Whitetail Hunting: The Price of a Deer Lease?

Question: Our deer lease is in a part of Oklahoma that was impacted by the recent wildfires. Earlier this week, my buddy got a phone call form the landowner of the lease and he wants to go up $400 a person! Last deer hunting season, we were paying $1,100 a gun and access to over a little over 1,000 acres. Our lease members went up there on Sunday and the property was was pretty much burned to the ground.

The landowner has about 3,500 acres of deer hunting property that he leases, and about 3,200 of it was black, so pretty much the whole place is devoid of deer habitat right now.What would you tell him? I was thinking that $1,100 per gun is a good price considering there is nothing out there right now. I can not see going up on the deer lease fees until the habitat bounced back, but it’s not my property. What would you do?

Deer Hunting: An Oklahoma Deer Lease in Perspective

Response: Although your deer lease could still provide good deer hunting this year, if it rains and provides some food for the resident deer to eat, it sounds like the guy you are dealing with is a bit flaky. In short, find another lease. No one in there right mind would increase their lease fees by almost 50% after the property was burned to the ground. In my opinion, he will be lucky to get anyone out there deer hunting for half of what you paid previously. That’s a lot of money ($1,100) out of pocket to hope that it will rain and deer will be there come hunting season.

The landowner probably needs the extra money to cover some of the wildfire damage, but it sounds like he is going to shoot himself in the foot.The lease will probably not be very good this year, unless the area starts getting rain fast. I suspect there will be many deer that don’t make it (unless someone starts pouring the protein to them or develops an irrigated food plot for all those hungry deer), and many disappointed deer hunters this fall.

My suggestion would be to offer him what you are currently paying for the deer lease and kindly suggest to him what you feel it’s justified. It’s his property, but he is going to be hard-pressed, in my opinion, to find additional hunters. My heart goes out to the landowner, but paying to hunt a burned patch Oklahoma for whitetail deer, a brush-loving animal, does not make good sense.

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