Rules are tailored to each property. Here is an example from a Wildlife Cooperative property.
MEMBERSHIP: Individual membership. Anyone other than the person paying dues is a guest. Dues are $4,000/year and cover hunting rights, insurance, winter food plots, and water at camp. Membership year is July 1 – June 30 the following year. Members renew with 50% deposit by Feb 28 and balance by Apr 30. If you miss either deadline, then your slot will be filled with no refund.
INITIATION FEE: New member pays a 1-time $800 initiation fee apart from annual dues. All members paid an initiation fee their first year to join. Initiation fees are used for projects such as road repairs, stands, feeders, or cameras.
GUESTS: You may bring 1 guest per trip during deer and turkey season except on members-only days. Use discretion! Do your part to limit pressure. Accompany your guest onto the property. Ensure your guest complies with rules. Game harvested by your guest counts toward your quota.
MEMBER-ONLY DAYS: Members have the property all to themselves for the first 10 days of rifle season and the prime 15-day window of the rut. No guests permitted to hunt during these two windows of time. Dates are published prior to season so members can plan accordingly. A non-hunting guest can sit in the stand with you during members-only days but may not hunt.
BUCK: Limit = 2/year. A shooter buck is to be 4.5 years or older. Any male deer killed (including button bucks) counts toward the 2-buck limit. Not all 4.5-year-old bucks look alike. Here is a guide to help identify a shooter buck: A typical 4.5-year-old buck on this property has 8-10 points AND 16-18″ inside spread AND 21-22” main beams AND weighs 200-210 lbs. By contrast, a typical 3.5-year-old buck (not a shooter) on this farm also has 8 pts but a 15” spread (even with tips of his outspread ears) and 18-19” main beams and weighs 175-185 lbs. If in doubt, don’t shoot!
UNDERAGE BUCK: Each member is a stakeholder in our Co-Op, and must also be accountable to fellow members. Every time you release the arrow or pull the trigger on a deer, you just made a management decision that will help or hurt our program. Honest mistakes happen and will be handled accordingly. Killing a 3.5-year-old buck mistaken for a 4.5-year-old won’t get you booted out but it will draw scorn from members. Contrast that with killing a 2.5-year-old buck, which is considered a major rule violation. Penalty is a $500 fine (due in 10 days) and forfeiture of 2ndbuck that season. If the underage buck is your 2ndbuck of the season, then your quota next season is reduced to 1 buck.
DOE: Limit = 6/year. Make an effort to kill does early in the season to concentrate bucks around remaining does.
CULLS: No culling allowed. Research shows that culling with intent to improve genetics does not work among free range herds.
GOBBLERS: Limit = 3 gobblers/year. No jakes! Your guest and you must sign-in and hunt within the same area in turkey season.
ONE THAT GOT AWAY. It rarely happens, but an unrecovered deer or gobbler still counts toward your quota. If it staggers or falls but gets away, or leaves blood/hair/feathers…it counts as a kill.
FAIR CHASE: As a Wildlife Co-Op member, you pledge to legal ethical hunting under free range and fair chase conditions.
FEED & MINERALS: Corn and minerals included in dues. Only feral hogs can be hunted over bait. Lease manager uses feeders sparingly to hold deer on the property during deer season. Manager will designate official locations away from stands. No other feed/bait allowed other than those locations.
SIGN IN. Wildlife Cooperative provides permanent stands (tower blind, ladder, hang-on, tripod) to be shared equally with all members on a first come first served basis. A member can place permanent stands as well, provided those stands are treated as equally accessible to all members similar to Co-Op owned stands. No signing in the night before. No signing in this morning for a hunt this afternoon. No signing in and then going back to the camper to finish getting ready. The intent is to sign-in and go immediately to the stand. Sign in for one stand. Sign out before going to another. Lease manager may designate an app for virtual sign-in system.
PARK-N-WALK: The intent is to effectively close interior roads to any traffic during deer and turkey season except to retrieve deer or fill feeders. Park at spots designated on map by lease manager and walk from there. No driving vehicle, UTV, or ATV to stands. Electric bike is allowed to travel directly to/from the stand. Use stealth when going to/from a stand.
SCOUTING: Scout as much as you like during off-season. No scouting from 2 weeks before archery season through end of deer season. Take the designated route to/from each stand during deer season. Leave the rest of the area untouched.
CAMERAS: To limit disturbance, cameras are prohibited during deer season except those operated in collaboration with the lease manager and shared simultaneously with all members. May include SD and cellular cameras owned by Wildlife Cooperative and members. You are not expected to provide cameras, but if you do, then you agree to collaborate with the lease manager to meet the spirit of this rule. If you do not wish to participate in this way, then simply remove all your cameras 2 weeks prior to archery season.
DATA: The intent is to collect 100% harvest data for the lease manager to have complete records on every buck, doe and gobbler killed on the property. You agree to record harvest data for each buck, doe and turkey that you kill. You agree to pull and mark jawbones as required. You agree to provide lease manager with close-up photos of your kill. Take multiple buck pics to clearly show antlers from straight ahead, left, and right viewpoints. Also include name, date, area killed, measurements. Text/email pics and specs to lease manager within 24 hours after the kill.
ROAD & TRAIL RIDING: Protect roads and camp area from rutting and damage. No vehicles or ATVs in green fields except to retrieve a deer. Interior roads are open May-Aug for scouting to learn the property. Interior roads are closed Sep-Apr to avoid disturbance of deer and turkeys.
TARGET SHOOTING: No firearms target shooting Sep-May. Okay to target practice Jun-Aug.
SCENT CONTAINMENT: Hunt the wind! Use the chart of best/worst wind for each stand. If wind is bad for a stand, don’t hunt it. Leave no trace you were ever in or around a stand. No smoking in/around stands. Leave stands clean. When leaving an enclosed blind, be sure to close windows and latch door.
METHODS: Still-hunt only for deer. No stalking, slipping, pushing, or deer drives. No roaming around hunting areas during deer season.
CAMPERS: Water included in dues. Park RV in a spot designated by the manager. Set up service through local electric cooperative. In the unforeseen event of a water bill spike due to frozen pipe or water break at your camper, you only pay for usage beyond the historical avg. billing for that period. Use your camper electrical hookup for charging batteries (cart, trolling motor, etc.). Do not charge them using barn electrical hookup.
CAMP ATMOSPHERE: Keep the entire camp area clean as though you are expecting company. Keep skinning area clean. Dispose of carcasses. Store trash out of site and take it with you when leaving. Disconnect hoses if temps are to be below freezing. Do your part to keep a neat and tidy atmosphere. Be considerate of members who do not drink. Leave no trace of alcohol around camp. Not even an empty beverage or bottle top around the fire pit.
WORK DAYS: Each member agrees to participate in 4 full days of club-approved work details between Jan-Aug. Lease manager will offer several choices of dates for Co-Op work parties. You can participate in-person or pay for day labor to work in your place.
LAWS & SAFETY: Abide by applicable hunting laws. Report a game violation immediately to the game warden and lease manager. Concealing a game violation on the property, whether committed by you or someone else, will result in forfeiture of membership. Consuming alcohol before a hunt that day is grounds for immediate forfeiture of membership.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: By paying annual dues, the member agrees to these terms and understands that violation may result in membership forfeiture without a refund.