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Developing a Wildlife Enterprise - Header Image with images of hunters and various wildlife.
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Developing a Wildlife Enterprise - Is it for you?

Land leasing and ownership account for 19% of hunters’ expenditures, according to the “2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.”
Wildlife Basics
Habitat Management
Legal Aspects
Your Wildlife Enterprise
Meet Enterprise Managers

Is a wildlife enterprise for you?  Seems like a simple question on the surface, but there are many things to consider, from what type of experience you’re interested in offering, to liability issues, to financial feasibility.

This module is designed to help landowners and farmers decide whether to start a sustainable* wildlife enterprise.  You may not need to own a great deal of property -- it depends on the habits of the wildlife species of interest, the experience you’re trying to sell, and whether your neighbors are interested in joining a wildlife cooperative.  The wildlife species, plants, and habitat practices presented in this module are applicable to the southern region of the United States, though general information could apply nationally. 

Your wildlife enterprise can be a big success or a big failure. 

  • Planning is everything.  Many sections of this module involve planning your wildlife habitat and conducting inventories to identify current and future needs. 
  • The legal aspects are daunting.  This module will give you a head start before meeting with an attorney to design your individualized contract. 
  • Developing a business plan is crucial.  This module will help you develop a business plan that will help you (and your lenders) decide whether to invest.    
  • Is marketing necessary?  Maybe not for small operations, but a carefully-planned promotion strategy can identify potential customers and expand your customer base if your plans call for a larger enterprise.

Navigating through this module

Obviously, there are many questions to consider before starting a wildlife enterprise.  This module provides detailed information to help you decide, based on your circumstances, whether a wildlife enterprise is for you.  It has several interactive features and application exercises (downloadable, printable worksheets) to help you analyze and apply what you’ve learned to your own specific situation.  Use the building blocks below to start your journey through the module.  Touch the building block with your mouse to learn more, or click the block to go directly to that section.

Where you start in the module depends on your background.  If you are unfamiliar with wildlife science and small business management, begin at Wildlife Basics and work your way through to Habitat Management .  Along the way, you will engage in progressive learning experiences that provide the building blocks for the next section.  However, if you are confident in your understanding of wildlife species, habitats, and practices, consider skipping to Legal Aspects and Your Wildlife Enterprise.  Try the quizzes in each section to see if you’re ready to tackle the next building block. 

Still unsure you want to start a wildlife enterprise, much less this module?  Click on Meet Enterprise Managers first to hear words of wisdom from those who run these types of businesses.  They may help you decide whether a wildlife enterprise is for you.

Learning Objectives for this module:

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • determine whether to start a wildlife enterprise.
  • understand basic wildlife management concepts.
  • improve your ability to judge wildlife habitat and identify management practices which will enhance wildlife habitat.
  • describe the legal aspects of  wildlife enterprises, including understanding the components of a hunting lease, federal and state rules and regulations, and limiting liability.
  • understand affordable and effective marketing strategies to attract and retain customers.
** Borrowing the definition from the Sustainable Agriculture Network, sustainability is the integration of natural biological cycles and controls which protects and renews soil fertility and the natural resource base, optimizes the management and use of resources, and minimizes adverse impacts on health, safety, wildlife, water quality and the environment.

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