Hunting Land – Buying vs. Leasing

There may be many types of hunters in the world, but they all share the desire for access to high-quality hunting lands whenever they have the urge to get out. Some hunters secure exclusive hunting rights by way of a land lease strategy; others avoid a lease altogether by purchasing their land. Is either choice better than the other? It all depends on individual circumstances.

Deciding on whether to buy or lease depends on what you want to accomplish, both in the short and long terms. It is probably a wise idea for any hunter to sit down with his/her family and talk about future goals before making a decision. After all, the hunter will not live forever. The decision he/she makes regarding buying or leasing land today could have significant implications long after he/she passes on.

Buying Hunting Lands

There are two primary reasons hunters purchase their land. The first is for investment purposes. In other words, putting money into land today could pay off in the future by way of a sale or a hunting lease. Buying land as an investment is based on the historical performance of land over several generations. It usually goes up in value over long periods.

The hunter who purchases land has something to pass on to future generations when passing on. Those who inherit the land can sell it, use it for their hunting and recreational enjoyment, or lease it out to others. Either way, it continues to be a financial asset with tangible benefits.

Purchasing your land also does not require you to have hunting insurance per se, though most landowners would be protected against personal injuries and liability up to the limits of their homeowners’ policy. However, what the owner saves on insurance costs, he turns around and spends on taxes. Owning your land means satisfying the taxman every year. It is something that has to be considered.

Leasing Hunting Lands

duck hunterEntering into a hunting land lease is a good way for hunters to secure exclusive rights without committing to the responsibilities that come with long-term ownership. As an example, assume a hunter leases a piece of land that turns out to be not as productive as he had hoped. He can always lease a different piece of property the following year. The hunter who chooses to buy his land will be stuck with it.

Lessees also do not have to worry about things such as property taxes and land use enforcement issues. Those things are the responsibility of landowners. By the same token, lessees do need to have hunting lease liability insurance to protect themselves and their guests. Liability insurance covers things like hunting accidents, property damage, and personal injuries.

The downside to leasing land is one of putting your money into a piece of property and having nothing to show for it years down the road. When you lease, you are essentially paying for the opportunity to have exclusive hunting rights on a piece of property. Yet that property is of no value to you once the lease expires.

The decision of whether to buy or lease hunting land comes down to your views on investing. You will probably want to purchase if you view the property as an investment that needs to return a measurable financial benefit in the future. You are probably better off leasing if the investment issue is not important to you. Leasing gives you the opportunity to enjoy hunting without any of the hassles of land ownership.

• American Hunting Lease Association –

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