In Texas, it appears come deer season there are as many hunters as deer. Despite the old timers words that “Deer must be thinned out to save them or otherwise there wouldn’t be enough grass to go around and they would starve to death.” This has never been a practical nor humane answer for me. Yet every year like clockwork when deer season is close the newspaper classified ads fill with deer leases to rent and they are quickly booked with sporting competitors searching for the perfect kill.
Landowners can’t always depend on deer staying within their property. They get spooked if neighboring landowners are hunting or are leasing their goods to friendly gunmen and they may jump the fence into other properties sometimes doubling back to where they came from if they are being chased by gunfire. This can become quite a problem for landowners that simply love feeding, watering and deer watching. Fellow hunters and landowners may give relatives and friends permission to use their property during deer season. This too could pose a problem for nature watchers with land.
Shifty hunters sometimes sneak across onto other adjoining properties whether divided by a fence or not. The trespassers aren’t concerned with what destruction they cause. They may leave behind broken or empty beer bottles and cans, snack wrappers, and bullet shells. They could decide to start a campsite, build a fire, and forget to put it out not to mention the actual property owner, their family or friends might accidentally get shot.
Leasing hunters who trespass over to greener properties might do so because they are disappointed or disgruntled over poor leasing grounds. Land leased for hunting pleasure might have little to no game possibly due to over hunting, no food or water, and poor shelter or protective coverings. Game rich land isn’t going to be so readily available for lease. Top leasing grounds probably won’t even make it into classified ads. Since satisfied hunters will most likely return to such areas and may have a long-term commitment with the owners.
Deer hunters who lease should start looking for a decent rental six months to a year before the season starts. They can do this by asking around. Other hunters should be able to give advice and insight into where good places to go are. Secondly, local game wardens or any chamber of commerce will know their area and may have key contacts with prime leasing property.
If land sought to be leased is found and is within the reasonable price limit the hunter has to spend, an agreement should be signed only after the location has been visited to determine if its worth the investment. Remember that just because land is leased it doesn’t guarantee there will be game.