Venison Chili: Providing for The Family

By: Kyle Nickel – Base Camp Country Real Estate South-East Indiana

I don’t have a proper recipe for venison chili. Not much stays the same from one batch of chili to the next. Making deer chili in our house is often a spontaneous event when my wife has to be gone for the evening and left me, unprepared, to nourish our darling heathens.

If there is a white onion in the crisper, it will go into the frying pan with the ground venison. I’m not driving to town just for a red onion, though it’s what I prefer. I like a tomato sauce base, but bloody mary mix and V8 juice have got the job done in a pinch. Things become really unpredictable when I open up the spice cabinet. Lots of chili powder, of course, but garlic or no garlic? Generous with cinnamon or just a dash? Will the youngest complain that it’s too spicy if I use cayenne pepper? Will she abandon the meat, beans, and diced tomatoes and only eat noodles if I add pasta?

The answers to these questions are always found at some intersection of creative inspiration and the practicality of what’s in the cupboard. The result is always a hearty pot of satisfaction. Each batch, my son declares, is the best chili he’s ever eaten-and his joy speaks to the one thing that does remain a constant, batch after batch.

Every time my kids compliment my chili, ask for summer sausage in their lunch box, or stand impatiently by the grill while a backstrap fills the air with its rich scent, a pride that has been around as long as fathers have had children fills me up. It is one thing to take your paycheck to the grocery store to provide for your children-and that’s a fine thing too, but to fill their bellies with the cold hours before dawn, the stiff hips of a long sit, and the back ache of being hunched over a table trimming silver skin and tendons-that is a different kind of pride, an ancient satisfaction.

When I was a kid, nothing excited me more than finding an arrowhead in the creek. They were glimpses into a world I longed to be a part of. Living in the woods, hunting and fishing without threat of homework or bedtime is a common fantasy of many boys, I think. If I’m lucky enough to stumble across a piece of knapped flint now, it’s not an idealized version of primitive living that comes to mind, but that a man, a specific man with mouths to feed hunted this creek bottom just like me.

Five or six thousand years later I can hand my credit card through a drive through window and get back more food than the kids in the back seat can eat, but sometimes we sit at the kitchen table and look out the patio door to the woods from which our dinner came and that, I think, is something wonderful.


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Get To Know: Patrick McFadden

Get to know your West-Central Indiana Recreational & Farm Land Professional, Patrick McFadden

“I grew up on a livestock and grain farm in rural northern Tippecanoe County, Indiana. I still reside in Tippecanoe County with my wife Elaine. We have two grown children, TJ, 24 and Sylvia, 22. When I am not at work, I love to trap “critters” and hunt small game, upland birds, whitetails, and especially wild turkey. When I am not hunting, I love to chase smallmouth bass and walleye on the Tippecanoe River or just spend time in my jet boat.”


Continue below to read Pat’s story on hunting with his friend, Jamie.

I have had many great experiences in my 40-year hunting career with my family and friends and I cherish each one. One weekend this year was exceptionally special! I invited my great friends, Ryan and Jamie, down from Michigan to deer hunt in early November. They have been to my properties before but Jamie was never comfortable hunting by herself. Being new to the sport of bow hunting, she was not confident enough in her ability to make the right decisions at the right time. Last year I hunted with her in double lock-on stand setups and we just could not “seal-the-deal” on an Indiana buck. Fast forward to this year, I convinced her that she should hunt alone, she did and she loved it! As the hunt progressed through the weekend, she was seeing many deer and I could tell she was gaining confidence in herself. The last morning of the last day, she connected on her first bow buck! I was so proud of her and to be honest there was a tear in my eye when Ryan and I walked up to share the moment. After the hugs and high fives were over, we relived the moment through her words. It was so awesome to hear the excitement in her voice and I will never forget that day! I would encourage everyone to share your hunting knowledge with new hunters and take them hunting! It definitely brings joy to this seasoned hunter!


If you, or someone you know, are looking to buy or sell land in West-Central Indiana, contact Pat McFadden by phone at (765) 490-0385 or by email at



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Get To Know: Craig Zwiers

Get to know your East-Central Wisconsin Recreational & Farm Land Professional, Craig Zwiers!

