Jeff Bewsher | Hunting Leases

April 03, 2024   |   Hunting

Jeff Bewsher, with Legacy Wildlife Services, joins the podcast to discuss his expertise in hunting lease management and real estate.

Jeff Bewsher is a Senior Advisor at SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler and a Certified Wildlife Biologist at Legacy Wildlife Services. In this episode of In Our Expert Opinion Real Estate Podcast, Jeff shares his experience in hunting lease management and its crucial role in land conservation and real estate.

Hunting leases offer both sustainable wildlife management solutions and valuable revenue streams for landowners. The episode explores the challenges and opportunities within the industry, providing invaluable insights for anyone interested in land management, wildlife conservation, and real estate.

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Below is an excerpt from the interview. Listen above for the full podcast.

What is Legacy Wildlife Services? Legacy is a division of Natural Resource Planning Services - you've had Jay [Vogel] and some of our other folks on here. NRPS is a consulting company that's been around for 50 years, 2024 is our 50th year, so it's a big deal for us. 

We do a lot of things. They have a traditional forestry management division, Jay runs the environmental services division, we have an arbor division, we broker with [SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler], and I run the wildlife services division. 

We have a staff of five certified wildlife biologists, including myself, and we're a full-service wildlife consulting firm. That means we can do anything relative to wildlife, but 95% of what we do is really hunting lease management.

What is a hunting lease? It's just an agreement. If somebody has a 1000-acre piece of property, and they're not utilizing it and they want to allow folks to hunt on it, they'll lease it out for hunting to an individual or group of folks. They’ll have a contract and basically, for an annual term, say that you can come out there from July through June each year, recreate, and hunt all the species as the state allows on the property. 

It’s 365-day access to the property, so it's sort of responsible recreation. It's a little more than hunting these days, and we call it hunting leases. Folks are out there on the property pretty much year-round.

Where is the value in hunt leases? We tend to have everything consolidated in one lease and try and grab the value from that. A lot of the value in hunting leases comes from the exclusivity of the lease. If you lease it to some deer hunters who aren't necessarily going to turkey hunt, they sort of think of it as their property.

They want the exclusive access to the land and choose not to hunt turkeys rather than pile somebody else in there on top of them. If you start piling in group after group, it begins to look a little more like public land, and that's what they're paying to get away from. They're paying for the exclusive access and a little bit better land management.

If it's got deer, turkey, hogs, or ducks on it, folks would love to get out there. And those folks or hunt clubs that we put out there, they do all the work. It's very hands-off for the landowner. They're extra eyes on the property because they are out there year round, feeding deer, putting in feeders, running cameras, planting food plots, and a lot of them will have a little camp right there on the property.

How do you monitor the land? Large landowners, absentee landowners, and institutional ownerships are our target clients - somebody that we can help manage their property in a very passive income form. They just allow these folks out there and then we monitor them to check for compliance.

We have those five full-time biologists that are just out there in the woods, riding, checking, looking for liability issues, compliance with the lease, and dealing with the hunt clubs. If the hunt club has an issue, they'll meet with them out there and look at a road issue, some access issue that they're dealing with, or a bad neighbor dispute. They are, all the time, keeping us in the woods and meeting with clubs.

Jeff Bewsher
As a Certified Wildlife Biologist, Jeff is a seasoned hunting lease and wildlife management expert. With decades of experience in big game management and consulting, Jeff provides great value to his clients in navigating hunting and recreational land investments. As the Legacy Wildlife Servic...

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