A popular country song from 1995, by David Lee Murphy, tells the tale of Creole Williams, the local wine making aficionado. Creole stores his home brew down in a dark and dusty cellar, but states with proud assurances that:
“There might be a little dust on the bottle, but don’t let it fool you about what’s inside”.
“There might be a little dust on the bottle, it’s one of those things that get sweeter with time.”
Looking at some deer hunting tracts can be very much like that. Many times a property may have “a little dust on bottle”, but with more detailed observation and investigation, you may discover that “what’s inside” is what really matters.
The owner of a hunting tract may have been limited in their ability to manage the land by a lack of passion, use of poor timber and land management practices or limited financial means. These properties typically don’t show well to a prospective buyer because they simply don’t have a lot of curb appeal. However, looking “inside the bottle” may uncover great potential given good land and wildlife management practices, time for those practices to take effect and perhaps not at great expense.
Research into local and state soils maps and harvest records will show if the potential exists for the area to produce quality deer. Some areas historically produce superior whitetails due to the soils ability to produce better browse. Harvest records will confirm the areas ability to do so.
Studying aerials and topographic maps will reveal how the property fits geographically into the larger picture. Sometimes a tract can be the “heartbeat” of an area by virtue of its terrain and features that create natural travel corridors through the property. Also, look into the management and harvest practices of surrounding properties. You may find that the neighbors are managing for mature bucks as well.
Spend a proper amount time on the property and take a walk about. Getting out of the truck or off the ATV, and looking deep into the tangles and thickets, will identify possible bedding areas that can be easily established by simply improving what is already there and new locations for food plots near those potential bedding areas.
Pay attention to the timber and vegetation on the site. Whether it is thick natural regeneration or standing timber, there may be actions that can be implemented to improve the site for preferred mast bearing species of trees and natural browse.
Engage a licensed Real Estate Broker or Agent that specializes in recreational land. He or she should be knowledgeable of good land management and development practices, is a hunter themselves and is familiar with the area in which the property is located.
Their expertise will be of great assistance in knocking the dust off the bottle, as well as negotiating and closing a land purchase that will get sweeter with time.
J Parker Sartain
Sartain’s Heritage Properties
Specializing in Hunting, Farm and Timber Land