A Guide to Hunting Land Investment (Part 1)

The Two Fundamentals Needed to Decide What Hunting Land to Buy

1. Properly Assess Your Goals

2. Select an Experienced Hunting Land Realtor

For hunters and land stewards alike, there is nothing better than hunting and managing the land you own. Maybe you’ve participated in private hunting leases and know the heartbreak of losing the quality habitat you cultivated for years. Perhaps you’ve hunted on public land and hate that a young buck you pass may be killed by the next guy to sit in your tree. Regardless of your experience, we can all agree that if you buy land, you’ll gain the freedom to manage and control your habitat and wildlife’s potential.

This article is the first of a series on hunting land investment. We want to help you build a strong foundation for assessing potential recreational land for sale. In each article, we will discuss various tools and factors to equip you in selecting the right property based on your objectives. This series begins with two fundamentals required to build your launchpad for hunting land investment. We are confident that by addressing these items upfront, they will pay dividends for the duration of your ownership and beyond.

1. Properly Assess Your Goals

First and foremost, your goals and objectives for a property’s financial performance are paramount when you consider buying hunting land as an investment. Not all land is created equal and different habitats sustain different species. Do you want a target-rich environment, or do you want to grow trophy deer? Do you want to pay a premium for an already developed property? Or would you prefer to start with a natural, raw habitat to mold and manage into your specific vision?

The location of your purchase and the land type will determine your cost basis and ultimately shape your management results. Trophy deer hunting properties, for example, are historically found in agricultural areas with a significant hardwood creek bottom and river corridors. Properties like this lend themselves to better perform in the consistent production of trophy bucks at a lower cost basis than tracts in a plantation belt that are typically upland pine plantations with a higher price tag.

Suppose you simply want a target-rich environment with plenty of hogs, deer, and turkey for the family to enjoy. In that case, you can afford to focus on areas in a less exclusive timber belt with sufficient wetlands to provide habitat diversity for a wide variety of species. An excellent example of this concept is in southern Jefferson County, Florida. This area boasts land prices that are very accessible due to an increase in wetland ratios. Although these wetlands are less valuable from a monetary perspective, they are incredibly desirable from a wildlife standpoint. Because of this, the area provides a target-rich environment for the mixed-bag hunter.

Ultimately, your goals will determine where and what you should buy. Start your process by assessing how you would most enjoy land ownership over the next ten years. Do you want to grow the state’s next record whitetail? Or, do you want to watch your grandkids shoot a variety of game species? Your answer will determine where to start looking and your anticipated cost basis.

2. Select an Experienced Hunting Land Realtor

Once you’ve determined your goals related to investment performance, then you must be sure to select a land specialist that can help you analyze properties with those goals in mind. Buyers looking for a typical residential property should contact a residential real estate agent. However, hunters looking to invest in a recreational property should contact a realtor with good forestry and habitat knowledge. The right realtor will function as an advisor in finding the right piece of land.

As we mentioned earlier, not all land is created equal. It takes a trained eye to see and feel the potential of a parcel based on the objectives of a buyer. There are many land brokers in the business. Yet, only a few truly understand what is happening in the soil and the understory and how that affects management results. Buyers should be careful to select a real estate company with experience in recreational land transactions to evaluate habitat and develop management plans. In this way, you can be confident that your broker can adequately link your long-term goals with the proper habitat baseline.

Our team has brokered over $3 billion in land transactions since 1996. We have the background knowledge of forestry, wildlife, and habitat management to properly advise our clients in process of investing in land. With multiple offices in several different markets, we provide specialized support for buyers and sellers to evaluate timberland, agricultural, and recreational real estate. We would love to serve you in any capacity that you may need help from our team. 

In our next article, we will dive deeper into the specifics of habitat and wildlife management.

Meet the Experts

Bryant manages the firms North Florida/South Georgia real estate brokerage. He specializes in hunting, ranch land, recreational, and agricultural property. He is a lifelong enthusiast of wildlife and natural resource management and enjoys helping landowners access their property’s full potential.

Call Bryant today at 229.792.8559 or email him at bryant.peace@svn.com.

Jeff Bewsher

Jeff Bewsher

Associate Advisor & Hunt Lease Administrator

Jeff is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with 20 years of experience in big game management and consulting. Jeff started his career researching white-tailed deer and black bears with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Currently, he serves as the Legacy Wildlife Services division manager for Natural Resource Planning Service, Inc. As division manager, Jeff oversees the development of a hunting lease management program on over 600,000 acres throughout 5 states in the Southeast including over 1,000 individual hunting clubs.

Call Jeff today at 386.438.5896 or email him at jeff.bewsher@svn.com.