Midwest Hunting Land

midwest hunting land
Some hunting land will produce marketable timber, but typically, the most sought after deer hunting land in the Midwest produces very little income.

Recreational land has been hot in the Midwest, but with the economy showing signs of weakening, the demand for midwest hunting land has also weakened. However, there has been one exception: the high quality hunting properties have maintained their upward price momentum better than lower quality properties, in most areas.

Of course, the real action is with the whitetail hunters. Waterfowl hunters are second in line. Despite the buying interest, you can't assume it will always be red hot so it pays to know how to identify quality. Quality midwest hunting land has the best chance to meet your short-term goals and at least hold its own if the market turns tough.

Most farms in the Midwest that have timber on them have a huntable population of deer. The payoff comes when you find (or produce) farms that go a step further, that are well managed - where fully mature bucks exist in herds that have balanced buck to doe ratios well within the carrying capacity of the habitat. This situation doesn't happen in a vacuum, nor does it happen by accident. It takes a plan, real commitment and good neighbors.

When buying less than 1,500 acres, you are at the mercy of your direct neighbors. When looking at land, start with the neighborhood first, learn as much as you can about it, and then work your way down to the individual tract. If several of the neighbors are involved in progressive deer management, the prospects are much improved.

The subject property would ideally be in a county known for producing trophy bucks (exceeding 150 gross inches of antler on the Boone & Crockett scoring system). It is nice if there is some income to offset food plot expense and property taxes. Ideally, 50 to 75% of the total land cover would be timber. In the Midwest, this places the property in a separate category - a very attractive category - because so much of this region is plowed and planted.

Portions of the timber would ideally be in various stages of succession from brushy regeneration to mature. At least 25% of the immediate neighbors should be practicing some form of quality deer management (shooting plenty of does, planting food plots and letting bucks grow to maturity).

You may not touch all these bases, but touch as many as you can. In most Midwestern settings, this type of property will create the highest long-term value and will produce the best recreational opportunities.

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