Craig grew up on the Eastern side of the badger state, hunting and fishing every chance he had in Waupaca, Shawano, and Outagamie Counties. Now he enjoys hunting and fishing with his wife and three kids, working on hunting properties, installing food plots, running trail cameras, and setting properties up for the upcoming hunting season.  Craig feels truly blessed to be able to sell hunting properties for a living. His knowledge and passion for the outdoors helps out greatly when it comes to helping people either buy or sell land.

Continue below to read Craig’s story of his Wyoming Hunt from this year!

So this year I was lucky enough to tag this incredible whitetail in full velvet with my bow. Every year for the last 16 years my dad and I take the 13 hour journey from Wisconsin to the home of the Sundance Kid, Sundance Wy. We try to get out there the first or second week of September. Most years friends or family members join us but this year it was just us two.  After we arrived this year we took our time scouting the first two nights, watching and learning the patterns of the deer.  After watching a bachelor group of nice bucks follow the same ravine in a new green field we found the year before, I was excited to start hunting.  The next day was opening day but our wind was worst case scenario. I elected to not even go in and hang my stand, we did not want to wind bump any of these bucks.  The next day the wind was perfect, we went in at noon and hung the stand. Four hours later I went back with my bow to hunt, the trap was set! As soon as I was setup I started glassing and spotted two bucks bedded about 400 yards up the hill. Around 5:45 they got up out of their beds and started working down towards me. By the time they got down to me there was 5 bucks in the group, the first small buck walked right by me at 15 yards. I knew there was a great chance the others would follow his exact trail, and sure enough they did. I picked out the biggest one, drew my bow and grunted to spot him broadside at 15 yards. The shot was perfect, he ran 60 yards and I heard him crash.  After that nights hunt was over I picked up my dad and we retrieved the deer and brought it to the local meat processor in Sundance. That night dad and I had a few cold beers and talked about hunts of the past.  They are always great memories to talk about and always will be. Everyone have a safe hunt this year and I wish you the best of luck!


If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell land in East-Central Wisconsin contact Craig by phone at (920) 428-3865 or by email at or by filling out the form below:

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How to Make Your Farm Land More Attractive To Buyers

Playing the waiting game is no fun! It’s especially frustrating when you have your land listed for sale and you’re waiting on the “right buyer”. Sometimes, all it takes is for you to make your property the “right property” for a wider range of buyers. Here are a few tips to make your rural/farm land more attractive to buyers:


  1. Do Your Research

Take a look at your surrounding area and check to see if any properties have been bought or sold recently. This can help you get a sense of what the market is like in your area. If your neighbors with a similar property to yours took 6 months to find a buyer, know that the possibility of waiting 6 months is very real. That doesn’t mean that with the right marketing and the right agent, you can’t sell yours quicker though!


  1. Re-evaluate Your Rural/Farm Lands Asking Price

If you haven’t had your farm land appraised already, you should look into doing that. An appraisal will give you a more accurate picture of what your property’s fair market value is. If you try to list your property for too much over the fair market value, it could be sitting forever. Even if you do find someone who agrees to your price, if they have to finance and their appraiser values the property at fair market value, then they will either have to pony up the cash to cover the difference, renegotiate the deal with you, or back out of the deal completely and you’ll be back to square 1!


  1. Make Sure You Are Marketing Correctly

Are you doing everything in your power and using all the tools and resources you can to find a buyer? If you’re selling your property on your own, you might be missing out on some opportunities to market your property! A good real estate professional can help in many ways and marketing your property for you is well worth the commission for most landowners. With a good agent, you’ll get access to their full network of buyers in addition to their knowledge of the local market and the best ways to increase the chances of selling your property in a timely manner.


