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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I am new to this site but hoping to come here to get some ideas about turning farm land into hunting land. My siblings and I are taking over our family farm that consists of 160 acres which a majority of it is currently being farmed (see below for aerial view). When we take it over it will no longer be farmed as we are wanting to turn it into as much hunting land as possible for pheasant, waterfowl, and deer.

I know there are CRP/WRP programs that you can work with to get paid to turn your land into natural habitat as well as game and fish wildlife food plot offers. If anyone has done any of these before, how has it worked out? I know it's not a guarantee to get into one of these programs but we want to do what we can to make this land as "huntable" and enjoyable as possible.

Below is an aerial view of the land and what it looks like. We also plan on tearing down the old house and putting a hunting cabin onsite.

Ecoregion Land lot Grass Wood Adaptation


Any recommendations/thoughts are welcome and appreciated!
 

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A couple of things....

1. What state are you located it? Because like you mentioned there are many states that have programs for this or help with what you are wanting to do.

2. What does the land look outside of the 160 acres? Reason why I ask this is because if just a 1/2 mile over is large woods, bigger water, etc. Matters when you are talking deer or waterfowl. Also if around your wooded land if there is all crops.... well then food plots and stuff like that is kind of wasting money because they have food all around so what makes yours "different". If you know what I am getting at. Also with water for deer... is yours the only water around or does the next property have water as well? All this stuff matters... and is the #1 thing people dont every look at when trying to "turn" their property into a "hunting paradise".

3. If you want "waterfowl"..... is it that you want field for them to feed in? Water to roost? Loafing area? Standing crops that you flood to get them to come to your property? Lots of things which also costs money and are not a fool proof way to attract piles of birds.

So those are a few questions. But even more importantly you need to look at goals with your siblings.

What I am getting at is you need to come up with a "management" type plan. Also how many people will be hunting the land and at what time of the year? Does everyone expect to shoot 120" deer? Or everyone shoot a 140" deer?

When it comes to waterfowl... do you want to stack ducks for weeks? How many people will be hunting and again at what times? Because if you are pounding away at ducks it will push deer away... same goes for pheasants. Also if you are out shooting roosters any ducks on the water or in the fields might get spooked away while hunting pheasants.

But I also agree with Sasha and Abby..... It looks pretty good as is. If you would do anything is maybe add CRP to the smaller of the two ag fields. Then keep the back field by the woods ag to draw in deer and they feel safe away from the roads. If anything possibly plant some trees along the driveway to give the deer a "funnel/edge" to follow to the water so they feel safe. Plus is good cover for pheasants when bad weather hits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A couple of things....

1. What state are you located it? Because like you mentioned there are many states that have programs for this or help with what you are wanting to do.

2. What does the land look outside of the 160 acres? Reason why I ask this is because if just a 1/2 mile over is large woods, bigger water, etc. Matters when you are talking deer or waterfowl. Also if around your wooded land if there is all crops.... well then food plots and stuff like that is kind of wasting money because they have food all around so what makes yours "different". If you know what I am getting at. Also with water for deer... is yours the only water around or does the next property have water as well? All this stuff matters... and is the #1 thing people dont every look at when trying to "turn" their property into a "hunting paradise".

3. If you want "waterfowl"..... is it that you want field for them to feed in? Water to roost? Loafing area? Standing crops that you flood to get them to come to your property? Lots of things which also costs money and are not a fool proof way to attract piles of birds.

So those are a few questions. But even more importantly you need to look at goals with your siblings.

What I am getting at is you need to come up with a "management" type plan. Also how many people will be hunting the land and at what time of the year? Does everyone expect to shoot 120" deer? Or everyone shoot a 140" deer?

When it comes to waterfowl... do you want to stack ducks for weeks? How many people will be hunting and again at what times? Because if you are pounding away at ducks it will push deer away... same goes for pheasants. Also if you are out shooting roosters any ducks on the water or in the fields might get spooked away while hunting pheasants.

But I also agree with Sasha and Abby..... It looks pretty good as is. If you would do anything is maybe add CRP to the smaller of the two ag fields. Then keep the back field by the woods ag to draw in deer and they feel safe away from the roads. If anything possibly plant some trees along the driveway to give the deer a "funnel/edge" to follow to the water so they feel safe. Plus is good cover for pheasants when bad weather hits.
Thank you for your response! All of this is really appreciated as we get a better grip on what we want the outcome of the land to look like. But I 100% agree and getting a firm management plan put together with my siblings so that we can outline our goals and objectives for this.

We are located in SE North Dakota where I believe there are a good amount of programs we can try to get into to turn this land into more of a hunting land. As the image shows, about half of the land is farmed and once we end farming the land for good it will just be unused soil that I would love to turn into natural habitats for game.
 

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My CRP story is a long one. Your story will be
very similar but, in my story it was bittersweet.

Short story version. Previous CRP was ending.
Ducks Unlimited/USDA offered 3x more money
if hunters allowed to use.

DU/USDA wanted to destroy very nice, lush, well kept
up CRP fields with Roundup in order to have
more native grasses planted (that would take
5 years). All kinds of animals lived there.

In the meantime someone shot in to the home
stead house. Welp, that sealed a different deal
and no dam hunters hunting there again!

I paid a hefty penalty to get out of the newly signed
contract but no more Government involvement.

They asked what I was going to do with the CRP, I
just smiled and walked away (none of their business).
It was rented out to a well respected, generous
Farmer later that day.

You need to read, read, and re-read that contact.
You need to understand what exactly will be expected
of you for up keep of the CRP. DU/USDA now will own you
for a long time. You will receive mail every so often,
they inspected CRP, and needs noxious weeds taken care of.

Good Luck.
 
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Everything Norseman said is true when teaming up with certain outfits or programs.



What Sasha and Abby stated is what I was going to suggest as well. Hedgerows or tree lines all animals love to hang out in and follow. It is a perfect "funnel" for deer to travel along going to and from ponds, ag fields, food plots, etc.

There are programs that give away free trees with no strings attached. Especially around Arbor Day. Some schools even have trees available or will send students to plant trees. This could be different in different states or areas.

I would also keep some of the land in AG. Find a good local farmer. Talk with them about what your goals are for hunting and what not. Also the AG land can pay for your taxes on the land or any improvements you might want to do in the future....ie: Planting trees, digging out ponds, etc.
 
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