Playing Devil’s Advocate – The Case Against Buying Hunting Land

People always ask me about hunting land and where I hunt. Now, I’ve worked hard to build my network in the outdoor world and have joined the pro staffs for numerous companies. I get a lot of invitations every year and reciprocate as much as I am able. I’m a lucky guy. I get to hunt all over the world and you can, too. One way that is easy is to make the same choice I did years ago… Unless you have a ton of money or want to make your hunting land your retirement account, I would never buy land at today’s prices. I am a Wisconsin resident, and I’m seeing prices of about $2000.00 per acre for “up north” land that has nothing but recreational value. Some of it has even been select cut, so has limited timber.

So, what do you get for your money? Let’s say you buy 40 acres for $80,000.00 5% down is $4000.00. Your taxes will be around $600.00-$1000.00 PER YEAR on the low end. Your payment at today’s rates is $420.00/Month X 12 months= $5,040.00/year. First year total is $9000.00! For that much I can send you on a fully outfitted African safari for 10 days with 6 premium animals–with airfare- a once-in-a-lifetime dream hunt for most people, and your hunting is probably not much better than the guys that hunt the surrounding public land. That $5000.00+ that you pay every year will let me send you to Saskatchewan or Alberta at the height of the rut for 7 days where someone else will cook, clean, scout, transport, etc. All you do is hunt!

Now, where do you think you have a better chance of shooting a MONSTER whitetail- Saskatchewan or Phillips, WI? Want land near Eau Claire? Add 30-50%. Buffalo County, WI or Pike County, IL- $5000-7000.00 per acre. Want to have any chance of managing your herd? Buy 160 acres and the costs are 4 TIMES these estimates. $20,000.00+… AT THE LOW END! That’s a bighorn sheep hunt EVERY YEAR FOR 30 YEARS! In addition to the costs, many landowners feel obligated to go to their slice of paradise as often as they can. They feel guilty if they deer hunt elsewhere because, after all, they own their own land. If you live near Milwaukee (~300 miles away) and bring your own food, that’s a couple hundred dollars every time you take the trip… Oh, and you had better camp, because motels run $50.00/night, minimum, and even the most rustic cabins will cost $5000-$10,000.00, depending on the amenities. I just add that money to my hunting budget.

What are you going to do if the deer population in your area suffers winterkill? What happens if you have bad neighbors that trespass your property? What if a pack of wolves decides your land is a great den location? Here’s an ethics question for you- If a local high school kid asked permission to hunt your land while you weren’t there, would you let them? Who will watch and control access while you are gone?

Now, that all being said, there are many different reasons to own land. The decision is quite an individual one, but this is my answer to all of the people that ask how I can afford to go on a U.S. hunt AND an international hunt every year. The short answer-I’m not locked down. If you want to go on the trip of a lifetime or want to talk more about this type of lifestyle and living, you can visit my website,

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