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Buying Land - what's more important?
Interested in what guys have to say who have bought land. I've been looking as it's always the dream. $ wise I'm hoping to be in the market for anywhere from 40-160 acres. So not a giant amount of land. Obviously the ideal situation is where you have a good amount of bedding / cover and then some feed, but what about when you can't have it all? What is most important when you are looking, or if you had to buy again what you make sure you had for sure?
Look at adjacent properties, and IMO make sure you have some of what they do not, especially if that something is cover. If I had it to do over, and I will when we retire and move, I am going to make sure to have bottom ground with a creek or drainage that has some water even when it is very dry. You will pay more, but with the unusually dry periods much of the country is at least intermittently experiencing, this would prove beneficial IMO.
Good luck on your search! Buying land is always a dream and we always want more of it! Some things to consider----
Neighbors-what are they shooting? What's the history of deer for land? The less neighbors the better (bigger parcels) Pines to harvest? (money in your pocket) Any easements? ( sucks when neighbors drive through your property)
I'd say the most important thing for land is bedding areas and food. Those deer feel safe in thick nasty areas. Hopefully some ag land nearby to give them options. I also like rolling land and hopefully some oaks as well. Water not a big deal cause you can put in water holes. Can always make things better by hinge cutting, planting pines or spruces to make bedding areas.
Good neighbors! I would hate to have a poacher neighbor or be surrounded by an outfitter that was only interested in volume of clients.
Cover can be grown but it will be very slow.
Food can be grown quickly, but without cover might only get nocturnal use.
Understand your tax laws also. Taking land out of production and being labeled "recreational" can be very costly in some places...
Good luck. Be patient. Do your research. Understand your goals and how to achieve them. And have a blast with your new place once you've found it.
My Top 5 land priorities: Neighbors, neighbors, neighbors, neighbors, thick undisturbed cover.
In the size you are considering, good neighbors can help make marginal property good, bad neighbors can make owning even excellent habitat a constant headache.
Interesting observations. I had to look at who was where with some of the comments. It has clarified some things for me. Some things to think about. In Kansas, I would want water, creekbottom stuff. Not so much here in western PA, creeks are everywhere. If I'm looking in deep woods, look for some clearings. So depending on where you are at, find the scarcest commodity deer need and start there. Next I'm looking at price. The more land I can get the less the neighbors matter. Neighbors, you can't control and you also can't control when they decide to sell and who they sell to. It's still a concern to me, but there just isn't a whole lot of control over it. I'm not going to turn and sell my land that I have blood sweat and tears in just because a jack@$$ moves in next door.
Neighbors and ease of access... Often times they go together. Obviously its going to have to meet your basic requirements for the other items as well, timber, cover, food etc.
Thanks, I've been looking in fairly earnest for roughly a year, and always "had my eye open" before that but didn't have the funds. We're in Manitoba, flat flat prairie. I'm going to look at a piece tomorrow. 2-80 acre pieces total 160 acres. Southern edge is not a road but a road allowance. I'll post a second pic that shows it is part of a long string of good timber that comes from the north which is what I like. Decent ag around. The piece for sale is essentially all mixed timber with clearings. Apparently it has a natural spring, balsam, evergreens, white and black spruce, birch, white and black poplar, Oak, tamarack, maple and ash. Either that or the guy listing the property just wanted to list all the tree types he could think of lol. Very quiet area, not many neighbours. Current owner asked to know when I'd go as he'd want to text the neighbours as they kind of keep an eye out. Not sure if that's a good or bad sign. The optimist in me says good.
Here's a close-up of the quarter.
EDIT: This property is a 30 minute drive from home. While closer would be nicer, I don't see myself finding a decent chunk of land any closer as closer to the city always costs more money.
I would look for cover in a farming setting. Hunt animals which may be leaving for the food, and hunt them coming back. You can then improve your interior cover for bedding and add any strategic "staging type" food plots within your confines near the boundaries.
I'd look at cover/terrain first...
Obviously, the proximity of the hunting ground to where you are is often overlooked. It is worth A LOT to me having a place close by to not only hunt when I want, but to utilize year 'round through shed hunting, scouting, cutting trees, planting trees, foodplots, etc. A deer a year doesn't make any land worth it if you cannot enjoy it when you have free time IMO.
