The Economics of Dedicated Hunting Land...A Decade Later

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Mike P
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The Economics of Dedicated Hunting Land...A Decade Later

Post by Mike P » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:08 am

Over a decade ago four good friends were having breakfast at a pancake house. All four were whitetail deer hunters and in their fifties. They were from various walks of life. Many discussions had taken place at prior pancake rendezvous regarding investments of various types, bonds, stock market, real estate, etc. etc. It was the lawyer that first floated the idea. "I think we should buy a farm," he told his dining companions.

And we did. The Swede thought I was nuts. And every year when I wrote another check to cover my share of the operations at that farm she reminded me of this prognosis. I have to admit, after several years of writing those sizable checks I was beginning to think she may well be correct. But by the same token, I will readily admit I was having the time of my life at that farm chasing my addiction.

Around the seventh year of ownership we were finally starting to see the fruits of our labor, not to mention all the money we had spent. The bucks were getting better. And they were getting better fast! The place was still costing us a bunch of money but it seemed somewhat more acceptable every time you were in your stand and saw a great buck. The Swede never saw those bucks. She just saw those checks.

Another interesting thing was taking place. The land in Adams County, Ohio was starting to increase in price. And like those bucks, it was increasing fast. The fact that the county was starting to gain some fame on a national basis as a good place to hunt if you want a chance at a "booner" just added fuel to the fire. The "Amish Buck" alone might have increased the price per acre of good hunting land by five hundred dollars. The land that we had purchased those scant few years ago was now worth far more then we had paid. And it just kept going up.

By chance we had stumbled onto the most profitable of all livestock you can have on a farm, the whitetail buck. The fact that we had managed the farm for the pure purpose of developing good bucks also affected the price of our property. It was no longer valued or appraised as normal farm land. The price per acre was now several times that of comparable land within the county that was strictly used for farming purposes.

We have our annual meeting this week. We already know we have a terrific yield of beans and corn standing in our fields. Those yields will be off the charts as it was the best growing season we have had since we bought the place. And for the first time I do not anticipate writing a check. I expect to be given one! We have finally covered our costs.

Of course all of the money invested over the past decade is still just that, an investment. And I will never recover the return on that investment unless we sell the farm. That day will surely come. And when it does, I am pretty sure it will outstrip every investment I have ever made. Like the crops this year, it will be off the charts. I intend to tape that check to the Swede's forehead and take a picture!

In the meantime I am enjoying another type of return on that investment. I see those dividends every time I climb a tree and pull up my Phoenix to the stand. I can't place a dollar value on that experience. And no investment councilor could promise that type of return.

I would strongly suggest to any of you that have had thoughts about the possibility of investing in land for hunting to pursue those thoughts. From a financial standpoint it may well be one of the better investments available in this crazy world economy. As I watched my portfolio plummet during the recent year I marveled as the price of land surrounding our farm continued to rise. Like many of you I was becoming poorer on a daily basis. But my passion for hunting was paying dividends!


Over a pancake breakfast a long time ago I made a decision.

I had no idea it would be one of the better ones I would make in this life.
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fletch
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Post by fletch » Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:44 am

Good advice Mike nice to see you are getting great returns. :D Who does all the planting and how many acres? That would be my dream investment but that ain't happening.
Can't wait to see when you "collect your interest" this year from the farm, anxiously waiting for the story.
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VixChix
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Post by VixChix » Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:40 am

TPM paid off the mortgage on a 100 acres of bush 3+ hours north of here before I came along. 8 years ago we made back almost the full purchase price by having it logged. We were newlyweds and the logging money helped pay off a truck loan and furnish the house. The logging was also god-send for the land as it was due for some labour intensive trail clearing. The logging left us with some good trails and the deer loved it.

We have a new neighbour up there now who really wants to buy our land. He has offered us almost 4x what Tim paid for it and is willing to let us keep using the land for the rest of our lives. But we're not going to sell, not yet. To TPM, Ben and I, and to the select friends that have a standing invitation to use the property, it's worth more than the money offered. Perhaps someday we'll have to sell, but for now it's ours.

Another reason we can`t part with it yet is that in the past few years I haven't been able to go up and hunt. I'm planning to make up for lost time starting next fall! :D

Incidentally, the logging trails were getting choked to the point of impassibility again. The new neighbour has just bought a bulldozer and he`s offered to clear the trails for us this fall. Why would we sell? :lol:
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wabi
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Post by wabi » Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:55 am

Mike,
You made the right choice to invest in the #1 county in Ohio!!!!!!!!!!!!
(#1 alphabetically :wink: )

Adams county has always been an economically depressed county and property prices have reflected that. The opening of the "Appalachian Highway" (SR32) finally gave people easier access to counties here in south/central Ohio (Adams & Pike) where there was no real quick way to drive here in the past. If you question that, just take route 125 your next trip out here, that was the best route in the distant past, and even with several improvements it's still best described as a "scenic drive". :lol:

And remember - when you finally decide to make "Becker's blind" comfortable and install plumbing, call an Adams County plumber to do the work! :lol: :lol: :lol:
wabi

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B-Logger
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Post by B-Logger » Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:42 pm

Same goes for our little piece of Heaven. We have a little 40 here that previously was used just for pasture. It is worth about 6 times or more what we paid for it. It's ours! and we plan on keeping it for a while yet. When I get old enough that I can't hunt or cut wood or tend garden and fruit trees, then maybe we'll sell. Or if we get too hard up for dollars we could sell. Until that time, we'll enjoy it. We can hunt right out the back door...or even the front door....or the side door. lol
Keep smiling!
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Kenton
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Post by Kenton » Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:49 pm

A wiser man than myself once told me that land is always a good investment because it's the one thing you can't make more of.
"You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, and publicity." - Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I pilot

Mike P
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Post by Mike P » Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:56 pm

Kenton wrote:A wiser man than myself once told me that land is always a good investment because it's the one thing you can't make more of.
That wise man didn't consider all the oil money they have to spend in Dubai.

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Kenton
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Post by Kenton » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:43 pm

Mike P wrote: That wise man didn't consider all the oil money they have to spend in Dubai.
True but that doesn't look like very good whitetail habitat.
"You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, and publicity." - Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I pilot

kennisondan
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Post by kennisondan » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:45 pm

how big of a place would one need to have it large enough to see increased deer size and numbers ? per acre what kind of cost is necessary to farm it ? do you guys sell the crops or let them stand for feed ? that is a great idea and one I would love to investigate mor.
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huntone
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Post by huntone » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:12 pm

Bought my first farm in 1990 for the sole purpose to hunt. Wow, it was
so cheap compared to now. In five years I sold it after I made the statement that
"I would take this much for it", never figuring someone would pay that much.

We took the money and bought another farm and have been dept free
for sometime now. I am retired now and we plan on moving to our farm
shortly.

I was blessed that I was not too deep in stocks during this last down turn
because, we had to invest differently to retire.
Dale

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