaw a long-term decline in the number of hunters and fishermen
with an increase in the quality of their recreational experiences due to greater control
over the number of users. On the other hand, the proportion of people involved in
dispersed, non-consumptive uses of wildlife resources is expected to increase.
IMPACT OF LEASING ON IMPROVING WILDLIFE HABITAT
The profit motive for leasing hunting and other recreational access rights often has
resulted in a more intensive wildlife management plan for increasing marketability (Stout
1975, Lassiter 1985). For instance, Gulf States Paper Company made plans to reduce
compartment size, to increase timber stand age diversity, to burn more frequently and to
preserve bottomland and hardwood areas (Stout 1975). A few forest industry firms employ
a full-time wildlife biologist and about one-third of those interviewed established and
maintained openings for wildlife. However, among the 4 states surveyed, Florida had the
lowest percentage (52%) of private forest land acreage where wildlife were included in
plans and policies (Lassiter 1985).
According to Lassiter (1985), those forest industry firms surveyed that derived the
highest income by providing access tended to put more emphasis on wildlife management
practices and policies; particularly when lease income reached $3 to $5 per acre. In
general, however, intensity of wildlife management was low.
In a Texas survey of ranchers and farmers, those who viewed hunting leases as a
potential source of significant income were more likely to develop wildlife management
goals to increase the possibility of even greater income (Sargent et al. 1958). Ranchers
who realize substantial income from fee hunting or fishing tend to manage more intensively
for trophy big game animals or larger fish (Wolfe 1977).
In a cooperative effort by the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission, private landown-
ers and hunting clubs, data were collected on harvested deer and analyzed to determine herd
health and to develop future harvest strategies (Guynn et al. 1978).
In addition to the apparent benefits of more careful management for game species, most
state wildlife agency personnel polled believed that enhancing habitat for game species
tended to favor non-game species as well (Teer et al. 1983).
LANDOWNER CONCERNS IN LEASING
In a number of studies reviewed above, private landowners expressed similar concerns
involving users of their property. Many landowners are concerned about property damage
and vandalism. However, when access rights are leased to hunting clubs, these problems
often diminish due to the vested interest in the land, leading to more active patrol by club
members. A major benefit of leasing is greater control over the number of hunters.
Another major area of concern is liability protection and protection from damages caused
In a survey of Virginia landowners who posted their land, past problems with hunters,
including trespassing, littering and violation of game laws, were the most significant
factors in denying permission. In an effort to curb property rights abuses and game law
violations, Virginia sportsmen founded Operation RESPECT (Responsible Educated Sports-
men Promoting Ethical Conduct Together) in 1979 (Bromley 1982). Increased awareness of
landowner concerns on the part of those desiring access to private property should lead to
better cooperation between the two groups.
In a survey of public use of industry lands in the Southeast, hunting was the greatest
use, particularly near large, urban areas (Kluender 1978). Unfortunately, trash dumping
and operation of four-wheel drive vehicles were the next two most prevalent public uses.
Eighty-two percent of the companies surveyed limited access to alleviate problems with
trash dumping and road damage, while 68% promoted "surrogate" ownership by local
residents. In general, hunting club leases were very successful. Similarly, in an Alabama
study, Gulf States Paper Company (GSPC) leased large acreages for hunting and public
relations problems were minimal (Stout 1975). In fact, residents in one county where all
GSPC lands were leased by rural hunt clubs felt that this action stopped the influx of
Companies in Kluender's survey (1978) expected increasing public aggression for use of
private lands, in the form of increasing government regulation and more eminent domain
proceedings. However, most felt that the present legislation did not adequately protect
their property rights. They felt that protection was inadequate and that enforcement of
trespass laws was poor (Kluender 1978). There is a trend toward reduction in the amount
of acreage available for public access due to potential for income from leasing and to
damage to property and growing trees (Lassiter 1985).
