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How to Buy Recreational and Hunting Land

How to Buy Recreational and Hunting Land
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated May 2, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
If you hunt regularly, you may be thinking about buying recreational and hunting land so that you can hunt privately on your own property. This type of land can be expensive, but there are options available to help you finance the purchase, including recreational land loans and hunting land loans. As you’re exploring how to buy recreational land for hunting, these are some of the important details you should know.  

What Makes Good Hunting Land?

The size of the land is an important factor in determining whether it will make good hunting land. The space needs to be large enough for the animals you want to hunt. Even if the property is big, not every acre of it may be huntable. And of course, you’ll have to research the hunting regulations and zoning laws in the area. The land will need to be zoned for hunting.When it comes to how to buy recreational land for hunting, many potential buyers look for property that has a mix of hardwoods to provide cover for animals, and pasture as a food source. You might also want a pond or some other natural water source on the land to attract animals and birds.In addition, the land should be readily accessible. When you find a property you’re interested in, be sure to assess the entry and exit points, the topographical features, and how easy it is to get to the best hunting locations.Next check into what the neighboring properties are like. Neighbors who observe sustainable hunting practices may help prevent over-hunting of animals. You should also find out if there are any issues with diseases or predators in the area. Finally consider the location. In most cases, hunting land is useful if it’s close enough to where you live so you can use it frequently. Otherwise, if you can only visit occasionally, it may not be worth the cost. What’s around it is also critical. Land that’s too close to a city may not get enough wildlife. If there's no housing on the land and you don’t plan on building there or putting a mobile home on it, you may want certain conveniences nearby.You may want to work with a real estate agent who specializes in hunting land to help guide you in your search.Recommended: Need to Borrow Money? 9 Ways to Consider

Determine Your Budget

The average price of hunting land in the U.S. is approximately $4,000 an acre. The price varies, depending on where the land is.Before buying recreational and hunting land, you should figure out your budget. Be realistic about how much you can comfortably afford to spend. When you draw up your budget, remember to include the expenses involved in the upkeep of the land, not just the purchase price. Here are three considerations that can help you get started.

How Much Hunting Ground Do You Need?

How much land you require for hunting largely depends on what you plan to hunt and how you plan to hunt it. For example, if you hunt whitetails with a rifle and have a hunting partner, you may want up to 50 acres of land. If you hunt whitetails with a rifle by yourself, you might only need 25 acres. And if you hunt whitetails on your own with a bow, 10 acres may be enough. Some states have specific requirements. For instance, in Texas, the state law requires a minimum of 10 acres for hunting. Check the regulations in your state.

Determining the Value of a Hunting Property

The size and location of the land, plus the wildlife in the area, and the makeup of neighboring properties help determine the value of hunting land. As mentioned, average prices per acre of hunting land can vary a lot depending on location. The Southwest has traditionally had some of the cheapest hunting land, while the Midwest has generally had some of the most expensive hunting land.There may be ways to make hunting land help pay for itself — or at least generate some income.  For instance, you could harvest timber from the land and sell it, or lease out some acres as cattle pasture. You could also sell hunts on your property. However, before doing this, thoroughly research the regulations in your state. 

Using Trail Cams

If you find hunting land you’re interested in buying, consider asking the seller if you can put up game cameras on the land to see what animals are there. You’ll need the owner’s permission to do this. If they agree to it, trail cameras may help give you a sense of how valuable the land is for hunting whatever it is you want to hunt.

Determine the Type of Land and Game You’re Looking For

Knowing the quality of the land is important before making an offer on it. The property should be able to support wildlife with enough food, water, and shelter, as mentioned earlier. Ideally, the land should already have the type of game you’re looking to hunt. And if you plan to build a house on the property, and perhaps even to eventually move there, make sure there’s a dry, level place for a foundation. 

How to Pay for Hunting and Recreational Land

Once you’ve found the hunting and recreational land you want to buy, there are a few different ways to finance the purchase if you don’t have the cash to pay for it outright or enough time to save money for it. Funding options include:Personal loans: With a personal loan, a bank, online lender, or credit union lends you a lump sum that you repay with interest in installments over time. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you may get. Once you’re approved for a personal loan, you may expect to receive funds quickly, typically within one to five days. These loans are flexible and can be used for virtually any purpose, including the purchase of land. However, you’ll have to see if you qualify for a large enough personal loan to cover the cost. Personal loans range from small personal loans starting at about $1,000, to larger loans of $50,000 or more. What you can qualify for depends on such factors as your credit, the existing debt you have, and your income. You can compare a variety of top personal loans and their rates, terms, and requirements to see what might be a good fit for your land buying needs. Land loans: Another option you may want to look into is land loans. A land loan is a loan from a bank or other financial institution that’s used specifically for the purchase of land. And in fact, two examples of land loans are recreational land loans and hunting land loans. Recreational land loan qualifications can be stringent. A land loan may be more difficult to qualify for than a mortgage. That’s because if the borrower defaults on the loan, it can be more challenging for the lender to resell vacant land than to resell property with a house. Some land loan lenders require a down payment that’s 20% to 50% of the land purchase price. Compared to traditional mortgages, interest rates for land loans are also typically higher, and repayment terms are generally shorter. Because of recreational land loan requirements,  many buyers end up using another financing option. But land loans can be an alternative to at least consider.  Owner financing: Some sellers might be willing to work with you on financing. You’ll need to negotiate the terms of the deal, such as what kind of down payment you’ll need to make, how much the monthly payments will be, and when the loan must be fully repaid. You may want to consult with a lawyer if you choose to go this route to make sure everything is documented properly.Recommended: How Much Can You Borrow With a Personal Loan?

The Takeaway

Buying recreational and hunting land could be a good investment if hunting is something you enjoy and value. But make sure you can afford the purchase without stretching yourself too much financially. And take your time to choose the right plot of land to ensure that enough of it is huntable and has good value. If you’re looking for a personal loan to help buy recreational or hunting land, Lantern can help you compare options. In our marketplace, you can get offers from multiple lenders at once to find the loan that’s right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is buying hunting land a good investment?
How many acres do you need for deer hunting?
How do you make hunting land pay for itself?
What is the average price of hunting land?
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About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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