It takes the right combination of research, price evaluation, and creativity to sell your property in a timely manner and for the right price. The Recreational and Farm Land Professionals at Base Camp Country Real Estate are experts in marketing properties using our one of a kind resources to find you the right buyer at the best possible price for your property! To get find a licensed professional in your area, please click here

Food Plot Architecture; Design with Intent



We’re in the same food plot where my mother in law, Judy, killed her deer last year. He was actually standing right there. We were hunting in the red neck blind, but I kind of changed the architecture of the food plot a little bit. I changed the plot from last year. Last year was really the first year that we planted all this to food and it kind of changed how the deer are moving and we put the redneck blind up and it worked out great. When we got in to the later season I noticed some things I wanted to change a bit so we put in about an acre of corn. About 200 yards long and 24 yards wide. I wanted the corn for vertical cover to make the deer feel a little bit safe cause we’ve got the road about a half mile out there. It’s going to help me walk in. It’s going to pinch the deer down a little bit. Then we’ve got an acre of soy beans and then I planted this strip of soy beans in front of the redneck blind mainly because last year when we were hunting it, we had deer come by the redneck and we couldn’t see them out of the windows because they were so close so I planted a couple of widths of the planter to keep them 15 feet away from the blind. Now, later in the season they’ll be in there, feeding on those but its just more of a soft edge to keep the deer away because most of the deer come from that direction. We hunt this stand with anything of an east wind. A lot of times you don’t have an east wind. I need to figure out a way that we can hunt this food plot on some type of a west wind.

So we never had a tree stand on this food plot for forever and that’s kind of what we’re doing today. You’re going different from a box blind where you had only one option. Now we’re putting up a tree stand where you can get a whole different scenario. It’s just kind of a tough area. We’re on the very west side of the farm. That’s the edge of the property right there. It’s just a big Ag field out there. So we’re just trying to add to the habitat. If you notice, the food plot is really weedy. It’s good and bad. We’re not trying to grow a crop. We’re trying to grow a food plot for the deer but I think those weeds are going to add to the vertical cover we need as well to make them feel safe out here where normally they weren’t spending any kind of time. Trying to add to the huntability of it and get some type of a west wind stand. We’re going to put it down on the south end of the plot. Our wind’s going to be blowing right back to the house. Early season it may be more of an observation type stand. We may be sitting over there wishing we were sitting over there. But it’s still an opportunity to do a little recon and we can slip out without deer knowing we’re even in the world. The first couple weeks of October, we may be sitting out there and we may be seeing a deer here but we can’t hunt here unless we have that east wind, and that doesn’t happen very often. I think the stand we’re about to hang is going to be a dynamite late season spot. Mid December on into that January time frame. We get cold. We get snow. A lot of those deer are going to be coming to this area because we just have so much food.

When we were filming last season I had about 36-37 deer in the plot. 19 of them were bucks. They all congregated in a 20 yard spot at that end of the field. It just happens that it’s 30-40 of where I want to hang the stand. Learning from hunting last year and getting the hang of things. The cool thing about that is you can drive by that tree a thousand times and not think twice about it but just being aware of your surroundings and learning from past movement is important.

Food Plot Seeds: Blends or Single Species and Why? (Video)



Talking about planting food plots, if you want to choose a single species of plants versus a combination or a blend of different species together in a plot. What are the reasons? What are the considerations we want to think about when selecting that? Plants definitely respond to different environmental effects at different rates. We’re talking sunlight, moisture, and the shade and also just the timing in the growing season. Every plant is going to respond and mature at different rates. Harshness and different factors that are detrimental to plants, they respond differently to those as well. Having all your eggs in one basket can be an issue if you’re having an excessively dry or wet year, your plot is a little in the shade or too much in the sunlight. Having a blend will certainly hedge your bets and allow you to have more of your bases covered as far as making sure plants can make it through those stress periods of time. The other reason is actual palatability of the deer. Plants develop at different rates and we look at protein levels in the growing part of the tissue of the plant. As those things spike as the plant gets close to it’s maturity of the season, those levels are at different points. If you ever watch deer in a field, they are constantly moving and selecting different plants because each one of those plants they are going after has something they are after. In a monoculture, if everything is maturing at the same time, plants are drying off and the protein levels are dropping you’re kind of stuck in a situation where you’ve only offered one single offering where as a blend can provide multiple opportunities for different maturing dates, different protein levels which translates to selectivity, and palatability to a deer. A great example of that is Pennington’s Feeding Frenzy, which we are a big fan using for fall annual planting (cool season planting). There are cereal grains, Austrians winter peas, annual clover, a lot of different plants that are going to mature at different times offering different points of palatability and peak prime protein levels that is going to keep those deer coming to that plot, selectively feeding throughout the fall part of the season which is, obviously, when we want them there to begin with.

