Leasing Your Land for Outdoor Recreation
Landowners are often 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.
Other states in the Lower Mississippi River Valley (LMRV) might not have this type of hunting business, but it does have the potential to be 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.
Benefits of Leasing Your Land
Deter Poachers and Trespassers
Controlling poaching, unwanted access, and vandalism are primary concerns for many landowners. Sportsmen and women who have paid for wildlife leases usually patrol their lands. The presence of sportsmen and women who pay to hunt, fish, or view wildlife usually is enough to deter poachers and trespassers.
Get Income to Invest In Your Land
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 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.
Studies Show Benefits of Leasing
Multiple studies conducted by Mississippi State University unveiled that lease prices are influenced by a number of factors including the region, topography, game species, and quality of game.
A study evaluating 16-section lands found that landowners may increase revenue by investing in habitat improvement. A 1% increase in the number of acres leased causes the average lease price to increase by 3.4% and a 1% increase in the Boone and Crockett score of whitetail deer increased the average lease price by 1.08% per acre. A similar study evaluating hunter preferences and willingness to pay for hunting leases found that Mississippi landowners may be able to enhance lease-related returns by $800-$9,200 through improved land management and modification of the lease according to hunter concerns.
Overall, hunters are willing to pay more money to have the opportunity to hunt quality game in the LMRV.