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Old Jan 21st 2016, 07:02 PM   #1
 
  May 2011
  Fosston, MN
Just wondering on what your guys thoughts are on starting a small 100 acre preserve(can go bigger if I need to) in northern MN I have the land 90% wooded with nice hills and small creek. Almost all my stockers would be from my farm. Wondering what your guys thoughts are if it would be worth it.
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Old Jan 21st 2016, 09:11 PM   #2
 Bell's Avatar
 
  Apr 2014
  Greensburg, IN
It is very nice to get retail instead of wholesale for our bucks in the preserve. It isn't hard to sell hunts for clean typical bucks.
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Old Jan 22nd 2016, 03:31 AM   #3
 
  Nov 2013
  Mission MN
It takes a long time to build a good client base. Typical bucks are the key and good accommodations keep your hunters coming back. Insurance is very expensive here in Minnesota and you will get to compete with guys that are e bay selling hunts on 15 acres and less. And of course you will have the challenge of competing with guys that are selling 160s hunts for $1000. All while you are trying to recover your investment of $250,000 ? 500,000? Or more!!. You better really love your deer and not quit your day job. Don't mean to sound negative but we have been living that life in Minnesota for a long time. We are fortunate that we don't have debt on our farm operation or we couldn't do what we do.

Good luck.
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Old Jan 22nd 2016, 03:42 AM   #4
 Four Seasons Whitetails's Avatar
 
  Oct 2009
  upstate ny

Cervid: Whitetail Deer
Arrowed11061081453465871



It takes a long time to build a good client base. Typical bucks are the key and good accommodations keep your hunters coming back. Insurance is very expensive here in Minnesota and you will get to compete with guys that are e bay selling hunts on 15 acres and less. And of course you will have the challenge of competing with guys that are selling 160s hunts for $1000. All while you are trying to recover your investment of $250,000 ? 500,000? Or more!!. You better really love your deer and not quit your day job. Don't mean to sound negative but we have been living that life in Minnesota for a long time. We are fortunate that we don't have debt on our farm operation or we couldn't do what we do.

Good luck.




Yup..Just what is killing our hunting industry all across the country. One guy under cutting the other guy just to make the sale, Even at a loss? *This will continue to hurt the industry by showing hunters a false price on one ranch and then when they call around for another hunt they are sticker shocked by the correct prices. Just a continued downhill slide. *Dog eat Dog in today's world.
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Old Jan 22nd 2016, 02:49 PM   #5
 
  May 2011
  Fosston, MN
Four seasons the investment isn't huge for me I have the land it would just be too fence it. I probably wouldn't start out with a hunting lodge just the hotel or our hunting camp.
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Old Jan 23rd 2016, 04:03 AM   #6
 
  Nov 2013
  Mission MN
Be prepared! By taking in "pay" hunters you will find insurance is very expensive but beyond that you will have the cost of a new variable , hunters . They have a tendency to shoot the wrong deer , wound deer , not find the deer they want , miss deer that you end up finding later dead , taking 5 or 6 days to harvest instead of the 3 they have booked . They show up early , they show up a day or two late , they come as a smaller group than planned or a bigger group than planned , . Get ready to cape , cut meat , boxing crating and shipping of taxidermy and meat , hospital runs for the broad head and knife cuts (the Hunter) . Flights that are late and you have to pick them up , extra airport trips as their weapon of choice or clothes didn't show up , your hired guy doesn't show , the idiot that is shooting squirrels , rabbits , turkeys , the Hunter that won't stay in his stand and turns your deer nocturnal . The list is very long. You gotta love raising deer.
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Old Jan 23rd 2016, 09:10 AM   #7
 Bell's Avatar
 
  Apr 2014
  Greensburg, IN
A guide with every hunter is a must. We charge a flat fee at our preserve. The guides have zero pressure to find specific animals. It is up to the hunters discretion to harvest their animal. The older biggest bucks were not harvested in our preserve. They evaded every hunter and most have now shed their antlers. This simple fee structure worked even better than anticipated. Nearly every hunter harvested the first decent buck that came within range. We also already own our land and get $300 per acre crop rent for a 100 acre field in the preserve.
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Old Jan 23rd 2016, 06:22 PM   #8
 
  May 2011
  Fosston, MN
I have to check on insurance and see how much that is. Like bell does I would do the same and have a guide with every hunt. I wish there was better rent around here your lucky to get 75 a acre. Thanks for all the input guys
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Old Jan 24th 2016, 04:16 AM   #9
 
  Nov 2013
  Mission MN
We started with a guide for every Hunter. It is real difficult with larger groups. It is always the hunters decision to pull the trigger and never the guide. Just whining a bit earlier. Our big challenge now is to bait out the remaining deer in the preserve for our state required physical inventory. Like you Jonathon , our biggest and oldest bucks survived the season. Our bucks don't shed antlers til late March but we are done hunting for the season. We have stayed with the pay for the size you shoot as that is what our clients want. Soon all our stockers will be 190 plus and we are going to go to a fixed price and just have a few lower class bucks that the grandkids will hunt. Several of our clients have been with us for 3 generations of family. Although the hunt preserve concept is new to Minnesota we had them at hunt preserves in Wisconsin and Texas.
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Old Jan 27th 2016, 10:31 AM   #10
 Wild Rivers Whitetails's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Northeast Wisconsin