ESTABLISHING A HUNTING LEASE IN FLORIDA
When establishing a hunting lease, it is important to realize that when leasing land,
only access rights to game are transferable not ownership rights. Ownership of wild
animals and freshwater aquatic species is vested in the state as described in the Florida
Statutes, 39-1.02: "All freshwater aquatic life in the waters within the jurisdiction of the
state of Florida, whether such waters or the lands upon which such waters occur are
privately owned or otherwise, is the property of the state. All wild animal life within the
jurisdiction of the State of Florida is the property of the state and the state hereby
assumes, consistent with the laws of the United States, the conservation and protection of
all migratory birds." Thus, state laws and regulations concerning wildlife must be followed
regardless of how access rights are assigned.
A number of factors determine the amount of income realized from leasing, including
number of acres leased, abundance of game on the land, location of the property, and
management skills and goals of the landowner (Allen et al. 1985, Marion and Hovis 1985).
A potential disadvantage of leasing access rights is liability to the lessor. Anyone
considering leasing access rights for hunting, fishing or other recreational uses is strongly
urged to consult an attorney when drawing up a lease arrangement. Florida Cooperative
Extension Service Factsheet WRS-1, "Developing a Hunting Lease in Florida" (Marion and
Hovis 1985) lists a number of items to be considered when drawing up a lease.
Types of Leases
Duration of leases may vary widely, from one day to a number of years. The more
common types include day, or short-term leases, season leases, and annual leases.
Depending on location and the demand for hunting, short-term leases may result in higher
net returns per acre. They also allow more control by the lessor over the leased
property. However, income from short-term leases is less predictable.
Season leases generally require the least landowner input and are not as time consuming.
A prime advantage of both season and annual leases is that the landowner knows the
hunters who use his land. Income from this type of lease is fixed but the landowner's
control over the management of leased property is more limited.
SURVEY OF FLORIDA HUNTING LEASES
Recreational hunting in Florida contributes greatly to the state's economy, with a
projected value of $34 million in 1990. Time spent in recreational hunting will continue
to increase with perhaps 60% of the expected demand for this sport occurring in Hills-
borough and Collier counties (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1983). As wildlife habitat
continues to decline, pressure on remaining lands for hunting, fishing and other recreational
uses will increase.
In order to determine the potential for hunting lease arrangements in Florida, a
preliminary survey of landowners was conducted. Landowners holding 200 or more acres
of agricultural land were identified from tax records of 15 counties (Fig.l). These 15
counties were divided into districts as follows:
1 (Panhandle) Holmes, Washington, Gadsden
2 (North Florida) Columbia, Levy, Dixie
3 (Central Florida) Putnam, Osceola, Brevard
4 (South-Central Florida) Sarasota, Okeechobee, St. Lucie
5 (South-West Florida) Charlotte, Lee, Hendry
(Holmes, Gadsen, Washington)
Figure 1. A map depicting the locations of the 15 Florida counties included in this
In the preliminary survey, postcards were mailed to 1,400 landowners asking two
"Do you lease grazing rights?"
"Do you lease hunting rights?"
Fifteen percent (106) of the landowners who returned postcards indicated that they
leased hunting rights on their property. Upon receipt of a positive response, a survey
including 22 questions was sent to the landowner. The questionnaire requested information
on length, habitat type and form of hunting leases the landowner had used during the
period October 1,1983 to September 30,1984. The survey also sought to determine what
type of services and additional uses of the land the landowner provided. Finally, the
survey included an opportunity for the landowner to comment on the success of his leasing
activities and any specific problems encountered. A copy of the questionnaire can be
found in Appendix A (pp.16 & 17).
Forty-five landowners who leased hunting rights returned the hunting lease question-
naire. Hunting lease costs per acre varied widely from $0.50 per acre for one farm each
in Washington and Columbia counties (Districts 1 and 2, respectively) to $5.00 per acre on
a farm in Hendry County (District 5). There were no significant differences among
districts in lease price per acre although District 3 had the greatest average income per
acre. Average lease prices per acre, by district, are shown in Table 2.
Table 2. Average dollars per acre for leasing of hunting rights.
Average number of acres leased was greatest in District 3, which included a portion of
one very large holding of 290,000 acres (Table 3). The smallest acreage leased by a
repondent was 160 acres in Levy County (District 2).
Table 3. Average acreage leased, by district.