Green hunting alnd for sale

How Much is Hunting Land?

Hunting Land For Sale Value |Factors Determining Hunting Property Value

Owning a piece of hunting land has long been the American dream for outdoors men and women since the beginning of time. A place you can call your own and do what you please. All while spending time in the great outdoors doing what you love. We say CAN because there are careful considerations to take into account when buying, selling, and owning property for the purpose of hunting. Below we’ll dive into some of the specific factors that contribute to calculating hunting land value and worth. Ultimately finding a realistic selling price. So, what’s your hunting land for sale actually worth?

Hunting Property Location

Location, location, location. It should come as no real surprise that an article pertaining to real estate mentions location. After all, location of the hunting land for sale property will largely dictate the overall value, especially when it comes to deer hunting. Don’t believe us? Just take a gander at the average per/acre land prices in the leading Boone and Crockett Counties for whitetail deer. From the region all the way down to the neighborhood, property values are greatly influenced by their location. While deer hunters and property owners are quite aware. Whether it’s an 80 of timber tucked in the hills of the famed Buffalo County, WI or an 80 of flooded cornfield in the Mississippi Delta. There are areas that will inherently carry greater value simply due to the location and historical reverence.


Access to a hunting property is another important factor when determining value. Something that is often overlooked by buyers and sellers. How valuable is a property if it’s tough to access? Nowadays, access routes that add to the property value are one’s that have a well-defined trail system or vehicle access whether it’s in the form of a truck or ATV. Tough to access parcels that require permission via the neighbor (landlocked). One’s that have no trails can take a big hit when it comes to property valuation and marketability. If you’re a buyer, perhaps this is a good thing because you know you can purchase the property for a cheaper price. Then immediately add value by adding an extensive trail network on the property. However, if you’re the seller, it may be worth hiring a dozer for a few days to increase the marketability of the property. In addition to trails running through the property, road access and tractor paths are also incredibly important.

Land For Sale Makeup

The overall composition of a piece of hunting land for sale will play a large role in determining the value of a hunting/recreational property as well. How much of the land is agricultural, timber, wetland, CRP, etc. Each land type will carry a different price tag so to speak, especially when you consider the regional differences. For instance, agricultural land is worth more in the Midwest compared to the southeast where timber is main commodity. Diving deeper, the quality of Ag land varies greatly from property to property and will have a dramatic impact on the overall value of a property when it comes to selling or renting that land.

The soil quality, type, and terrain all play a role in determining the overall value of Ag land on a property. This is where working with a knowledgeable agent is crucial, as they know the local markets better than anyone.  In the same breath, the composition of a property is going to appeal to some more than others, thus having an impact on its overall value. A whitetail hunter might not be too thrilled about a piece of marshland along the Mississippi, but it might be a duck hunter’s dream property.

Income Potential

Contrary to popular belief, hunting land may be more affordable than one would think. Here’s a few investor savvy strategies that can turn your dream hunting property into an income generator.

Lease Crop/Pasture Land

The first strategy that many hunters are familiar with is to rent out any farmland whether it be for cash cropping or livestock grazing. Use this strategy as a means to lower your monthly payment, help with property taxes, or even make you money on your property.  Of course, the fertility of the ground and current crop prices will ultimately dictate the amount of income potential.

Hunting Land Timber Value

A timber harvest may also be an income generator from a hunting property.  Selling off timber is a bit more complicated than simply handing a lease over to a farmer every year.  Going into a property, it’s always wise to have an experienced forester along to walk you through the process.  Just because you see a lot of trees doesn’t mean there’s a profit behind them.  A lot of factors can impact the value of a timber stand. Such as the size of trees, species, accessibility, and current market conditions.

