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Hunting Shares | Hunt Club #7619716 09/30/19 04:28 AM
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Hunting Shares | Hunt Club

I have an idea that I've been tossing around in my head for a hunting start-up that I wanted to throw out there to THF members for feedback.

A little background on me - I'm an attorney that primarily works with startups - and outside of working with other startups, I always have my own startup going on the side as well. In the past 10 years, I've built and sold three start-ups - each having a seven figure sell price (8 figure total). Point being that I'm a pretty good and experienced when it comes to taking ideas from concept through acquisition - I've done it with my own businesses and I help other businesses do it on a regular basis. I mention this bit of background so that everyone realizes that my inquiry is related to an idea that I'm giving serious thought about bringing to fruition (not just some schmoe who is like "wouldn't this be cool to do"). It's one of several contenders for my next start-up (the others are non-hunting related).

Now, this idea will have multi-species application but I'm going to focus the discussion on wild hogs (for simplicity and because you can hunt hog year-round). Just keep in the back of your head that the same land being discussed can be used for hunting other species.

This idea deals with the acquisition of multiple areas of land around the state (under a business entity) - setting each area up with stand(s)/blind(s) and feeders. The business would take care of managing each area (feeders, etc..). And essentially, anyone who bought an annual membership with the company could hunt any of the lands owned by the company, subject to availability (different membership for different animals, or even different time periods as it doesn't have to an annual membership). Let's say you wanted to place to go hunt hog - you could purchase a hog hunting membership and then whenever you wanted to go, just schedule a time online at one of the lands owned by the company and go.

Now the technology side of how the business runs will be pretty nice (I have some programmers actually working on the base functionality now - yes, I'm investing in some development before I have even decided to run with the idea). Let's say you live in Houston, TX and want to go hog hunting and you're a member --> Login to the website (or app) and see what lands are close by (or view everything in the state). We would be using cellular game cams on every property; the photos being sent to an email that when received will automatically be processed by our system and uploaded and attached to the land's profile on our online platform. So, when you are looking for a place to hunt and click on it - you will see the most recent shots from the game cam for the property. Members would essentially have the ability to view up-to-date cam shots of game activity - to help them decide where they want to schedule their hunt. Once they decide where to hunt, they can reserve a time. They'll be able to see if other people have reserved time (not who the other people are, obviously) and what is available. Visiting family on the other side of Texas and want to hunt hog while there, just reserve the time.

So, we're talking about a membership that will allow members easy access to multiple hunting areas around the state (eventually the country would be the goal). Hunting areas that are setup and maintained so that all you need to do is bring your gun. As the business grows, it acquires more land around TX and starts branching out into other states and eventually a person would be able to reserve hunting space for any legal species, anywhere around the country - all for an annual membership.

Obviously, there are a lot of considerations when it comes to some species - like deer - the population needs to be managed properly on every property - but I have a process in mind for higher level memberships (like deer hunting) to ensure proper management. There will need to be a significant amount of membership and land management to ensure that every member at every membership level gets to hunt what they signed up for, while properly managing the game populations and not allowing for over-hunting.

Essentially, I think the current "lease" system, that has become so prominent, is outdated and extremely limited - it can be replaced with something a lot more flexible for hunters. The normal property you have been scheduling hunts on have anthrax this year? No worries, just schedule a time at another piece of land in the system. No more worries about the land owner selling the land you leased and you having to fund another one. I see a lot of benefits to this type of hunting club.

I do realize that I was short on actual details here - my goal was really just to toss out a general idea of what I'm thinking and get feedback.

Criticism welcome... hate the idea, don't be afraid to say it. Think it's a sh$t poor idea and that I should focus my efforts on one of the other contenders that I am considering, please do say so.




Last edited by Binary; 09/30/19 04:34 AM.
Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7619717 09/30/19 04:33 AM
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My thought is you couldn't buy the property, charge a competitive "fee" and turn a profit doing hunting only.

