Finding a good Georgia hunting lease can be difficult. Often the best tracts are locked down in long-term leases. In some cases, the same people have been leasing the land for decades. Those who are fortunate enough to be in a great hunting lease rarely leave unless they run into financial difficulties or die. And when there is an opening, it’s quickly filled by word of mouth and/or a waiting list.
So what’s a hunter to do when they need to join a good hunting lease or hunt club? First of all, be patient. Unless you’re lucky enough for an opportunity to fall in your lap, it’s probably going to take some time. Second, be ready and willing to put in the effort. Finding a great hunting lease takes research, diligence, and a little bit of luck. But once you find one, you’ll never regret the time and effort you spent.
Here are my five best tips for finding and obtaining a great Georgia hunting lease.
1. Be prepared to act!
The first rule of finding a good lease or hunt club is being prepared to act when the opportunity presents itself. That means having the necessary funds on hand. Good leases go fast, and in most cases, the person with the property isn’t going to hold it while you scrape up the funds. If you can’t commit immediately, there is likely someone standing in line who can. Be ready to act quickly!
Along those same lines, don’t wait until a month before deer season to start looking for a lease. I realize that sometimes it can’t be helped. Maybe you just recently lost access to a tract you had planned on hunting. But aside from that, the earlier in the year you start your search the better!
2. Put the word out
A lot of hunting lease spots are filled by word of mouth without ever being advertised publicly. Current lease/club members reach out to family, friends, or coworkers, and the spot is quickly filled. You can be one of those “lucky” family members, friends, or coworkers with a little work!
Take time to get the word out to those people that you’re looking for a lease or club to join. Start letting everyone you come in contact with know that you are actively looking for a place to hunt. Ask friends, family, and coworkers who hunt if they know of any lease opportunities available. They may not know of any right away, but sooner or later, someone in your inner circle will hear about a lease opening and think of you.
3. Check with local timber companies
The vast majority of hunting leases/hunt clubs in Georgia are owned by local and regional timber companies, You’ve probably heard of large timber companies like Weyerhaeuser and Rayonier, but there are plenty of smaller options out there as well.
I would recommend starting with a Google search for timber companies in the area where you’re looking for a lease. Many of these companies have websites with hunting lease listings. Others may just have a contact email or phone number, requiring a little more legwork.
Another great resource for finding potential timber company leases is a mapping app that shows private property boundaries like onX Hunt. Simply navigate to the areas of the state where you’d like to find a lease and look for relatively large blocks of private property. As you find them, you can zoom in to see who owns it, and click on the property to see contact information. You may be surprised at the number of small timber companies you’ll stumble across during this process.
Once you’ve located some properties and timber companies, you can do a Google search to see if the company offers hunting leases, whether any of them are available, or who to contact to get that information.
Here’s a few timber companies with Georgia hunting leases to get you started:
Weyerhaeuser, Westervelt, Wooten Hunting Leases, Beasley Group Lands, Superior Pine Products Company, Roger D. Smith,
4. Check with social media
One of the best places to find hunting leases these days is on Facebook. Numerous Facebook groups are dedicated specifically to hunting leases in various states, and Georgia is no exception. Beyond these specific hunting lease/hunt club groups, there are also plenty of hunting groups where members post lease openings. If you’re serious about finding a place to hunt, I suggest you join some of these groups and visit them regularly to see if anyone has posted an opening.
You will want to do your due diligence before handing over any money to a stranger on social media. Sadly there are lots of scammers out there, and guys desperately looking for a hunting lease can be an easy target. So, make sure you do your homework.
5. Write letters
My final recommendation for finding a hunting lease or hunt club requires the most legwork but may produce the best results. In fact, with a little luck, it could lead to free hunting access. It involves finding private landowners in the area where you are seeking a place to hunt and reaching out to them with a letter seeking permission to hunt or to lease the hunting rights of their property. The success rate per letter will probably be extremely low, but it only takes one to set you up for great future hunting opportunities.
This strategy is very similar to what I recommended with timber companies. Use an app like onX Hunt to find blocks of land suitable for hunting in the area you’re targeting, and then reach out to those landowners with a letter requesting permission or the opportunity to lease hunting rights on their property. Make it as easy as possible for the landowners to reply by not only including an email address and phone number but also including a permission slip for them to sign with a self-addressed and stamped return envelope.
The more of these you send out, the better your odds of getting a “yes.” So I encourage you to send as many as you can in the general area you’re searching.
Questions to Ask
Once you’ve found a potential hunting lease or hunt club, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before handing over your hard-earned money. Of course, the obvious things you’ll want to know are the size of the property, the annual cost, details on the habitat and game populations, access to the property, amenities that may be present such as water and electric, and any limitations or restrictions on the lease.
If it’s a hunting club you’re considering joining, you’ll want to know the total number of members and the specific rules of the club — does each member have a designated area, or is it first come, first served? Are there work days you must attend? Do the annual fees include food plots? Is there an area for camping – water and electric hookups? and anything else that may be required.
Finding a good Georgia hunting lease or hunt club can be difficult, but it’s possible with some persistence and patience. If you’ll put the word out among your family, friends and coworkers, and use the advice outlined in this article, you should be able to find something in time. Once you do find a good lease, all that hard work will be worth it.