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The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas #8412558 10/10/21 11:50 AM
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Had a discussion recently with a landowner who only recently became aware of the prices hunters are now paying for private leases in Texas. He asked me why hunters would pay so much to hunt deer which I must admit caught me rather flat footed. After all, I can remember as a kid when you could lease land in Mississippi for 25 cents an acre. Now granted, all of us here know that deer hunting can quickly become a passion, if not an obsession. Still, the answer I gave him was based on the key difference in how deer could be hunted when I was a kid and how you can legally hunt them now - using bait.

I know baiting was legal when I moved to Texas in 1982, but have never been told if there was a time when baiting was illegal in the state. Whatever the case, I do believe that hunter numbers and lease prices would drop in Texas should it ever become illegal to bait deer. There’s no question that baiting contributes greatly to hunter success rates, which in turn drives license sales.

Let’s be honest, would you pay as much for a lease when the landowner did not allow the use of feeders as you would to one who would allow them?

Last edited by Texas Dan; 10/10/21 12:03 PM.

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Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8412572 10/10/21 12:15 PM
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I also grew up hunting in both Mississippi and Texas. I think if you made it illegal to bait in Texas lease prices wouldn't go down. I haven't had a lease in years I am fortunate to have family ranches in both Mississippi and Texas. At least for me as I get older it is more about spending quality time with my family and friends and enjoying the deer camp lifestyle and not as much about the hunting for me as it use to be. I love watching my sons and their wives and girlfriends enjoy the outdoors.

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8412610 10/10/21 12:57 PM
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I should add that what really drew the landowner's question to me was a comment made by a guy who told him he would "pay whatever you want" to hunt his land. Of course I could be wrong, but I can't see the hunter holding to that if the landowner were to tell him he couldn't use feeders.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 10/10/21 12:59 PM.

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Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8412649 10/10/21 01:26 PM
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Hunting with no bait is a different game for sure, I did it from the early 80’s until the late 90’s. I hunted a 15,000 acre ranch that did not allow the use of bait. There were a total of 8 people hunting the property, and it could be very challenging to say the least. It definitely made you look at things like natural funnels, bedding areas, food sources, etc. now there is no hunting on that ranch, and I would gladly pay fair money to hunt it again. I personally felt way more accomplished taking a deer on that place versus using feeders as I did later on.

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8412655 10/10/21 01:29 PM
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Wouldn't matter...But I am already priced out. I thought I lost my lease last year, but turns out this will be our last season. It has gotten too expensive for me, and to many restrictions. I know a couple ranchs that need doe harvested, so thats how I'll fill the freezer.


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Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8412769 10/10/21 02:34 PM
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I think the price of leases in Texas has gone up because landowners are realizing they can make a lot of profit off of it, and Texas is a private land state so people will pay the price the landowners are asking because there aren't many other options unless they are willing to hunt the public land Texas has (which most aren't). I think public land is more fun but to each their own. Decades ago my grandpa had a 10,000-acre hunting lease in South Texas that the landowner was only asking 300 dollars a year for. My grandpa, my uncle, and my dad managed the property for better deer quality (not high fenced just managing the deer herd in various ways), and when the landowner died, his sons got the property. The sons realized there were a lot of good deer on the property, and they told my grandpa "If you wanna come back and hunt here next year it's gonna be 10,000$ a year" my grandpa said "no way" and that's when he stopped hunting. I think if there were more public land in Texas and public land hunting was more a part of the hunting culture in Texas, the prices of leases wouldn't be as competitive because there would be other places for hunters to hunt besides leases, which means the landowners wouldn't be able to ask ridiculous prices and get away with it because the hunters would just say "no" if the land owner was asking a ridiculous price.

Last edited by TheHeadTurkey; 10/10/21 02:38 PM.
Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8412860 10/10/21 04:29 PM
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Private land “lease” hunting has become way to rich for my pocket, I got off my lease this year and unfortunately don’t see myself ever hunting again. I was lucky enough to be invited to bring my son to shoot a doe (his first deer) opening weekend of bow season so I’ll have that memory with me forever but my hunting days are probably over.

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413022 10/10/21 06:17 PM
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I hunted mexico for 30 yrs we didnt use corn because deer didnt know what it was, We would ride the fence looking for big crossings follow the trail to see where it went (usually to water) you dont need bait to get a deer but it does let you see a lot more animals for a more enjoyable expierence. As a footnote the land owners back then just couldnt understand why we wernt hunting at night.

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413152 10/10/21 08:39 PM
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I've been unable to find any data on hunter success rates in Texas prior to when baiting became legal to compare it to current success rates, which have been running around 50-60% since 2005. I've also been unable to find any information on when baiting first became legal in Texas.

Are there any old timers who can remember when it wasn't legal to bait deer in Texas, and if hunter numbers appeared to increase significantly with the change? A significant increase in hunter numbers would definitely create an increase in the demand for private leases.

Something else to consider is how hunting activity drops significantly after a few weeks in East Texas when many claim the deer have "disappeared". There's no question deer become much harder to harvest as hunting pressure increases in a given area. If the number of active hunters decreases significantly once deer become much harder to hunt due to hunter pressure (as they likely would without being able to bait them), this would translate into fewer hunters if baiting could not be used from the onset.

