5 Additional Things to Consider When Looking to Purchase a Hunting Ranch

What Sort of Game are You Most Interested In Hunting?
Hunters in Colorado are primarily interested in elk, deer, pronghorns, moose and bear. Most would also enjoy the chance to put waterfowl or other birds on the dinner table. A trout stream would certainly be nice to have also. While it could be possible to get all of that on one property, it’s more realistic to prioritize. There might be a great deer hunting property for sale that has limited wetlands so duck hunting would be limited.

The average real estate agent won’t really understand what you’re looking for. When someone is looking for hunting property, it’s nice if there’s a suitable house, but it’s seldom what’s most important. It’s not hard to have a house built, but you can’t produce an elk herd and the habitat they need on demand.

Elk are Becoming Harder to Find, but Deer are Everywhere

As public lands have become more crowded, the elk have retreated to more secluded private properties. Quality game can be difficult to find now in many locations.

However,, there are still more elk in Colorado than can be found anywhere else. Almost half of Colorado’s more than 250,000 elk are found in the northwest region of the state. Throughout the state, there are other locations with decent concentrations of elk.

This has caused elk hunting properties to be in demand. There is no reason to believe that this trend won’t continue, making these properties great to enjoy in the present and a worthwhile investment for the future.

There will be deer on just about every hunting property in Colorado. The state hunting units in the mountains, however, contain about 90% of Colorado’s deer population. In the northwest, between 3-600,000 deer can be found. The ideal habitat for both deer and elk is at an elevation of between 6,500 to 9,000 feet.

It’s important to know if a particular property has resident herds or only migratory herds. Are those herds there during hunting season or only during the winter?

While a certain amount of farming is done on many hunting properties, it will not usually have much impact on the game animals. A hayfield would be too great an attraction for any grazing animal to pass up though. Usually, all game animals require is water and good grass for browsing and they’re happy.

Access is Essential

Hunting can become impossible or cut short if the property doesn’t have the necessary access. On some properties, access to the property itself is sufficient, but on others, it would also be important to have the proper access to surrounding private and public lands. Having the access to public land directly from your private land can greatly increase your hunting opportunities.

Water Sources

Look at the availability of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams on the property. Without adequate water, there won’t be game. Migrating animals also depend upon and come back to familiar sources of drinking water. A good hunting property will have adequate water.

Game Management Units

It’s important to understand that Colorado and most western states such as Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Montana are divided into Game Management Units (GMU). When you are looking at a particular property, find out which GMUs the property is in. This has a dramatic effect on your hunting opportunities.

In Colorado, there is/are:

  • Four big game rifle seasons
  • An archery season
  • A muzzle loader season

Season in other western states vary so make sure to research the season in the state you are interested in.

You will want to know which seasons are best on the property you are considering and also find out whether the herds are resident or migratory.

Many elk tags and all deer tags are draw only with a preference point system. The number needed to hunt the property could range from zero to several, meaning that it might be necessary to wait to go hunting. If a property is in a trophy game unit, landowner tags are usually available. The minimum acreage needed to qualify is 160. As the size of the property increases, so does the number of available tags.


Colorado or one of the other western states can be a hunter’s dream come true, with more than ten species of big game animals, including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lion and black bear in addition to deer and elk. If the property will only be used at certain times of the year, find out the hunting seasons available for that time. Also be aware that Colorado and the West’s winters, especially at higher elevations, can have significant snowfalls.

Prime hunting properties are great for recreation, but can also be both profitable and a good investment. Check out the current listings at Ranch Marketing Associates. You may spot that perfect property that will bring you decades of hunting enjoyment.