What are the rules and regs in Manitoba regarding shooting deer/bucks? The state/province can trump the neighbors' hunting practices somewhat. The land I hunt in MN is very good and the genetics are just as good as the land I hunt in ND. However, the MN DNR, in their infinite wisdom (sarcasm), allows rifle hunters to shoot the hell out of every buck in the county and they very rarely see more than 2.5 years old here. In ND it's a different deal entirely and the bucks are allowed to get older and therefore, bigger.
Something to think about regarding neighbors and how much impact they can have. If there are poaching problems in the area that may trump everything I typed above...
My brother and I bought up around 600 acres in the 80's. Others thought we were nuts! Our Dad told us if we didn't buy land we would have no where to hunt some day. How true. We now have around 750 acres. We bought up land adjoining the large chunk. We have very jealous people, neighbors, etc. Everyone around us tries to figure out why we shoot so many large bucks. The one difference with our land that around us we later discovered and figured out. our land has around 1 1/2 miles of creek bottom. It is the one thing we have and kept thick that others do not. Cannot beat water and cover. Food we take care of now with food plots, fields, soft mast, and hard mast.
Scoot, right now our tag situation in MB is bucks only, 1 tag. In some archery only areas, it is 1 buck plus up to 2 antlerless. This area is a general area so it would have an archery, muzzleloader and rifle season but be limited to one buck only the past few years.
Yep, interview your neighbors. In Manitoba you can own the deer with a good food plot and the land is cheap!
Your neighbors can be good or bad at any time cause they can change at any time. When it comes down to it they are one of the things you cant control. It has been said that you can pick a lock and you can pick your nose but you cant pick your neighbors.
Paul bedding cover, food etc. is important. But not nearly as important as location. I would rather have 30 acres of thicket between crop fields than 100 acres on the edge of a pasture. In other words, let someone else feed them. What you want is a travel corridor. The two farms I hunt most are just that. Not a scrap of agricultural crop on either. One, just 18-acres total, has 12 acres of long mixed hardwood/thicket that is the only way to get from a big corn or bean field on the other side of the road to their bedding area. It produces well, year after year.
As others have said, neighbors should be your number one consideration. Check them out as thoroughly as possible.
WRT land layout....if you have hills and snow, southerly facing hills seem to hold deer when it's cold. The place I was hunting this year had a southerly facing hill and the deer would bed on it in the snow and cold.
I have one question. Just exactly how do "check your neighbors out" ? They're not exactly gonna be wearing a sign that says "I'm a poacher" or "I shoot every 3.5 yr old buck I see".
If you have an opportunity to buy thickly forested land, that's what I'd do. You can knock trees down, but it hard to stand them up. A creek bottom is good for plots, not so much for a consistent wind. You would look in vain for ag where I live, it simply doesn't exist as cropland.
So what you're asking has a lot of variables depending on location.
Here in MA where the deer population sucks I look for land that is surrounded by unhuntable land such as wildlife sanctuaries or Audoban Society or even town or state posted land. This way you have no neighbors killing deer and obviously more deer. Another factor is busy roads. You don’t want your deer getting killed by cars. Your area looks a little different then what I described though.
I understand the concern about neighbors but like family, one can't always choose your neighbors and they change. Find a good piece of land you like. Buy it and fix it. We do not have one neighbor that is the same since we bought it. When we bought it we had all bad neighbors around us. Poaching, trespassing, vandalism, no issues after enough reports, citations, arrests. We get along with all but one neighbor now. Working at buying him out though so that will solve that issue.
I would go to Trulia and Zillow and shop land. Look at pic of homes if there are any. Lots of huge bucks hanging on the walls are a pretty decent sign. I look for ponds, creeks, springs, travel lanes, good mix of woods and a few meadows plus its always nice to be backed up with huge wooded areas with little or no access.
God bless, Steve
Lots of good points above, but you can also have paralysis by analysis if you try to find that “perfect” piece that has everything. That place may not exist. Too many variables both now and in the future.