There's a guy in here in Dallas that does the same thing with fishing. His model works because he doesn't have to buy the ponds. You also have to consider the liability difference in strangers showing up with fishing poles vs rifles.


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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: CharlieCTx] #7619720 09/30/19 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by CharlieCTx
My thought is you couldn't buy the property, charge a competitive "fee" and turn a profit doing hunting only.

There's a guy in here in Dallas that does the same thing with fishing. His model works because he doesn't have to buy the ponds. You also have to consider the liability difference in strangers showing up with fishing poles vs rifles.


Thanks for responding. I've reviewed the numbers, as has my numbers cruncher - this is all based off of 100 properties that are or were recently for sale around Texas and that we found to be proper for the purpose - so let's assume that our numbers are correct and that the property acquisition isn't going to be an issue.

Fair point about liability - certainly something that the lawyer in me has considered and not something that I am worried about though. Both the business and memberships can be structured in such a way that any liability concerns are minimal.

I figured both of these points here would come up pretty quickly and thanks for bringing them up.

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7619726 09/30/19 04:54 AM
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How would you keep the calendar from filling up on a bunch of prospective hunts versus “hey I’m up the road and want to get in a hunt tonight”.

I foresee the hunting stands (schedule) becoming saturated and thereby forcing members to not chose so much where and when to hunt but rather hunt where and when you can get an opening regardless what tech is showing on game activity.

I suppose the idea would work for max 10 properties and max 100 members with a 10 year commitment at 25k each.

Anything larger (membership pool and properties) or more expensive isn’t going to be more enticing than the current lease system.

I don’t mind hunting a property lease that is mine all mine and developed to my taste without the
hassle of dealing with others who feel entitled to arriving early and staying late....

Last edited by Pig_Popper; 09/30/19 04:55 AM.

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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7619901 09/30/19 01:57 PM
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Do some research on "The American Sportsman's club." they had a corporate office in Lewisville, I think. They did exactly what you are trying to do back in the 70's-80's except they did not buy the land, they leased it. Mostly in Texas, and they had a lot of properties and the first two years it was great, after that, every property that they leased was completely shot out. You have to remember that in a lot of Texas, there is a four-five deer limit. So many of those hunters who came out on a weekend, shot their limit of deer. Did not take long at all to completely ruin a property. Plus, they truly allowed way more people on a property at a time that was safe.


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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7619903 09/30/19 01:59 PM
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This has been done before in Texas. 'American sportsmanship club' and 'National sportsmans club' . Both ended up folding after taking people's money. Lots of folks got burned. Might be a hard sell around here. Good luck.

Last edited by Erathkid; 09/30/19 02:47 PM.

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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7619905 09/30/19 02:05 PM
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Looks like American sportsmans club has been resurrected. First one was based in Texas. New one is in Ohio.


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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7619913 09/30/19 02:12 PM
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Sounds kind of like a hunting club that I joined back in the 80's when I lived in California. It's called Wilderness Unlimited http://www.wildernessunlimited.com/index.html

They leased dozens of properties all over the state with some being more for upland birds, others being better for hogs or deer hunting, and some where for duck hunting. Size of each property varied, some where rather small, others where ten thousand acres of private land. They had "Managers" on each property just about every weekend. Those where members who didn't have to pay to hunt the properties, but where in charge of making sure everyone there obeyed the rules. Some Mangers where great, others where poaching the heck out of the place and doing whatever they wanted. A good friend shot the number one Pope and Young black bear on one of their properties along the Eel River in Northern California in the 90's.

My problem with the club is that there are some really good properties that everyone wanted to be on for the opener. They created a lottery to get on those properties, and of the thousands of members, maybe a dozen got to hunt that ranch opening day. You could pick five ranches to apply for, and if you didn't get any of those choices, you had to wait until the process was over and then it was first come, first serve for the remaining properties if you could get through on the phone. To make it worse, the Managers got to pick their properties to hunt on for the opener, and they somehow seemed to be able to get their buddies on those ranches too, which became a big issue when a bunch of us finally quit the club. How will you ensure that it's fair to everyone, especially when some properties will be a lot better then other properties?

