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How to Make a Good Purchase Decision on a Hunting Property

Photos via Joe Ogden

Are you in the market for a new hunting property? Here are a few suggestions on how you can own the process and not the let process own you. 

The time has come for you to find your next hunting property. Even though this season has recently drawn to a close, that doesn't change the fact that you're entering the best time of year to locate next year's dream property.

Recent history tells us the recreational real estate market quickly heats up once whitetail season comes to an end. Landowners who held off on selling in order to get one last hunting season in are now putting farms and ranches on the market. Hunters who have leased land for years still have "buck fever" and know exactly what they want to find. They often feel right now is time to search for a place of their own.

February and March also allow for tremendous property tours. Sure, it is typically frigid, but you can easily see rubs, scraps, and travel patterns due to the reduced foliage. If you're touring a property and can't find buck sign... you're on the wrong property.

Since the market place is primed and you have made the commitment to start searching, there are a few things you need to prepare for in order to A) find the right property, and B) simplify the process.

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Two big questions

First you must answer the two questions only you can answer. What is my price range (for a lease or purchase)? and Where is my desired location?

The answers to these questions will provide the main parameters you will follow during your search. Price will dictate the size of the property based upon location. The price per acre can vary drastically based upon a variety of factors, with location being a key element. The range of travel will simply provide a geographic region to begin your search.

Moving forward, narrow the search by a list of desired qualities you would like to see in your next property. What habitat are you looking for? What terrain do you require? Do you need a cabin or lodge? Would you like waterfront? Do you need road access? Is income potential important?

Don't overlook the possibility of income. The first thing that comes to mind is crop leasing, but you can also enroll in a variety of conservation programs that will help offset the cost of owning a property.

The search is on

Now that you have answered these questions you are ready to actively begin your search. A word of advice is to not do this alone. It will save you time and money in the long run to find a land sales agent who knows the area you are searching. A quality land specialist will not only help you find the right property, but help negotiate a fair price on your behalf.

Many land specialists will also know of properties that are not officially listed, but are nonetheless for sale. They have their finger on the pulse of the local market value, so you do not have to worry as much about overpaying for a property. In most cases, the agent costs you, the buyer, nothing. That's often one of the best parts of the whole partnership.

Flying solo

If you opt to go forward with the search on your own there are a variety of resources available that will help you locate properties currently on the market.,, and are three of the reputable websites you will find a vast number of properties to search through.

Regardless of how you conduct your search, with help or without, you do not want to overlook your neighbors. Many times a buyer finds a property that is near perfect only to be disappointed down the road due to the impact neighboring properties have on their land. Once you have focused in on a couple of prospects, you need to investigate the properties in the area and make sure their management practices are in line with your own. You may quickly separate the properties simply due to the practices of those around you.

The land grab

In closing, the suggestions presented here are meant to help you find the right property and not let emotions cloud your judgment. In some cases a buyer will tour a property and fall in love with it simply because it is new and has abundant wildlife. They later realize some of the key features are missing and are ultimately unhappy with their purchase.

If you go through the process of asking yourself and answering these questions, you will be prepared to guide the search and not have the search process guide you.

Good luck in your search. The property you are looking for is out there and with a little patience and guidance you will be living your dream soon.

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How to Make a Good Purchase Decision on a Hunting Property