Operating rules are tailored to each property. Here is an example that is fairly typical for a Wildlife Cooperative lease. Member dues vary depending on amenities.
MEMBERSHIP: The individual who pays dues is the member. All others are a guest. Dues are $4,000/year. Covers hunting rights, insurance, prepping and planting cool season food plots, and water at camp. Membership year is July 1 – June 30 the following year. Renew with 50% deposit by Feb 28 and balance by Apr 30. Miss either deadline and your slot will be filled without refund.
INITIATION FEE: New member pays a 1-time $800 initiation fee apart from annual dues. Initiation fees are used for lease improvements.
GUESTS: You may bring 1 guest/trip during deer and turkey season except on members-only days. Use discretion and limit pressure! Accompany your guest onto the property. Ensure your guest complies with rules. Game harvested by the guest counts toward your quota.
MEMBER-ONLY DAYS: Members have the property all to themselves for the the prime 15-day window of the rut. No hunting guests during this time. Dates are published 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. 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 180-200 lbs. 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 160-180 lbs. If in doubt, do not shoot!
UNDERAGE BUCK: When you release the arrow or pull the trigger, you just made a management decision that will help or harm our program. Honest mistakes happen and are handled as such. Mistaking a 3.5-year-old for a 4.5-year-old buck 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 a major infraction that results in a $500 fine (due in 10 days) and forfeiture of 2nd buck that season. If the underage buck is your 2ndbuck of the season, then your quota is reduced to 1 buck next season.
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 = 2 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 uphold the highest standards of legal ethical hunting under free range and fair chase conditions.
FEED & MINERALS: Only feral hogs can be hunted over bait. Lease manager may use feeders sparingly to hold deer on the property during deer season. If so, manager designates official locations away from stands. Feed/bait allowed only at 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. Stands placed by members 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. 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 close interior roads to 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 during off-season. No scouting from two weeks prior to archery season opener 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. Members who want to use their personal cameras during deer season agree to collaborate with the lease manager to meet the spirit of this rule. If you do not wish to participate in the photo share during deer season, 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. Lease manager may use any of the photos for promotional purposes.
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. The general intent is that interior roads are deemed 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. Do not hunt a stand if the wind is bad for that spot. Leave no trace you were there. No smoking in/around stands. No field dressing game. Leave stands clean.
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 it is your home and you are expecting company. Keep skinning area clean. Properly 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 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 Feb-Aug. 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 operating rules and understands that violation may result in membership forfeiture without a refund.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.