Today, Buying Deer Hunting Land for yourself and your family is the only sure way to guarantee land access to a deer hunting area. When you purchase rural real estate, you have your own land for deer hunting. You now have the freedom to manage your hunting area for trophy whitetail deer. When you purchase a hunting property, you have the right to limit access to other hunter’s. Not all deer hunter’s may be as ethical as you are. Maybe you are weary of hunting in public hunting areas. Maybe you have had a few bad experiences with other deer hunters when the hunting season opens. In some public hunting areas just getting to a decent hunting spot can seem insurmountable especially when a deer hunter can get to a hunting area fast and remain mobile with today’s ATV’s. It can seem like an all-out sprint only to find another hunter already in or around your favorite hunting stand site. Frustration can set in and spoil a deer hunting opportunity. Arguments between hunters can and do occur on occasion. This can be very dangerous when arguing individuals are carrying hunting firearms. Public deer hunting areas have their place and we are lucky to have them. The public area you hunted all alone last year may seem like a crowded sporting event this year. You just don’t know from one year to the next what other hunters may show up and decide to crowd you out. Many deer hunters have quit this great sport because of this. Even if you’re lucky enough to get permission to deer hunt on private land, it may not last. All it would take is someone, another hunter, to offer enough money and offer a lease to the landowner and you could lose your favorite hunting spot. If you don’t own your hunting land, there are no guaranties to access and the management of the hunting area. In recent years, by purchasing and buying your own real estate for personal and private hunting, has become one of the only ways to manage a quality hunting area for trophy game.
What To Look For In Your Quest To Buy A Hunting Property; A Few Tips To Consider
When buying a piece of property or real estate for deer hunting; make sure it is a comfortable distance for you and your hunting partners to travel to. I usually tell someone to keep the drive to your hunting area to 2 hours or less from your home. This way, if you had to travel to it and do something in just one day and then return home, you could. With the cost of gas and diesel fuels fluctuating the closer the better. Money spent on fuel could go a long way to hunting land improvements or expenses incurred.
2. Deer Habitat
It is always nice to start with a piece of hunting land that already holds and supports whitetail deer. All you may have to do is tweak a few things here and there, and now you have trophy deer habitat. Remember, whitetail deer need food, water, and cover or security. Cover and security may be the most important because you can always plant a variety of food and usually can dredge an area for a water pond. A mixture of high and low/wet lands with plenty of mast trees where there is a mixture of hard, soft, and conifer wooded areas, with some open fields is preferred by deer.
3. Size of property
Of course the bigger the better, try to purchase as much land as you can afford. As a minimum, I would say nothing less than 20 acres per hunter. That would give you the option of at least 2 or 3 good hunting areas or stand sites along with a small wildlife food plot. If affordability is a problem for you, try forming a land buying partnership with your hunting buddies. This is a way to control and manage more hunting land than you alone would be to manage. Just make sure everyone can be trusted and has the same goals as you. In a partnership you have to able to get along and agree on almost everything. Rules have to be set in stone, expenses shared, work-load shared, availability and use must be fair and equitable. Take into account wives and girlfriends, how do they feel about a land ownership partnership. Make sure a real estate lawyer helps with all agreements and be sure to take into account what will occur in the case of a divorce or a death of one of the owners.
How To Buy Deer Hunting Real Estate
If you’re considering buying a piece of deer hunting property; look at the purchase as an investment. Hunting on this piece of property will be a bonus to owning it. Nobody is making any more land in our great country. Just make sure you can get your money back and more if you have to sell it off in the future for one reason or another. In today’s real estate market there are some great buys. Do your homework so you can make a good decision when you have found the right piece of land that you can also hunt on. A good recreational real estate agent should be able to help with these matters. You will need to consider taxes, improvements, roads, communities, schools, medical/hospitals, local economic diversity, and most other aspects of buying any property as to whether it is a good sound investment. Always remember; it’s a piece of property and you may need to sell it in the future. Nothing is certain in life so make sure your lands will be marketable if the need should arise.
If you are set on buying a piece of hunting property, today is as good a time as any to buy land in my opinion. Interest rates are still low, historically speaking. If you have the financial flexibility, now may be the best time to purchase real estate land for hunting. It is a good idea to work with a bank in the local area when you have found land to buy. These local bankers will have a good understanding of current land values and what has happened in the past. If the banks cost of land financing is out of reach for you, consider owner contract financing. Ask if the owner would be willing to finance you on a “contract for deed” with a sizable down payment. Many times there will also be a tax advantage for an owner to do this vs. cashing out in one lump sum. You may be able refinance what you owe after a set period of time, especially if you have done improvements. All these financing aspects need to be considered and run by your legal adviser, and documented. Also, a landowner/financier is likely to work with you if you experience some short term financial difficulty. Another option may the Federal Land Bank. The Federal Land Bank lends money to farmers, agricultural land purchases and timbered lands purchased in rural areas. There are some advantages to this financing. The Federal Land Bank will loan money in many cases for 30 years at great interest rates. It also acts like a co-operative. People who have a loan from them also have stock in it (so to speak). Money made, or income earned over and above its expenses, is paid back to the borrowers in the form of dividends or rebates. It’s like getting money back after paying it to them.
