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Advice on letting folks hunt...waivers, insurance, etc.

Discussion in 'Hunting and Fishing' started by RFMan, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. RFMan

    RFMan Member Benefactor Life Member

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    My sister and I are working through probate for my dad's land, and my wife and I purchased some adjoining land from my uncle. Lots of family and friends (both close and not-so-close) want to hunt on one or both. So do I, but right now I'm so busy, it's hard to find much time. This is a very rural area, and not exactly economically booming (so these are folks who eat what they hunt, and are not looking for trophies). Anyway, I have questions and am looking for advice. I know I'll get some here.

    My dad let a cousin and a few close friends hunt on his land. I've had a couple of the same people, and someone I knew long ago, ask to hunt on the land we just purchased. I want to clean this situation up some, with some clean and protective paper trails.

    I'm looking into drawing up, or having drawn up, a combo hunting agreement/liability waiver for folks to sign. I'm also thinking I want to require that they carry liability insurance and supply proof of that. I don't think I'm going to charge these particular folks to hunt, but that could change. I'm also going to require (I do this already) notification before going onto the property, so we know who is there and when. I don't want multiple folks on there at the same time, or if there are, it is imperative that THEY are also aware. All that said...

    • Does anyone know where I can find sample, simple, hunting/waiver agreements? What is your experience with them, either as lessor or lessee?
    • If we charge a small amount to a few select, non-family members, but folks I have known a great many years, what is the going rate for that kind of thing? We are not talking large tracts...maybe 60 acres here and there, just for the timbered portion, since the open pasture is leased for beef cattle to one of those close friends. And he HAS good liability coverage.
    • Does anyone have any good or bad experiences, or any been there/done that advice?

    My biggest concern is that I don't want to open us up to being sued for someone looking for a payday. Also, character and reputation will lead to not wanting to allow certain folks to hunt who might otherwise be OK. In the past, my dad could be - and was - extremely casual about this stuff ("Yeah, you can hunt there."). I think he was very fortunate and blessed not to have anything untoward happen. I don't like to have to pull out a bunch of paper for folks to sign, and make then pony up for (probably pricey) insurance...but these are the times we are living in.

    Thanks in advance...
     
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  2. concepthomes1

    concepthomes1 When do we start? Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    My experience: liability waivers only go so far and sometimes, ultimately don't carry that much weight in court.

    I've discussed their use with an attorney I've used in the past and his opinion helped form mine.

    There will always be a risk connected with allowing -anyone- the use of land you own.
     
  3. BatteryOaksBilly

    BatteryOaksBilly A SHOOTER Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    DO NOT TAKE MONEY...…...it changes the whole game. If you decide to do this, lease it to somebody else and let them be the first rung on the ladder of liability.
     
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  4. JimB

    JimB Picking it up slowly. Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Not an attorney, but I think if you collect any payment then you open the door to lots of potential issues including business licensing, insurance, property taxes, income taxes, etc.
     
  5. np307

    np307 Happy to be here. Supporting Member

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  6. lasttombstone

    lasttombstone Member

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    From my experience of years before such a thing as hunting leases till the present time I have heard of both situations concerning liability insurance. However, I have never, in my lifetime, heard of anyone using such in any shape or form. Not saying anything can't happen but I think the actual occurrences are scarce and have come about by a chicken little mentality which has been promoted by insurance companies. I would wager that far more money has been made by the insurance companies than the benefits of all pay outs by a loooooong shot.

    As to your question concerning lease prices, it is very dependent on the location (county), type of land (mixed hardwood, planted pines, bottoms), size of property and species it is being leased for. Depending on the property, deer rights can go as high as $25/ac. in some places. Turkey, when split out, usually $5-$10/ac., depending. That being said, there is currently a 30 ac. tract being advertised for turkey only for $1000. It probably won't get rented at that rate. Sometimes it is better to not charge for access if that person is close enough to keep a close eye on the property and is willing to post it and monitor it for the hunting rights. Rest assured, if it is not posted, it will be used.
     
  7. lasttombstone

    lasttombstone Member

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    Income tax, yes, if you report it. No business licensing involved and it doesn't effect the property tax.
     
  8. RFMan

    RFMan Member Benefactor Life Member

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  9. RFMan

    RFMan Member Benefactor Life Member

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    My inclination is to not charge for the access, especially since these are not strangers.

    Keep the comments coming - all very helpful.
     
  10. BatteryOaksBilly

    BatteryOaksBilly A SHOOTER Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    S.C. DNR...ALL private land in S.C. is considered POSTED. Easy to prosecute.
     
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  11. np307

    np307 Happy to be here. Supporting Member

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    RFMan and BatteryOaksBilly like this.
  12. np307

    np307 Happy to be here. Supporting Member

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  13. East of Here

    East of Here Positively Capital

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    Spend the $250 (or so) and speak with an attorney licensed in SC that can actually answer all of your questions and give you the practical pros and cons of whatever scenarios you are considering. Also, if you want a liability waiver, or some other document, the attorney can help you there as well. It may be overkill. But if it ever does come to a situation where the document is actually needed or called into question in Court, you will be glad you had it drawn up by someone who knows what they are doing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
  14. MostWanted

    MostWanted I used to be JustInCase

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    For about seven years, I've been the caretaker of about seventy acres of land in Chatham County, NC for an absentee owner. It's been a great arrangement for both of us. I pay nothing for the use of the property for hunting and shooting. He gets eyes on the property. I have so many cameras that a squirrel can't cross the property without me knowing it. I've caught trespassers, cut down trees that were a hazard, maintained the roads and hauled away truck loads of trash. I've built good relationships with all the neighbors who text me whenever they see anything going on over there (I live 30 miles away myself).

