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Author Topic: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed  (Read 3318 times)

TnTrobbie

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Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« on: May 11, 2017, 10:34:04 PM »
Looking to get about 2-3 acres in Central FL. With the people I've spoken too, overtime it becomes allot of work to maintain. But the more I research about buying virgin land where I can start my dream from scratch, the more it seems like I'd have to get a lawyer and broker to ensure I'd have access to the property, water/waste management, timber/mineral rights, easements, utilities, permits and zoning, title search, land survey, etc etc. Even selling surplus fruit can be an issue if the land zoning doesn't permit it. All advice would be appreciated as I do my due diligence.
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Doug

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 12:37:53 PM »
For what's it's worth, I wouldn't buy any land in Central Florida that isn't already listed with a broker. The broker must provide knowledge of any  "problems" with the property. If it's "virgin land", the process of getting government clearance to use the property for ANY reason can be horrendous and very expensive. The St. John's River environmental bureaucracy and the EPA are very powerful. An associate of mine was involved in a two million dollar raw land sale in Central FL, but after the environmental study was completed the valuable piece became virtually unusable and worthless because of mitigation costs due to water drainage regulations and a small section that contained the soil preferred by the Florida ground tortoise. Florida has many environmental issues, and many are justified. The main reason I would be careful buying raw land in Central Florida is that after you buy a piece the rules may suddenly be changed and you may get tied up in endless and expensive red tape.

 
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 12:44:29 PM by Doug »

FruitFreak

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 01:37:38 PM »
Looking to get about 2-3 acres in Central FL. With the people I've spoken too, overtime it becomes allot of work to maintain. But the more I research about buying virgin land where I can start my dream from scratch, the more it seems like I'd have to get a lawyer and broker to ensure I'd have access to the property, water/waste management, timber/mineral rights, easements, utilities, permits and zoning, title search, land survey, etc etc. Even selling surplus fruit can be an issue if the land zoning doesn't permit it. All advice would be appreciated as I do my due diligence.

Make sure your property has the zoning you need.
- Marley

bsbullie

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2017, 02:03:16 PM »
For what's it's worth, I wouldn't buy any land in Central Florida that isn't already listed with a broker. The broker must provide knowledge of any  "problems" with the property. If it's "virgin land", the process of getting government clearance to use the property for ANY reason can be horrendous and very expensive. The St. John's River environmental bureaucracy and the EPA are very powerful. An associate of mine was involved in a two million dollar raw land sale in Central FL, but after the environmental study was completed the valuable piece became virtually unusable and worthless because of mitigation costs due to water drainage regulations and a small section that contained the soil preferred by the Florida ground tortoise. Florida has many environmental issues, and many are justified. The main reason I would be careful buying raw land in Central Florida is that after you buy a piece the rules may suddenly be changed and you may get tied up in endless and expensive red tape.

You cant put trust in what is disclosed by a broker or even a seller when buying vacant land (I have seen prior Phase 1s be inaccurate).  You MUST do your own due diligence.   Its the cost of doing business or you get what you get.  Been down this road many a tines...I do this for a living.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 02:06:00 PM by bsbullie »
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FrankDrebinOfFruits

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2017, 02:16:52 PM »
Do not expect to make any money off the land. Its an expensive hobby that consumes 10s of thousands of dollars and endless hours of time.
 
<= 1 acre is an ideal LARGE home garden size. The origin of the term acre is the amount of land an ox and a person could till in one day. I don't own an ox, and pulling weeds, pruning, picking, fertilizing, planting, digging, trenching, running a weedwhacker, cutting grass, while it is great exercise, it does take a toll on my physical body.  Unless you want to hire people to do it all for you :), in which case add a more $$.

Tropheus76

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2017, 02:19:45 PM »
I am in Central FL in a rural-esque neighborhood in far eastern Orange County called Wedgefield. Aside from the northern end of the neighborhood the lots are all minimum 1 acre to develop on with a 105 foot street frontage. There is a lot of land available usually in 2-5 acre sections. We are all on well and septic here unless you are unlucky enough to be in the northern section(the north south road is 6.5 miles long) and have private Pluris water. Everyone on the eastern side of he north south artery is on one mile long dead end spoke streets.

There are a lot of us who grow fruit trees and other who have farms with horses. Lots of chickens and poultry in the area as well and many canals from east to west connecting with the Econlochatchee River(the Econ) although right now with the drought there isn't any outflow into the Econ and most of the canals are at the lowest the old timers have seen them. I sat in the yard and watched alligators under the water trying to hide but its shallow enough now to see the bottom all the way across so they weren't hiding very well. Great fishing. We also have state parks on almost the whole west and North side of the neighborhood and Mormon pastureland on the east and southsides(plus the 528).