The next issue was that after the opener, the ranches where pretty much shot up and there wasn't much to hunt on them after that.

For what it cost to be in the club, and what it cost to hunt so many times without getting anything, I realized that for a little more money, I could hire a outfitter and have a much better experience, or go out of state after drawing a tag to a place with few people and lots of land. This is also my reasoning for not getting on a lease here in Texas. I can go on a guided hunt on a ranch and have everything taken care of for me, sleep in a nice bed and see a lot of animals for what some leases go for. Since whitetail and hogs are low on my priority list, my main goal when hunting here in Texas is to find good deals on different exotics that I do not already have in my collection. Free range are my favorite!!!

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7619971 09/30/19 03:26 PM
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I can see needing one or more biologists under contract, talking from a deer hunting perspective, to manage all properties and set a maximum number of deer (trophy bucks, management/cull bucks, does) that can be taken from each property. That way if a certain property has already had all the bucks killed that has been set it would still be open for doe hunting. Without something like that in place I can see properties being shot out pretty quickly.

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620025 09/30/19 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Binary
I've reviewed the numbers, as has my numbers cruncher - this is all based off of 100 properties that are or were recently for sale around Texas and that we found to be proper for the purpose - so let's assume that our numbers are correct and that the property acquisition isn't going to be an issue.


Let's assume you can buy all your properties for the paupers sum of $1,000 an acre. If we use the unofficial margin of 100 acres per hunter, that's $100k per hunter or $4k per year over 20 years with no other expenses involved. $2k per acre and you're at $8k per year over 20. To be cheaper than the old-fashioned "lease" you're going to have to increase the hunters per acre metric, I don't know how you address the "shot out" issue which will certainly come, maybe not so much with hogs, but certainly deer/exotics. If you want to offer something better than the old-fashioned lease and want to purchase or add a HF, cost goes up even more, plus you'll need to stock and the "shot out" thing is still an issue and costs per hunter would be top of market.

Your money, but I'd gamble it on Bitcoin before I put it in something like this. smile


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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620076 09/30/19 05:24 PM
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You would need to limit the harvest to below state limits and/or charge people a lot more to have a full set of tags. I'd do a hybrid approach if any of the properties will have exotics/high fence. Just an example but, a basic membership gets you a buck/doe. Enhanced membership gets you two bucks/two does with one buck being a cull. Top membership gives you a full limit and an exotic......Charge reasonable prices to add onto any membership for exotics or additional animals, fishing, etc. Another thing you can charge for is premium lodging. People want to bring their wife and kids but don't want a bunch of drunks around them. If you have a nice place to stay you can supplement income that way. You will need a ranch manager at every property or this will get out of control and even then it still may.

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620087 09/30/19 05:38 PM
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As a business owner I would be more concerned with the management aspect of it. What plans/means do you have in place to enforce any rules? What keeps a member from just showing up and hunting without picking a spot online or telling a friend, hey just show up and hunt, no one will be there anyways. How do you address illegal activity, buck not meeting AR's, poaching, over bag limit etc. I personally would never use this type of service for this exact reason. Who cares what show up on a game cam when another member shoots it before you could make a trip

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620090 09/30/19 05:42 PM
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Sounds like a fancy name for a day lease cooperative.


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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620098 09/30/19 05:51 PM
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This has been done before. Check out AMR Adventures that is doing it now. He used to be a member on here and previously had lease hunter type businesses that got lots of attention and comment even on here back several years

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620111 09/30/19 06:03 PM
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Sounds like a terrible idea to me. I doubt myself or any person who has any commonality to me in their hunting pursuits would want anything to do with it.


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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620123 09/30/19 06:24 PM
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The only one that would come out ahead on this would maybe be the one that started it. Then in a couple of years they better move to South America because their life may not be too good if they stayed here.

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620222 09/30/19 08:20 PM
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Look up privatewaterfishing.com/ and call Steve if you have any questions. Seems like a similar deal.

