While you may have been hunting for years on a friend’s property or public acreage, there is nothing quite like having your own hunting land to do with what you want and when you please. You can set your own guidelines for how many people are on your property at a time or only use it yourself. You set the rules.
Before you begin your search for hunting property for sale, there are several things beginners need to know to ensure you find just the right property at an affordable price.
Determine your budget
Decide how much you are willing and able to spend and be realistic about that figure. Think about not just your income but all your expenses and make sure that buying this property will not cause financial hardship.
Will you be writing a check or getting a loan? The process is quite simple if you will be paying cash outright. However, if you plan to finance the purchase, start shopping lenders as soon as you can. Most traditional banks do not finance recreational property or vacant land so locating a lender who does may be a bit of a challenge.
Loan terms for these properties vary as much as the lending institutions themselves. Your credit history and the actual property you choose play a large part in interest rates and loan terms.
No matter which option you select, you will have to front a down payment. This is typically 20 percent of the purchase price, but it can be as much as 50 percent, which can be a steep amount to pay all at once. Will you use some of your savings or acquire the money in some other way? Planning can save you unwanted grief in the future.
Find a realtor who specializes in recreational property
Buying land is different from buying a house or condo. There are other factors to consider. Unless you have a specific property in mind, it is better to find a real estate agent with experience in this type of deal so they can offer their wisdom regarding the entire process.
Set some restrictions about the location of the hunting land. You want it out of the city but within a reasonable driving distance from your home. Travel time should factor into what you are willing to pay for the land. It’s always a better idea to spend more time hunting than journeying to and from the area.
Setting a travel time of three hours or less is ideal. You can leave in the wee hours of the morning, arrive at about daybreak for a long day of hunting and travel home before the day is over. This is particularly appropriate if there is nowhere to stay on the land. You might also consider the proximity to lodging like hotels and motels for those times when you may want to stay overnight.
Type of hunting land
Terrain is important, particularly if you plan to build a cabin or will bring a camper to set on the property. You need at least one dry, level area to place it and accessibility to this spot should not be complicated. Finding a good location near the road will be less likely to intimidate wildlife as you enter and exit the area. Take note of trees that will accommodate tree stands and open expanses where deer will feed.
Observe the adjacent properties to ones you are considering. Introduce yourself to their owners and ask some questions. People are generally happy to offer information that will be helpful to you. Learn about their hunting behaviors, if they practice effective deer management practices, if they permit rifle and/or bow hunting, etc. Inquire if there is public hunting land nearby. It’s wise to forge a positive relationship with neighbors and ensure you have similar thoughts about hunting habits and property management.
While deer hunting may be your primary reason to purchase hunting property for sale, there may be an abundance of ducks, turkeys, and other wild game that could also provide excellent hunting opportunities. Also, you may want to investigate other outdoor activities you enjoy and how they can be factored into your buying decision. A lake or pond offers an excellent opportunity for fishing when it’s not deer season. Camping and birding are also fun pastimes that you can take part in at any time of year and can involve the entire family.
Are deer on the property?
It is important to know if deer only pass through the property or if they reside there. Check for scat and buck scrapes, as well as deer trails. Getting permission to set up some trail cameras before you buy the property will give you a better idea of what you can expect before you make a final buying decision.
Is there water nearby?
It is ideal if there is a convenient water feature on the property but not a complete necessity. If there is water on neighboring land, that is usually enough for hunting purposes. Streams or ponds are welcome benefits, though, as there will be no need to put in a water source. If there is no water available, consider the cost of adding a pond or well into the purchase price.
Consider food sources for local wildlife
Deer obviously require food and water to survive. Look over the trees on the property. Whitetail deer prefer woody plants that are evident all year, leafy vines, brushy vegetation and trees that have overhanging branches. Most deer eat this type of plant life.
Are there fruit trees and bushes? These include nuts like hickory, pecans, and acorns, as well as berries and other fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, apples and persimmons. Deer also enjoy eating weeds and non-woody flowering plants and grassy vegetation. Based on this availability you can determine how many food plots you want to add and where would be the best places to put them.
Shelter for deer and other prey
In this case, shelter means refuge for the deer, not for you. During the day, deer need cover for protection so they can rest without fear. Areas that have tall grass, swamps, pine trees or thick brush are just right. Of course, you can always hinge cut a small group of trees, leaving stumps about four feet high, to provide areas where the deer can feel safe during the daylight hours.
Buying your own hunting land can be very rewarding and a wise investment for you and your family. With a little advanced research and planning, you can be confident you are getting the property you want and will use for a lifetime of memories.