Little River


Active Member
In August, my family and i bought a farm in Abbeville County, SC. before i get into the "tour" let me say thanks to all of you. I have been reading your posts for years. Its an amazing place here. The wealth of knowledge i have gained will never be paid back. I feel like i have very little to offer such a knowledgeable group of people, but if i can help i will. Years ago someone posed a question on here...something to the effect of "what is the best advice you can give a new land owner". Hands down it was my favorite thread. i cut and past nearly every response into a word document that i kept on my computer. Some the tid-bits i placed on the document were probably from other threads. When we closed on the farm i actually had that document printed and in hand at the closing. As soon as we were done i drove to the new farm, thanked the good Lord for his blessings and read through the advice (for probably the 100th time). here are a few of yalls responses....

  • Work your trail system so you can access from the perimeter of your land with all winds
  • Put in small water holes off your sanctuary by your food plots
  • Learn to trap or find a trapper that you can trust.
  • Have fun, don't make it a drudgery and you are never going to get everything done that you want to.
  • don't do ANYTHING!!!!!
  • Learn the lay of the land
  • hunting access is THE top priority
  • Remember Rome wasn't built in a day - it's ok for it to be a work in progress - it's going to take time.
  • If it stops being fun - your doing it wrong. Yes it can get frustrating at times, but when it's more work and strain then you need to back off.
  • As you are learning your property, don't get caught by your preconceived assumptions--master the art of observation
Triple C (our farms are not too far from each other) you actually contributed a very lengthy post which i am still working through. And i have dozens more from that thread.

When i read back through them and when i am working on my Farm Management Plan i often have two extreme and varied feelings. One is of extreme thankfulness and excitement. My family and I are so blessed to have this place. It is by far my favorite place on the planet and has been so much fun. Often when I go, I intentionally don't take a list of things to do, but instead i take a long myself...and do nothing but explore. I have four young daughters, so when the family goes, i actually make it a point to not hunt (very much). I do not want my family seeing this place as "daddy's hunting land". I want them to love it as much as I do. The other feeling is of being overwhelmed. I have to figure out how to spread that much lime? The wild hogs are relentless! When will the timber company actually show up for harvest! The vines! The weeds! The drought! We are almost out of diesel fuel! I doubt the feelings of being overwhelmed are ever going away, but at those times, i literally will remove stuff from my list. Sometimes i will move them to a long term list, others i will simply realize they may never get done. The reason i even mention this is to say, if someone asked me "what advice would you give a new land owner" i would tell them to relax, chill out, be thankful for what you have. In a world of convenience, get ready to wait....a lot. Trips to the farm often result in nothing being accomplished, but a bad day in the woods is better than a good day at work.

Farm tour begins in the next post.
Welcome David and Congratulations on your new farm. It will be wonderful to follow your land journey. Your first post is a an excellent contribution to this forum already. I'm betting your fresh perspective will come up with ideas we have never thought of. Best of luck with your family and land adventure.
171 acres in upstate SC.
Very isolated....access easements cross over multiple private lands to get to the farm. The land is split down the middle by the Little River. The west side (80 acres) has the house, barn, and pastures....the east side (90 acres) has 70 acres of poorly managed pines and 20 acres of classic southern river bottom. Nearly 99% of my focus is on the west side. The east side pines are under contract to be clear cut, and properly replanted. I intend to put in a good road system, and create 2 shallow water crossings with the profits from the timber. Once this is done, it will essentially double the size of my farm, because right now its so thick and nasty over there that i really can do much.

The west side is what really sold me on this place,
west side.jpg
well other than the house, barn, and 1969 john deere 3020! but more on that later.
I absolutely love the habitat "chunks". There are mulitple chunks of hardwoods, pastures and pines. It has the feel of being on a golf course. 4 sections of hardwoods that range from 4-15 acres, 7-8 fields that range from 1-11 acres, 3 well managed small pine plantings that are 3, 4, and 5 acres. It presents hundreds of options for access and stand placement and its absolutely gorgeous.

i am going to post this now to make sure i understand the whole picture attachement thing....
Welcome David. Look forward to your tour and contributions to this community.

