Have you taken any steps to prepare your ranch for hunting this season? Or are you looking to buy a hunting property for next year? Hunting on private land, especially if you’re the owner, spurs a bit of independence. Own the land and test your ranch management skills. In the future, you’ll want to build a vision, formulate a multi-tiered strategy, and develop infrastructure to facilitate your plan.
To be successful with habitat and wildlife management, you’ll put in time, sweat, and sacrifice. It could take a decade before your very own hunting ranch to reaches its full potential. Maybe longer. Other hunters tell us the preparation is worth the effort. You’ll see the benefits and tag the rewards.
8 Tips to Improve Hunting on Private Land
When done correctly, hunting on private land has tons of benefits. Check out these 8 ways to improve the season’s hunt on private land. Think about these common strategies. Always start by observing and protecting the natural resources of your farm or ranch. In a hurry? Try any of these 8 things to improve your hunting experience.
- Create food sources
If you need to attract wildlife, add feeders, food plots, and attractants. Enhance the natural vegetation with fertilizer. If private land or a ranch features only open fields, the emphasis will be on bird hunting. Although there may be deer in the area, the owner would need to plan a 10 year strategy to add tree cover that attracts them. Green browse, acorns from oak trees, and other food stuff will be helpful. Planting an acre or a hundred acres goes a long way towards bringing animal life to your hunting land.
Ranch management is key. Some managers add supplemental feed or hang out feeders. A fast-track for next season could be fencing a field a quickly plant with Evolved Harvest Throw & Grow. If legal, some put out mineral salt blocks or other deer attractants.
- Purchase an Interactive Map
Do you have a large or diverse ranch? For a few hundred dollars ask a management team to create an interactive map for your recreational ranch. You’ll first need an overall strategy. The map allows your ranch management team to click on a section of the ranch property to view the next step in a broader habitat management plan. This is especially effective when you have a multi-year plan for a property.
- Trail cams
Survey the wildlife and bird numbers. Walk the area and look for signs. Set up trail cams. You want to find out where deer live and bed, feed, and water. You also want to know the tunnels and pathways. Take photos and write down findings. This information helps monitor the progress of any wildlife management strategy.
- Determine your Wildlife Habitat
Study the lay of the land, the climate, geography, watershed, forests, and adjoining properties. What birds come near the fields and meadows? What are the migration cycles? Ask the neighbors to assist if you are new to the area.
Ducks and geese love slow moving water, ponds, nesting grasses, and woods. Grouse, turkey, and pheasant even burrow into snow for shelter. These birds look for buds, catkins, leaves, and twigs to eat, along with insects and worms. Forest-living grouse species eat conifer needles! Big Game need cover. Irrigated fields near streams and forests make for comfy winter grounds for game. They hunker down under branches of large pine or in the thickets.
- Set up Hunting Stands
Set up tree stands, blinds, or climbing stands near the bedding areas. Camouflage them with branches.
- Get Permission from another Rancher
If you’re still trying to find a hunting property or save up enough to get your own piece of private land, ask permission to hunt another’s. Owning a hunting ranch may not be within easy reach right now. You may love the outdoors and dream of hunting on your own private land but still need to acquire it.
A drive through the countryside could give you a glimpse of inviting wildlife habitat. Look for ranchers out fixing fences or moving the cattle. Stop and ask permission to hunt the private land. It’s possible to build relationships with rural folk and many do welcome a little extra cash if you’re willing to pay for a lease. You could even trade off by helping the rancher or farmer manage their habitat.
- Limit the Hunts to Your Hunting Party
Hunting on private land gives you more control over the hunting terms than hunting on public land. One control can be a specific agreement. If you limit the hunts to you and your hunting party instead of sharing, chances are you’ll find more success. Animals will not be as easily frightened away from the area. Of course, when you own the hunting land, you determine who uses it and when. Nice perk!
- Set up a Hunting Camp
Set up your cabin or camp and stock it with necessary equipment and gear. Add comforts over time.
Financial Help to Buy Hunting Land
If you are just warming up to the idea of becoming a rancher, you’ll be looking for ways to gather financial backing. Check out these ideas. One, if you are a hunter or have family and friends, see if anyone wants to go in on a hunting land investment. You could probably buy a hunting property together.
Two, government agencies could possibly help. The US government provides billions of dollars of funding options. Register and find out what programs you are eligible for through the FSA (Farm Service Agency) or the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service at USDA).
In addition, there are ways to reduce the financial obligations. Ask about Conservation Reserve Program. It pays rent to landowners who remove tillable acreage from production if they replace it with natural vegetation. There are government funds available to reduce taxes for some who can open limited public access.
Tailor your Strategy
How to best manage wildlife habitat varies with a landowner’s purposes. For example, if you own a ranch in Colorado’s High Plains, attracting birds and deer would be priority. In contrast, ranches in Rocky Mountains seek to attract trophy elk. Strategy for habitat management differs accordingly. Get tailored assistance for your hunting property. First, buy that land! We’d love the opportunity to help change your hunting land fantasy into reality with many successful tags.
Brokers – Hunting Ranches
Call the longtime hunting brokers at Harrigan Land Company at (303) 908-1101. Learn about hunting properties for sale. Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, and the surrounding areas.