Guide for game-bird preserves now online

Thursday, April 18, 2013

AMES, Iowa – A new publication, the Game-Bird Preserve Business Development Guide, is available for Iowa landowners interested in establishing a profitable hunting preserve.

The guide, authored by Dan Burden of Iowa State University Value-Added Agriculture, is the result of a one-year grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Burden interviewed preserve operators in Iowa and Minnesota to compile tips for creating a successful business.

Hunting preserves provide a way for landowners to transition from row-crops into seasonal grasses while still generating income from the land. Preserve operators sell memberships and collect fees from “walk-in” hunters and dog handlers, and retain control over land access and use.

Burden’s guide offers advice for advertising the business, creating quality habitat, rearing or buying game birds, dealing with weather and providing a pleasant hunting experience for clients and their dogs. The guide includes photographs, profiles of five Midwest hunting preserves, sample enterprise budgets and a list of additional resources.

The project fits with the Leopold Center’s vision of fostering a diverse Iowa landscape that provides multiple benefits to people and the environment. Preserves provide habitat for game birds and other wildlife, and often create positive ripple effects in local economies by encouraging nature-oriented tourism.

Download the guide at


Dan Burden, ISU Value-Added Agriculture, (515) 294-9520,

Jeri Neal, Leopold Center Ecology Initiative, (515) 294-5610,

Laura Miller, Leopold Center Communications, 515-294-5272,