Wednesday, May 7, 2014

2014 Gamekeepers / Spring - Making Income from Property

Landowner looks over a lightening strike pine

The same Gamekeepers who enjoy farming for wildlife, might also need help in defraying some of the costs associated with stewardship. Planting trees in order to rake pinestraw is but one of the ways recreational property can yield modest dividends. With hunting leases it’s a numbers game with the bigger the acreage the better the income, but for most small private landowners anything that pays some money into the pot makes the farm chores just a bit easier to accomplish.
2014 Spring issue Cover - Full Strut Tom
Timber sales will likely be the most lucrative transaction on any acreage, but timber harvest is only intermittent. Slow-growing pine trees can only be thinned a few times before the final clear cut takes place, and then it’s back to the waiting game. Timber sales are also subject to the demand from the market, with the recent economic recession and downturn in housing creating low prices for a time. And sometimes when it’s time to thin trees, markets are trumped by the health of the stand.

Gamekeepers can look for payment programs form the U.S. government, utilities companies, communications companies, hunting leases and sustainable harvest of their natural resources. In terms of an annual income, hunting leases have to top the list. As the popularity of hunting increases, like in the case of waterfowling due to the Duck Dynasty TV show, it’s a safe bet that the price for leases are trending upward.

Powerline Right-Of-Way Mowing Team set to destroy habitat
Raking pinestraw is an economic endeavor that is also raising awareness about planting more Longleaf pine trees, native to the Southeast. “There are some front ends costs with this type of operation, but there is also a ‘gravy’ period that can last nearly two decades,” said landowner Angus Lawton. Did you know that regular pinestraw from Slash or Loblolly trees is regarded as secondary to Longleaf straw because of its superior length, coloration and durability?

There is no link available to my feature article in the Spring 2014 issue. To join the Mossy Oak Gamekeeper club and receive a hat, Biologic seed samples and magazine subscription click here.

To view past blog entries from Gamekeepers magazine click here.

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