?? regarding types of hunting club selection - Mississippi Hunting and Fishing Forums
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Unread 09-13-2020, 10:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default ?? regarding types of hunting club selection

For those with the experience here, when selecting a hunting club, what would be the difference in pros/cons to each of these:

1) hunting club based solely on yearly dues
2) equity share in hunting club

I understand #1 is cheaper, but #2 seems to have major benefits. E.G. ownership in the club, possibly more ground to hunt than either buying land, investment, etc.

I have tried #1 and I see opportunities for #2 but I have no experience with it.
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Unread 09-14-2020, 02:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Both can be great, or horrible.

With #2, you are literally going into business with a group of people. There should be an operating agreement. Unless you are well versed in reviewing them, go pay a couple bucks to someone that is so they can tell you the pitfalls of what you are walking into.

Quite often, you will have layers of corporations. One will be the company that actually manages the club. The second will own the property. I have seen instances where a person that is a shareholder in the property ownership get kicked out of the club. To make matters more difficult, you will often see restrictions on transfer (i.e. you can't transfer your ownership unless the company approves.) It isn't unusual to see buyback agreements or a right of repurchase thrown in. Mandatory capital contributions (sometimes limited, sometimes not) for land improvements or repairs. Yearly dues for continuing costs, etc.

It isn't all gloom and doom. There are some really great equity clubs out there. But, there are also some headaches.
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Unread 09-14-2020, 05:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by randywallace View Post
Both can be great, or horrible.

With #2, you are literally going into business with a group of people. There should be an operating agreement. Unless you are well versed in reviewing them, go pay a couple bucks to someone that is so they can tell you the pitfalls of what you are walking into.

Quite often, you will have layers of corporations. One will be the company that actually manages the club. The second will own the property. I have seen instances where a person that is a shareholder in the property ownership get kicked out of the club. To make matters more difficult, you will often see restrictions on transfer (i.e. you can't transfer your ownership unless the company approves.) It isn't unusual to see buyback agreements or a right of repurchase thrown in. Mandatory capital contributions (sometimes limited, sometimes not) for land improvements or repairs. Yearly dues for continuing costs, etc.

It isn't all gloom and doom. There are some really great equity clubs out there. But, there are also some headaches.
The above is a good summation of the equity share clubs. I was lucky enough to help form such a club back in the 80's with a great group of guys with property on the Big Black River. I would say it was one of the best decisions I ever made as I have grown old in the club and my son had (has) a place to hunt. We went fishing there last week there so the tradition continues.

One of the great positives of an equity share arrangement is that while lease rates increase and lease properties come and go...the land the club owns stays as a constant. If you want to be hunting 25 years from now; you can invest now and be well ahead of the game. In my case, what my share cost nearly 25 years ago is only worth about 5-10 years worth of lease dues now.

It does involve a greater effort to leave the club; but that is true in almost any rent vs investment decision. In our case, we as a club have purchased so many memberships over the years that it made it easy for those who needed to depart for different reasons, but it also had the side effect of increasing share values for those who remained. We probably are just now getting in the past few years to the point that memberships need to be sold in order to leave the club.

I guess the biggest downside is when a club votes a rule or doesn't manage the resources like an individual would like to see. In a rent club you just quit paying dues and go somewhere else...its a little harder in an equity share club to leave in most cases.

I also own land outright and it too has its advantages and disadvantages...one of the big disadvantages is that there is only you to do the work... and handle the problems that always arise.

Last edited by Stringwacker; 09-14-2020 at 06:56 PM.
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Unread 09-15-2020, 02:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Downside of 2: assessments.
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Unread 09-15-2020, 04:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Downside of 2: assessments.
Every club is different. We have annual dues which is primarily for the lands that we lease (these are in addition to what we own) and the increases when they happen are mostly for increases in the cost of the leases. I'm not saying we have never had an unexpected assessment (though I can't remember any) because our timber management pays for any improvements we have needed.

All that said, we have always been a "working mans" club; preferring to purchase more land vs building a fancy clubhouse. It's not visually impressive when you arrive...but it works well for us.

Last edited by Stringwacker; 09-15-2020 at 04:18 PM.
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Unread 09-15-2020, 08:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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stringwacker did his homework and got in a really nice place that as he said works for him. I was in it one time and made the decision to sell for personal reasons and have regretted it ever since. Most of the people in these partnerships are serious hunters and take pride in something that they have a share in. If you can afford it and have children this is a way to go if you do your homework and just can't afford to buy your own land. There is almost always problems with most clubs that you join that are advertised to the public with openings. Every once in a while you will get lucky and find a good one but that is the exception. The good one's always are at a premium price.
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Unread 09-15-2020, 08:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Stringwacker View Post
Every club is different. We have annual dues which is primarily for the lands that we lease (these are in addition to what we own) and the increases when they happen are mostly for increases in the cost of the leases. I'm not saying we have never had an unexpected assessment (though I can't remember any) because our timber management pays for any improvements we have needed.

All that said, we have always been a "working mans" club; preferring to purchase more land vs building a fancy clubhouse. It's not visually impressive when you arrive...but it works well for us.
Precisely. An educated buyer understands whether the organization is setup in a fashion that allows them to decide to buy that 300 acres next door, giving the members some debt at the drop of a hat.

It is a buyer’s market for the shareholder clubs, that’s for sure. They have their benefits. If you’re interested in quality whitetail hunting, first and foremost, there may not be a better option. I’m cut from a little different cloth. Sure I lust over big antlers. But if the whitetail species went extinct tomorrow, I’d still be looking to buy land to piddle on.

Last edited by turkish; 09-15-2020 at 08:26 PM.
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