Deer Lease Update

I apologize for the long post below,

The deer lease was one of the many topics on last nights call, we still have several things to work as far as language before having anything official. That’s the reason I prepared a rough draft and posted it a few weeks back for everyone to view, do research and add comments before we do anything.

Thanks to Kim and Jeff who both posted comments, and everyone who brought up things on the call.  I appreciate the research and agree 100% with what everyone commented on in regards to feeding deer, firing weapons, etc. Our goal is to be 100% compliant with NY state regulations and most important, provide a safe place for these guys to hunt. This will be a work in progress and will likely change over time, with any official document it’s never perfect the first time or the 10th. What I want everyone to think about is that we’ve had hunters coming for 40 years and never had any type of document in place, so anything we come up with at first will provide more structure and will be more in lines with NY state law than what we have now.

Another thing that came up last night was the number of hunters we want to invite into the deer lease. The initial idea was 22 which is the amount we current have coming to the farm now, but all at different times. The deer lease certainly opens up the possibility that there could be more than 12 hunters at once. This is where we need to realize that the deer lease isn’t the guest business, we aren’t looking to provide these guys with the same accommodations that we would a family who’s renting the house during the summer. If there are 1 or 2 weekends where some hunters need to sleep on a couch, air mattress or in the basement then they’ll have to figure that out for themselves. I recall several times growing up when Grandpa had 20 hunters in the guest house at the same time. They are there to hunt and the fact that they have a house with heat, electricity, hot showers, etc is an extreme bonus. None of the 35 members of the camp I’m in have any of those perks. From what I’ve seen in my 7 years of deer lease experience is that on any given weekend you have a max of 50% members there at the same time. Some come during the week, some during the weekend and some that only hunt a few times each year. I feel if we provide a few air mattresses, clean up the basement and put a few beds down there for overflow that’s more than enough. And if after year one we are getting tons of complaints from the paying members then we look to make adjustments going into year 2.

Another concern was with the # of hunters it could cause wear and tear on the guest house knowing that we want to use it for the guest business, that is a real possibility and a great point. It’s in the bylaws that they leave the guest house as they found it, what we don’t have in there is a security deposit on the property which we can put in. Or, if we limit the # of hunters to say 12 then we need to increase the dues significantly, I’d say $1000 minimum. This would of course force 10 hunters who have been come up for years out since we limited the amount from the 22 we have now. What we need to consider here is the guest business will open us up to just as many opportunities of wear and tear. If we wanted to rent the guest house each weekend from May-Sept, that’s 16 different groups of people minimum for those 16 weekends (up to 12 people per weekend). The chances of getting a group that gets rowdy, had kids that color on the walls, breaks stuff, etc is just as high if not higher than having 22 guys in the house for hunting season. And I’d say the hunters will be more cautious for the fact that they will want to be invited back next season and they have some skin in the game. I’m all for getting the guest business back up and running and utilizing it outside of hunting season. With that comes a lot more work though, since we will have to have someone on the property to give keys upon arrive and get back when they leave. Also a cleaning crew needs to come in before each new group. It can be done but its much more involved than the deer lease. And we’ll need bylaws and agreements for each tenant that rents as well. If we rented the Guest House for 16 weekends at $300 per that’d be $4800. If we get say 20 hunters in at $600, that’s $12,000. I’m game for doing both eventually, or just let 20 hunters have all access to the Guest House and land all year long, charge them $1500 each and call it a day. That’d be $30,000 by the way.

At this point we really aren’t sure if all 22 will be interested in the deer lease or what they’re willing to pay yet. I’m going to have conversation with the 2 guys that Ellen has sent me to gauge their interest and get a barometer on what they’d spend.

Last night we asked for others to join the Deer Lease Committee, thanks to Kenny and Brianna for volunteering to help out. I talked with Ryan this morning and he wants to be on it as well. So our 4 will be Kenny, Brianna, Ryan and myself. If anyone else is interested just let us know.

Deer Lease Agreement First Draft


Here’s a first run at the Deer Lease Agreement, a Merrill’s Farm By Laws will follow this post. Feel free to review and add comments about what I’ve missed or things that need to be removed.


THIS HUNTING LEASE AGREEMENT (the “Agreement”) made effective as of XX/XX/XXXX


Merrill’s Farm Corporation

– and –

Those individuals and/or organizations listed on Schedule A to this Agreement, which is made a part hereof by reference thereto



  1. Subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement, Lessor does hereby grant to Lessee the exclusive right to access and hunt only the following game species: Deer, bear, turkey, bobcat,

with the following weapons: Bow, crossbow and rifle

which may be found upon and harvested from Merrill’s Farm

  1. The initial term of this Agreement is for a period of one (1) year, commencing on May 1st 2015. and expiring on May 1st 2016. The Lessees shall pay Lessor the sum of

$600 per member as consideration for the use of the premises. Lessees shall notify Lessor in writing at least (60) days prior to the expiration of the initial term and shall pay the sum of $600 to Lessor not later than May 1st prior to the commencement of the renewal term. Failure to pay either sum described above within the time constraints set out herein releases the Lessor from performance of this Agreement, and Lessor may relet the whole or any part of the premises

without recourse from the Lessee.

  1. The Lessees shall provide the Lessor with a security deposit of $###.## (the “deposit”) on the commencement of the lease term. Such deposit is refundable upon termination of this Agreement if the Lessees have complied with the terms and provisions of this Agreement and no damages have been placed upon the Lessor or the premises as a result of the granting of privileges by Lessor hereunder or as a result of any actions of any of the Lessees, their guests or invitees.
  2. The Lessees shall abide by all State, Federal and local hunting regulations, including any quotas prescribed by Lessor. Failure to follow said regulations, by any of the Lessees, their guests or invitees may, at Lessor’s option, result in immediate cancellation of this Agreement, without refund of all or any portion of the deposit.
  3. If any Lessee is an organization composed of several members, the terms and conditions of this Agreement shall apply to each and every member. The terms and conditions of this Agreement shall also apply to any and all guests of the organization and its members. All members of such organization shall be required to carry a current valid membership card while on the premises.
  4. The Lessees and any guests and invitees agree to wear exterior fluorescent vests of a blaze orange coloring (hunters orange) while hunting on the premises with the exception of bow hunting, waterfowl and wild turkey hunting, and muzzle loading firearms season.
  5. The Lessees agree to maintain proper safety procedures regarding firearms, including but not limited to, ensuring that all firearms are unloaded while in vehicles and in the vicinity of all buildings. The Lessees shall not climb upon, hunt from or otherwise use any permanent structure located upon the lease premises. Hunting and shooting are prohibited within 200 yards of any occupied dwelling or within any designated safety zone.
  6. The Lessees shall exercise due care to prevent forest fires, and shall extinguish any fires on the lease premises, without cost to the Lessor, if the fire occurs when the Lessees or any of them arousing the premises. The Lessees shall promptly report to Lessor and the appropriate State authorities all fires that may take place on the premises or in the vicinity thereof.
  7. The Lessees agree to ensure that motor vehicles are driven only on established roads and that the housing provided is left as originally found.
  8. The Lessees shall be permitted to construct blinds and feeders on the premises, provided that the Lessees remove same upon termination of this Agreement, and further provided that no blind shall be constructed in a manner that damages any of the trees or shrubs located on the premises.