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620589 10/01/19 03:51 AM
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if i'm understanding correctly, this is am amped up lease service? the equity interest hunting clubs seem to work, there are quite a few that have been around a long time, and the value of the shares go up. your members would also own something with some appreciating value. even though the annual dues on most of them are in the tens of thousands, they still own something. would be undivided interest in multiple properties instead of one

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7620756 10/01/19 01:12 PM
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I could be wrong, I usually am, is the membership fee $25,000 an annual fee for 10 years or is it a one time fee for a 10 year membership, either way I see an issue. If it’s $25,000 per year who would pay that, it’s a commitment of $250,000.00....a fool and his money, I guess... If it’s $25,000 for a 10 year membership I don’t see enough money to purchase 10 properties and manage them to the level you discussed.

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Txhunter65] #7620774 10/01/19 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Txhunter65
I could be wrong, I usually am, is the membership fee $25,000 an annual fee for 10 years or is it a one time fee for a 10 year membership, either way I see an issue. If it’s $25,000 per year who would pay that, it’s a commitment of $250,000.00....a fool and his money, I guess... If it’s $25,000 for a 10 year membership I don’t see enough money to purchase 10 properties and manage them to the level you discussed.

I didn't see anything at all listed about the fee structure or time commitment? Where are you getting those figures?

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: CharlieCTx] #7620780 10/01/19 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlieCTx
My thought is you couldn't buy the property, charge a competitive "fee" and turn a profit doing hunting only.

There's a guy in here in Dallas that does the same thing with fishing. His model works because he doesn't have to buy the ponds. You also have to consider the liability difference in strangers showing up with fishing poles vs rifles.


This. Hunting income alone will not be nearly sufficient. Scaling will not work because properties can only stand so much hunting pressure before they deteriorate and the whole enterprise implodes.

It might work under a leasing arrangement, but that has a whole other set of issues.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Gringo Bling] #7620808 10/01/19 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Gringo Bling
Originally Posted by Txhunter65
I could be wrong, I usually am, is the membership fee $25,000 an annual fee for 10 years or is it a one time fee for a 10 year membership, either way I see an issue. If it’s $25,000 per year who would pay that, it’s a commitment of $250,000.00....a fool and his money, I guess... If it’s $25,000 for a 10 year membership I don’t see enough money to purchase 10 properties and manage them to the level you discussed.

I didn't see anything at all listed about the fee structure or time commitment? Where are you getting those figures?


It was given by someone other than the OP...I was just saying I didn't think those numbers would work... no one knows what the actual numbers are but as stated I agree buying the land would prohibit the operation from running as described unless there were other revenue streams than hunting or the fee for hunting was astronomical, or the number of members was too high.

Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7621191 10/01/19 08:48 PM
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Everyone's reply is appreciated, thank you all for taking the time to provide your opinions.

I'll provide a little more insight into some of the ideas being tossed around for this business idea. To start, let me state that this business plan involves the full price purchase of all involved lands - there won't be any mortgage payments or anything of the sort. To me, it doesn't matter if I have 5 million in the bank or 5 million tied up in property, I still have 5 million - there is no loss involved in the acquisition of real property. Loss will come with the property management, property taxes, and overall business related overhead - of which revenue needs to be higher than, obviously.

Second, none of the current methods of implementation currently include insane membership fees - I'm not considering charging anyone 25k for anything smile Hunting is a dying sport in Texas, in no small part due to the fact that the majority of the population here is simply priced out of the market. One of the goals of this business, would be to help solve that problem. For a state a with population around 30 million, with an average median household income of $57k (with an average of two earners per household), most people simply can't afford to drop 5k+ (around 10% of their income) on a private lease. This is one of the main reasons the TPWD draws have grown in popularity and now sport over 160k entries every year - people looking for an affordable way to hunt and teach their kids to hunt.

