Leasing land for hunting is big business and is profitable for landowners. Lease rates once priced to covering landowners’ taxes have risen in recent years and still on the increase. Landowners, both individual and corporate, avoid commenting on the subject since it’s such a hot topic.

Property owners shouldn’t be blamed for the current situation. Supply and demand determines lease prices, along with location of the property. As long as sportsmen are willing to pay, prices will continue to rise. It’s simply business, and everyone wants to maximize their profits.

Resource Management Service (RMS), which owns mostly old, International Paper Company land in Mississippi, encourages and is friendly to long-term leasing of their properties for hunting. Jimmy Bullock, a senior vice president of forest sustainability, said, “We offer annual or multi-year agreements. Multi-year sets the price up front for three years so clubs can budget and know what to expect.”

RMS encourages year-round activities along with hunting on their lands, such as camping, scouting or just enjoying the outdoors. 

“Folks who lease long-term tend to take ownership and feel a real stewardship of the land,” Bullock said. “We partner with hunters as land stewards.”

Paul Durfield, Gulf Region Recreational Lease Manager for Weyerhaeuser, said, “Being the largest owner of timberland in the country, we are happy to be a provider of hunting land throughout Mississippi.”

Weyerhaeuser provides a food-plot program available to any of its lease-holders. Clubs can rent protected areas with no worries about disturbances from timber-management practices.

 “We also offer free spots for food plots in places timber won’t grow: old log decks, in between thinned rows, or any other areas where pines are not being managed for timber production,” Durfield said.

Keep in mind, the free spots aren’t protected.