How To Find Good Deer Hunting Land – Buying Great Hunting Habitat

Purchasing Great Deer Hunting Land

As some of you have seen or heard in my articles and videos my deer hunting land has been encroached upon by developers. This has pushed the larger bucks out of the area toward the large river that lies a mile away. I have also had people living in these developments stray unto my land during the archery season and walk right under my stand with their dogs. Now I do kindly ask them to leave, however enough is enough and I finally decided to look for a better deer hunting parcel further away from the small City I live near.

Finding the right ground is a labor-intensive process that may take months and possibly years. But, if you invest the time to do it right you will find what you’re looking for. I been looking off and on for the past 10 years, knowing the time would come when I will want to move further out, and that time is here.

What To Look For In Hunting Land

So what do you look for to make sure you are buying a great piece of hunting land? Well as in this article you need water, feeding area, thick cover, and bedding. Now since my trophy bucks have moved to a large river just a miles away I started looking at aerials along this river focusing on; woodland to cropland ratios, low land, high land, wood funnels (large game crossing areas between sections), ridges, and wood fingers stretching into the tillable land.

Once I find a couple of properties for sale I walk them 3 or 4 times and use my camera and a notepad to record the game (Deer, Turkey, Pheasant, etc.) sign and habitat (Water, Food Sources, Bedding, and Thick Cover). I also noted what the Woods versus Tillable land ratio is and what types of trees are on the property. I like to see 75% – 85% woods, 15% – 25% tillable (crops) and would even consider a few acres of wetland or pasture.

Here at a few things I look for:
1- The Woods must NOT have been logged within the past 30 years. If logged then only selectively logged.
2- Having a river on the property or near by is a big plus.
3- The woods needs to have major crossing areas from Crop fields, Water, and adjoining sections.
4- Major Deer trails packed to the mud, with a number of large scrapes and rubs.
5- Plenty of hardwoods such as Oak, Maple, Cherry, Walnut, hickory, etc..

The Hunting Land I Purchased!

I finally decided to purchase a 64 acre parcel just 12 miles North of my present location. The major river in the area runs across the North side of the property and winds down the West side. One major deer crossing comes from the West where there is 70 acres of tillable, 20 acres of woods, and then a narrow wood-line connecting to this land. On the East side are large parcels of tillable with multiple wooded fingers stretching out into the fields. From the deer sign it’s obvious there are Boone & Crockett’s in the area. Talking to the neighbors one took a 189 scored buck and the other a large 16 pt, but did not get it scored. So it’s going to be nice passing up those 135’s and focusing on those 175’s or larger bucks. I’m looking forward to doing videos on this property and sharing them with you.

The land ratio on this 64 acres is 81% Wooded, 16% Tillable, and 7% in pasture (grasses), which can be tilled. The river runs North approximately 200 yards from the property line and West approximately 400 yards away. I have seen many pheasants, deer, squirrels, rabbits, and signs of turkey, fox, and of course coyotes.

Don’t Rely On The Realtor When Purchasing Land

Purchasing land has gotten difficult over the past few years and it takes longer to complete the purchase transaction due to tougher County Regulations and Bank Requirements. Also any realtor selling land has the sellers best interest and of course their pockets, so have your own lawyer it will be well worth the money.

Also do not get discouraged as you will get through the process and your lawyer will help keep things moving. For this piece of Land it took me 3 weeks to get the bank loans approved and another 3 months to get the Purchase Agreement (PA) signed. Why so long for a PA to get signed, well this is what I ran into and was glad I had a lawyer from the beginning, he also wrote my PA. In this case the realtor’s best interest was NOT in the sellers or mine, but had different intentions. This realtor wanted the land or a section of it for himself and was delaying every step of the process, trying to either find a way to purchase the land or get the farmer or myself to sell him 10 acres. So I finally bypassed him and went directly to the owner were we worked out a Purchase Agreement. I then took legal actions against the realtor to keep the process from delaying any longer and within 2 weeks I had the land purchased.

Start Improving The Habitat right Away

This Spring I will start planting Apple Trees, Plum Trees, and fruit trees that produce small fruit for the grouse and pheasants. The pasture area I will put a few apple trees in and let it grow for deer bedding and the pheasants, mowing it once every two years. Since I have plenty of tillable (corn & beans) with oak trees (acorns) along the edges I will not need to put in any food plots. I will however put in a lot of apple trees since it cheap and easy to grow and graft them. For Winter I will leave a few rolls of corn standing and build a wire cylinder to place whole corn (with cob) in for the Pheasants. The tractor lanes going through the woods will be planted to a mixture of Clover & Chicory. I will also start clearing dead trees, downfalls, and thin areas to allow sunlight in, improving the vegetation in the woods.