Whatever you do, visit the site before buying. There are many plots of land for sale which are almost entirely covered by Cyprus trees and thus completely undevelopable. You wont get a permit.

--as for care, voluntary HOA, as long as you don't let it go wild the HOA stays hands off for the most part. I have 2 acres and have guerilla gardened into a third undevelopable(water easement, land locked, owner hasn't been heard from in 40 years, and doesn't meet size requirements for building) lot of land as well. I put in an irrigation well with sprinklers at each of my 100+ trees and in the summer when it actually rains mow the grass once a week. I might mow the weeds this weekend, as there currently is no grass growth due to the drought(we haven't had a real rainstorm in over a year at this point). I go out once or twice a week with a battery powered weedeater, and when the juice runs out, time to do something else. 
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 02:26:17 PM by Tropheus76 »

pineislander

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2017, 06:12:18 PM »
Looking to get about 2-3 acres in Central FL. With the people I've spoken too, overtime it becomes allot of work to maintain. But the more I research about buying virgin land where I can start my dream from scratch, the more it seems like I'd have to get a lawyer and broker to ensure I'd have access to the property, water/waste management, timber/mineral rights, easements, utilities, permits and zoning, title search, land survey, etc etc. Even selling surplus fruit can be an issue if the land zoning doesn't permit it. All advice would be appreciated as I do my due diligence.

Make sure your property has the zoning you need.

I agree. If you get land zoned AG with home building allowed you can do most of what you want. Stay away from developments, HOA's, and incorporated municipalities. Look at water sources because Florida gets quite dry at times and you will need more than you think you need. Look at soils which are known to be productive, and realize that some Florida commercial agriculture is essentially hydroponic fertigation on impoverished sand. If you want to see a unique microclimate check out Pine Island, Lee County SW Florida. I've just moved here and find it quite different from much of Florida, more like what you would have seen in Florida 30 years ago, very grower oriented (mainly palm farms), and insularly anti-big development otherwise.

zands

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2017, 06:36:48 PM »
Are you going to start an orchard up there while you live down here? You will be spending lots of time in your automobile. For an orchard to make profit it helps to be near a packing house. I know a guy who has one near Frostproof Florida and his lychees go to the Frostproof packing house. He lives down here with an orchard up there...... but he grew up on a farm so he has this stuff in his blood. He has lot better feel for juggling farming up there while living down here. Frostproof is an agricultural area, so he has no problem finding people he can contract out some of the tasks to, such as fertilizing and pruning. His trees are on micro-emitter type irrigation and timers. Some fertilizer goes into the irrigation water but some is applied on top. Zero mulching is done.

Why not buy another house down here on a decent amount of land and plant out your dream fruit trees on it? Make this your orchard and rent out the house. Save on the back and forth commute to upper Florida. Plus you know what grows down here.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 06:40:27 PM by zands »

Cookie Monster

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2017, 02:54:33 PM »
Not worth it. Others have spoken about the legal issues. Maintenance will be a huge time suck. If the lot were next door to your home, then fine. But driving to central FL every week during the summer is going to be Fun-Not. Also consider that growing in central FL will be an uphill battle:

 - You will need to either amend the soil or fertigate
 - You will need to install and maintain an irrigation system. Without electricity, it could get interesting.
 - You will need to spray fungicide on at least a bi-weekly schedule for months at a time
 - You will need a frost protection plan and may need to camp out there a few times of year during periods of potential frost, ready to turn on frost protection sprinklers.

Notwithstanding the above, when the trees are older, you will have the joyous task of spending months pruning trees -- during the hottest part of summer in the most humid part of the state.

And if you want good crops, factor in spending thousands of dollars per year in fertilizer / pesticides.

Oh, and you will probably need to purchase a truck. Not easy transporting trees, fertilizer, equipment, etc in a car.

It would be far easier and cheaper to drive to the mango dealers up in palm beach county once each week during mango season.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 02:57:58 PM by Cookie Monster »
Jeff  :-)

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2017, 12:29:13 AM »
Not worth it. Others have spoken about the legal issues. Maintenance will be a huge time suck. If the lot were next door to your home, then fine. But driving to central FL every week during the summer is going to be Fun-Not. Also consider that growing in central FL will be an uphill battle:

 - You will need to either amend the soil or fertigate
 - You will need to install and maintain an irrigation system. Without electricity, it could get interesting.
 - You will need to spray fungicide on at least a bi-weekly schedule for months at a time
 - You will need a frost protection plan and may need to camp out there a few times of year during periods of potential frost, ready to turn on frost protection sprinklers.

