How to Buy Duck Hunting Property

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A Realtree United Country land pro guides you through the process

Owning waterfowl property lets friends and family come together in the outdoors. Photo © Nick Costas

Chilled and sleep-deprived, you’ve huddled in your skiff since 3 a.m., confident your extra efforts have netted you the best spot in the marsh. But as dawn breaks, you watch helplessly as a boat motors 50 yards downwind and its occupants begin tossing out decoys.

“Dang,” you think, shaking your head. “I wish I had my own place to hunt ducks.”

Most waterfowlers have had similar thoughts. However, the dream of owning duck hunting property eludes many folks, as they’re intimidated by the hassle and expense.

That’s where Michael Roberson comes in. The Realtree United Country land pro has made a career of selling waterfowl property and other recreational land in and near the Mississippi Delta, and he said many hunters can secure their own duck hunting honey holes by following a common-sense process. Here’s how to get started.

Hire a Pro

Working with a land professional makes purchasing recreational property much easier, Roberson said. First, pros have many resources, including bankers, surveyors, biologists and other specialists. Moreover, they know their areas and can quickly identify whether a property is right for you.

“Someone four to five hours away from here will just see something listed on the Internet,” he said. “All they can do is look at the pictures. Any Realtree land pro will know his area. We can assure somebody and say, ‘Yes, this is the type of property you’re looking at.’ It just eases their mind. Remember, you’re getting ready to invest in one of the biggest things in your whole life. It just makes you feel a lot more comfortable when you’re talking to somebody who knows the area and knows what they’re talking about.”

More important, Realtree land pros live the outdoors lifestyle. Roberson grew up in the Delta area and has hunted waterfowl throughout the region since he was a child.

“Were not just real-estate agents,” he said. “We do the same things these landowners are coming out to do. We hunt. We look forward to hunting season. We live that lifestyle, just like the people interested in buying the properties. The job we have allows us to be out there every day.”

Further, land pros provide can valuable management assistance to clients long after the purchase.

“We don’t stop at the end of the sale,” Roberson said. “ I don’t ever want clients to feel like the deal’s done and it’s over with. They might have questions about what they can do to make the property better. That’s what we’re here for. That’s our expertise — knowing what to do and how to help. We’re here for the whole experience. We know what needs to be done with a property and like to help do it after the sale. There’s no better advertisement than a happy client.”

Identifying the Right Stuff

Roberson said the old real-estate axiom about the importance of location holds especially true for waterfowl land. That is, you must look for properties in areas that traditionally attract ducks and geese.

“The main thing I can tell you is get your land pro to make sure the property is in the right area,” he said. “If you want immediate results, the best bet is to buy an established property. With a little help and some planning, you can turn that property into something really special.”

However, Roberson said, that doesn’t mean you should ignore a property with no hunting history.

“If you can, buy a portion of a lake or something that already has a brake on it. As everybody knows, if you don’t have water, you don’t have ducks.”

“That might be the one you can fit into your budget,” he said. “Just remember, that one will be a longer-term project and might offer you the reward you are looking for in more ways than one. These properties may be bought at a lower price because they don't have recreational value, yet. That’s where the fun starts for the land pro. We get with the new owner and start putting a plan in place that leads to ducks and a better return on your money in the end. You just have to make sure you start with something that is in the zone.”

Prospective buyers should also consider ease of access, as private property does little good if you cannot use it when you want. Further, on-site water is critical.

“If you can, buy a portion of a lake or something that already has a brake on it,” Roberson said. “As everybody knows, if you don’t have water, you don’t have ducks.”

Water control is also important. Roberson said properties with wells and water-pumping capabilities outperform areas where you must put in boards and wait on precipitation to fill your duck property with water.

“That way, you can pump enough water onto a food source and hunt it early in the season,” he said. “And as the season goes on, you can pump water into other areas. You’re definitely going to have the advantage over someone on the next property.”

Finances

Purchasing duck hunting property is a major investment, but Roberson said buyers shouldn’t be frightened by the financial implications.

First, you don’t always need vast acreage. Relatively small properties with the right elements for attracting and holding waterfowl can produce better than larger spots with poor habitat.

Second, Roberson said, buying land is an investment, as most properties will hold or increase in value. And the connection goes far deeper.

“You’re investing in something you can put your feet on,” he said. “It’s not like stocks and bonds. There are not many investments you can make with your hard-earned money where you can take your family out and enjoy it.”

And that, he added, might be the No. 1 consideration for purchasing waterfowling property. It becomes a destination you can enjoy for years.

“Yeah, it can be a lot of money, but when you see your family and friends come out and enjoy it, there’s more than a monetary value on it,” he said. “It’s something you can enjoy every weekend. You can say, ‘I worked all week long to pay for this investment, and now I can enjoy it.’”

The Land Journey

Ultimately, only you can decide if you’re ready to pursue the dream of owning duck hunting property. When you do, the land pros at Realtree United Country will be there to help.

“There’s just something different about land,” Roberson said. “Find something that’s unique and fits your style. That’s what’s going to make it a better place.”

Go to RealtreeUC.com to see available hunting properties. Click here for more Realtree waterfowl hunting content. And check us out on Facebook.