District Average Acreage Leased
Acreage leased also varied by habitat type. In Districts 1 and 2, the greatest percentage
of habitat was in pine plantations (64% and 82%, respectively). In District 3, 30% of the
leased acreage consisted of natural pine forest and 30% was palmetto range, and about 15%
each of natural pine forest, cypress strands and improved pasture. Thirty-six percent of
District 5 consisted of natural pine forest with about 30% in open palmetto range.
Nearly 90% of the respondents had written lease agreements. Most (70%) were for a
period of one year while less than a quarter of the respondents had seasonal leases (e.g.
for deer or quail). A very small percentage had either very short-term (weekly) or very
long-term (5 year) leases. Generally, hunting rights were leased to a single club or
individual (67% of responses) but, in 31% of the cases, the rights were leased to more
than one club or individual.
Most of the respondents accepted only monetary payment for leasing rights (90%) while
2 of the 45 respondents traded for fishing rights or for wildlife enhancement management
practices provided by the lessee. The majority of lease payments made to landowners in
the survey were under $3.00 per acre with about 22% each making payments in the range
of $0.50 to $1.00, $1.01 to $2.00, or $2.01 to $3.00 per acre. About 14% of respondents
leased hunting rights for more than $3.00 per acre while 13% of landowners did not
answer this question.
Respondents also were asked what provisions they included in the lease. Most (64%)
did not include provisions for automatic lease renewal or for solving disputes (73%).
Nearly 60% of the landowners retained hunting privileges for themselves or their family or
guests. Half of the respondents had provisions for terminating the lease with termination
notice intervals ranging from two weeks to one year. Of the landowners who responded
to this question, the largest percentage reported termination notice intervals of one month
(18%). Finally, over 80% of respondents included lease provisions to protect the landowner
from liability and from damage caused by the lessee.
Landowners also were asked who took responsibility for practices related to hunting
access. For instance, in most cases, either the lessee or both the lessee and landowner
were responsible for policing trespassers (40 and 42%, respectively). In nearly half the
cases, the lessee was responsible for performing wildlife-enhancing management practices
while both parties shared responsibility in a quarter of the cases.
In half of the questionnaires, respondents indicated that they, as landowners, took
responsibility for road maintenance and provided labor, materials and maintenance for
fences. Lessees took responsibility for these items in about 20% of the cases and 15 to
20% of respondents indicated that they shared responsibility for these practices with the
lessee (Table 4).
In regard to limitation on one or both parties associated with the leasing arrangement,
the following information was obtained:
Table 4. Responsibility for related practices (percent response).
Matl. Labor Maint.
56 53 53
18 20 20
9 9 9
13 13 13
4 4 4
Twenty-four percent of respondents indicated no limitations on the maximum number of
hunters allowed on the lease property while 40% indicated limitation guidelines were
included in the lease. In 30% of the cases, the lessee limited the maximum number of
hunters allowed on the lease property. In most cases, guest hunting was allowed, but
controlled by the lessee (50% of responses) or by lease guidelines (38%). Vehicles were
allowed on all accessible areas in 62% of the cases while 38% of respondents restricted
vehicles to maintained roads only.
Less than 25% of the respondents indicated problems in association with leasing
property for hunting. Problems included difficulty in collecting payment, property damage,
illegal harvesting of wildlife, trash dumping, equipment vandalism and trespassing by
another hunting club. However, only a small percentage of respondents indicated a
problem for any one of the issues listed above.
Respondents were asked to identify specific services provided, including hunting guides,
field dogs, lodging, meals, cleaning harvested wildlife, and others (Table 5). In general,
landowners did not provide these services to the lessee, although when services were
provided, it was usually at no extra cost to the lessee (Table 5). An overall income of
$50,000 for all services listed above was realized by one respondent.
Table 5. Services provided by the landowner involved in leasing for hunting (percent
Services Provided by Landowners
Guides Dogs Vehicles Lodging Meals
no extra cost
80 82 84 80 84
7 7 2
2 2 2
11 9 11 11 11
Fifty-five to 60% of respondents allowed camping and/or fishing by the lessee at no
additional cost, while a small percentage of respondents charged extra for the lessee to
enjoy these uses. Forty-five percent of respondents did not allow trapping or grazing on
the leased property. One respondent reported an income of $1,000 from camping fees
while another reported an income of $12,000 in the form of improvements to camp
facilities. Another respondent reported an income of $30,000 in grazing fees. Two of the
45 respondents leased grazing rights to the property separately (Table 6).