Before taking the time and effort to look for a hunting property it is a good idea to check out financing and get pre-approved if possible. You will know what you qualify for and this can be a negotiating tool when making offers on buying your deer hunting land. With a financing plan in hand, recreational real estate agents will know you are serious and have done your homework. Find a good recreational real estate agent who is also a deer hunter that has been referred to you that works and lives in the area you are looking to purchase hunting land. A local sporting goods/bait and tackle store is a great place to look when seeking referrals. Once you find a qualified real estate agent to your liking, take that real estate agent out to lunch and ask them to work for you. Let them do the negotiations for you. That is what their job is. You have hired them and they will earn their commissions from the seller. They will work for you, your interest, and should give you good advice. They will also be familiar with land values and the value of the local area especially pertaining to investment property.
Deer Hunting Land and Your Neighbors
There’s an old saying: “You can’t pick your neighbors.” This is so true. You need to know what your new hunting lands neighbors are thinking. What are your new neighbors hunting interests if any? Do they have the same or similar interests as you? Are you a staunch practitioner of QDM principles? If you are, wouldn’t it be nice to know beforehand if your new neighbors were too? What if they aren’t QDM enthusiasts? What if the local deer herd is decimating their crops and they want, and get, intensive harvest permits to shoot any deer they see? They won’t care that you want to harvest more does and let the 1 ½ year old bucks walk so they can mature for your trophy wall. To these neighbors; all deer are the problem. They may have every right to protect their crops and livelihood. What about posting land? You just bought, let’s say, 160 acres. You have 3 or 4 new neighbors on 3 sides. You want to keep it to yourself and your family and/or friends. Your neighbors don’t post their land and have always been able to hunt each other’s land. Here is another possible scenario. Your neighbor may be a farmer and has always (20 years or more) had permission to cross the piece of land you are considering purchasing, when doing any farming activities. He has always done this often and during prime deer hunting hours. He has an implied easement from the previous owner. Do you see how your problems can multiply? You really need to research the type of neighbors you will have. A good way to do this is just go knock on their doors and talk to them. Tell them who you are and that you are looking at purchasing the property next to theirs. Tell them you are an ethical hunter who respects people’s privacy and property. Ask them what their concerns would be if you did purchase the property you’re interested in, and then tell them your concerns. If you do buy a piece of property; try not to change too much to soon before you get to know your new neighbors. Place hunting stands or hunting blinds at least 50 yards from their boundary. If you are determined to post your new hunting land, talk to your neighbors first and tell them what your plans are and why. Also, place every other no trespassing/no hunting sign facing inward towards your own property. This tells your neighbors that you and your hunting partners will respect your neighbor’s property too. Exchange phone numbers and tell your new neighbor that you will also watch out and report any unethical hunters or poaching problems. Tell them they can cross onto your property to retrieve wounded game and that you will call them first if you need to do the same.
Hunting Land Property Boundaries
When purchasing recreational land, the property boundaries aren’t always what they seem to be or promised. Ask to have the acreage surveyed or have the seller produce a certified survey map at his expense. Even an honest real estate agent can make mistakes and overlook things. Sometimes the seller embellishes the size of their property, or assumes property lines are in places where they aren’t. Just a few feet difference over the long run can add up to several acres. It is wise to use a GPS and know where the county survey stake is located. Be aware that sometimes landowners will sell off 10 or 20 acres to a neighbor that borders their original property. At times; the new owner will grant lifetime hunting rights to this small piece of property. You need to employ a title insurance company to research all legal aspects of buying property. Leave nothing to chance or verbal guarantees.
Hunting Land Easements and Restrictions
Be aware of state and county road easements and restrictions. In our area it is 60 feet from the roads center-line. There may be other easements that transfer with the property you want to purchase. Mineral rights and farming access are two of the biggest and could be very troublesome. Either one of these can be permanent or leased with term limits. You need to know about these before you purchase and close on a piece of property. If a piece of farming/agricultural land is land locked by the piece of property that you want to buy, you can bet there is a ingress-regress easement for farming activity. You may have utility easements attached to your prospective property. If your future plans include building or placing buildings on the property make sure you can do that. Your county court house or real estate agent can answer any questions you may have on that subject. You will need your own real estate lawyer to go over any and all easements attached to the property. Again; leave nothing to chance or a verbal statement. Your purchase agreement should include these concerns.
I can’t cover all aspects of purchasing deer hunting property in a couple paragraphs; but I would certainly protect myself against a disappointing and very expensive land purchase mistake.