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Buying land...KY or OH?
At a place in life where dreams could become reality. Wanting to buy 40-80 acres of mostly timber in either southern Ohio or somewhere in Kentucky for deer/turkey hunting (and investment) with a budget of $150,000. Ohio has some great properties in Lawrence and Scioto counties (have already walked a few) and lot's of Wayne Nat. forest as well to expand my hunting area. Kentucky is appealing (specifically western) and has more ag land...it certainly has been getting the hype lately. Am I missing other parts of Ky? Why wouldn't the deer hunting just on the KY side of the Ohio river be just as good as the Ohio side? Lewis, Greenup, Boyd, and Lawrence counties are all zone 2 counties and border Ohio across from the areas I'm looking at buying...anybody have any feedback on those counties or others in the state I should focus on? Cost per acre is less in KY. Have hunted Illinois the last 20yrs with multiple chances at P&Y every year so I'm truly only interested in areas with 140"+ potential...just stating where I'm coming from to help frame some answers perhaps. Thanks in advance! Matt
I lived in Pike County Ohio for several years when I worked up there.
Both states have good and bad features economically and from a hunting point of view. That part of Ohio has a severe Meth problem, and a high poverty level. The Wayne is deceptive in that it doesn't have large chunks of adjoining acreage. There is private property scattered all through it. The Shawnee is good, and in my opinion better than the Wayne. Tar Hollow is also good. Depending on where you settle it might be a hike to get to some of the "city" attractions. Chillicothe is ok, but not great. I never cared for Portsmouth or Ironton. Columbus is a nice town As for the Kentucky side, economically it is or was worse. I was never a fan of the Ashland, Kentucky area.
Personally my experience is if you are looking for a place that offers above average opportunities for 140 and above deer, that ain't the place.
Are you looking to move to the area, or just going to commute to it when you’re able to?
Look at Ohio seasons and KY seasons and you will see why ky is not like Ohio even in places where they are only separated by a mile or so.
fdp - Great info and Ironton to Portsmouth and back over towards Waterloo was the area I have been looking.
t-roy - Not looking to move as this will be just a recreational land purchase...longer term plans is to build some sort of small cabin.
Bou'bound - Ky rifle seasons during the rut certainly doesn't bode well for older age/bigger bucks but it still seems to produce somehow. Just not sure how other counties than the ones in the far western side hold up to quality/quantity.
Great feedback so far, thanks!
Those counties in Kentucky get hammered by rifle hunters and archery hunters. Another issue will be if you aren't there all the time your property will be hunted regardless of how many no trespassing signs you put up. I would look at smaller plots in Ohio or even Indiana along the Ohio River. Rising Sun, Lawrenceburg areas in Indiana. One of the biggest bucks I've ever seen was just outside Batavia, Ohio. A friend killed one in his backyard that was over 180 just outside Batavia on a 5 acre piece.
I looked at land in both Scioto And Lawrence counties. Way better prices down there than where I bought.
But…as someone mentioned, seriously depressed area and zero chance I was going to have any chance of keeping trespassers out of my ground. And with all the meth and addiction rates no way I was gonna be able to keep anything of value at a house or cabin.
Also, I would never buy land adjoining public ground, ever. You need at least 2-3 properties of buffer.
To be honest, your budge is pretty low for good ground in Ohio. You can get 2x the land in Kentucky generally for the same price.
I hunt Southern Ohio every year and love it, with that said it is Meth heaven cause it’s so back woods. It really is sad how beautiful the land is and how ugly the humans are. Guy I hunt with down there says everyone speaks Methanise.
I have no opinion on the options you mention.
There are others though.
Incredibly sad to hear how drugs are so rampant is these areas.
Not to highjack your post, but depending on your intent, commute or live near, there should be better options.
Best of luck and I hope you get to fulfill your dream. It certainly is a good feeling.
The counties you mention in KY don’t get hammered in archery season. Quite the opposite. You will see a lot of activity on public land early and then before rifle comes in. Rifle season gets busy but compared to 20 years ago there is less pressure overall. The only issue with getting 40 acres in those counties is that it won’t hunt anything like 40 acres in the Midwest. It will hunt much smaller because of the steep terrain making some portions of your property relatively unhuntable due to wind.
More like 6c. Pat lol. Funny you bring up being 2-3 properties away from public as both pieces I've looked at have public on at least one border. I did walk the border of one piece and a good bit of the public that adjoined it extensively and didn't see any signs of stands, foot traffic, or tree's that had been climbed. It was mid Oct however.
