Sunday, July 10, 2022

Tempest in a tea-pot?


One of the evolving situations the ERJ clan is grappling with involves "The Hunting Lease".

Snicker if you want, but the hunting lease is a very long-standing arrangement buttressed by some family ties.

The younger generation is of two minds about the lease. They want to continue to reap the benefits (hunting, firewood, dirt-biking and so-on) but wonder why they have to perform any of the maintenance. Somehow, maintenance morphed in their mind to the older generation exploiting them as slaves. (not my words, theirs)

Additionally, they see the older generation as being "control freaks" because keys are tightly controlled and the younger generation is not allowed to have parties on the property and not allowed to entertain their friends (i.e. parties and the friends using the property and bringing their friends/family ad nauseam) and significant-others (i.e. over-night lodging).

In fact, the privileges of the hunting-lease are defined by four type-written pages of text by the property owners. Access to the property of non-family members without the sponsorship and immediate presence of one of the original lease-holders is specifically prohibited. The proximal cause of this prohibition is rooted in a near-fatal accident of a person on the property who sort of fell through the cracks.

It saddens me that the hunting lease might not be in the family even a year from now. It saddens me even more that the younger generation so easily thinks poorly of us.

It will not matter to the deer, rabbits and squirrels. Somebody will harvest them. If it is not us, I hope they are honest stewards of the land and appreciate the harvest.


  1. I'm am sorry to hear that.
    We can pick our friends,
    We are stuck with family.

    1. The situation continues to evolve. One point working in our favor is that the price of LP and heating oil is skyrocketing. The value of the firewood that can be harvested from 15 acres of swampy-woodland is skyrocketing in parallel.

      The cavalier "I don't care...slave labor..." can take a quick 180 after an uncle offers to help cut a heating-season's worth of firewood.

      The offer to cut firewood will mean much more after my leg heals somewhat but the fact remains that the wood is there, waiting to be cut and humped out to the road.

  2. Unfortunately there are many today who want benefits without cost and too many of them don't honor legal issues either...

  3. That is unfortunate ERJ - not only because of the interpretation of the work but the fact that there is no appreciation for the legal contract or ramifications of it.

    We have sort of unwritten agreement between our family and the Cowboy at The Ranch - in their case, their entire family up to their grandchildren are there and love (and care for) the property as much as we do. People do not understand what it takes to actually manage and care for a property.

  4. We had similar issues at my Grandfather's ranch when it was commonly owned among his six children. One family owned all of the cattle. And paid all of the property taxes. Two other families had small number of family hunters. One of them rarely brought guests. The other brought several guests at least once a year.

    The two hunter families cut the road side vegetation, while the cattle family maintained the roads. This arrangement worked with some grumbling.

    Until the cattle family decided 'trophy hunting' was viable and wanted all family members to pony up for high fencing cost. No more free hunting - all deer would now be purchased from the owners of them. This caused enough friction that the two hunter families decided to split off from ranch, maintaining standard height barbed wire fences with neighbors. This is how it still exists today. Yes, maintenance is very time intensive

  5. I own 40 acres of some of the best hunting in the state . It is surrounded by 700 acres of Girl Scout Camp , 900 acres of Boy Scout Camp and 2400 acres of gated , guarded lake community inhabited by city folk that wanted out of the decaying cities but were skeered when the sun went down and no lights popped on . None of those neighboring properties allow hunting and most feed the wildlife as if they were pets . I have let many family and friends hunt free of charge with only a few basic common sense rules concerning trash and neighborliness issues . Sadly over the last ten years they have all been banished not because of the trash they threw down and the cans they left laying but to hear them tell it because I am an asshole . Sigh . There is one true sportsman that continues to hunt and has bagged many trophy deer , turkey, and wood ducks and continues to inspire me with his generous and honorable spirit . He will harvest a deer for me when I ask and he has never yet left trash out in the woods . He is now even sponsored by a big deer hunting magazine .and makes quite a tidy sum writing about his exploits and tecnnics .

  6. During my business years I handled a lot of sales of family owned , usually inherited, hunting camps due to this same problem. Your situation is very common and I think more the rule than exception. It's sad, but that's the way it works with the latest generation.---ken

  7. It’s similar, to me, to the ‘common knowledge’ that the entire younger generation are work-shy, tattooed and pierced, gender confused, PC marxist ideologues. It just ain’t so … Oh, the vocal, attention-seeking minority, yes, but just because they whinge and whine the most doesn’t mean they ‘are’ the majority.