If your main question is what’s more important, cover or food, I would have to agree with what drycreek stated. It’s a lot easier/quicker to to clear a plot and grow food than to establish good cover. Good luck on your endeavor, Adam! Nothing like owning your own dirt!
As usual, the first post nails it! review the first reply, NEIGHBORS are the key
Here in MN people try to sell small plots of land by saying that it borders miles of public land, to me that's a red flag. I would prefer land that is surrounded by private land but keep in mind that private land can get the hell hunted out of it too. If you check with the neighbors find out how many hunt there and how many deer they kill each year. Do they hunt with a bow or gun? Some may follow QDMA, some may follow if it "brown it's down". The wrong neighbors will know when your gone and your place will be the first place they will invade.
Listen to t-roy. The perfect parcel does not exist especially if you worry about every neighbor, which is a changing equation as landownership and their objectives change.
Hunting and landownership can be fun if you simply try hard to improve what you have, and focus on getting your tag on the best deer available on your property. You only get so many tags, IMO no need spending hard earned money trying to develop a deer farm. If you are looking for record book animals there are cheaper ways to get them. Cover and habitat are the most important, food is easy to establish in one short summer.
Reason I am looking for land is enjoyment. I hunt for enjoyment. What a blessed life we have where we have the ability to spend blocks of time just to do things we love to do. Like others, I've just found so many hassles with crown, tons of people hunting the same private and all the issues that go along with it. Don't get me wrong, I still count myself blessed, but I could say the enjoyment factor go way up with owning a piece of ground, having that control, and doing some improvements.
From my hunting experience and what I continue to look for.... WATER. Seems like this ingredient matters more than most think. In my area in iowa anyway, if the creek running through our properties is dry, we see far fewer deer than when its flowing. Another thing to look at. And this is from experience in our little area. Wintering grounds. Check to see where the deer are yarding up and why. If you own piece of land or one adjoining it, you are always going to be in good shape. We own a chunk of land a mile from where the deer yard each year. His land continues to hold the biggest bucks every year and we continue to get satellite bucks. We have the same number of acres, same amount of food. They just like it there in the winter better, and those big bucks just stay there. Ease of access is another thing to look at. How far are you willing to travel as well. I am so lucky to only have to drive 5 miles. I can hunt every day afterwork and be home in minutes. Also the closer you are to home the less you have to worry about other people. Honestly look for a property that you can retire and build a house on. You will enjoy it that much more! As far as neighbors, I would not be concerned. It doesnt matter how many acres you own, you will always have neighbors....
IMO....not sure I would want QDMA neighbors. Don't want to deal with buck shaming or "you shot my buck" pissing contests...especially if one of the kids got it.
The water thing has popped up more than a couple of times... Don't forget about fishing and swimming! Our ponds and creeks have been a pure joy to own. We fish and swim constantly in them and even played a game of hockey not too long ago. Water adds a completely different element besides deer hunting.
What does land bring per acre/hectare in Manitoba?
My neighbors do QDMA and I'm glad they do. I don't.
One arrow that’s so variable. Manitoba is nearly as big a third of the continental US LOL. But even within a couple hours of Winnipeg pure bush could go for $500-$2000 an acre on large parcels. Pretty much any piece of land a half acre or larger starts at $40,000 and if it’s close to the city everything is minimum $80,000.
I know a guy in Manitoba that bought 160 acres for only $50k. The locals were road hunting and pushing it out though and his house is only 3 mikes away.
I bought my land because, with the feds buying up everything and paying 5 times its appraised value, it is a tremendous investment. They paid my neighbor $495,000 for his 40 acre swamp that is now totally submerged with this storm. I intend to keep my land and my kids will have a nice inheritance. So far the timberlands are privately owned but I would not be surprised to see all of Northern New England gone within 30 years according to their plan. They are cutting like crazy which precedes a sale. The feds are starting to post no trespassing which will take out hunting. Your taxes at work. Thankfully, the 25,000 acre piece I hunt is a Grant given to Dartmouth College by NH. If they try to take that, politics will prevent it, I hope.
Thornton if I had to guess that piece would be either in Western MB, or Northern MB. Different areas seem to different "accepted things between locals." I'm not interested in that type of agreement. Fences and signs can help too.
