A land pro shares his tips for finding and purchasing prime hunting ground
You’re imagining it right now. A 50-acre tract of pristine hunting real estate. That shiny, newly printed deed sparkling when the light hits it just right. And a big buck up on the wall the first year of hunting on it.
But are you ready to pull the trigger on hunting land? Do you have all the knowledge you need?
Slade Priest is in the land buying business. More specifically, he’s a land pro with Realtree United Country. According to him, if you want the best farm for deer hunting, or you simply want the best deal possible, there are five things you need to know as you start shopping. And remember, you can always consult your local Realtree United Country land pro to aid you in the process
1. Know the Area
This is the first step in finding the right property. You can’t purchase the best ground around if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Proximity to something good can give even tiny tracts a lot of promise.
“Some of my best deer hunting has come on smaller tracts because of where they were located,” Priest said. “A 20-acre property with good habitat surrounded by 1,000 acres of land no one has permission to hunt has solid potential.”
Neighboring lands, hunting regulations, disease prevalence, predator populations and many other things need to be evaluated before signing on the dotted line.
2. Look at Adjacent Properties You Already Hunt
A lot of people already have hunting permission or leased land. If you want to increase your available acreage and get into the land-buying game, look for property up for sale adjacent to tracts you already hunt. That’s as much of a hunting tip as it is a land-buying one, and somewhat similar to the previous tip. But Priest says it’s important to remember when buying good land.
“Already have a lease or permission to hunt properties?” Priest asked. “Buy good land adjacent to them. Or, buy a few good acres next to some public land.”
This is not only a good investment but also increases your total huntable acreage. Don’t overlook this as a viable opportunity — especially if you’re hunting specific bucks that you know are spending time on neighboring properties. It just might be the ticket to killing that Booner you’ve been after for the last three seasons. Plus, if you do kill a Booner, that will skyrocket the resell value as a hunting tract.
3. Know the Locals
Knowing the local people is nearly as important as knowing the local terrain.
“If you know the locals, and that Farmer Joe’s grandson kills a 150-inch deer every year, you might need to look at property in that area when it comes up for sale,” Priest said. “You have to know the people, and not just the area, to do this, though. If you know local landowners, and they know what kind of person you are, you can likely get better deals than if they don’t know you at all. Stay in touch with them and let them know if you’re in the market to buy.”
As with many aspects of life, networking is important for land buying.
4. Watch the Ads
Knowing people and the area helps. But that isn’t always enough. Land advertisement outlets, even small local ones, are still frequently the best way to find the right property.
“It might be a market bulletin. It might be a farmer’s booklet. There are land sales ads at every gas station, co-op and feed store, especially in small towns,” Priest said. “These are great places to find undervalued properties. Facebook marketplaces are great, too. Newspapers are still viable. They aren’t great places for sellers to advertise, but they’re solid sources for buyers to find good deals. Check all sources available.”
That includes RealtreeUC.com. Use this resource. There are thousands of properties listed for sale.
5. Buy Land with Buddies
Purchasing hunting properties with pals can admittedly get messy. But according to Priest, there are more pros than cons.
“If you have buddies you like to hunt with, and they’re looking to buy hunting land, that increases your budget,” he said. “There are challenges to buying with partners. But sometimes, the benefits outweigh the potential problems.”
Keep these things in mind when buying land with others:
The similarity of your goals and management plans
Whether or not your budgets are synced
The stability of your short-term and long-term financial situations
If your personality types are compatible
How willing you all are to share hunting land
Whether potential partners have a history of trustworthiness
The relatability of your long-term property plans
Buying good hunting land requires playing the long game. Don’t do anything on a whim, and don’t take the buying decision lightly. But when you’re ready to shop, these tips will help you think through the process.