Outdoors: What factors determine value of hunting land in Alabama?


Topography and forest type can help determine the value of hunting lands.

There are many factors to consider when determining the value of hunting land in Alabama.

As with any piece of property, location is one of the key considerations. Value can vary widely depending on which county the land parcel is located. Also, it can depend on whether the land is near a city that has development potential, or in a more remote area suited for agriculture, timber or wildlife.

Another factor that comes into play in determining the value of hunting land is the topography. How steep or flat is the land parcel? Swampland or sections prone to flooding could inhibit building structures.

Another factor that applies to hunting land value is access to the parcel. The land could be adjoining a public road be it paved or graded dirt. Deeded legal access is key in determining land value. Creeks, lakes or ponds on the property will also affect the value. The shape of the land could also be a factor.

The first step in in defining the value of a piece of hunting property is to get an appraisal. Professional land appraisers have standard methods to determine the value of any type of land, including hunting land.

“Our first step is to approve the loan application,” said Dale Williamson, VP Relationship Manager with Alabama Ag Credit. “Once approved, we request a copy of the signed contract and legal description of the property to be purchased.”

The appraiser uses Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice as guidelines for land appraisals. The USPAP are considered the quality control standards applicable analysis for real property, personal property and other assets in the United States and its territories.

“Hunting land appraisals are valued using the same USPAP standards as other appraisals,” Williams said. “However, the recreational value of the property is considered in the appraisal.”

Recreational aspects may include features such as timber, ponds, creeks, river frontage, road frontage, topography and of course location. Also, the type of wildlife that may be inhabiting the property.

Hunting/timber land and agricultural land is valued using a comparison approach. Lands and property in the same general area are compared with the current value. Also, recent sales of similar property are considered in the comparison.

Williamson said the value of the recreational component is highly specific to the location of the property along with all the features of the property. There could be certain amenities on the land that could make it more appealing.

So how much is an acre of hunting land worth in Alabama? We have mentioned several factors above about what is considered in determining the value of hunting land. A general answer would be — it depends.

“The value is comprised of all the factors mentioned above and can range widely,” Williamson said. “This range could be $1,000 to $3,500 per acre.”

Financing hunting land is not any different than with any other type of property. The same credit factors typically apply to hunting land as related to other collateral. These include repayment ability, cash flow, credit history, net worth, collateral and the specific conditions of the loan.

Determining what hunting land is worth is not a simple task. Factors, amenities and considerations can vary widely with the property.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at charjohn@cableone.net