Table 6. Additional
Allowed, but at
uses of leased property (percent response).
a Firewood at additional cost.
b Apiary rights leased separately.
Respondents were asked how they advertised leasing opportunities. The most common
method of advertisement was by word-of-mouth (75%). A small percentage of respondents
used mailings to previous clients or newspaper ads. Fewer than 10% did not advertise at
From this survey, it is apparent that Florida landowners, in general, are not managing
the wildlife resources on their lands as a major part of their business operation. Response
to the survey was not particularly high. However, a number of landowners may be
reluctant to disclose details concerning income from leasing hunting rights. The potential
exists for increasing hunter access through leasing on private holdings in Florida,
particularly in those areas near population centers.
Future Trends in Leasing
Public pressure for recreational access to private lands will continue to increase,
particularly in Florida, where the growth rate remains at a very high level and currently
available lands continue to be developed for housing and other facilities.
Leasing hunting rights probably will increase in popularity as landowners learn more
about this alternate source of income. Landowners also will need to become familiar with
the potential risks from liability claims and property damage. Owners with larger holdings
in Florida may find it more and more lucrative to implement other options by offering
short-term (day or week) leases and more services such as hunting guides, field dogs or
lodging. As these operations become more sophisticated, they will come to be regarded
more as a business than as a hobby. As the demand for access for hunting, fishing and
other consumptive uses increases, so will the demand for non-consumptive uses such as
camping and hiking. Landowners could realize greater net returns by leasing access rights
year-round, rather than just during typical hunting seasons. This type of arrangement
may be a problem if user groups are incompatible with each other in terms of interests
and backgrounds. However, landowners should find it worth their time to further explore
IFlorida Cooperative Extension Service
wIFs Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
1 University of Florida, Gainesville
John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension
As a private landowner in Florida, your participation in this survey will be greatly appreciated. Please answer all questions
to the best of your ability and return the completed questionnaire in the pre-addressed, stamped envelope enclosed for your
convenience. Please note, however, that the questionnaire was designed to address those landowners involved in a single
hunting-lease arrangement during the period October 1, 1983 September 30, 1984. If you leased your land to more than
one hunting club or individual during that period, the following questions should be answered with respect to your most
important hunting lease. To provide information about other hunting leases you might have had during that time, you should
complete a separate questionnaire for each leasing arrangement. Additional questionnaires for this purpose may be obtained
by contacting your local county extension agent.
I. Please give your county of residence.
II. What is the total acreage of land owned by you
(or your firm)? acres
III. Did you lease any of your land for hunting pur-
poses during the period October 1, 1983 Septem-
ber 30, 1984?
-No. If no, you need not continue, but please
return the questionnaire to the University of
Florida using the pre-addressed stamped
Yes. If yes:
A. How many acres were leased for hunting?
B. In what county (or counties) was the
leased acreage located?
IV. Of the total acreage leased for hunting, how many
acres were characterized by the following habitat
-A. natural pine forests acres
B. pine plantations acres
C. bottomland hardwood forests acres
-D. hardwood hammocks acres
...E. oak scrub acres
--F. cypress strands and/or ponds acres
G. open, palmetto range acres
H. improved pasture acres
I. freshwater marsh acres
J. citrus groves acres
K. agricultural fields acres
.L. other (please explain) acres
V. Was the hunting-lease agreement
-C. other (please explain)
VI. Please indicate the lease duration and the associ-
A. day $
--B. weekend $
_- C. week $
D. seasonal (please
E. year-round $
F. other (please
VII. What was the average payment per acre for hunt-
ing on your property? $_/acre
VIII. If payment for hunting was not monetary, what
other form(s) of compensation was (were)
IX. Did the hunting lease (please check all appropriate
-A. include provisions for automatic renewal?
