Hunting Land Lease Agreements: Five Essential Terms

[NOTE:  this post originally appeared on The Vanilla Shell on October 10, 2010; photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons; author Gary Noon]

Ask most people from outside of Minnesota what colors are worn most in the fall and they will answer “purple and gold” for the Minnesota Vikings.  Ask anyone from Minnesota, however, that same question, and you will get a different answer:  “camouflage and blaze orange.”

Minnesotans take their hunting seriously, and that includes finding the right piece of land on which to hunt.  Some choose to purchase a piece of land for hunting.  While this might be attractive for some, what do you do with it when it is not hunting season?  Thus, for many hunters, a lease of hunting land is preferable to ownership.

Hunting land leases are common in Minnesota and other states where hunting is popular.  As with any type of lease, a hunting land lease should be in writing and should at a minimum, contain the following basic terms:

1.     Lease Term:  how many years will the lease run?  More importantly, what is the start date and end date for each year?  For example, suppose that the land being leased is farmable land in the summertime; obviously, the owner is going to want to have the use of the land at that time, so the lease may run October to December for three years.

2.      Legal Description:  provide a complete and accurate legal description of the land which is subject to the lease; also, it may be helpful to include a graphical depiction of the subject land.

3.      Posting the Land:  the lease should provide that the lessee may post signs (such as “private property” or “no trespassing”) on the property during the duration of the lease; further, posting should be done in a manner that does not create an eyesore.

4.      Compliance With Laws: the lessor should include a clause that a violation of any hunting or wildlife law will cause the lease to immediately terminate.

5.     Limitation of Liability:  the lessee should assume all risk for any injuries occurring while on the property; hence, a limitation of lessor’s liability is imperative.

There are other clauses (such as types of hunting permitted, no littering, and the like) which are also desirable.

Hunting is big business in Minnesota, and just like any business transaction, the lease of hunting land requires a proper contract to avoid disputes.