As income from traditional agricultural products declines, many landowners are looking to diversify their sources of income. Hunting, fishing and wildlife-associated types of recreation may be this "alternative" crop that landowners in Mississippi have been looking for. For example, hunting in the United States is big business, especially in Stuttgart, Arkansas, the "duck capital of the world." Here, waterfowl hunters bring millions of dollars into the local economy. Mississippi does not have this hunting business, but it does have the potential of being a world renowned area for hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing. Today, more than ever before, there is the opportunity for landowners to develop and manage their wildlife resources for profit through leasing. However, there are several factors in developing a good lease operation: 1) one must be able to control a large acreage, 2) one must have several refuge areas and 3) mobility.
Controlling poaching, unwanted access and vandalism are primary concerns for many landowners. Sportsmen who have paid for wildlife leases usually patrol their lands. The presence of sportsmen who pay to hunt, fish or view wildlife usually is enough to deter poachers and trespassers.
Habitat improvements can be used as a profitable investment by landowners willing to allow their land to be leased for wildlife. Money is needed to manage land properly to obtain optimum wildlife populations. Many landowners in Mississippi want to manage their lands for wildlife but cannot justify the expense unless there is a financial return. Sportsmen who lease land for wildlife can provide this return. At times, these individuals are willing to help supply equipment, materials and labor in exchange for part of the cost of a lease.
Socioeconomic information was collected by mailing questionnaires to lessors and lessees. The study identified 179 hunting clubs operating under 264 separate leasing arrangements encompassing 193,679 acres. Responses were divided according to county and landowner category (public, private non-industrial and forest industry).
Overall, lease rates are above those previously found in past research. Lessors and lessees were mostly white males with at least a high school education; however, lessors tended to have a greater income and be older. The typical lessee travelled 30 miles to his/her lease, making over 20 trips each year. Average hunting trips involved two days. Lessors and lessees expressed a high level of satisfaction with their leasing arrangements. The average lease rate per acre for public land was $6.90 per acre, private land was $5.78 per acre and forest industry was $5.01. The combined average was $5.87 per acre in the 14-county study area.
The advantages of
corporate enterprises include: 1) knowledge of the potential annual income,
2) a high income and 3) a complementary part of his/her farming operation.
Disadvantages of the corporate enterprise include: 1) a relatively high
investment of capital, 2) high operating expenses and 3) finding a market
willing to spend high amounts of money.
Marketing is one of the areas in the wildlife business that is often neglected and is many times the limiting factor of a successful program. Marketing includes all business activities involved in selling the product, which is the hunting, fishing or wildlife viewing experience. It includes identifying the clientele who may be interested in the land, advertising the land and leasing it.
A personal letter to potential clients can also be a cost effective way to make initial contact. Mailing lists of potential clients can be obtained from professional and trade associations, state wildlife agencies, golf and country clubs or from professional list brokers.
County of ______________________________
Subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this document. _______________________________
(hereinafter called LESSOR) does hereby grant to__________________________________________
(hereinafter called LESSEE) the right to access and hunt only which may be found upon and harvested from the following property(s) treated as comprising a total of_______________ acres, more or less.
2. The LESSEE hereby agrees to:
a. Pay to the LESSOR
the sum of ($)________________ per acre, totaling ($) __________________
on or before (date)
b. Allow LESSOR to hold in deposit the sum of ($)___________________, refundable at the termination of the lease, if the lease has been adhered toand no damages have been placed upon the LESSOR as a result of the actions of the LESSEE.
c. Hunt only on the property described and not trespass on any property that may be adjacent to said property. Trespassing of any kind is punishable by immediate expulsion of the entire LESSEE'S party and/or fine established by the LESSOR.
d. Abide by all state and federal hunting regulations. Any arrests for violation of any law shall be immediately reported to the LESSOR.
e. Be personally responsible for the actions and activities of all persons hunting under this lease and to act as a representative in matters regarding all activities carried out under this lease.
f. Maintain proper safety procedures regarding firearms, particularly see in that all firearms are unloaded while in vehicles and in the vicinity of all buildings.
g. Maintain proper vigilance aimed at preventing fires or damage by other means to the leased area.
h. See that vehicles are driven only on established roads and to see that all gates are left as originally found.
i. Maintain a no hunting or shooting zone within 200 yards of any occupied building and around all other designated areas.
j. Keep records of all numbers and species of game harvested and supply these records to the LESSOR.
