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"We feel that an established co-op network can truly enhance the wildlife on those ranches which in most cases, leads to higher land values for the current owner."



By: Stephen Schwartz, Hortenstine Ranch Company / Texas



The majority of the properties we deal with in Texas are recreational ranches that are low fence with free-ranging wildlife.  We feel that an established co-op network can truly enhance the wildlife on those ranches which in most cases, leads to higher land values for the current owner.  In our particular area, whitetails, waterfowl, and eastern wild turkey are most prolific.  All of which will benefit from a coordinated effort to form landowner cooperatives.  When we can come in as a brokerage to list and market a hunting tract, a history of strong wildlife management makes all the difference in the world.  It allows a potential buyer to come in, grab the baton, and hit the ground running to reach their wildlife management goals.  What does this mean for the owner and seller? 

It usually means:  

  1. The tract is better received from the majority of the buyer pool

  2. It’s easier to show because the quality speaks for itself

  3. A higher price per acre when the ranch or property is sold

For example, you can take a slightly above average timber tract, with both planted pine and native hardwoods, and exponentiality increase it’s attractiveness by enrolling it in an established wildlife cooperative.  Management of habitat and its wildlife does take time, but with that time and effort, especially when extrapolated across multiple properties, you increase several factors for that new owner down the road.  A buyer of this type of property will feel further comfort knowing their neighbor(s) have a history of strong management and are on board with an effective wildlife management style and won’t end up reducing future enjoyment on the property by working against their deer harvest goals, habitat management plans, or possible use for large multi-use development.  With an increased peace of mind as a buyer and seller, the actual increased market value that a cooperative adds is not set-in-stone, but always positive. An established ranch that has a history of quality wildlife management practices in a good neighborhood has an ability to outperform the local market competition on final sell pricing, while standing out among the rest of the market when it is listed for sell! 


This is why Hortenstine Ranch Company believes in the National Wildlife Cooperative network. Creating cooperatives increases our sellers land value, our buyers enjoyment in their investment, and the quality of hunting and wildlife management on the ranches we buy and sell every day!
















I was born and raised in East Texas where nearly all of my childhood was spent hunting, fishing, or exploring anywhere wild.  It was in these woods that I learned at a very young age to respect the outdoors.  Over time, my viewpoint of the outdoors has evolved and grown.  In its infancy, I was just in awe of big timber and the wildlife that called these places home.  As time went on, I learned more about the flora and fauna and eventually how to better manage them.  Even today I’m still constantly learning and pushing myself to become a better steward for my personal pursuits and for the clients I serve. 

I’ve been full time in farm and ranch real estate for the last four years. During that time, I have been blessed to view wildlife and wild places through a different lens.  Living and working in the greater East Texas area, I specialize in hunting and recreational ranches.  Recently, I’ve seen dramatic changes in the rural real estate market. As a company, at Hortenstine Ranch Company, we weren’t sure how the pandemic would affect our business. Surprisingly, the demand for rural property has skyrocketed – more specifically hunting and recreational tracts.  Most people have an innate, almost primal, need to be outside and experience nature to some extent.  This need was brought to the forefront during a time of being quarantined and having personal schedules turned upside down.  People need to be outside, and that’s where we come in! 

With this recent and sudden increase in demand for hunting land, it has become progressively difficult to find quality properties for sale that the current owners have maintained for the new owners to maximize resources on their new property.  This can either be for long term use or for a future sale.  At Hortenstine Ranch Company, we believe that the increased implementation of the National Wildlife Cooperative network can truly be a beneficial tool in increasing not only land values, but the enjoyment of that land by the owners and their family.  




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About the Author

Stephen Schwartz, Digital Specialist & Sales Agent at Hortenstine Ranch Company

Stephen lives, works, and hunts in the Piney woods of East Texas - where he is a real estate sales agent for Hortenstine Ranch Company LLC. He is the father to Conner Schwartz and a husband to Lacie Schwartz. 

Whether he is capturing landscapes and wildlife with his camera, or consulting with a landowner about habitat work, his passion for telling the visual story of hunting and management is unmatched behind a camera or talking to hunters and landowners. 

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