Firearms Lawyer Simon Munslow answers your legal questions.

Paid Hunting Part 2: Hunting Leases


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55 shares, 47 points

Let’s say you have read my Blog ‘Paid Hunting 1’ and you have found yourself a likely block. 

What sort of things do you need to consider when entering into a hunting lease, and what type of matters should the lease cover.

Firstly, I would suggest that a written agreement be entered into with the farmer, because this can avoid disputes down the track, and can serve to protect parties against litigation.

These are the type of matters that the parties should consider and agree upon, and ideally pass on to their solicitors.

BASIC AGREEMENT

  • The names and addresses of all parties
  • The purpose of the lease: obviously hunting, but for what? And is fishing and trail bike riding included?
  • Description of land covered- where is it? I would take GPS readings and map references to prevent any misunderstanding.  A photograph of the block taken from Google earth, with boundaries marked, can also be instructive.
  • Terms: when does it start and end?
  • How much rent is to be paid and in what installments? Where is the money to be paid to?
  • Is payment in kind? For example, for control work being undertaken by shooters.  If so, how many gun/days are required and when?
  • Assignment clause: if someone leaves a group, can his interest be assigned to someone else? If so, under what conditions. i.e. can there be a sub contract and under what circumstances?
  • Liability/indemnity clause to protect the farmer in case of an accident upon the property
  • Insurance requirements.
  • Items provided to land holder under the agreement. 
  • Other party should be provided with a copy of any relevant club constitution and by-laws, partnership agreements, Memorandum and Articles of Association.

OTHER MATTERS

  • What is on the property? Types of game and livestock?
  • What right is the landowner going to retain to use the parts of the property covered by the lease for rural activities?
  • What, and how much notice is he going to receive if there are shooters on the property?
  • Are there any agreements about ‘cones of fire’ so that shooting cannot occur in certain directions?
  • How many hunters can be on the property at any time?
  • What sort of hunting pressure is permitted i.e. days of hunting per week or month,
  • Are there any periods of peak farm demand when no hunting is allowed? How do these fit in with game seasons?
  • Does the farmer want to impose any limits on shooting hours?
  • How are you to respect and care for the property? Are nails allowed in trees? How about tree stands? May wood be cut? Can a camp consisting of a carport, caravan, camper and annex, container etc. be located on site and be removed at the end of the lease?
  • Is there electricity or water on site? Can it be accessed? If so how? Is this part of what the landowner is providing? i.e. with access to farm outbuilding or shearers quarters.
  • What improvements can you make for hunting? Can you plant any crops on areas to attract game? If so, what? What make good conditions apply?
  • Are there any limits imposed on parking and types of vehicle that may be used.  In particular, are ‘quad’ bikes allowed?  And under what circumstances.  (Because of particular risks associated with the riding of quad bikes, the landowner may wish to impose limits on where they may be used.  Will this affect his insurance?).
  • What limits, if any, apply to alcohol, smoking, fires for heating or cooking, litter, use of timber, removal of grolloch and animal waste.
  • Will anybody else, i.e. farmer and family, retain a right to hunt on the property?
  • What steps if any can the farmer take to destroy pests while there is a lease in place?  If not, and pest numbers become very high, is the farmer to be compensated for damage as in European contracts regarding boar hunting?

REMEDIES

  • If any parties are unhappy about anything, with whom do they liaise?
  • What remedies are there for breach of contract?  Under what circumstances can the lease be cancelled?  Is rent money to be refunded in this eventuality?
  • Are there any warranty clauses given about the quality of the hunting? If not, the farmer will want to state that there are no warranties given.
  • Termination when the lease ends, in what condition is the land to be left?
  • Insurance requirements. How much? With whom? Provision of certificate of currency a condition?
  • Under what circumstances may the landowner re-enter the property, for farming, or to inspect the land?
  • The laws of what state apply?
  • Is there a requirement for mediation before anybody can take action?

This list is not complete, and other matters could arise subject to the nature of the property and intended use, for if boats are allowed on a large dam are petrol engines permitted?


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