I agree...about impossible to interview neighbors before buying land and how they hunt or what they shoot. Even if you do they could sell or lease it down the road, then what? Every ground will have neighbors and it will be a fluid component. Public land close by is a deal killer for me. The best ground will be next to the ole lady that does not allow hunting...ever or ground that does not allow rifle hunting ie... urban, NWR, government block, etc...
It's not real hard to check into people this day and age. Everything is online. You can infer if a tract will stay in a family or not by it's past transactions. It's not hard to check into people. You just have to do the work. Bad neighbors can make the best land less than mediocre.
Ochre River area. They were very brazen and waited up the road for the landowner to leave then walked the farm
All good info above. I bought my land to eventually build a retirement home on. One thing that I looked at before buying property is how close a hospital/doctor is to the property. Also basic needs (grocery,gas, etc...). As I’ve seen my parents and others age, this becomes more of an issue.
Obviously you want as many acres as you can afford and price per acre can vary widely. "Tillable" acreage usually drives up the cost substantially but can also bring in some cash if you lease-out the tillable for farming. I might rather own more acreage that's less suitable for farming at a cheaper price. Something else to consider are mineral rights. Since the Marcellus gas boom in our neck of the woods, land that includes the rights got very expensive. But I know of landowners that recouped almost their entire initial cost per acre just by the money from the gas lease signing bonus. And they haven't even drilled yet.
One thought on neighbors...I'd rather own hunting property that's next to the property of non hunters, never-hunters, even anti hunters, before I'd want to own next to a hoard of highly active and non-selective hunters. Every property near me is owned by people that over-hunt and kill anything that's brown. Even people with just a couple acres are hunting in their back yard or from their porch or kitchen window. I don't know how bucks survive around here.
Ya, Ochre River is up north. North of the Ducks. Different stuff happens out there. Frustrating no doubt.
Be careful of misinformation, QDMA does not endorse or condone, "buck shaming or "you shot my buck" pissing contests".
Having neighbors that practice QDMA would be a huge benefit. You will benefit greatly from their commitment to better deer, better deer/wildlife habitat and better deer hunting. You will benefit from their dedication and hard work even if you don't practice QDMA, as stated above. BC
QDMA helped create a radical chapter president here in KS. The wardens and sheriff have stopped responding to his calls to dispatch for "poachers" because he called them too many times. Guy thinks he owns every deer in the country
1st thing I look at is the annual tax burden. Then is there any income streams on the property, ie., timber, gas/oil , crp , crop land, revenue, etc.. Just remember property and school taxes seldom decrease. If you are super wealthy, then you may not be affected.
Good luck Adam. I own some property in Wisconsin where I am an absentee landowner. I have good neighbors who are interested in deer management (or at least they say they are.) If I could do one thing over I probably would have contacted them first before purchasing my property. However, that being said I am not sure how valid I could count on that info. They are great people, they are from the same place I grew up. But every time I talk to them I get the feeling they are trying to manipulate me in some way. Be it where I hunt, to where I put a road to where when I am there on my property. That being said the area is known for producing great deer no matter. So focus on where you know a property can produce what you are looking for. Try to find out what he neighbors hunting situation is. If you can't it could still be good. But realize problems/opportunities between neighbors will be there no matter what. Example, I have 172 aces in Wisconsin (neighbors have properties 60-160 acres) and I am on a 5,000 acre lease in Texas, where the neighbors are 20,000 acres. I see a lot of the same issues in both places. Good luck!
i am 31 years old, I bought my first piece at age 19, my 2nd piece at age 21 and my 3rd piece at age 26. I am now actively looking for another. The first thing I like to check is that it is in an area that is know for producing big bucks, I like to check who the neighbors are and how they manage their property. a big thing for me is to try to get land that has at least some tillable that can be rented out to a farmer to help pay the taxes!! that is a huge advantage that people over look a lot of times. good luck to you, there is nothing better than killing a deer on a piece of land you paid for yourself!
"QDMA helped create a radical chapter president here in KS." Not true, QDMA has never/will never do anything of the such. I don't know of the situation you are talking about, but I can assure you QDMA had nothing to do with it.
Sorry this is off topic but false accusations such as this have to be responded to. BC