Thinking about joining a hunting club this year? Here are my thoughts on clubs, and what to look for when seeking a club to join.

I joined my first hunting club last year. This is my first club – however, I did do a LOT of looking around, calling the newspaper ads from prospective clubs, and a lot of driving to check out clubs that were soliciting for new members.

Some questions I asked prospective clubs:

What kind of game does the club hold? I wanted a club that has Whitetail Deer, Turkey, and Small Game – so this was one of the first questions asked.

How big is your club? How many acres does the club have, and how much is wooded and timbered (if any) Since there is a lot of paper-company leased land around my neck of the woods, I always asked about timbering operations. It also leads to the next question…

What was harvested last year? Ask the club representative about last years harvest…most clubs keep records about how many bucks and does were taken.

How many members? You ask a lot of hunters “how much is too much” as far as members go. Most folks say one member per 100 acres. So, if you have 24 members on a club, you would hope the club would have 2400 acres, right?

What type of hunting? I belong to a club that runs dogs for deer, as well as has stood for members to hunt from. 90% of the hunting during deer season is with dogs. Not an issue with me, since I enjoy it, but can be a turn-off for folks who want a stand-hunting/still-hunting club exclusively.

Facilities? How about a clubhouse with electricity and water…a cooler to age and store your game…cleaning facilities…other amenities (maybe the club has a pond on its land) Is the club secure? All good questions.

There are plenty of other questions to ask…but the most important one is:

How much? You may not have to sell a kidney to join a decent club, but for a club that has a lot of lands, fewer members, and nice facilities you might have to part with some decent scratch. I can’t give you a guide to prices since there are many variables to determine what is a good price versus a rip-off.

However, I can tell you that an inexpensive club might be full of hunters who could give a damn about you and your hunting. Those guys who you will grow to hate and make you say “Why did I join this @!?#$ club!”. That higher-priced club may be full of those as well. You just have to look around and do a lot of talking…introduce yourself to members as you visit the individual clubs and listen! Do you think you’ll fit in there? What does your gut say about the members that hunt there?

So, if you are thinking about making the leap into a hunting club – good luck! Hopefully, it will produce good hunting experiences that will last a lifetime.