The Sporting Club At The Farm latest 2023

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Duck Hunting Land For Sale – How to Find the Right Property

When you start looking to invest in hunting property, especially for a duck club, what are the main features of the property that you should focus on to create that prime location for waterfowl? 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 essential in most areas for a successful duck hunt. Ducks love water. And you either need to have the ability to provide them with that water, or have a permanent water source on your land: i.e. a river, stream, lake, etc. re-lift, or camelback type pump. If the land for sale you are considering does not already have the means to obtain water, then you will need to budget for additional capital expenditures such as; drilling a well and installing a submersible pump; or purchasing a PTO-driven pump and a tractor or power unit to operate it. Either scenario will most likely run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

2. Food. This is another obvious, but essential ingredient for large duck hunting clubs. Most waterfowl hotspots already have food, as the land is either a working farm (or well-established food patches) or a wetland or marsh. If it is a working farm, who will operate it? If the answer is NOT you, you will need to talk to several farmers and find a way to rent it out so that the farmer can make some money and you have food left over for the ducks. Interview several different farmers, ask for references, and then talk to those landowners to see what their experience has been with a potential farmer. Make sure you get a signed lease if you rent the farm to someone! I can tell you from experience that ducks LOVE corn and rice, so if those crops can be grown successfully in your area, plant them by all means. If the property is a wetland or marsh, you can speak to your local NRCS agent to help guide you on how to properly manage your wetland. They are subject matter experts and are here to help.

3. Rest. This is a feature that is often overlooked, but essential to good duck hunting. All waterfowl need a time and a place to rest. Drawing from the waterfowl management practices of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation, they both stop hunting around noon in the majority of their respective public hunting areas. Yet these public hunting grounds continue to provide some of the best duck hunting in the United States year after year, despite the fact that they are also among the hardest hunted. Why? Because they have resting places, they stop hunting at midday and they take shelter. As difficult as it is for many landowners to implement, it’s a must if you want to have a consistently good duck club.

4. Cover. Waterfowl like to “feel” safe, and cover provides them with that safety. Examples of good cover: standing corn or any uncut crop, uncut grass, cattails, willows, trees and brush, dikes for windbreaks, etc. Cover can be hard and impenetrable, like thick woods or a cattail swamp, or benign, like a levee for a windbreak. But the bottom line here is that if you give the ducks some sort of cover, they’re much more likely to use your property.

5. Pressure. Is the area heavily hunted? Either other hunting properties or public hunting areas? Either way, this can be a problem if the area receives a lot of hunting pressure. On the one hand, if it is heavily hunted, there is a reason: there are a lot of birds that use this area. This means that this area is “IN THE FLYWAY”. Its good! But on the other hand, it also means that you are going to be faced with birds under pressure, which makes some hunts difficult. Personally, I prefer the area to be full of hunting clubs because I know the ducks will be there in the fall and I can manage my property to make sure the birds use my spot.

6. Size. This one is really up to you, but obviously the larger your property, the more difficult and expensive it will be to maintain. Think about who will do the most leg work and what 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 QUICK WORK! So don’t bite more than you can handle.

7. Capital improvements. Are there dikes already built? Are they in good shape? What about pipes and valves? Is the property equipped with equipment such as tractors, pumps, boats, ATVs? And the blinds? These should all be considered when buying a potential duck hunting property. Remember that this is a labor intensive investment.

8. Utilities and Accommodation. Does the property have electricity? What about water, whether it comes from a rural water supply or a well? If it comes from a well, you might consider having it tested for water quality? Does the property have a place to stay or to put a motorhome? How far 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 there is no accommodation on the property, perhaps there is an old farmhouse nearby that you could rent out? Or maybe there is a farmer nearby with water and electricity that will allow you to plug in a motorhome?

One thing to watch out for is the “build it and they will come” theory. I’m not saying it’s not possible with ducks, because it’s… I’ve done it. But, if you are going to go this route, make sure the property in question is in a flyway and has some sort of water access. These 2 ingredients are essential!

Another possibility is to conclude a hunting lease before buying. See if you can rent the land in question for a season with an option to buy? Even if you have to pay a high price for the lease, it’s a lot cheaper than finding out you’ve invested in a duck club where the ducks won’t come! Don’t be afraid to ask around – local restaurants, farming co-ops, tractor dealerships, sporting goods stores – all of these places can be a wealth of local knowledge.

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

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