I mentioned one of the methods we were considering - the use of memberships and a scheduling system (which would certainly, as mentioned by many of you, require significant management to prevent areas from being "shot out"). I believe we have a workable method that would allow for proper game management, but I certainly understand many of the concerns people have mentioned in this regard - and it is things that have been considered. But that is only one of the methods under consideration - one of the other major methods under consideration is implementing a system similar to the TPWD draw system. Imagine the TPWD system, but with current game pictures of the properties you are entering to try to win a spot to hunt. Except, these aren't public lands so stands and feeders are on the properties.

Concerning land area of each property - I have no intention of these being hundreds or thousands of acre properties. The current thought is simply strategically placed properties, probably around 50 acres for areas involve game such as deer. Obviously, the smaller the property, the lower amount of game and the fewer hunters that can hunt it. Ultimately, it's more than enough acreage to lure game in for hunting purposes. I'm sure many of you right now are cursing at the idea of a commercial property running next to yours, luring "your" game over and others of you do just that with your own properties - so yes, I am aware of the controversy of the proposal in this regard (and for areas that may be hundreds of acres, they'll be divided up for hunting accordingly). For areas heavy in hog populations, we would consider even smaller properties - as long as they are of a size legal to hunt. Some hunt draws for game like deer will obviously be limited by the hunting seasons... for game like hogs - those draws can be throughout the year as they migrate to the various properties. I understand quite well that this type of implementation would be loved by some and hated by others - such is the days we live in, someone will always be unhappy.

Concerning using a draw style system - I would envision those draws being done directly after TPWD did their draws - giving people who came up short on public land hunting draws the option to potentially win a spot on another 100+ properties.

Much of this is still very much in the idea/concept phase and I ultimately may end up choosing a different contender for my next start-up. As it stands though, the numbers as we've crunched them, conservatively, show that there are a number of ways to implement this that would be profitable.

Again, thank you everyone for your feedback - the majority of it is what I expected to hear from people. I will certainly let everyone know if we do choose to move forward and how it turns out.

Last edited by Binary; 10/01/19 09:20 PM.
Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7621608 10/02/19 01:19 PM
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From a business standpoint, having 40 fifty acre plots, ( 40 X 50 X $2,000 = $5,000,000) of land is much more income for you. You could have 40 paid hunters in the field at one time. Where as if you had that same amount of land in one plot, 2,000 acres, it would be likely that the most hunters you could have on a single weekend is 8, That is giving them each 250 to hunt.
Now, just being honest, there is no way that you can control what is happening on 40 different plots of land at the same time and there is no way that a 50 acre plot of land will not be completely shot out in two years (if not in two weekends). Besides, who is going to want to go to a 50 acre plot of land if it does not have a stand or at the very least a feeder that is full and has been up and running for at least a month. I mean, you got 50 acres or even 100 acres of land, but what do you have to draw or keep the deer on the land, when we all know that all around you people have feeders going.
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Re: Hunting Shares | Hunt Club [Re: Binary] #7621710 10/02/19 03:19 PM
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So potential cost would be:
Land itself
Cellular game cameras/cell plan
Software to sort camera pictures by location and date
Feeders/stands
Feed
Labor to fill feeder/work around properties
Insurance on properties
Taxes

Potential issues:
Someone purchasing a “hog membership” or a cheaper membership and shooting a different species.

Once the locations are know and when they are and aren’t being hunted is know individuals accessing properties where no one is scheduled to be and hunting.

How do you “manage” game populations on 40-50 acres?

You’re right about one thing ANYONE owning land next to one of these strategically placed properties is going to be pissed if they ever find out what will likely be going on next to their land. This sounds to me like a highly sophisticated day lease operation where hunters will be run through daily to shoot whatever shows up at the feeder regardless of what membership they purchase, because there will be no way to know what if anything was shot each day on each piece of property.

So you’re not going to charge astronomical prices for memberships, the next option would be to sell so many memberships at a cheap enough rate that you are basically running different people on and off the property day after day to turn a profit. If that’s not the case then discuss how many memberships would be sold per small tract of land say 40-50 acres and the cost of those memberships. These should be known things given the number crunching.

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