Welcome David and Congratulations on your new farm. It will be wonderful to follow your land journey. Your first post is a an excellent contribution to this forum already. I'm betting your fresh perspective will come up with ideas we have never thought of. Best of luck with your family and land adventure.

Thanks fellas

The house...
The house was in great shape structurally, but we wanted to touch it up. we added 2 bedrooms in an existing loft upstairs, a tin roof, and some white paint. Incredible how much it helped.

house before.jpg
house after 2.jpg

The Barn.....

The barn is in decent shape, previous owner did structurally reinforce it. Its on an old rock foundation. Its around 115 years old. It simply needed alot of clearing....alot.

barn before 1.jpg barn before 2.jpg

barn after 1.jpg barn after 2.jpg
The Land....

The Land is classic south eastern US. Rolling hills, planted pines, hardwoods, river, and river bottom land.

The Little River

Good view of Hardwoods, Hills, and Pines
hills hardwoods pine.jpg more land.jpg

Existing Habitat....

Previous owner had pears, apples, chestnuts, sawtooths planted.....of those only the Chestnuts are significant. Only 2 pear and 2 apples are healthy and vibrant. There are 5 young apples doing well and 6 sawtooths that were ignored and are struggling, but i am attempting to nurse them back to health.
apple.jpg pear.jpg
There are probably 25 healthy chestnuts that are producing well. All he claimed was an american, but i am no expert.
chestnuts 1.jpg chestnuts 2.jpg

The Fields....

I am reading as much about successional field management as i can possibly get my hands on. i was presented with 33 acres of upland pasture/fields that were basically left untouched for 2 years. Its amazing how much food is provided to the Whitetail (and quail, turkeys, hogs, song birds, etc) if things are left un-mowed. I will get into the management of those fields later, but i love some of these pictures of my pre-existing "wild-food plots"
11.jpg 12.jpg 13.jpg
and so much more, poke weed, hop tree, black berry, chicksaw plum, vetch, aster, partridge pea, and much more that i dont know yet.
The tractor....

1969 JD 3020....just finished an overhaul. This summer i am having it painted. This thing feels like it could pull the house of its foundation. I was so fortunate the previous owner had no interest in it. He also left all implements...broad caster, bush hog, scrape, 3 discs, chisel plow or scarifier, post hole digger, 2 row plow...

in the first picture you can see the sawtooths in the back ground....i nearly mowed over them as they were surrounded by 10 foot tall sweet gums.

20161214_101830.jpg 20160905_075930.jpg 20170113_132109.jpg

Thats basically it for the intro to the farm tour, i wanted to make sure not to get into management as i will have more questions than y'all can handle.

again i feel very fortunate to have gotten a place with so much.
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David that is a beautiful place and I'm sure you are going to have a lot of great times making your own mark on it. Congratulations! You hit the lottery!
Wow, what beautiful country side and a guy who loves his new land. You are so fortunate to already have some great structures, tractor and implements. That is a HOSS of a tractor. First tractors I learned to drive were the narrow front tire version. Quite different and you have to use breaks to help turn in plowed ground!
Your first post intro is great!
David - Welcome to the forum...welcome to land ownership and welcome to the habitat addiction! We all remember the 1st year. So much to do and where to start. I think back to 2011 and simply couldn't wait until Friday to head to the farm. Every weekend was a new discovery and often times a new project. While the joy of discovering and exploring is not what it was in 2011, the joy never leaves for most of the weekends when I leave the office friday and lunch and turn on to the dirt road about 2:30 to the short drive to the farm. And, hardly a single night goes by that I don't fall asleep daydreaming about land stuff.

Only advice I'll offer is to be patient before implementing big projects. Explore the land. Get to know it and let the plan come to you. Early successional habitat is a beautiful thing. Provides cover and free browse. I'm trying to create even more of it. How fortunate to have the structures already in place. That's one big thing you don't have to worry about. Enjoy the journey and keep the updates coming!
Welcome David - looks like a paradise. I've been to Abbeville many times - going to a shooting event out at the shooting place on Milford Dairy Road (if I remember the road name correctly).
Welcome David - glad you are here.

Your land looks great and as others have said you have many things going for you. Most of all you got read up well before you jumped in.

