Finding and securing a solid hunting lease can be one of the greatest joys a whitetail deer hunter will ever experience. Having your own lease brings peace of mind, motivation for the season, and optimism for the potential of what’s to come.
But finding a hunting lease is getting tougher and tougher all the time. Connecting with a willing landowner often seems like a monumental task. That’s why connecting with folks like the Hunting Lease Network is so vital. I recently spoke with Troy Langan of Hunting Lease Network to hear more on what they do and the service they provide to both hunters and landowners.
What is Hunting Lease Network?
Hunting Lease Network is a division of Farmers National Company. Started in 1929, FNC is the nation’s largest farm and ranch management company with over 6000 managed farms throughout the US. FNC has several business lines that help landowners with all their land needs above and below the surface: Farm Management, Real Estate Sales, Appraisals, Insurance, Consultations, Oil and Gas Management, Lake Management, Forest Resource Management and Hunting Leases. “The synergy between the business lines is what helped develop the Hunting Lease Network and is what keeps our overall team strong and competitive in each perspective area,” says Langan.
“Hunting leases are not new, however during the late 90’s our farm management division experienced continuing growth in land management with properties with mixed land usage. Some of this was considered “waste area” because of the lack of tillable ground, however to a hunter these were the “prime acres”. Demand was continuing to grow from hunters looking for exclusive hunting rights for these properties and thus the Hunting Lease Network was developed in 2002. Our motto was, and still is, “Bringing Landowners and Sportsmen Together”. We work with landowners developing a plan to add a hunting lease to their land portfolio while opening up new hunting areas to hunters that may have been closed to hunting in the past.”
Having the ability to meet with owners and scout the property for quality are important. So in 2004 the company decided the best approach would be to spread out in several states and have like minded hunters running their own business in the form of an HLN franchise. Today the HLN team of hunting lease specialists covers leases in 23 states.
“Quality hunting ground is getting harder to find,” says Langan. “Some have tried public hunting only to find it crowded and unsafe or just not the quality of game they are looking for. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very good public hunting spots around. And people still have luck getting permission on private ground from time to time. It is, however, getting tougher to find spots like those. Our services take some of the leg work out of driving around going door to door asking permission.”
5 Tips for Your Next Hunting Lease
- Get permission and walk the property before you sign the contract. This seems like a no-brainer, but far too many hunters sign the line not having even set foot on the property. Don’t simply trust an aerial view from a map. Walk it over. Everyone has a different idea on what a perfect hunting spot is for their group.
- Take time finding out what the plan is for the property for the year. What crops are going to be planted? Is there going to be any timber harvesting or any fence rows cleared out? Are there cows on the property and will they be removed by a certain time? Most items can be dealt with and they are much easier to plan for if everyone knows up front.
- Consider access. How will you enter and exit the hunting property? This can be a big factor especially when weather turns and your only access is a mud road. See if there is an approved second access.
- Ask about the neighbors. Do they ride ATV’s around the adjoining property? Horses? Do they hunt? What are their standards. Eliminate any surprises. Ask the tough questions up front.
- Respect the property by leaving it better than you found it. Small investments on your end can make the difference in a long-term landowner relationship and a one-and-done land lease.
For more on Hunting Lease Network visit www.huntingleasenetwork.com