The one nice thing about timber compared to Ag crops is that it grows year round.  This allows you to time the market over the course of several years. All while the timber volume increases. Understand what the impacts of logging are in terms of income. As well as property value before and after to help you decide what the best path is moving forward.

Mineral Rights

There’s always a chance the property in question is sitting on a gold mine – literally and figuratively. While an actual gold mine might be a bit unlikely. Things like natural gas, frack sand, coal, and oil are certainly possible. So, who owns the rights/income potential from minerals? This is where things get tricky.

Hiring a qualified agent along with a mineral rights attorney is in your best interest. The hassle and confusion comes about because mineral rights may have been severed from the surface rights of a property at some point in time. Yes, you heard that right – you may own the surface (aka the right to build, farm, plant trees, etc.), but some other entity could own the mineral rights (aka the stuff below the surface). Navigating these waters can be tricky business. Nonetheless, there’s always a possibility that you own a “gold mine” . Which can drive up the value of a property dramatically and make your land for sale that much more desirable.

Specific Hunting Habitat Features

As hunters, we know there are a lot of variables that can ultimately impact a property’s value aside from the major assets previously discussed. Things like food plots, native cover, bedding areas, tree plantings, orchards, watering holes and ponds will all impact the overall value of hunting land. The best part is these are all things you can improve upon to increase the value of a property. Whether you’re looking for a turnkey, ready-to-hunt property or a piece on which you can improve upon, don’t overlook these crucial habitat features.

Often, people buy a raw piece of hunting land for sale that hasn’t been managed with wildlife in mind.  Wildlife management can be one of the quickest ways to build equity. Starting small with an end goal of improving and selling down the road is a great method for working your way up to bigger properties.  Remember, land can be a great and profitable investment if you buy it right and improve the property.

End Goal

If your end goal is to own 200 acres of prime deer hunting land, start with a 20 or 40-acre property.  Throw some food plots in and create a good trail network. Perhaps a water hole or two, and remove any junk to add instant equity into the property. While also improving its value for a future sale.  Not only will the property look nicer to future buyers, but it’ll also hunt better.

Using the buy>improve>sell method along with the 1031 exchange (ask one of our agents how a 1031 can help you acquire your dream property. At a faster rate than you ever thought possible.It  is a great way to turn your small investment into one you never thought possible. All while having your own private hunting property along the way.  Short term sacrifices can lead to long-term gains. Base Camp Country Real Estate can also help you find the  perfect property! If owning a property is too daunting of a task. Leasing your own hunting spot every season is easier than ever with Base Camp Leasing services.

If One is Good, Two is Better; Double Setting for Coyotes



We’re in this big pasture. On this side, we’ve got just a nice thick draw that runs for probably a half a mile. We found a dead deer right here in this little brush pile. Coyotes had tore it up, and I told Brian “we definitely need to go down here”. If you can see it, we’ve got a double and we’ve got a cow trail, perfect, that goes up this pond and that shed up there, but it comes out of this. Our wind was blowing right up to all the cover where we thought the coyotes were going to be. They obviously winded it, came up the cow trail and we set a flat right here just to get a coyote to stop. That’s normally the setup that’s going to catch second. I set up a dirt hole right here, we actually had a fresh coyote turd right here on the edge of this cow trail. I’m going to say it’s a big male and that one’s a young female, probably a breeding pair. Pretty darn cool. These kids are getting to see a show today.

Immediate Return on Investment? Timber Evaluation



Something to consider on the hard woods and when you’re looking at timber land is the potential market value of some of the woods. This is a white oak. Under a great amount of demand right now and the prices are really great. Looking at and being able to identify the potential value of the tress that are on your land is important. Learn how to identify the species and if you don’t know, get a consulting forester to walk it with you to get an opinion of value. A lot of times you can buy property that’s well stocked with marketable timber that can give you an immediate return on investment or over time. The other thing to look at is the distribution of size and age classes. If everything is all one size then you might have some immediate value but over time you want to be able to extrapolate some of that other timber as those younger tress are growing and filling in. Managing your timber is just as important as managing your fields or your home and your pond and your yard. If you manage your timber correctly it can provide great returns over time and a lot of these species are also great wildlife value trees so they also kind of work hand and glove.