Drugs/meth have been a common theme sadly and it is certainly a shame.
Lived in south central Ohio for more than a decade. Vast majority of the "cheap" land in Lawrence, Pike or Scioto counties comes at a cost. As has already been mentioned, areas that are in deep poverty, meth, bad neighbors, dueling banjos country. On top of that, most of the cheap land is growing-up cutover. Deer, yes, and some big ones, but not the easiest hunting. Not as familiar with conditions and prices further east, but I know they kill some absolute studs in Washington, Morgan and Noble counties. Pretty rough country much of that area, but some big deer. Further east you get in Ohio, more likely you are to run into land where the surface rights are for sale but minerals are not, as that area gets closer to the Marcellus Shale.
Far as Kentucky goes, I think generally staying in the western half you're going to have better hunting for good bucks. East half of Kentucky in a lot of places is going to take the downsides of southern Ohio and about triple them. Land is cheap, but there's a reason. My gut is overall you're going to get more bang for your buck in the western half of Kentucky than southern Ohio, rifle season in Kentucky notwithstanding.
I live in southern Iowa now and would certainly recommend here before anywhere in Ohio or Kentucky, though you'd find it hard to find good land here in the price range you mentioned. I'd suggest Kansas as a place to look that has reasonably priced land for sale, with a higher upside on buck quality and not as many of the downsides of southern Ohio or eastern Kentucky.
Alot would depend on taxes also..
Western KY is great but expect land prices to be in line with midwest states. Western KY is much more like Illinois or Iowa than it is Eastern KY.
I’d consider committing distance from home.
Just a quick update...after looking at a few more properties, closed on a 50 acre piece in western Kentucky yesterday. It checked all the boxes and I couldn't be more excited!
Congratulations! I'm sure you'll be happy with it. Post a few pics of it when you can, and then next season a trophy pic.
Just curious which county in western ky.
Congrats on your purchase, Whitty, and thank you for keeping us updated, as well. Oftentimes, someone will post a thread looking for advice or questions about something, and they’re never to be heard from again.
Post up a photo. If you got a quality 50 with at least income potential in western KY for $150k or less you might've done pretty well.
Western KY is awesome country. Congratulations!
Congratulations! Hope it is everything you want it to be. Appreciate the update.
Good grief guys. Meth is a problem everywhere, not resigned to "poverty" stricken rural areas. I can go to any affluent metropolitan neighborhood toss a rock and be within distance of a house that is either cooking, selling, or using meth. That said, using your $150k budget, have you given any thought to a smaller parcel in a better area? I guess my point is half the acreage in a really good area will hunt much better than twice the acreage in a lesser quality area...and I'm referring to the deer, not the people that live there.
Oops, looks like I'm late to the party as usual! Congrats on the land purchase! I hope it's everything you dreamed it would be.
I hear banjos, paddle faster...8^)))
Congrats on your land purchase...
Nice! Some great public land deer hunting in Western KY in the paducah area as well. You should be good on your purchase!
Thanks everyone...on the southeast Muhlenberg/Butler county line and all woods but crop fields W and S. Cleared a .15 acre foodplot area to start and put up two gates on the access roads. Some of the keys I was looking for were good access (all from east) with utilities available (has both power and water at road), water feature of some sort (two creeks), and varied habitat. The way the land lays it seems way bigger and will hunt large for it's size. Cleared .25 acres at the road for a cabin of some sort in the future. The list of projects to prioritize is getting quite large and a bit overwhelming but exciting at the same time!
Congrats. That should be a good area
You buy land in west KY thats wooded you can do ok. KY just change some of it tax laws. If your older you can do purty well if you move on it. Ly Ml and rifle season is short but its a one buck state. So, even if hets hits hard many bucks can get some age on them. Its a bait state however. Bh
Your dream of owning hunting land sounds exciting! Both Kentucky and Ohio have their attractions for deer and turkey hunting. Kentucky's western region is indeed gaining attention, and you're right; the cost per acre can be lower there. When considering Kentucky, don't overlook areas like Lewis, Greenup, Boyd, and Lawrence counties. They can offer good hunting opportunities, but it's essential to research specific properties and their hunting potential. For more insights and perhaps a different perspective, you might want to explore www.acresdubai.com
. While it focuses on Dubai, it can still provide valuable tips on buying land, evaluating its potential, and making the right investment.
