Duck Hunting Land For Sale: How To Find The Right Property

When you start looking to invest in hunting property, specifically for a duck club, what are some of the key property features you should focus on to create that waterfowl prime spot? Ducks are creatures of habit AND habitat! American Land Company has put together the following tips and questions to ask when looking for your next waterfowl property.

1. Water. This key ingredient is critical in most areas for successful duck hunting. Ducks like water. And you must have the ability to provide them with that water or have some permanent water source on your land: i.e. a river, stream, lake, etc. Most duck clubs get their water by pumping, either through a well or a camelback type pump. If the land for sale you are considering does not yet have the means to obtain water, then you will need to budget for additional capital expenses such as; drill a well and install a submersible pump; or by buying a PTO driven pump and a tractor or power unit to run it. Any scenario will most likely run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

2.Food. This is another obvious yet critical ingredient for great duck hunting clubs. Most waterfowl hotspots already have food, because the land is either a working farm (or has well-established food plots) or is a wetland or bog. If this is a working farm, who is going to farm it? If the answer is NO you, then you will have to talk to several farmers and find a way to rent it so that the farmer can earn some money and you can have some food for the ducks. Interview several different farmers, ask for references, and then talk to those landowners to see what their experience has been like with any potential farmers. Make sure you get a signed lease if you are renting the farm to someone! I can tell you from experience that ducks LOVE corn and rice, so if those crops can be successfully grown in your area, then plant them. If the property is a wetland or marsh, then you can contact your local NRCS agent for guidance on how to properly manage your wetland. They are experts in this and are there to help you.

3. Rest. This is a feature that is often overlooked, but is critical to successful duck hunting. All waterfowl need a time and a place to rest. Take a cue from the waterfowl management practices of the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation, both of which stop hunting around noon in most of their respective public hunting areas. Yet these public hunting lands continue to offer some of the best duck hunting in the United States year after year, even though they are also some of the most difficult to hunt. Why? Because they have resting areas, they stop hunting at noon and provide cover. Although this is difficult for many landowners to implement, it is a must if you want to have a consistently good duck club.

4. Cover. Waterfowl like to “feel” safe, and cover allows them that safety. Examples of good cover are: standing corn or any uncut crop, uncut grass, cattails, willows, trees and shrubs, windbreaks, etc. The cover can be hard and impenetrable, like a thick forest or cattail swamp, or benign, like a dam for a windbreak. But the bottom line here is that if you give the ducks some kind of cover, they are much more likely to use your property.

5. Pressure. Is the area heavily hunted? Or from other hunting properties or public hunting areas? Regardless, this can be a trap 22 if the area receives a lot of hunting pressure. On the one hand, if there is a lot of hunting, there is a reason: there are many birds that use that area. That means this area is “IN THE AIRWAY”. It’s okay! But on the other hand, that also means you’ll be up against pressured birds, which makes hunts challenging. As for me, I prefer the area to be full of hunting clubs, because I know the ducks will be there come fall and I can manage my property to make sure the birds use my place.

6. Size. This is really up to you to decide, but obviously the larger your property, the more difficult and more expensive it will be to maintain. Think about who will do most of the legwork and how much help you can count on. I can assure you that properly maintaining and managing any hunting property, but especially a waterfowl hunting club, is a LOT of EXTRAORDINARY WORK! So don’t bite off more than you can handle.

7. Capital Improvements. Are there dikes already built? They are in good condition? What about the pipes and doors? Does the property come with equipment such as tractors, pumps, boats, ATVs? What about the blinds? All of these should be considered when purchasing potential duck hunting property. Remember, this is a labor intensive investment.

8. Public services and accommodation. Does the property have electricity? What about the water, whether from a rural water supply or a well? If it’s from a well, could you consider doing a water quality test? Does the property have a place to stay or to put a camper? How far away are the nearest hotels? Again, these are important considerations. The last thing you want to do is drive an hour to a motel after working all day in the heat and water with snakes and mosquitoes. If accommodation is not present on the property, perhaps there is an old farmhouse nearby that I can rent? Or maybe there’s a farmer nearby with water and electricity that will let you hook up an RV?

One thing to keep in mind is the “build it and they will come” theory. I’m not saying it’s not possible with ducks, because it is, I’ve done it. But, if you’re going to go that route, make sure the property in question is on a flyway and has some kind of access to water. Those 2 ingredients are a must!

Another possibility is to enter into a hunting lease before you buy. Do you see if you can lease the land in question for a season with an option to buy? Even if you have to pay a premium price for the lease, that’s a lot cheaper than finding out you’ve invested in a duck hunting club that the ducks won’t come to! Don’t be afraid to ask: local restaurants, farmer’s cooperatives, tractor dealers, sporting goods stores, all of these places can be great sources of local knowledge.

If you’ve gone through your checklist and everything is going well, then it’s time to pull the trigger (pun intended). Developing and maintaining your own duck hunting property is a very satisfying endeavor. It is also a lot of work and a lot of money is needed. But then, as my dad likes to say…”we’re making memories”!

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