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.