Again, the focus of the discussion is the possible role of baiting in helping to drive up the cost of hunting leases in Texas. Personally, I just can't see someone saying I'll pay what you ask if they didn't believe they had such a strong chance to kill a deer.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 10/10/21 08:47 PM.

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Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413230 10/10/21 10:01 PM
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People pay big bucks for big bucks because of the pull
of the "hunting " shows on television and videos.
Just good marketing like convincing hunters that
their old reliable guns and ammo need to be replaced
with the new and improved items.
That, and quite a few want to legitimately get away from
the wife and kids. People have been hunting over food
plots and piles of old vegetables and fruit and various
things for many years. Buying sacks of deer corn is
a relatively recent thing, but feeding in general is not a
new thing at all. IMO the feeding thing isn't to "blame "
for the mess hunting has become

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413247 10/10/21 10:11 PM
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I982 there were 15 some odd million people in the state, a new truck cost around $6000 and the median US income was about $20k. You can’t compare lease prices today with 1982 prices.

The reason leases are high is because of demand. Feeding has nothing to do with it. You take away feeders people will plant food plots and crops for game, no different than any other state.

There is no Texas Hunting lease union and there are no price fixing. There are still cheap leases available. As more land gets taken out of the leasing pool and demand stays high prices will go up. If more places come available and leasing demand goes down prices will soften.


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413267 10/10/21 10:25 PM
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And to answer your question, if I was not allowed to bait but the guy next door was, I would probably pass. But if it was made illegal then no I would still hunt.

But what landowner is gonna outlaw baiting for his leasses? Makes no sense to not allow baiting unless he just gets his jollies from being weird, and it’s gonna hit him in the wallet which I doubt he would appreciate

Last edited by txtrophy85; 10/10/21 10:26 PM.

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Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413269 10/10/21 10:27 PM
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My grandpa, daddyNd uncles started hunting in the hill country in the 50’s. They had a feed pen in the middle of the place with a 5gal gravity feed feeder.
When I got old enough to hunt and after we moved to another place it stayed the same, just one bucket feeder in the middle of the place.
It changed in the 80’s , The rancher got rid of his goats and we had a couple of timed feeders.
Hunting was just as exciting without feeders , to me anyway.

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: maximum] #8413323 10/10/21 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by maximum
People pay big bucks for big bucks because of the pull
of the "hunting " shows on television and videos.
Just good marketing like convincing hunters that
their old reliable guns and ammo need to be replaced
with the new and improved items.
That, and quite a few want to legitimately get away from
the wife and kids. People have been hunting over food
plots and piles of old vegetables and fruit and various
things for many years. Buying sacks of deer corn is
a relatively recent thing, but feeding in general is not a
new thing at all. IMO the feeding thing isn't to "blame "
for the mess hunting has become

This, commercialization of deer hunting in early to mid 90s, mostly magazines then, big hunting sponsored tv shows of 00s really raised the pricing considerably. Landowners started realizing the true earning potential of deer.

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: txtrophy85] #8413375 10/11/21 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
But what landowner is gonna outlaw baiting for his leasses? Makes no sense to not allow baiting unless he just gets his jollies from being weird, and it’s gonna hit him in the wallet which I doubt he would appreciate


I currently lease from a guy who doesn’t allow them because he feels they attract hogs that will damage his pastures. He makes money off the hay he sells to middle-men who in turn sell to ranchers.


Dan

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413388 10/11/21 12:35 AM
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Some WMAs and most NWRs do not allow baiting. They are still some of the most difficult to draw hunts in the public hunting system. I bet it would be the exact same thing if no baiting was allowed……lease prices would stay the same. Lease prices have gotten crazy but so gas everything else in the last few years. No matter what happens lease prices are going to go nowhere but up.

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413415 10/11/21 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Texas Dan
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
But what landowner is gonna outlaw baiting for his leasses? Makes no sense to not allow baiting unless he just gets his jollies from being weird, and it’s gonna hit him in the wallet which I doubt he would appreciate


I currently lease from a guy who doesn’t allow them because he feels they attract hogs that will damage his pastures. He makes money off the hay he sells to middle-men who in turn sell to ranchers.


Well....he is certainly the exception not the rule. I’ve had hay pastures torn up where there wasn’t a feeder for miles. By that line of thinking if he had feeders they might stay out of the hay field.

In any case, he is probably in the .05% of landowner who forbade feeding.

Does he cut you some kind of discount for not allowing feeders?


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Erny] #8413424 10/11/21 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Erny
Some WMAs and most NWRs do not allow baiting. They are still some of the most difficult to draw hunts in the public hunting system. I bet it would be the exact same thing if no baiting was allowed……lease prices would stay the same. Lease prices have gotten crazy but so gas everything else in the last few years. No matter what happens lease prices are going to go nowhere but up.