Notwithstanding the above, when the trees are older, you will have the joyous task of spending months pruning trees -- during the hottest part of summer in the most humid part of the state.

And if you want good crops, factor in spending thousands of dollars per year in fertilizer / pesticides.

Oh, and you will probably need to purchase a truck. Not easy transporting trees, fertilizer, equipment, etc in a car.

It would be far easier and cheaper to drive to the mango dealers up in palm beach county once each week during mango season.
dang it! I did not realize where I live sucks so bad. I'm outta here!

Robdallek

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2017, 09:00:02 AM »
Before you give up, I will let you know I have a client with a 5 acre parcel that I have been working with on Pine Island, the fruit growing mecca of SW Florida. We have been looking at some potential development of several other small building sites he owns, but I believe he may have an interest in selling the 5 acre parcel as well. PM me if interested and I will get more info.

gnappi

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2017, 09:31:27 AM »
I almost bought a 25 acre tract in DeSoto county near Arcadia and had contracts on two wooded parcels "on the peace river". Luckily I had some knowledge of real estate and specified that the property location as shown would be verified by a survey in the contracts.

Well... I spent the better part of a day with a survey crew and found that BOTH properties were incorrectly stated. One was 50 yards south of the purported location and the whole property had been excavated for the soil for fill and it looked like the surface of the moon with huge craters. The other was about 50 yards north from where it was stated to be and the property was mostly bare grassy ground (once part of a dairy farm) WITHOUT ingress /egress access NOR frontage on the peace river!

The "realtor" was very reluctant to refund my deposit claiming the surveyors were wrong. I convinced him that his license was more valuable than my deposit :-) Caveat Emptor!!!




Regards,

   Gary

BENDERSGROVE

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2017, 09:55:43 AM »
I have 20 acres in Lake County Fl Eustis area, classified agricultural taxes $800 per year In Royal Trails off route 44 5 minutes from the St Johns river.
Beautiful virgin Fl land loaded with wildlife $149,900 Message me any interest.

Cookie Monster

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2017, 06:55:32 PM »
Most of the below applies also to inland South Florida (where I live and grow) -- excluding the need for frost protection and the need to amend the soil, since we generally have richer soil in Broward. You soil could be an aberration, but the soil reports I've been seeing from central FL had the lowest CEC values I've ever seen.

Not worth it. Others have spoken about the legal issues. Maintenance will be a huge time suck. If the lot were next door to your home, then fine. But driving to central FL every week during the summer is going to be Fun-Not. Also consider that growing in central FL will be an uphill battle:

 - You will need to either amend the soil or fertigate
 - You will need to install and maintain an irrigation system. Without electricity, it could get interesting.
 - You will need to spray fungicide on at least a bi-weekly schedule for months at a time
 - You will need a frost protection plan and may need to camp out there a few times of year during periods of potential frost, ready to turn on frost protection sprinklers.

Notwithstanding the above, when the trees are older, you will have the joyous task of spending months pruning trees -- during the hottest part of summer in the most humid part of the state.

And if you want good crops, factor in spending thousands of dollars per year in fertilizer / pesticides.

Oh, and you will probably need to purchase a truck. Not easy transporting trees, fertilizer, equipment, etc in a car.

It would be far easier and cheaper to drive to the mango dealers up in palm beach county once each week during mango season.
dang it! I did not realize where I live sucks so bad. I'm outta here!
Jeff  :-)

Mark in Texas

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2017, 08:31:52 AM »
Small scale hobby, yes.  Income, hell no!  I'm a niche farmer and can tell you mother nature is a cruel mistress.  I do this only to get out in the fresh air and do something constructive rather than wasting away in front of the boob tube. 

What's the going asking price for raw, undeveloped land around Pine Island, small acreage aka 5 acres?

Having said that they aren't making any more land and it will appreciate.  I bought farm acreage in 2005 for $4,950/a.c..  Had electricity, land line, well with great water, etc.  Not that I ever got even close, but I was authorized by the underground water district to use up to 3 million gals. of water a year for my irrigation op.  Today you can't touch undeveloped land for less than $20,000/acre around me and that's for the larger tracts too.  What we don't have is dishonest eye pokers, govt. fees, permits, regulations and all the other extraneous costs that makes California (and I guess Florida) so expensive.
 