k. Remove all structures placed or constructed by LESSEE from the lease areaat termination of this lease unless prearranged with LESSOR.
l. Limit number of
hunters so as not to exceed __________ with number on lease property at
any one time not to exceed
m. Provide the LESSOR with a current certificate of insurance covering the LESSOR, LESSEE and all guests of the LESSEE against damages and liabilities. Coverage shall be in at least the amount of $500,000.00.
n. Abide by all written rules and regulations supplied at the onset of this agreement.
o. Absolutely no littering, defacing or alteration of any kind on premises will be tolerated. LESSEE agrees to remove all garbage and trash from premises upon departure. LESSEE specifically agrees not to leave or place any garbage, entrails or other trash upon the premises or in the pasture.
3. The LESSOR hereby agrees that only the LESSEE and his/her Guests shall have hunting rights on the leased area during the term of this lease except those reserved as follows:_______________________________________
4. Agricultural and/or Forestry practices are necessary on the premises and take precedence over the rights given in this agreement. Hunting shall not interfere with any such practices.
5. It is mutually agreed that failure to abide by the terms and stipulations above by any person present on the leased area under this lease will constitute cause for the forfeiture of all hunting rights, deposits and fees.
6. LESSEE shall not assign or otherwise convey any rights granted by this agreement to other persons without the expressed written consent of the LESSOR.
7. The addressees of the parties hereto for the communication of notices are, unless altered by written notice, as follows:
For the LESSOR: _____________________________________________
(City) (State) (Zip)_____________________________________________
For the LESSEE: _____________________________________________
(City) (State) (Zip)_____________________________________________
8. This agreement
will be automatically renewed on an annual basis unless writte notice
is delivered on or before
9. In case any one or more of the provisions contained in this lease shall for any reason be held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable in any respect, all other provisions and this agreement shall be construed as if such invalid, illegal or unenforceable provision has never been contained herein.
10. This agreement shall be construed under and in accordance with the laws of the State of Mississippi.
11. Lessee recognizes the inherent dangers associated with hunting, both natural and man made: Lessee recognizes that accidents involving firearms, ammunition, fallen trees, hidden ground openings, poisonous plants and various other dangers may forcibly occur on the property aforementioned. Lessee acknowledges his/her recognition of these dangers and the possible existence of dangerous physical conditions upon the premises such as but not limited to those described on the enclosed map. With the aforementioned recognition in mind: Lessee agrees to indemnify and hold harmless landowner and all of his/her family, employees and agents from all claims, suits, losses, personal injuries, deaths, property liability and all other liability resulting directly or indirectly from or on account of hunting activities engaged in by Lessee or Lessee's guests on the premises heretofore mentioned, said obligation to indemnify extending to the reimbursement of landowner for all expenses and suits including but not limited to, judgements, attorney's fees and court costs.
Executed in duplicate on this ______ day of ________________ 19____.
State of Mississippi
County of _____________________
Subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this document, ___________________________
(hereinafter called LESSOR) does hereby grant to ______________________________________
(hereinafter called LESSEE) the right to hunt upon and harvest from the following property(s).
2. The LESSEE hereby agrees to:
a. Pay unto LESSOR in advance a fee of $___________________.
b. Abide by all state
and federal hunting regulations. Any arrests for violations of any laws
shall be immediately reported to the
c. See that vehicles are driven only on established roads and to see that all gates are left as originally found.
d. Maintain a no hunting or shooting zone within 200 yards of any occupies building and around all other designated areas.
e. Keep records of all game numbers and species harvested and supply these records to the LESSOR.
f. Remove all structures
placed or constructed by LESSEE from the property at termination of this
lease unless prearranged
g. Abide by all written rules and regulations supplied at this onset of this agreement.
3. Limit number of
hunters so as not to exceed ____________ with number on lease property
at any one time not
4. This lease shall be construed under and in accordance with the laws of the State of Mississippi.
I, the undersigned
LESSEE, do hereby assume all risks associated with hunting and do hereby
Executed in duplicate on this__________day of____________19____.
To whom it may concern:
The bearer of this permit, ____________________, has permission to hunt on the following property:
located at (Name of Farm) _____________________
during the period _____________________________
He/she agrees to obey the current State and Federal hunting regulations and to repair or pay for any property damages which occurs.
He/she has been shown property boundaries and agrees not to hunt on adjacent properties without written permission.