How to Set Goals for Your Recreational Property

By: Amos S. Eno
Posted on:07/28/2011

You won’t be growing longleaf pine in Massachusetts, but within ecological reason, the best way to be a steward of your property is to clarify your desires

This is the last in our series of blog posts about Rans Thomas, of Tecomate fame, now the owner and principal of Thomas Resources Wildlife and Land Enhancement.  Here he gives his advice to private landowners everywhere.

Here's what Rans Thomas advises landowners to do prior to hiring anyone to assist them with land management: “Most of all, before you talk to someone, identify your own goals.  What do you want - better hunting, timber value, ag value?  Do you want all around better wildlife habitat or are you strictly in search of bigger whitetails, muleys or elk?  What about quail, turkey, dove, small game or fishing?

“You’ll need to provide an understanding of your budget.  A big part of what a consultant does is design for your goals within the limits of your budget, including your income and various revenue streams.  The goal is to make your property income sustainable, and timber is usually a big part of that, particularly in the Southeast.  For example, you may have the ability to log a portion of property, using the income to create a fund  for developing other parts of the property that are more suitable for hunting.

“I worked with a client who purchased a former industrial Loblolly pine timber tract that had been thinned excessively to show as a “hunting” tract.  The client wanted better big game, but the property was actually better suited for quail and wing shooting.  Rather than just clear-cutting and starting over, I proposed he clearcut strips through the big timber wide enough to plant Longleaf pine, and do this every 5 to 8 years.  

“By strategically cutting and replanting compartments of younger age class timber with low growing denser cover, we created the much needed travel corridors, escape cover, bedding areas and landscape diversity for whitetails without cashing in on all of the timber at once.  We also clear-cut larger food plots that could be farmed for income while feeding wildlife.  The end result will be a vastly better big game hunting property with some wing shooting and long range sustainable timber income.  

“The client called me recently to tell me how many big deer he was seeing on the food plots and how much better the property had become, which was music to my ears!  I see land as a canvas on which I help my clients to paint the picture of their dream property, so they can sit back and enjoy the view.”

LANDOWNERS, there is no longer any excuse!  Call Rans or consult the "Land Professionals" in our Yellowpages, but don’t put off working toward your dream property today!