Looking forward to following your farm tour.

David that was a most enjoyable start of a tour. Really great land and with work done and planned to do, will be a great project with great results I bet. Reading your list in first post we should do on a daily basis. Good reminders. Thanks for showing.
There is nothing more exciting then finally having your own piece of land. It can be a little overwhelming at times but make it fun. I've had my land for 13 years and still learning and working. Looks like a beautiful place. Happy for you and your family. Look forward to your land tour.
Thanks for all the kind words.

All focus is on the next 6 months. I am very task and calendar oriented. Small things come up from time to time, but for now its the following 6 items.

1) run cameras over corn/minerals
2) Controlled burn in late march to eliminate fescue and other non native cool season grasses.
3) tend cool season food plots when needed
4) spend serious time considering and determining stand site and access (in year one i simply used previous owners stands)
5) plant warm season food plots (5 acres beans)
6) manage pines (east side under contract for clear cut, west side is in year 3 after thinning, so i will let this go one more year before attempting to disturb and disrupt the growth)

I am heading down tomorrow after work to work on #4. Also going to assemble and hang a vertical gun rack and switch the Category 1 pins on implements out for Category 2 pins.
I'm officially under contract with a timber company. Forrester said it should produce enough income to cover the costs of reforestation, 2 miles of roads (wide roads), 2 shallow water crossings, and stumping of 2 food plot areas. AND it should leave me with some cash for operating the remainder of the farm work for a few years.

There is a new wood pellet fuel plant near by. They make fuel pellets to run boilers. I am getting a dollar /ton for my trash trees (sweet gums) who would have thought I could make money on my sweet gums.

Question.....for those who have overseen a clearcut and reforestation what advice would you give in the planning of roads/plots and general dozer work after it was complete?

Yall are an amazing group, i dont know how you find the time to care for your land, write threads, reply to threads and do it all with such attention to detail. I appreciate those who have responded to my other questions and PM's.

It shouldn't take too long for me to catch up to present time. It will be a few more posts till we are actually live.

Purchasing this farm was a long process. The previous owner was a very motivated seller and i was a very motivated buyer. If we were not both motivated this would have never happened. I am sure yall know what it means to be land locked. I knew what it meant, but didn't realize its implications until i became involved with this farm. When discussing property access with buddies in the past, i often heard folks say "you cant have land locked land in SC" or "there is no such thing as being land locked in SC". They say this from a very uniformed understanding of SC laws. You absolutely can be landlocked in SC....the courts and laws are "friendly" in helping to give you a path of access to your land, but "friendly" is a relative term. If parties are not willing to cooperate, you will be in for an expensive and lengthy court room battle.

To anyone thinking about adding to their farm, or purchasing a new one, make sure you have a good lawyer! We found out this land was inaccessible via public road about 10 days after it was under contract. I will never forget what the lawyer said as she knew how much i wanted to get this done...."David, i am sorry, but i will not allow you to buy this land as things sit now". For what its worth, the previous owner purchased the farm AFTER this was private! Banks wont lend money to "inaccessible and unmarketable lands". That means his previous attorney made a big mistake!

So long story short after lots of phone calls, conversations in person, lawyers writing letters back and forth and 2 surveys......the neighbor died! (bless her she was 97). Then she willed the land to her grand children, so we had to get the power of attorney and probate judge involved! There were 6 different land owners who had to sign off on the access easement. It delayed closing by 8 months. I cant thank the previous owner enough for all the hard work he and his wife put in.

I know this may all sound boring, but it was really fascinating to me. How could such a thing happen? The answer is simple. When a county stops maintaining a road, after a few years that road becomes private land. 99% of the time, no one is even aware of the problem. All 6 land owners swore these were still county roads, they had no idea they owned them.

Heck, i think half the time all you have to do is tell a county councilman to stop maintaining something and stick up a couple of unofficial signs in order for you to get a little more acreage.

According to County maps from the 90s these two roads are supposed to connect! side has a gate, and the other says DEAD END.

In Abbeville county SC, if the road looks like this....its probably still public.....
If it looks like this, it is probably now private!

Forgive me if this was a bore, its just all very interesting to me.