Cervid: Deer Farming


Arrowed1 makes a lot of good points* We have been in business nearly 20 years.* We always have a guide with our hunters, sometimes two hunters to a guide if they are family groups.* You have to pay guides and find good ones.* While it may cost you the same to raise a 150 deer or a 300 inch deer, you have to get different prices for them on the preserve.* As for the cost cutters, you hope your quality of experience etc. will bring folks back.* We have heard a lot of horror stories from guys who went on the cheap hunt.* If someone is going to make a decision based on price alone, you can't win that argument.* It costs something to get new hunters, whether it is ads, TV or shows.* It costs something to maintain your lodge and equipment.* You need to feed the hunters.* You need to allow all types of firearms and bowhunters as well.* Bowhunters are the most likely to be wounding an animal that you don't find until later, hence the need for a guide.* You have property taxes to pay and you still have to feed the deer that didn't get shot this season until next, and hope they make it or at least have a decent set of antlers.*
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Old Jan 27th 2016, 01:30 PM   #11
 
  Nov 2013
  Mission MN
Gary ,

You too make a lot of good points. It is a good life but it takes a lot of time , money and labor to get a preserve to produce an income and even a fair amount of help !
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 06:42 PM   #12
 
  Apr 2013
  Fairchild, WI


Hello Reed,* I think there is a need and a lot of opportunity for a hunting ranch in Minnesota.* I am not far from the Minnesota border.* We are a 2 hour drive from the Minnesota airport.* You need to spend the time setting up what you are going to do and how you are going to market your ranch.* Every hunter is looking for something different.* You need to decide what you are going to do and sell it.* I don't think you want to do everything the same as everyone else or anyone else.** You need to focus on what will make you different.* Here is what I do different.* *I think cost is very important in anything that you do, but everything comes down to what value a hunter receives verse what he pays.* I don't have guides that sit with hunters.* I started with guides, but the costs of workers comp, disability, wages, etc. made it a lot more expensive than I wanted to add to the cost of the hunt.* I set up my ranch to hunt 8 hunters at a time.**There is the issue of a hunter being honest, I have had a couple issues over the years, but not enough for me to add the guides back. I*couldn't imagine keeping 8 guides around the ranch.**Problems have been very minimal.* In my case, I advertise and push that hunters can hunt without someone looking over their shoulder telling them what animal to shoot.* In order to run without guides, I score each animal before it goes into the ranch and I use a visual color coded tag that correlates to the size of the animal.* This eliminates the problem of hunters making a mistake of shooting the wrong animal.**What I do isn't for everyone.* Some hunters don't like the extra tags.* Some hunters want to have a guide sit with them.** They hunt elsewhere. *I have enough hunters that book with me each fall to fill my calendar.* I harvest about 280 bucks each fall.* My calendar for next fall is about full already.* It wasn't always that way.* The first year I started hunting I went to multiple shows and only booked one hunter.* Now most of the bookings that fill the calendar*are repeat customers and hunters that are referred by customers.**Just as*others said, making sure everyone is treated right is very important because building that clientele is*tough.* There is a lot of distrust in the hunting industry from*hunters being taken or*paying*for a bad experience.**Not so much from the ranch hunts, but*the outfitted hunts, but it still causes distrust of the whole hunting industry.* If you ever*want to come and see what we do or have any questions, feel free to*contact me.* I like to help.* You are doing the right thing by asking for opinions.* You should keep asking and*talk to multiple ranches on what they do before you make a decision on*what*and how you are going to run your ranch. *I feel it is vital to all of our futures to keep moving forward with growth of the industry.* Growth means we need to get more people opening ranches,*advertising, and bringing new hunters into hunting within our ranches.
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Old Jan 31st 2016, 12:33 PM   #13
 Wild Rivers Whitetails's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Northeast Wisconsin

Cervid: Deer Farming


So what about the carryover bucks that you don't shoot??* They will score differently the next year.* Also, don't you have does in your preserve?* We do and think it adds a lot especially during the rut.* We have a number of natural born deer in our preserve.
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Old Jan 31st 2016, 01:07 PM   #14
 IndependenceRanch's Avatar
 
  Apr 2009
  Edgar, WI

Cervid: deer
I believe MN would need to shoot everything out due to the ridiculous regs they have. So Adventures method would be the best plan. Put in and shoot out that year. Then start over again.
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Old Jan 31st 2016, 02:30 PM   #15
 
  Nov 2013
  Fence, WI


I can tell you on our preserve that would be next to impossible.* Too thick, a swampy area and over 250 acres.* Just about impossible.
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