B. include provisions for resolving differences
in case of a disagreement between the
landowner and the lessee?
C. include a short-term exclusion clause
whereby, upon a given period of notifica-
tion, the lease was to be terminated?
1. If yes, what was the required period of
D. include provisions that protected the
landowner against liability and made the
lessee responsible for any damage he/she
E. retain the hunting privileges of the land-
owner, his/her family, and/or their guests?
X. Please indicate who was responsible for each of the
following items (A=landowner; B-lessee; C-both
landowner and lessee; D=neither landowner or
.. .A. policing against trespassers
..B. maintaining roads
C. performing wildlife-enhancing manage-
.. D. fencing
XI. What methods of hunting were allowed (please
check all appropriate answers)?
A. all legal methods G. falconry
B. rifle .. H. dog hunting
C. shotgun ....... still hunting
D. pistol J. other (please
E. archery explain)
XII. What species of wildlife were allowed to be taken
(please check all appropriate answers)?
A. all legal species .. G. foxes
.. B. white-tailed deer .. H. raccoons
C. quail I. ducks
.. D. turkeys J. bears
E. wild hogs -K. other (please
F. squirrels explain)
XIII. The maximum number of hunters allowed on the
leased property was
-A. not limited.
._ B. limited by lease guidelines.
.C_ limited by lessee.
D. other (please explain)
XIV. Guest hunting was
A. not allowed.
B. allowed, butcontrolled by lease guidelines.
CC. allowed, but controlled by lessee.
D. other (please explain)
XV. Vehicles were allowed
-A. on maintained roads only.
B. on all accessible areas.
XVI. Please indicate any problems you have experienced
as a result of leasing your property for hunting.
B. receipt of payment
.C. property damage
D. illegal harvesting of wildlife
E. other (please explain)
XVII. Please indicate the availability of the following
services to the lessee (A=not available; B=available,
no extra cost to lessee; C=available, extra cost to
A. hunting guides F. cleaningand/or
1B. field dogs dressing har-
-C. vehicles vested wildlife
D. lodging G. refrigeration/
.- E. meals storage of har-
H. other (please
XVIII. If extra cost, what was the estimated annual income
-A. hunting guides F. cleaningand/or
.B. field dogs dressing har-
C. vehicles vested wildlife
D. lodging ...G. refrigeration/
.. E. meals. storage of har-
H. other (please
XIX. Other than hunting, please indicate additional uses
of your property by lessee (A=not allowed;
B=allowed, no extra cost to lessee; C=allowed,
extra cost to lessee; D=leased separately; E=not
SA. recreational camping-.D. grazing
... B. fishing .E. other (please
-C. trapping explain)
XX. If extra cost or leased separately, what was the
estimated annual income derived from:
A. recreational camping-D. grazing
B. fishing E. other (please
.. C. trapping explain)-
XXI. How was the availability of hunting leases adver-
tised (please check all appropriate answers)?
A. word-of-mouth D. newspapers
... B. mailings to previous-E. other (please
C. sport magazines
XXII. During the period October 1, 1983 September
S30, 1984, hunting rights were leased to
A. a single hunting club or individual.
B. more than one hunting club or individual
(please specify number)
-C. other (please explain)
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on Private Lands-Issues and Opportunities. Washington, D.C. pp. 7-10.
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extension specialists. Third Natl. Ext. Wildl. and Fisheries Workshop.
Franklin, C., and J.A. Allen. 1985. Hunting leases on private non-industrial forest land
in North Carolina. Proc. Southeastern Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 39: in press.
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sportsmen in deer management on private lands in Mississippi. Proc. Southeastern
Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 32:765-770.
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This publication was promulgated at a cost of $1,533.75, or 30.7 cents per copy, to inform Florida landowners of
the potential income from leasing land to hunters. 2-5M-88
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, K.R. Tefertiller, 1
director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the May 8 and
June 30,1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institu-
tions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin. Single copies of Extension publications (excluding 4-H ..,,,,,,.,..
and Youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from County Extension Offices. Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state
purchasers is available from C.M. Hinton, Publications Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611. Before publicizing
this publication, editors should contact this address to determine availability.