Reasons to Choose a Paid Hunt Instead of a Lease


Hunting leases provide a many hunters access to Whitetail hunting each year. Commercial hunting ranches, like Buck Valley Ranch, offer an alternative that is sometimes viewed as expensive. But how do these two alternatives really compare?

First, it’s important to acknowledge that each alternative has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Either alternative can provide an excellent hunting experience and value. A good choice will be based on a realistic assessment of the real benefits and costs. So let’s identify the factors that should go into that decision and examine how each alternative addresses them.

A successful hunting lease requires a real time commitment by the hunter. At the minimum, feeders will have to be filled frequently and game cameras checked to retrieve pictures. Plowing and planting of food plots may improve results but take time. Blinds or stands, campers or trailers and other equipment will have to be looked after and cleaned or serviced from time to time. And, each of these activities on the lease requires the expenditure of travel time to and from the lease.

If you choose to hunt at a quality commercial hunting ranch every one of these things will be done for you in a professional manner without any of your time or attention.

How much time do you actually plan to spend hunting? Will you want to and be able to hunt every weekend of hunting season? Or, do your work, family and social commitments dictate that you spend only one or two weekends or possibly a week hunting? Would an extended Whitetail season provide you more opportunities to hunt?

What can you reasonably expect to harvest on your lease? Is the property naturally attractive to good quantities of Whitetail and other game? Are there neighboring properties with excellent food plots and great supplemental feeding that will be hard to compete with? Is the amount of cover suitable to retain game on the lease without providing impenetrable hiding places?

A commercial hunting ranch will have the right answer to every one of these questions.

Even if you’re really interested in Whitetail will your hunting lease give you the opportunity to harvest or observe other species? The chance to watch Red Stag or Fallow deer or Blackbuck or other exotics can add a significant measure of enjoyment to the hunting experience.

Are you looking for trophy animals or just something to shoot? Will your lease present you with good opportunities for trophies? Are you likely to see only spikes and 6-point bucks? Does the lease support a broad age range of animals? Will there be multiple animals to choose from or will you be lucky to see just one that you’d like to shoot?

A commercial hunting ranch will get you a chance to see a quantity and variety of animals of the caliber you’re looking for. Many ranches are also home to a variety of interesting exotic animals that will be fun to observe even if you have no intention to harvest them.

Have you thought about the quality of the meat you’ll get from the animals you harvest? Are they eating a balance diet of quality forbes supplemented with high quality protein and corn? The gamey quality of many animals is created and intensified by their low quality diets.

It is in their own self interest for commercial hunting ranches to ensure that their animals are well fed. This quality feed will result in higher quality and better tasting meat.

Where will you stay when you’re hunting? Are you camping out or staying in comfortable accommodations? Is this a place you will bring you family or clients or associates and be confident that they’ll be comfortable too? How will you be fed? Do you have to prepare your own meals on primitive facilities and eat on a paper plate balanced on your lap? Would you or your clients appreciate a comfortable bed and well prepared meals?

Does your hunting lease constrain you to hunt in only one spot each year? What if you have an opportunity to spend your available hunting time somewhere else next year? Would you enjoy different properties and hunting arrangements of different weekends or other years? Can you walk away from your lease this year and be confident you’ll get it back next year?

Is your hunting lease a place you’re comfortable introducing your children to the joys of hunting? Is it safe, comfortable and engaging? Is this a place to take your clients and enhance the quality of your relationship with them? Can you cleanly claim a tax deduction for the cost of the hunting you provide your clients?

A packaged hunt at a commercial hunting ranch for your client provides clean documentation of a legitimate business expense.

How Important is the idea of “fair chase”? Can you accept that animals within a high fence on a large property have a fair chance to escape the hunter? Do you believe that attracting game to feeders is fair?

The question of cost is frequently the first and only consideration. As you can see from the discussion above, there really are a lot of other factors worth considering. Depending on each hunter’s specific circumstances any one or two factors may determine the best outcome. But cost is almost always important. And for cost to be considered in a meaningful way the cost picture must be reasonably complete and accurate.

The cost of hunting at a commercial hunting ranch is the easiest to define. The cost of the package(s) can be defined based on the parameters of your desired hunt or hunts. The trophy fees can be defined based on your harvest plans. Meat processing fees and trophy mounting can be accurately predicted. Travel costs to and from the hunting ranch round out the total cost.

The hunting lease is not as simple. There are many other costs to consider. First there’s the question of investment to support the lease and hunting on it. Do you need a four-wheeler and a trailer? How many feeders do you need to install. How many game cameras will be required to pattern the animals? What do you need for hunting blinds or stands? Do you need a camper or trailer to live in while you’re on the lease?

The cost of the lease will be straight forward but that’s only the beginning. Next is the cost of feed and the cost of frequent travel to and from the lease to fill the feeders and ensure that they’re working properly. If the lease is more than a couple of hours away plan on an overnight stay and meals away from home as well. Any equipment at the lease should be insured against theft and is subject to the need for periodic maintenance. These other costs can easily add up to thousands of dollars and, in many cases, may far exceed the cost of the lease itself.

Each individual hunter will make his or her own determination of the “right” answer to each of these questions. Hopefully, these answers will lead to the best solution for each hunter. But a few general conclusions can be reached:

If working on the lease each month and positioning the feeders and blinds is an activity that you enjoy and value you’ll probably lean toward a lease. If you spend almost every weekend of hunting season hunting you’ll probably favor a lease. If you’re extremely committed to low fences you’ll choose the lease. If you’re not particularly concerned about the trophy score you get or the quality of the meat you harvest you’ll lean toward the lease.

If you have a limited amount of time to spend you’ll favor the commercial hunting ranch. If you want to harvest a high-scoring animal you’ll favor the commercial hunting ranch. If you want great meat you’ll lean toward the commercial hunting ranch. If you want to entertain clients or business associates you’ll lean toward the commercial hunting ranch. If you’re looking for a great environment to introduce your family or children to hunting you’ll probably choose the commercial hunting ranch. If you want to maximize the quality of the animals while minimizing the total cost you’ll almost certainly choose the commercial hunting ranch over the hunting lease.

Please call Buck Valley Ranch at (830) 928-2629 and we’ll be happy to discuss your options. If a lease is a better choice for you that’s the way you should go. But, with more information, you may learn that hunting a commercial ranch like Buck Valley Ranch will give you the best hunting experience for your time and money.