1. Location, Location, Location.
The old rule that each and every realtor knows is still valid. You need to make that your hunting land is in the Goldilocks zone.
Far away enough from the city to have that sense of seclusion – but near enough, so that travel time is manageable – and the costs involved in travelling are not too exorbitant. You want to know that you reach your land in time to be hunting when the sun rises.
A 3-hour trip is about right. You’ll also be able to return home in good time. The 3-hour rule is perfect for those who will be building a cabin.
If you don’t have that cabin you’ll have to factor in travel from other accommodation – especially if you might need to track wounded animals.
2. The Lay of the Land.
You’ll need to take into account the movement patterns of the deer – and those of the people who will be using the land. Building a cabin requires special thought. You’ll need to identify a dry and level spot. Take into account access.
The ideal cabin would be close to any access road. But you’ll have to balance that with the need to avoid spooking the deer. A cabin in the middle of the property makes no sense – you be disrupting those natural travel patterns and spooking the deer, especially when entering or leaving the property.
Also, take into account if food plots are going to be required and whether machinery can be used without overly disturbing the wildlife.
3. Food for Thought.
Deer, like any animal, need both food and water every month of the year. Firstly, let’s take a look at food considerations. It’s much easier to work with nature than disturbing its delicate balance.
If there are trees that can supply natural vegetation then so much the better. Adding man-made resources costs both time and money – and again there is always the danger that you will be disturbing a delicate ecosystem.
Whitetail deer thrive on perennial wood plants, brush-style shrubs, leafy vines, and easily accessible plant matter (low-hanging trees). Anything brushy will usually be ideal fodder for these animals. This is true for almost every state where Whitetails can be found.
Fruit and berries are also important parts of the deer’s diet. These can range from Oak Acorns to and nuts from Hickory trees. There is another category – herbaceous fodder and weeds.
These generally broadleaf flowering plants are not traditionally viewed as ‘woody’. Then there are the grasses and other plant life that resembles grasses. Whitetail is also not averse to good sources from farms and food plots.
Without ready access to water, the Whitetail population will suffer. It is not an absolute necessity – but ready availability is a plus (for instance from the neighbouring property).
Adding ponds can be expensive – and without a naturally occurring water source water will have to be hauled in. Ponds and wells can be dug – but those costs need to be taken into account – as does the cost of storage save money on tools at the surplus database.
5. The Importance of Cover.
Deer need cover in order to feel comfortable during the daylight hours. The type of cover can vary. Swamplands, thick brush, or meadowland-type grass environments are all suitable. In the absence of these trees can be Hinge Cut (down to around 4 feet from the ground) and left to grow.
This sort of cover is necessary where open fields adjoin the property. Pine Trees tend to attract deer due to the fact that their branches are close to the ground. The viability of Pine bedding is also attractive. Deer also love tall grass as a bedding option.
6. Pay Attention to Signs.
When considering the purchase of hunting land pay special attention to signs that deer are present. There may be buck scrapes, droppings, or well-established trails. These are all signs that deer are present or are passing through from one property to another.
They may very well be feeding on one property and then travelling through or spending the night on another. Trail cameras can provide exceptional information on deer movements – leave them up for several 24 hour periods in order to get a good idea of populations and movements. Doing that during hunting season will undoubtedly influence your decision to buy.
7. Think Carefully about the Neighbors.
Each of those who utilize neighbouring properties will have different habits. For instance, they may be bowhunters. Are they driving the deer? Especially important is whether they practice good deer Management. Also, take into account whether there is public land adjoining the property you are considering.
All of these factors will influence the sustainability of the deer population and their natural habits. Ask questions. Be polite. Your neighbours and fellow hunters are your best source of information.