Should You Join a Hunting Club Next Season?
“The hunt club tradition is especially popular in the Southeast, but does that mean a membership is right for you?
The hunting club lifestyle has a great following in America, but it’s especially common in the Southeast. From Texas to South Carolina, Kentucky to Florida, hunt clubs are the norm. But for those who’ve never been a part of one, and those considering joining, it can seem a mystery. Is it like a lease? A big property with shared permission? We answer these questions and more.
According to Lindsay Thomas, chief communications officer for the National Deer Alliance (NDA), modern hunt clubs date back to the 1960s and ’70s. Timber companies with vast acreages of land held large swathes of ground that weren’t very accessible. Then these companies started leasing out the hunting rights, and that was that. Hunt clubs were born.
Since then, the makeup of hunt clubs has continued to evolve into what they are today. Under quality management, these continue to adopt policies that are beneficial for members.
For the most part, modern hunt clubs look different than they did in the early years, but the foundations are the same. Certain types of lands tend to be turned into hunt clubs more than others. Generally, these lands are owned by timber companies, power companies, and farming operations.
Those who’ve never leased ground or joined a club should understand the differences. Generally, hunt clubs have higher hunter densities than leases do. Clubs tend to have lower prices per hunter, though. These also present less responsibility to most members. On the other hand, leases tend to be more expensive, have more responsibilities per hunter, and offer more ground to hunt on per hunter.
While this isn’t a blanket statement for all hunters and hunt clubs, there are numerous benefits for joining one, especially those who hunt public land and subpar private properties. These advantages can come in many forms, including:
- Better Ground: It’s common for hunt clubs to have better overall hunting than most public lands.
- Less Pressure: Because it isn’t open to the public, if managed properly, hunt clubs tend to receive less hunting pressure than many public and permission grounds.
- Land Cost Savings: It is usually cheaper to join a hunt club than to buy or lease hunting lands outright.
- Gear Cost Savings: Clubs typically require each member to contribute gear to the club. So, for instance, if it is decided that treestands and ground blinds are managed on a communal basis, you can use other hunters’ stands, just as they can use yours.
- Help and Camaraderie: Everyone needs help from time to time. This is especially true when hanging treestands, dragging out deer, etc. In a hunt club, you get that help. You might also experience true camaraderie and develop great friends.
Of course, the above things are not guaranteed for every hunt club. These are generalities and might vary depending on the quality of a hunt club’s manager, members, deer herd, etc.”
To read the “cons” and the rest of the article, click here.
Photo credit: Original Author