Kinda off topic but one of the coolest places I’ve looked at was a 120 acre tract located a few miles inside of the Sam Houston National Forest. Property had an easement down a locked logging road and was surround by Nat. Forest on 4 sides. The entire property had been cleared and planted in coastal hay except for the 3 creek drainages which were nice hardwood that fed into a 40 acre lake.

They fed corn and protein and had a absolute wildlife Mecca. If I was a hunter I would set up on a travel trail going into the property. It would be easy Pickens


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413428 10/11/21 01:14 AM
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Hell I’m pissed a non-res Colorado OTC elk tag is $680.00. Back in 1982 it was $50.

They don’t allow baiting in the entire state, either.



For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413459 10/11/21 01:39 AM
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If they banned bait in Texas, a lot of deer would probably starve. So many have been putting out corn, beans, and protein year round for many years, decades even. Some places, feeders support the entire ecosystem, rather than supplement it. Raccoons, pigs, birds, squirrels, rats. There are deer in many places where they would have no other reason to cross a fence than to get to the feeder on the other side.

I don’t even see a feeder as an advantage in Texas. More of a requirement if you ever want to see deer, because everyone else has at least one. You have to give them a reason to cross your property. Unless you have the water and/or cover.

Last edited by Bryan C. Heimann; 10/11/21 01:41 AM.

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Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Bryan C. Heimann] #8413555 10/11/21 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Bryan C. Heimann
If they banned bait in Texas, a lot of deer would probably starve. So many have been putting out corn, beans, and protein year round for many years, decades even. Some places, feeders support the entire ecosystem, rather than supplement it. Raccoons, pigs, birds, squirrels, rats. There are deer in many places where they would have no other reason to cross a fence than to get to the feeder on the other side.

I don’t even see a feeder as an advantage in Texas. More of a requirement if you ever want to see deer, because everyone else has at least one. You have to give them a reason to cross your property. Unless you have the water and/or cover.


In many areas you are right. I don’t have the exact number but if IIRC the number was around 2 Million in 1982. Now it’s estimated at 5.5million. In large part due to supplemental feeding.

As I mentioned earlier, you ban hunting over bait people will still feed protein and will plant food plots for deer. We had a 20 acre irrigated pivot in the center of our old ranch. We would plant clay iron peas and lab-lab in there in the spring/summer and oats in the winter. One reason we quit doing oats is it would pull too many deer into one location and our hunters would complain about it. It was not uncommon to have 40-50 deer in the field. One evening I counted 67 deer at one time in that oat patch.

My buddies ranch has hundreds of acres of oats on his place and you rarely kill a deer at the feeder, most are taken in the fields.


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: txtrophy85] #8413941 10/11/21 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
As I mentioned earlier, you ban hunting over bait people will still feed protein and will plant food plots for deer.


The cost of a feeder and a season's worth of corn is a small fraction of the cost of the equipment needed to create effective food plots. I don't believe there's any doubt that if baiting were made illegal, the vast majority of hunters would stop far short of buying a tractor and the necessary implements.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 10/11/21 02:16 PM.

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Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8413959 10/11/21 02:21 PM
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There will not be a wholesale die off of wild deer if corn & protein is no longer provided by hunters. Many, if not most, hunt as a way to be able to connect with their more primal side and corn has nothing to do with that either.

Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Hudbone] #8413991 10/11/21 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudbone
There will not be a wholesale die off of wild deer if corn & protein is no longer provided by hunters. Many, if not most, hunt as a way to be able to connect with their more primal side and corn has nothing to do with that either.



Agreed. Texas deer would continue to thrive without supplemental feeding.

Still, the greater question is whether just as many Texas hunters (equal demand) would be willing to pay increasingly more if their chances of seeing and harvesting a deer were far less? After all, there are those who have already thrown in the towel even with such a high chance for harvest success.

Again, it's a hypothetical answer to a question raised by a landowner as to why someone would be willing to pay whatever he asks to lease his place? The landowner is not a hunter and knows very little about the sport. He's looking at it purely from a business/financial perspective. I simply flipped the question back to hunters to see if they would pay what they're paying now, or even more in the future, if they couldn't use bait?

Last edited by Texas Dan; 10/11/21 03:05 PM.

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Re: The reasons behind the high demand for hunting leases in Texas [Re: Texas Dan] #8414046 10/11/21 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas Dan
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
As I mentioned earlier, you ban hunting over bait people will still feed protein and will plant food plots for deer.


The cost of a feeder and a season's worth of corn is a small fraction of the cost of the equipment needed to create effective food plots. I don't believe there's any doubt that if baiting were made illegal, the vast majority of hunters would stop far short of buying a tractor and the necessary implements.


We planted oat patches at every feeder in Walker county with a walk behind tiller, broad cast spreader and a drag pulled behind a 4 wheeler.

I think you are trying to rationalize the cost of hunting leases by using feeders as a scape goat to the increased cost. They are not the cause of high hunting leases. A lot of Midwestern states can’t feed and their lease costs are high.

Texas is one of if not the best state to hunt in; long firearms seasons, liberal bag limits and a high deer population. If we had a short season, weapon restrictions and a low population, then prices would probably be a lot lower.


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
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