Tips for Buying Recreational Property and Hunting Land

October 1, 2020
So, you are thinking about buying Recreational property or Hunting property.

– Here are some tips.

In the opinion of 18 Land Company, Montana is the premier area when it comes to finding your dream recreational property or hunting land. Upland birds, waterfowl, elk, Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer, moose and antelope can all be found in abundance in Montana, which few other states can boast. Our state truly is the Treasure State when it comes to recreational properties for sale. Many ranches offer most, or all species mentioned above.

When it comes to buying Montana recreational property there are several factors a person needs to keep in mind.  The best hunting properties will have a great food source, cover for bedding areas, water found throughout the property, and limited hunting pressure.  When buying hunting land, you’ll want to search for all or most of these qualities.  Obviously, larger properties bring a higher chance that these traits can all be found so your budget will come into play when you start your search.

The greatest asset is finding a broker who knows hunting areas throughout the state of Montana and can advise you correctly on how to buy recreational property.  Having knowledge of the quality and size of animals, which areas are in Montana’s general draw, and which areas are in a limited draw are imperative to finding the perfect property.  As a buyer, you will benefit from knowing the odds of drawing a tag in trophy areas and how landowner preference comes into play in those areas.  Many trophy districts produce Boone and Crocket animals annually but are more difficult to draw a tag for that area.  Buying a property in a general season area offers a much better chance of harvesting an elk or deer more often, but quality becomes sacrificed at some level.  Make sure you know what your priorities are when you start your search. Many folks are passionate about one species over the rest, which makes a buyer’s journey a little easier.  If hunting for elk is your main goal, finding an alpine setting in an area where large numbers of elk are found is a much easier task if you’re willing to sacrifice waterfowl and upland birds (as an example).

Another tip for buying hunting land is finding properties which help enhance habitat.  Properties with sprinkler or flood irrigation allow for planting crops which attract game. Flooding creates wetland areas for waterfowl and grows cover, which attracts wildlife and keeps them on your property.  It’s also key to know your neighbors.  If you find a property lacking one or two of the key qualities you are looking for and the neighboring property provides that component, that limits pressure on the land you are considering. The property can still be a top notch hunting property, though.

When buying recreational property, having a broker on your side who knows how to find these key recreational components is a must!  Your broker also needs to know how to use the property’s features and Montana laws/wildlife programs to create sporting ranches. 18 Land Company offers that experience and can help a buyer enhance the recreational and sporting aspects of the property in the future through its land concierge program.  Many of the finest sporting ranches in Montana are excellent agricultural properties which were converted into exceptional sporting ranches by simply having a vision and using the property’s agriculture features to enhance the habitat.  Because of habitat enhancement projects, some of the greatest wing shooting can be found on properties which historically lacked those species. Often there are programs available to help with habitat improvement. For example, Montana offers landowners the opportunity to place a commercial shooting preserve on their property with some fees and guidelines to follow.  This particular program allows the upland bird enthusiast ways to create a recreational amenity on properties which didn’t naturally have that component.

So how do you buy recreational property in Montana?  Review brokerages online.  Make calls and talk to several brokers who seem to excel in this area.  Narrow your selection to a few brokers and meet with them in person.  Be extremely specific and detailed on what is most important to you.  Once you have selected a broker, have them send you brochures which follow your criteria and then set up visits.  Have the little things in mind.  Does the closest town provide the services you or your family require?  How close is commercial air service? The more information you provide your broker, the better.

There has never been a better time to acquire financing.  Recreational land loans are at an all-time low for interest rates.  When it comes to financing recreational property, Montana has many lenders who understand large properties and consumers goals when pursuing a sporting ranch. If you’ve been dreaming of Montana, 18 Land Company would love to help you find a place to call home. Our team can help you find Montana hunting property as well as recreational property for sale in the beautiful state of Montana!

If you have questions or would like to talk to one of us about buying recreational property and hunting land, we welcome you to contact Keith Handlos at or 406.925.1814

Here are some additional resources to help you through land transaction decisions:

How to Start a Successful Montana Ranching or Farming Operation


Navigating a Montana Land Sale: Do I need a broker or realtor?


Five Tips for Listing Your Farm or Ranch Property


How to Maintain Your Montana Ranch Property