    So if you are less interested in revenue and want someone to help you care for the property, maybe you could find someone who would be a good steward of the place in exchange for the type of work described above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
  15. Goofyfoot2001

    Goofyfoot2001 Member Supporting Member

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    Hell, it doesn't matter if they win a case or not, you're broke from the attorney fees which will run into the tens of thousands or more! Plus, you would be viewed as a richard by your neighbors.
     
  16. jimmyjames8

    jimmyjames8 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Two quick experiences to relate. I was the lease holder on some paper company land and started a hunt club. I had access to a corporate attorney for free legal advice. She helped me draft a waiver for the club members. I did collect moneys to pay the paper co. The crux of the waiver was waiving liability and negligence. The attorney did warn me that the negligence waiver would not hold up in court but I had seen and she had seen negligence waivers in contracts before and it may provide a leg to stand but a shaky one. My other experience was as a hunter getting permission to hunt a small farm. In NC at least at that time, dont know anymore, you had to have written permission to hunt land you did not own and you had to have it on you along with a hunting license when hunting. The farm owner made me and my hunting buddy buy insurance that I never did quite understand. I guess it was liability insurance to protect the owner. It was easy to obtain and it was cheap. That's all I know.
     
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  17. rdinatal

    rdinatal Better late then never...

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    Still true to this day.
     
  18. Downeast

    Downeast Happy to be here

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    Would creating a LLC help with this in regard to liability?
     
  19. RFMan

    RFMan Member Benefactor Life Member

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    As part of the probate/inheriting process, my sister and I plan to place the inherited farmland directly into an LLC, for overall protection.

    I have some recommendations for local estate planning attorneys, and plan to use one. There are considerations and aspects to all this that are outside my competence.
     
  20. MLS2

    MLS2 Happy to be here

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  21. RFMan

    RFMan Member Benefactor Life Member

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    This I have definitely found to be true with certain individuals. Ironically, expressing that kind of attitude to me is likely to result in revoked access :)
     
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  22. Downeast

    Downeast Happy to be here

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    Anyone know of a decent estate planning attorney in se NC? We own some land and are trying to figure out what to do with some of it.
     
  23. Charlie

    Charlie Member

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    I do not think so in NC unless the land is legally posted. I wish it were true. It would save me a lot of time and money. The purple paint helps, but does not go far enough, in my opinion, giving landowners better legal protection.

    If land in NC is automatically posted, please give me a reference. My understanding is that a person may go on unposted land until it becomes posted or until the landowner tells him to leave and not come back. Posted land requires a written permission slip signed by the landowner and dated within a year of the day of the hunt in order to be legal.
     
  24. rdinatal

    rdinatal Better late then never...

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    I saw it at one time, I'll try and find it again. I might have it confused with towns or counties that require written permission to hunt, fish or trap.
     
  25. Charlie

    Charlie Member

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    Some counties may have local laws requiring permission for unposted lands.
     
  26. BBD280

    BBD280 God, Guns, and Guts Supporting Member

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    They do..... here is one example from NCWRC.
    20200205_223429.jpg
     
  27. Downeast

    Downeast Happy to be here

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    There is no overall trespass law except the "Landowner Protection Act" which covers trespass for hunting and fishing. This is also known as the "purple paint law". If someone is not hunting on your land then the purple paint means nothing. There is a hodgepodge of trespass laws at the county level and landowners in NC are at the bottom of the rung when it comes to protection. There main purpose is to create tax revenue from their land and not keep people off. And trespassers have legal rights too! :mad:
     
  28. Junkyard dog

    Junkyard dog New Member

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    I was too lazy to read all the above but my dad and his business partner less a decent amount of land out for hunting. Me and another member on here lease part of it. But he requires liability waiver and whole harmless agreements to be signed, also a list of people who will be using the property. Kids,cousins, nephews and so on that might come hunt with a leaser. On another note I have an aunt in FL and she requires the before mentioned along with copies of DL of all members of lease. She's already run club off cause they wouldn't provid copies. But all that being said I can tell you that sometimes once someone leases a piece of land for an extended length of time, they sometimes start to think of it as theirs, this has caused my dad the most headaches over the years. Before you know it someone is trying to tell you what you can do with your land and when.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
  29. RFMan

    RFMan Member Benefactor Life Member

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    Even if they are not paying, these attitudes still come up. My father had let a friend and his wife hunt on some of his land for several years, no cost, no nothing. He had the pasture portion leased to another friend for beef cattle. Said friend did some improvements; he had already rented a dozer, and he brought it over and cleared some of the brush out and fenced it (best looking fencing on the place) to expand pasture for cattle - WITH DAD'S EXPRESS PERMISSION. It looks TONS better, and grown-up non-accessible land is now usable. As long as we assured him that he could continue leasing long enough to make that pay, he did the improvements for nothing (though his lease amount isn't really that high). Well, the other couple had to move their stands, and there is now less brush habitat...they were really mad that this had been done, and bitched and moaned mightily. But it's not their land AT ALL, and they basically had been freeloading on it. Too bad - y'all can accommodate the changes, or find somewhere else.
     
  30. Junkyard dog

    Junkyard dog New Member

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    If seen this happen alot, or similar . Most of the land I'm referring to was bought to grow trees. I cant tell you how many times I've heard my dad say " we bought this land to grow trees not deer(or turkeys)", usually ends the conversation.