Land management , what is it ?

Seems like the outdoorsman can’t pick up a magazine or watch an outdoors show without hearing someone talk about land management. So what exactly is it , how do you do it and what is the object ? We’ll discuss that right here so let’s dig in ….

Land management can mean different things to different people. Some want to improve the wildlife habitat , some want to improve just the beauty of it , some want to strictly improve the value. All of these can and do work together , I’ve done it and it works. Before we get too far you have to decide who’s property are you managing / improving ? If it isn’t yours then your goals and budget had better be pretty small or you’re going to lose money. It simply makes no sense to spend much time or money improving someone else’s land. If you’re leasing land for hunting then my advice is to do the bare minimum if anything at all. So if it’s your land where do we start ?

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Make a list of goals , things you want to do , the reasons why and the benefit you can see from doing this. I started out on my property several years ago with the ultimate goal of making it a great hunting property. Before I could do that I had to provide some access in to and through my property. This immediately improved the value & enjoyment of the place while providing me what I needed to accomplish my #1 goal. I figured if I was going to do it and do it right I had to spend the time and money to build a trail system that would last forever , or at least a helluva long time. Once I accomplished this I was able to move on to other projects like clearing some pretty ugly areas that were completely unproductive. By that I mean there was nothing growing there that benefited the wildlife, not to mention it looked awful. So I hired a guy with a dozer and had him open these spots up so I could begin to create a place the wildlife would want to be. Once I finished that I could see how I now had places to dig a couple water holes , plant some stuff the critters love to eat and create an area that simply looked a lot better. I did this same thing in a couple spots on my property which has resulted in a place I can get around  easily , looks much better than before and I have more wildlife there than there probably has ever been.

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Every property is different in terms of what can be accomplished and how to go about it. You may get lucky and have a place where there are trees that have some value. If so you can generate some money by working with a forester and having some of those trees removed. You’ll end up with some money to work with and will see the cut areas regenerate immediately while producing all kinds of feed for your local wildlife. In the process of doing this you will create a network of trails and your access will be well on the way to being accomplished. Don’t underestimate the importance of access when it comes to value and enjoyment. When it’s time to sell the place it’s much easier to sell if you can actually show the property without much effort. Access provides everything you need in a piece of land , don’t ignore it. Do it right and it will pay you back forever. These opportunities aren’t everywhere but they’re out there if you look hard enough. No matter what don’t lose sight of the fact YOU are in control of this. You decide what your goals are and how you want to do it. If this is a property you plan on owning for a long time then take your time and do it right. Patience is important , believe me I have none and have learned I couldn’t do it all at once. Hiring someone to do it was out of the question because the “doing” is the fun of the whole exercise.  The size of the parcel isn’t all that important. When it gets right down to it every piece of land should be managed / maintained. A 5 acre parcel is plenty of land to take on and improve. Although it may not be that big it still presents opportunities for improvement that can pay off in many ways. A simple trail running through the place will provide tons of enjoyment for a short walk, quiet access to a tree stand and will improve the value. On 5 acres you can still plant food for wildlife if you want and have a place where you can hunt every year and have a lot of fun doing so. All of this can be done with an ATV , a few tools and some time. My property is 80 acres and today I have approximately 8 acres of food plots for the deer. Maintaining this is a lot of time and work no doubt , especially since I do nearly all of it alone. This many acres planted requires a tractor and some pretty serious attachments to go with it. If you’re up for it I can tell you it’s as much fun as you could imagine.

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If you buy some land and decide you’re going to sit on it and let it increase in value I don’t think anyone could blame you. But what’s the fun in that ? With some effort and money you can improve the place and increase the value of it every time you are there. One thing I think of whenever I’m working on my land is ” it’s worth more now than it was when I got here today” , and it is. The enjoyment of improving & maintaining your own forest is like nothing you can imagine if you haven’t done it before. A lot of people are doing it who aren’t any more qualified or experienced than you. Don’t be intimidated by it and don’t put it off. This is something every outdoorsman needs to experience in life and it will pay you back in ways you never imagined. Dig in , get dirty and have some fun. Please share this with your buddies , send me comments and SIGN UP right here for all the latest in land info for upstate NY. Thanks for stopping by.   mj

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