Cost To Develop?

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by whitedice, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. whitedice

    whitedice Refuge Member

    Jun 28, 2016
    I think it is every hunters dream to own their own hunting ground. While farfetched, I am interested in knowing what it would take? Financially, I am not ready to buy any land, but I figure if this is something I truly want to do, why wait until I'm older. Within the next 5 or so years I hope to purchase land to build a house on in the country, and if I can afford a big enough section, develop into hunting ground.

    I am sure this varies widely by location, but I am looking for some advice. Is it better to purchase already developed hunting ground, or cheaper to purchase farmland/pasture and try to manage it.

    Im sure there are a ton of variables but I don't know enough to even begin to imagine them all. Just looking for a starting place to begin my own research.

    Hope this sparks an interesting discussion. Looking forward to your response.
  2. Cliner

    Cliner Elite Refuge Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    Northwest Missouri
    Like you said, it depends on a lot of different factors. I was not willing to take the "gamble" in developing a piece of land. I've heard many stories of someone building a levee in a field and ducks never use it. We got lucky on our land purchase of it being a proven place.
    When it comes to development, dirt work can be really expensive. I've heard rumors of guys buying land and putting in close to 100-200k in dirt work and more. Wells aren't cheap either, some run upwards of 40k and higher. There's always a repair or always something that needs to be done. Don't forget to factor in costs to establish a food source. If you're going to plant corn on 65 acres, you're looking around the ball park of 15-17k per year in costs for seed, chemical, planting/harvesting costs, etc. I don't know what it costs to flood timber but it might be cheaper. The only limit on what you can do is your wallet.
    It's impossible to give you exact figures but it's not cheap. Expect it to be a money pit. I'm not trying to dissuade you but it's not cheap to do it right.
    da fowl slayer and stevena198301 like this.
  3. whitedice

    whitedice Refuge Member

    Jun 28, 2016
    Thanks for the reply.

    While planting corn would be nice, I'm not sure if that's the route I would want to go.

    Ideally in my head, my dream place would consist of a CRP field with maybe 2 or 3 scattered marsh ponds. Maybe plant duck attracting food that occurs annually. Then if I have enough land have some of the field planted to corn or beans but actually harvest those crops. Essentially, a place that I could maybe shoot a deer on, or a pheasant or so. And have some duck hunting as well.

    In my area there is a lot of farm ground that floods when it rains, but most places have ditches dug so it drains off rather quickly. I was thinking with a little dirt work some of these places would hold water, or I could possibly put in a well?

    This is just kind of a dream at this point. For some of you experienced guys this idea could sound fairly ridiculous, but that's why I'm here. Definitely interested in learning as much as I can so I can have some reasonable expectations.

    Additionally, I am not hoping to build some high class duck club that holds thousands of ducks. If I could have a place that would even occasionally have ducks on it I would be thrilled. I hunt public ground that I have had good success at, and I am very thankful for that. However, there is just something special about hunting all alone, without the crowds. I would probably hunt my land 1-2 days a week. Any additional hunting I wanted to do would be on public land.
    da fowl slayer likes this.
  4. cam

    cam Elite Refuge Member

    Jul 25, 2006
    ill tell you what it cost every last dime you can hide from your wife
  5. thatguy2

    thatguy2 Elite Refuge Member

    Oct 7, 2013
    Small Town USA
    Dirt work figure $4/ yard. Purchase price of the land itself depends on area.
  6. DtSB

    DtSB Senior Refuge Member

    Dec 12, 2013
    If you want a place you can hunt once a week, just yourself, then you really don't need much. If you want a place that can sustain 3-4 days a week of pressure with multiple shooters, then you need a lot of money.

    I've got permission to hunt a roughly 10 acre bottom land field that has a high water table, and is shaped to catch and hold water. Naturally, it fills with water after a good rain, flooding about 3 acres at 18" deep and then 4-5 more acres at 6-10" deep. It's not in an area known for ducks. The main flyway is probably 50-60 miles away. However, it picks up EVERY straggler that comes through because it is a prime piece of habitat in no-mans land. I could shoot it 2 days a week and do well, as long as I get in and kill the first 6 and get out. It produces 6 duck limits and 5 geese regularly.

    It was an old pasture. Then it served as a corn field a few years until they got tired of dealing with the water. Rather than tile it, they just let it go to hay. Like I said, it was already naturally shaped to catch and hold water. Luckily it is in a fair enough location to catch some ducks. They paid a few hundred dollars per acre for the field in the past decade.

    So if you find the right spot, you could get by with a minimal cost beyond purchase price.

    Now remember, the example I provided is entirely dependent on local rainfall to fill. At times during the season, it is bone dry and no ducks are near it. However, an inch of rain goes a long way at this spot, and the ducks find it quick. It is also dependent on a favorable spring and summer climate in order to grow grasses that are favorable duck food. Even being at the mercy of nature, it is a great producer for me and I'd gladly give them their few hundred dollars per acre back in order to have it to myself.
    WHUP ! Hen likes this.
  7. Albino Woodie

    Albino Woodie Senior Refuge Member

    Dec 26, 2014
    Lot of good advice.

    As i tell landowners i help who are in good locations, which is the most important part, when it comes to cost of development "if you have the money there is nothing between you but air and opportunity".

    I manage places that range from the cheapest to pretty dang costly. But always remember location, location, location, oh, did i mention location. You could dump tons of money in a place and if it's in the wrong location you are just throwing money down the drain for only a few birds and not many hunting days.

    The cheapest spots i manage are old beaver ponds in great flyways. Some of these beaver ponds produce more birds than some of the large high dollar impoundments that are father off the flyways. But i also help manage some high dollar areas in great places along flyways and they harvest a lot of birds and enjoy plenty of hunting.

    My advice would be find property in a great location (flyway), then decide what your management goals are based on the location and what type of management you can get out of the particular piece of property and you wallet can afford before you proceed on with purchasing. Consult buddies who have been down this road, ask lots of questions, and do lots of research. Play your cards right and things can really fall into place for you.

    Now i did not factor in dealing with the wife, I've seen some big plans shrink FAST:doh
    da fowl slayer and WHUP ! Hen like this.
  8. Timber Hole

    Timber Hole Elite Refuge Member

    Nov 29, 2015
    Like Woodie says, it doesn't take a big spot it just takes the right spot. I have hunted parcels that were less than 20 acres that were great hunting.
    cam likes this.

    GUNNERX2 Elite Refuge Member

    Jan 14, 2007
    Several years ago, a group of guys put in a 25 acre corn field and the dirt work on that parcel approached $250,000. I can't say how high the levies are and I don't know if they brought in any additional dirt. They ended up giving the contractor a membership in the club for a reduced price on the dirt work which dropped the price down to $90,000. Not a cheap endeavor.
  10. JFG

    JFG Elite Refuge Member

    Sep 9, 2002
    Coastal NC
    I contracted my work out (clearing/root raking, digging ditches, constructing levies, setting risers, etc.) for a set price. Had I done it by the hour, I was looking at each piece of equipment (excavators, dozers) running about $125/hr. Could have even been a transportation fee if they weren't real close by. Depending on what you want to do, could be manageable or very expensive. A well is BIG money but I'm fortunate enough to have a ditch I can pump from even though the rain gods have relieved me of that for the last 2 years. But it's a gamble if you don't have some reliable water source.

    Based on what you said, sounds like you don't want/need a whole lot, thus you could keep cost reasonable. I think the real costs is finding the right property for your endeavor. Best of luck.

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