What type of structure did you put on your hunting land?


Hello all, just looking for some ideas here. I am in Western NY and have owned a 25 acre parcel of woods in our southern tier for 10yrs now. I have all the utilities on the property to include a well, electric and full septic system. For the last 10yrs we (Me, wife and twin 11yr old boys) have had a travel trailer on it. A couple years ago we upgraded to a park model trailer. The trailers have been nice because they are not permanent property for taxes so I am only taxed as " improved property."

The trailer is great for summer and we keep the water on up until Nov 1st. Then we winterize it and we have a dry camp for the rest of hunting season. As I get older this is becoming more of a pain and I am looking into options on what we could do. I have 10yrs before I could consider retiring so what we would do then is uncertain. I am looking into either like a mobile home or small cabin. Both would be considered permanent for tax purposes but would give me the ability to have more room, a wood fireplace and running water through hunting season. Our town requires a 900 sq ft minimum so thats the least size the cabin could be. The cabin would also completely permanent. If we did a mobile home, although its considered permanent for taxes, if we decided later we wanted to move out there when I retire and build a house we could have it moved off the land.

So what did you put on your property and what are your thoughts? Thanks.
We had a metal building(barn) put up, insulated it and put up temporary wall panels we built. Plumbed in water and septic and an outside wood furnace. The idea was to build a house when we moved here and then just remove the temporary walls and it was to become another equipment barn/garage. With zero windows in it, it gave us a sense of security when we were not around.
It would to be good to meet with the local tax assessor and find out what he or she would assess a 900 ft. cabin at. It might be acceptable or it might not. Here I'd bet on a building assessment alone of $90 to $112,500. It might also be worthwhile to ask if adding a cabin would change the assessment of the property itself in any way.
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274FDE89-806B-4B64-9065-010DF048CF17.jpeg Savana, we went through the same issues. It was too cold keep the water system open come November in our 5th wheel. The older I get, the more important comfort/hot water is. I wanted to put a used double wide on the property and then build something permanent come retirement. My wife would have none of that. She made it clear she wanted something more permanent immediately. We ended up going with a cape cod style modular that we’ve been very happy with. I can’t tell you how nice it is to take a long hot shower after being out in the cold all day or enjoying the warmth of a wood stove, Yes, we spent more than I wanted....and no, it’s probably not what I’d have built when I retire in 10 years. Still, it’s fundamentally changed how often we use the property, how much we enjoy it, and how frequent my extended family visits. Best of all, my wife who I worried would never be comfortable living in such a rural environment spends a week or two by herself up there each year because she loves it so much. It was a good decision for us.
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I would just keep the park model going another 6 weeks then winterize. Just a bit of heat and pour some antifreeze in the traps when you come and go. I assume it has some heating feature. I'd stay away from a mobile home. What do you do with a mobile home when you don't want it anymore? LOL.
I can't recommend what you should do on your place but I can tell ya what we did and why. We built our retirement home... 20 yrs before retirement. We decided that old age was a crappy time to "start" living on the place. And we planned the finances to have the build paid off before retirement instead of starting new payments at retirement. We love living on the place!
If water freezing is your short term concern, there may be cheaper fixes than a new build. A friend of mine in MI heats with wood and has to deal with frequent freezes during cold snaps. He ripped out the pvc and put in pex. He claims the pex is rated for over 40 freeze thaw cycles and that his install has frozen and thawed several times with no problems. If you have electric, heat tape may help delay winterizing until after hunting season ends.
Pole barn finished as a cabin is hard to beat. Less than half the cost of a stick built if you do most of the interior finishing yourself. We hired electric, plumbing and concrete. Everything else we did ourselves. Lots of options and pole barn/cabin is a good one.
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Love it Triple C ! My coworker and I were just talking about this topic earlier today.
Google "bardominium" and see what you get for $60/sq ft.
Elk, I love the cape, that is gorgeous. And your property is absolutely beautiful as well.

Triple C I love the barn/cabin . If you dont mind im going to PM you and ask some questions on it.
Anyone put a basement under a pole barn cabin?

I’m 3-4 years out but working on design.

Plan to get the wood off the farm and the stones for fireplace/etc.

I like the cost and maint free considerations with the steel building
I first built my cabin - 1540 sq ft - one upstairs bed/bath, downstairs bed, bath, mud room, open kitchen/living. Did that the year I bought the place - ten years before retiring. A year or two after retiring, I added another 1500 sq feet including basement with 10x12 stormshelter/safe room. It has master bed and bath upstairs, office and canning room and work areA in basement.
Bull, what are your thoughts of basement under pole barn? I guess it’s outside the box, but to me the whole concept of pull barn is it doesn’t require traditional foundation. Just free standing structure on slab that doesn’t require interior support walls.

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You can't have a basement under a pole barn, because a pole barn is a building without a conventional foundation, it's constructed on pressure treated posts with a plastic boot on the bottom, generally 8' on center, 4' into the ground. Instead of doing a basement, build your pole building twice as big to get the equivalent sqft, it's cheaper and all on the same level.
We build a lot of post&frame buildings for hunters, the most popular design has living quarters in one half, usually finished out on the inside with wood siding that looks like logs, often with a lean-porch outside on that end, a dividing wall through the middle and an overhead door in the other end, often finished out with white painted steel for vehicles, atvs, tree stands, deer corn etc. You put your plumbing under the concrete slab before the floor is poured, just like commercial office buildings. A quick and simple way to keep pipes from freezing; bury a 55 gallon plastic drum in the floor in a small room close to the water tank and have the well line (and a drain) come into the bottom of the drum with a drain valve in the well line. In the winter when you leave turn the water off and drain the valve in the bottom of the drum, which drains all your pipes by gravity flow, then close your insulated lid on top of the drum at floor level and there's nothing to freeze. Put half a cup of antifreeze in every sink trap and commode tank. I have floor heat with antifreeze in the lines, so we're not walking on cold concrete floors. A pole buildings is the cheapest permanent building, often built totally maintenance free on the outside and the easiest to finish out yourself, most people get a crew in to put up the shell, and do the inside work themselves. If you are on a tight budget this is definitely the way to go. If you aren't on a tight budget get a contractor in and build a log cabin with a basement similar to a house, and tell him to give you the keys when it's done.
Another great thing about pole barns for those still bow shooting is it is easier to afford to build one large enough to keep the bow muscles tuned practicing twenty yard (or longer)bow shots inside during the winter or rainy stretches of weather. As Mennoniteman said, the outside is maintenance free. We have done nothing to the outside in ten years-plus and it simply does not need any outside maintenance yet.

And having a one floor building will become a necessity for most of us someday. And even today the one floor area is so accommodating. ie; just moved in a planer weighing hundreds of lbs and used the tractor to move it in and will again use the tractor when it comes time to lift the planer up onto a work table. With a second floor, it would have been difficult (not impossible but difficult) to safely move the planer up or down stairs. With the tractor, and high ceilings and one floor at ground level, it was a piece of cake.
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