I would NOT want land next to any public land. I would want land surrounded by land where there is no hunting or good management (let young bucks walk). If I could get 100 acres or more you could create a 10 - 25 acre sanctuary where you never, EVER go. Mature bucks will flock from hunted land to there.
Even 20 acres surrounded by non hunted land is way better then 250 next to the Wayne.
I buy land with a dual purpose such as farming, logging, significant appreciation, etc. No deer is worth the investment to me. Deer are a dime a dozen these days.
Congrats,solid and fun investment.
Pat why the buffer off public land? Trespassers or QDM? Both?
Definitely both! But especially QDM. I have a friend in SC that owns 89 acres next to 500 of public. He stresses all season every time he hears a shot over on public. And he drives the road on the public side daily watching for trespassers. Just not worth it in most states.
Wow that sounds miserable. My place is 300 yards from National Forest but I don't do QDM so the occasional distant gunshot doesn't bother me. My main problem is free roaming neighborhood dogs.
Congrats Whitty! Sounds awesome!
Public ground is very under utilized here. Most hunting is done on farms and large privately owned timber tracts. A lot of the National Forest boundaries are locked by private so access is by gated Forest roads that are opened for hunting seasons and run well inside the Forest. A lot of the designated wilderness areas are closed to motorized vehicles even in season. Public land hunters drive the Forest roads and park and "jump off" to spots within a mile or less of the road. A few guys still bring campers in for deer season but not like it was 20 to 30 years ago. To cross the Forest boundary they have to walk miles in many cases.
What KHCN says.
For QDM, 5 miles away isn’t enough for me. I don’t want to be anywhere near public if you’re passing up immature bucks or looking to shoot 5+.
When you plant food plots and carefully create sanctuaries the word will get out and they will be camped on your border.
It happens on private too but you are dealing with a small number of people.
If you’re just interested in killing any deer then bordering public can be beneficial.
I get you Pat, I managed a place like that for 14 years
Pat is 100% spot on. I know from experience….
He definitely has believable logic and valid points based on his area(s) . As I stated the dynamics in my area are the exact opposite.
No updates for a year Whitty? Two seasons have come and gone. Wondering how being a land owner has worked out for you? Still happy, any problems come up that would enlighten some of us?
Hi all! Yes, an update is due as it has been exactly a year since closing...short version is absolutely no regrets! Where to start..most all of the above is great advice when thinking of purchasing land and I can't stress due diligence enough when researching a property. ALL land enhancements no matter the scale are the easiest thing to change on a property, the hardest being the neighbors. Being in the right neighborhood is the number one thing in my mind. After walking the property we ultimately purchased and prior to making an offer, I called the local game warden to ask about the area, spoke to the local sheriff, heck, even looked online at the sex offender website to see "what" was around.
Our particular property has only 2 landowners that border us and our 50 acres is the smallest parcel in a very large area. The folks up and down our road and boarder couldn't be nicer and all have a like minded approach to big deer. I have a phone full of trail cam pics from the neighbors that we all share which is pretty cool.
Since closing, we have added 2 access gates, created 2 food plots (didn't fair very well the 1st yr), and have a pretty good idea on the way deer use the property. My daughter (14 at the time) got her first deer making a great shot on a big doe and that was the only deer shot on our place this year. Passed on a ton of bucks myself with the largest pushing 140" and I have no doubts the quality is there based on first hand sightings and trail cam pics. Season is closed and a lot of bucks still on camera which it great to see.
Improvements have also included getting county water hooked up to a frost free hose bib. I built an outdoor shower that we hook up via hose pipe and use an instant on camping propane water heater...works amazingly well for hot showers! Started building a place to stay as well...30x40 that is under roof and house wrapped but nothing finished inside, hoping to ramp up construction again very soon when the temps get better. Doing it all with my dad so even though we started last July, we only have about 20 work days in it so far. Having a covered and protected place for a big tent with a hot shower available was mighty nice for hunting season.
All in all, just hard to believe I'm this lucky in life...having a supportive wife made it possible and from there, a lot of hard (but rewarding) work.
Thank you for the update. I am glad to hear things are going good and sounds like you have no regrets! Good luck in the future.
Thanks for the update, Whitty. Sounds like you found a good spot. One suggestion I would give is, to shut your rural water line off before the meter each time you leave for any length of time. Had a buddy who owns a remote property with a rural water hookup to an old trailer house. He developed a leak on his line, downstream of the meter, that ran for over a month before he discovered it. His water bill for that quarter was a ways north of a thousand bucks.
Tha t s great whitty, land is always a great place to put money IMO