5 Questions Every Prospective Buyer of Recreational Hunting Property Should Ask

Deer-1So, you are finally ready to pursue your life-long dream of owning your own hunting property? Now you are faced with the daunting task of finding that perfect property that you’ve daydreamed about for so long. How do you find it and how will you know when you do? Aside from some of the more obvious questions related to such things as price, property taxes, utilities, easements, and mineral rights, here are 5 questions every prospective buyer should answer about any potential hunting property prior to purchase:

Is the property in an area conducive to the species and quality of wildlife I’m interested in? The old adage “all things are not created equal” is particularly relevant when it comes to recreational hunting property. Just because a property has some deer tracks on it and you see a few deer on it during your showing of the property doesn’t necessarily mean it has the potential to produce Boone & Crockett quality trophies. Or just because a property has a pond on it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a waterfowl hunting paradise if it’s not located along a flyway that is frequented by migrant waterfowl in the winter.

Does the property provide the 3 basic requirements of food, water, and shelter for the species of wildlife I’m interested in? All wildlife require food, water, and shelter for survival. If your prospective property lacks one or more of these requirements with no potential for developing it cost-effectively you should look elsewhere. In most cases a deficiency in one or more of these basic requirements can easily be overcome with proper planning, development, and management.

MallardsWhat is the condition of the wildlife habitat on the prospective property and neighboring properties? The quality of a property as wildlife habitat is directly proportional to it’s prior land use and management. A property that has been continually over grazed by cattle, subjected to improper crop rotation, or allowed to grow up non-native exotic vegetation will require a little “TLC” to restore back to it’s prime. The home range of all species of wildlife varies. Some wildlife species may move onto and off of a particular property at different times of the year. It is for this reason that it is important to consider the condition of the wildlife habitat on neighboring properties as well as that on the property in which you are interested in purchasing. Harvest records, if they are available, can provide useful information about the composition, age structure, health, and overall quality of the habitat and wildlife on a property.

What will it cost to improve the wildlife habitat and what type of financial assistance programs are available in the area? The wildlife habitat on most properties can be improved to increase it’s quality and the overall value of the property. There are a multitude of state, federal, and private financial cost-share programs available for wildlife habitat restoration, enhancement, and management. You will need to find out what programs are available in the local area and make sure the property qualifies in order to take advantage of these opportunities.

13-quailIs the property close enough to where I live to allow for routine maintenance, management, and recreational enjoyment? This could be one of the most important considerations, and probably one of the most overlooked by most people. Developing and managing your very own recreational hunting property can be an extremely rewarding endeavor but can also require a certain amount of commitment and time. Consideration should always be given to travel distance to and from your home for these necessary tasks.

You should always remember that all hunting properties are not created equal. Every property has limitations on what it can and cannot be. Some of these limitations can be overcome with a little time and money, but some simply can not. The key is knowing what to look for in order to uncover such limitations prior to purchase of the property. Due diligence and hiring a broker that is knowledgeable in recreational hunting property and wildlife ecology and management can ensure that your goals, objectives, and expectations are met or exceeded.

Ed Ritter
Owner / Certified Wildlife Biologist / Licensed Real Estate Broker
Wildlife Management Enterprises, L.L.C.