Sponsored by: Grim Reaper Broadheads

By: Brian Kightlinger

Northwest Pennsylvania is home to some amazing hunting ground. The weather in the fall is perfect for hunting. Rich with agriculture and abundant mast the deer have plenty to eat. I always wanted to own some hunting land of my own but never found the right piece I could afford. 

In 2010, my wife and I decided to look for property in Northern Crawford County to build our new home. I spent time looking for acreage that would be suitable for our home and to hunt. Together we looked at a few properties but nothing seemed to fit those two criteria. 

One evening we were talking with some friends about our search for property. They told us about 12 acres not far from their house that had a clearing to build a house and wooded timber.  The next day my wife and I took a drive to see it for ourselves. 

Pulling up to the property I could tell right away that it was really what we wanted. Our friends met us at the property and we all walked it together. The cleared area had a well and looked great. The remaining 11 acres was a great place to hunt. We were very interested in purchasing the land. 

This buck was taken by the Author with Grim Reaper Broadhead on the land he hoped to buy.

Contacting the sellers was easy. The asking price was a bit out of our budget but excitement turned to disappointment when the sellers told us the property would not perk for septic.

A few days later our friends invited us to their home. They owned almost 80 acres and offered to sell us 5. Excited to hear about the offer we made plans to put our home on the market and purchase the land. 

Our home sold quickly and we secured the funds to purchase the 5 acres and start building our new home. By late August our new home was finished and we were excited to move. We had the home but I did not have land of my own to hunt. 

The Kightlinger home was built but the search for hunting land continued.

The 12 acres we had looked at was just up the road. I called the owners to see if I could hunt the land and they gave me permission. I made plans to walk the land again and look for a place to hang a stand. It wasn’t land of my own but it was good hunting land and close to my new house. 

For 9 years I hunted that land and had some really memorable hunts. Probably my fondest memory was watching my daughter shoot her first buck in the fall of 2016. My son killed his first doe with a crossbow on that land. Just this past archery season I harvested a really nice 10 point during the last week of the season. 

Author’s daughter Abby with her first whitetail buck.

Early in the spring of 2019, I was walking my dog past the 12 acres. I was shocked to see an auction sign on the property. Immediately I pulled out my cell phone and called the owners about the land. Wanting the land for my own I gave them a cash offer for the 12-acres. They declined my offer and wanted to continue with the auction. 

Samuel with his first doe.

Patiently I waited for the day of the auction. After a few days of negotiations with my wife, she gave me her blessing to bid on the land. Deep down inside I knew this was going to be my chance at having a property of my own. With checkbook in hand, I left my house and headed to the 12 acres. 

There were not many people at the auction and that really surprised me. After a quick explanation of the land and mineral rights, the auction began. After 5 minutes of bidding the land was mine. I felt a little guilty after the auction was done because I purchased the land for far less than I had originally offered the couple. 

The Author as his land and the plans to hunt begin.

After a few weeks passed I was able to attend the closing and finally have the 12-acres all to myself. Both lawyers agreed that I had gotten an amazing deal on the land. My mind went in a thousand directions about what to do next. I knew that I wanted to plant some food plots and hang some treestands but I figured there was other work to do before that. Not knowing where exactly to begin I reached out to Mike McKenzie of Monster Game Management to help me.

NEXT: Part Two of this series will be about what Mike was able to learn about my new property. Join me on this adventure as the hunting season is rapidly approaching. 

For more from Brian please go to this Monthly Column: Grim Reaper Broadheads and Black Eagle Arrows