    I used to believe the hype, then I started noticing just how many (locally and family) of the younger ones were working two/three jobs, attending Church and … well, were almost as ‘conservative’ as me. (Perhaps the fact that so many are now embracing faith, hard work, independence and abstinence gives me most hope, I suspect the younger generation are actually more, much more, conservative than their parents, and maybe even my own generation).

    So? I wonder, is it ‘all’ your younger generation, or just the ones who wish to party (without cost, effort or responsibility) and claim all the rest agree? I suspect there may be some (or most or even just one) who’d honour the ‘covenants’, even if it hurt their ‘reputation’ with the fast crowd.

    Separating the 'moaning about work, but doing it' and the 'just moaning, period' can be difficult.

    1. Several of that generation are very hard workers.

      One difference I noticed is that more of that generation seem to be enchanted with visiting exotic locations. They ask, "Why should I be pinned down to one place when I can go to Lake Michigan, Hawaii, Alaska, Fuji, Spain, Manitoba, New Jersey, Florida, San Francisco, Greece, South Africa, Scotland, New Zealand, Dominican Republic..."

      They are also much more likely to be part of the rental economy.

      Loss of the Dollar as the world reserve currency will impact them more than some of us others.

  8. There is a balance to be made between freedom and security, and costs to either choice.

  9. I think there are a lot of good points here. One additional point (yes, and) that you may want to consider is as the younger generation gets older they may wonder if there is a plan for them to step up in ownership of the lease (i.e. become "original members") or some similar concerns.

    I've seen this play out from both sides, and making it clear to them that there is a path to being a "voting member" (if they act appropriately) might help them realize there is a future here, if only they will work for it.

    On the other hand, I've seen this play out too many times. It's sad on a lease, but at least it's not the family farm (maybe?). When I was a kid we hunted a large farm with a # of other families, over the years fires/atvs/parties/trash got all the others kicked off. We held on for about 8 years by ourselves, until the landowner moved to the property full time.

    It was a good lesson in seeing how little of a thing can make someone not want to let people use their land, which has served me fairly well. I don't know how to communicate this to people that don't know it though, other than showing them (if they act like lease holders than might lose the lease for everyone) they can, over time, get promoted.

  10. The land across the road from mine is a 900 acre hunting parcel owned by 10 families. The original generation of owners are either deceased or getting very long in the tooth. As new generations come along, they no longer are all local, and so certain families or family members may not get much benefit from the property. It appears that they cover the taxes by doing selective logging and some rental of pasture and hayfields, but I suspect that won't cover their costs every year. It may be financially impossible for reluctant owners to get bought out by the families who get the most use of the property.

    I dread when the inevitable happens and the consortium falls apart and the land will either get subdivided or sold in its entirety.

  11. Sigh... We gave up our deer lease in 2012 after 50 years in Texas hill country due to the fact that we weren't able to use it properly, the escalating costs, and the lands on both sides had gone to the high fences.

  12. Sorry to hear of these developments. I think every family has an 'entitled few'. I hope yours grow out of their box and learn gratitude, and its best expressions - by learning to do their part.

  13. I’m on the opposite side of the lease coin, I have 300 acres in West /central Kentucky that I’ve invited several people to hunt all I asked was that they give me a hand moving blinds, clearing trails etc. I’ve got one 75yr old who comes out to help everyone else… crickets. I don’t get it, the neighbor charges hunters big money since we’re all doing a version of QDM and have plenty of nice deer. I had one guy ask me if he could bring his two nephews and son along, not to work just to hunt, sheesh.

  14. It would be the loss of TRADITION in gathering at the lease that would bother me.

  15. Sorry to hear that. I don't think they realize just how good they have it. At least they have a piece of private ground they can hunt and ramble on. It's also sad they don't see the value in "my land, my rules" and the maintenance of the property. As a guest, you treat it better than you'd treat your own place. As a hunter that's relegated to primarily public hunting land, I'd give my left nut to be able to hunt a piece of private property in exchange for some labor and time! Hunting access isn't like it used to be, and losing a place over silly B.S. is a shame. The potential loss of traditions and shared memories hurts as well.


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