Contributors to this thread:
what to look for in land
haven't seen this topic on here regarding purchasing hunting land..., most are focused on what state, what price, drive time, trespassers, etc.. but let's say that piece is all figured out...
what kind of land features do u look for to make it a good deer hunting tract?
what type of land layout as in borders/arrangement? i see land that is long thin rectangles to squares to triangles..
bordering state land a good thing or bad?
ideally for me, i think i would want a farm type layout with some hardwoods as well.. a pond would be nice too..
what do you look for?
In the west - Water, water, water.
Then food and cover
Just depends on what you are looking for and how much money you have. In general I want something close to home or I plan to live on if I am happy with the type and size of animals in the area/state. Too hard to manage and too much of a hassle to travel and such. It'll get old. Secondly, I'd check out my neighbors. Whether it's no hunting, kill everything, managed properties etc. Next I'd look at access. Road access from multiple directions is really nice and almost a necessity for large game hunting IMO. You may have to put some in yourself. Then I'd check out income potential and how much I plan to invest in improvements. Then I'd double check the taxes and such before I lock something in to make sure I could afford it. Then I'd really research someone to watch over it and potentially help with plots and such, farming, etc if it's far away. That's a few ideas to consider to get ya going.
I like micro climate. Or alitte bit of every thing on one property. Food water bedding open ect
Personally, I'd be looking for oaks/hickories. I feel if you find the oaks you will find the deer when they're dropping. Also, here in Iowa, we're pretty flat. So I'd look for a parcel with a nice valley(s). I've had great luck with benches alongside a relatively steep hillside. It seems like the deer love to cruise those benches. If I could afford it, some tillable acres I could rent out would A) give me a little cash flow and B) give me access to some field edges to hunt. Depending on the soil, it's pretty inexpensive to clear a few trees and dig a pond but that's not a bad idea either. I cleared an access road and took some of the logs for firewood but pushed all the tops into various spots in one of my valleys. It seems to have helped create some cover and hold deer. Now if I get a good wind, I can sneak in on the other side of the valley and catch them moving out to eat.
Bordering public land is a big negative. Too many "lost" trespassers and fence sitters.
Long skinny pieces are a big negative. Again, the fence sitters will cause more disruption because they will be closer to the property core.
Income generation is a must. It's a whole lot easier to keep and improve a property if it is generating income. I like a setup where 2/3rds of the acres are generating crop income and the 1/3rd that a farmer would call waste is dedicated to wildlife habitat.
Bordering state land can be both phenomenal and a pain. Everything I hunt public around here,I see nice bucks just across the fence on private. Most income on small properties doesn't pay much.
Bordering public could be a good thing IMO...*IF* access to the public land bordering your property is a difficult hike from the nearest road. I would also want the neighboring properties to be pretty substantial in size. That's something I would prefer whether public land is part of the equation or not.
As far as layout, I prefer at least a few acres of tillable and some potential spots for 1/2 acre food plots. Timber needs to be mature enough for treestand hunting. Water and good bedding cover are a definite plus, but both can be added after the purchase in most good whitetail areas. Also, I prefer a rolling property with funnels and pinch points rather than relatively flat terrain.
In my area bordering national forest is great
-No public land border. As stated above, Thiers always issues with wanderers. -Not on a major road. It’s like having someone hunting your herd 24/7. The big ones seem to always end up on someone’s bumper. -Haveing multiple wind directions you can hunt from especially the predominant wind in your area. -Lastly and most important thier needs to be areas that can be left free of any human intrusion and never bothered
Good access is a big plus. My brother has about 130 acres with access on 3 sides with the poor access on the west side so east winds can be a little bit of a challenge. Major crop fields on or off the property. My brother's property has very big fields near at least two sides that require the deer to travel a short distance in the open to get to them. Major nighttime feeding with almost no daylight feeding. With bedding and a sanctuary on the property and food plots near the edges with great stand locations and access to the stands it can be ideal. Oak tree are a big plus. A bunch of small parcels on the property line can be a big negative.
For me, I like bordering public. We don't own much land, but I can still hike for hours and find new things.
Hh76 I had a remote piece bordering federal land in Colorado. It was nice to have that remote, only access. And it was nice to take a walk from.
But it was occasionally a pain from others having close access to my private. So it’s an even trade off I guess. My only real issue was from 2, 4 wheel vehicles. Not people walking or hunting
If you are talking about ground for whitetail hunting, Bill Winke has some pretty decent YouTube clips/series on this. He chronicles what he's done over the years and also teamed up with a land agent( High Point, I think ) for some videos as well. Seems to be pretty good information to me.
My lease is across the road from a meat processor/slaughterhouse. I doubt you would put that on your list to look for but it's very handy.
Bandicooter thats a very good point. I self process but proximity to support industry is a very good consideration. Repair shops, hardware stores, fuel stations, hunting equipment stores, etc depending on your use patterns and goals.
In short, for the land itself, variety. I looked for hardwood ridges and brushy areas; elevation change, but not too steep. 25% to 40% ag, ideally not just a square field on a border. A creek or river either on the property or close was on my checklist. Accessible for multiple wind direction huntability. Limited or no view from the road.
Otherwise, close to home. The fewer neighbors the better, but also neighbors that aren't brown and down. Next to public and you better have researched to know if you are going to have a problem.
I would not purchase a hunting swamp as that is all it ever be. Focus on land with something of value, timber, tillable acreage, etc. Improvements over time may increase value.
Access and distance from home are my 2 biggest. There are a couple really good podcast The Land Podcast and The American land Man podcast
Close to home
Among deer’s top needs of security, food, etc what is scarcest in the general area? I’d look to have what is scarce or a piece that is easily adapted to have what is scarce.
Good access for multiple wind directions.
Huntability. Some pieces lend themselves to only a few good stands. Others of same acreage can have double or triple the potential stand locations due to variability on the piece.
Value. Both in terms of price and appreciation or development potential. Is there a “high cost per acre” area that is close to a major city where you can find the above a few miles into the “cheaper area?” Cities grow, populations move out. In 10-15 years what was cheap will now be in the high cost area should you wish to sell. In short, something that will appreciate in value quicker than the average. Can be multiple factors that contribute to this not just population sprawl.
I find if you look at multiple properties online every week, and do it for a year or multiple years when you see that “special one” they stick out like a sore thumb.