Infrastructure considerations - ROW, road/drive, well, septic tank, deer fence, pump hardware, labor..........     A professionally installed high tensile steel deer fence with 2 gates back in 2004 cost us $3.00/ft.  Today it's running $10/ft.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 08:35:41 AM by Mark in Texas »

WGphil

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2017, 10:18:20 AM »
If you want tropical you will want south of hwy 50 and west of 27 unless you find a good micro climate

I have two properties about the same distance from 50 but one about thirty miles west and it's about 15 degrees colder

Acres of old orange grove already with pumps are common in the old orange belt

Some areas like Frostproof are reasonably cheap

Already zoned ag and clearing is cheaper and welcomed in some cases

Brevard is warmer than Orange which is warmer than Lake counties

Good luck

zands

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2017, 11:28:56 AM »
Small scale hobby, yes.  Income, hell no!  I'm a niche farmer and can tell you mother nature is a cruel mistress.  I do this only to get out in the fresh air and do something constructive rather than wasting away in front of the boob tube. 

What's the going asking price for raw, undeveloped land around Pine Island, small acreage aka 5 acres?

Having said that they aren't making any more land and it will appreciate.  I bought farm acreage in 2005 for $4,950/a.c..  Had electricity, land line, well with great water, etc.  Not that I ever got even close, but I was authorized by the underground water district to use up to 3 million gals. of water a year for my irrigation op.  Today you can't touch undeveloped land for less than $20,000/acre around me and that's for the larger tracts too.  What we don't have is dishonest eye pokers, govt. fees, permits, regulations and all the other extraneous costs that makes California (and I guess Florida) so expensive.
 
Infrastructure considerations - ROW, road/drive, well, septic tank, deer fence, pump hardware, labor..........     A professionally installed high tensile steel deer fence with 2 gates back in 2004 cost us $3.00/ft.  Today it's running $10/ft.

Good luck!

Excellent advice and take on it all. I am doing the same on much smaller scale. I do it because of the *nature* in it all that provides uplift. The edibles that I have growing outside are on my mind. Non edibles too planted recently. I like being forced to think about my outside projects and what I need to do tomorrow and next year. Most recently some pineapple tops planted in and hiding in 3gal pots placed between my trash cans that are shading them for a while as they root in. With all your space you should try some hugelKultur. I have done this on my suburban limited mini-scale.
_______

hugelkultur: the ultimate raised garden beds - Paul Wheaton
https://richsoil.com/hugelkultur
hugelkultur: the ultimate raised garden beds hugelkultur raised garden beds in a nutshell. grow a typical garden without irrigation or fertilization
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 11:37:28 AM by zands »

Tropheus76

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2017, 01:22:39 PM »
Didn't realize he wasn't going to live on site. I cant imagine trying to run a small hobby farm and not live on site even if it is just trees you like. My neighbor across the street lives 45 minutes away and he is there every day, especially in this horrific drought. Theres rarely a day I don't have something to work on in my yard even if its just fertilizer and I have auto-irrigation. Need to water today stuff that needs more than what I irrigate or isn't on irrigation. Yay. I guess you could do something maintenance free like olives and just water them once a week but anything else is going to take a chunk of time.

With this severe drought on right now in central Florida I wouldnt advise planting anything. This is brutal. I think and this is only theory some of my trees are being affected by stuff in my irrigation water that is normally diluted out by rain. I don't think we have had a significant rain in my immediate area in at least a year. We might have gotten a half inch during that hurricane in November. My canal which is normally 6-7 feet deep is down to 3 or so. Much lower and I am going to sneak down in defiance of my water management branch and start shoveling topsoil from the canal bed and lugging it back in buckets to the yard to use later.

FruitFreak

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2017, 05:17:37 PM »
Small scale hobby, yes.  Income, hell no!  I'm a niche farmer and can tell you mother nature is a cruel mistress.  I do this only to get out in the fresh air and do something constructive rather than wasting away in front of the boob tube.

Hi Mark.  I totally understand what your saying and you really brought up some great points to consider including the security fencing which is just one of many costs involved with setting up a small scale farm.  As for income feasibility, I think that has a lot to do with market demand in particular areas.  If the demand is there, it would be up to the farmer to invest the time and money needed to expand their client network.  As you stated however, mother nature can be a cruel mistress.  Do you sell your grapes?  If so what strategies have you employed to market the fruit? 
- Marley

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2017, 09:04:34 PM »
I appreciate all the replies and point of views. I am looking at residential and ag land as well. The property in Broward (where my mature in ground trees are) will be there, and taken care of by relatives (fruit lovers as well). The commute to and back from Central FL is not that bad and 1-2x a month trip has not been a problem for the past 5 months. Cleared land would be awesome. Accessibility by car (for now) is a must (lol), but paved roads, and utilities (decent neighbours/homes) are pluses. Proximity to work is also a major factor so all of these I am juggling. I guess you could say, I am planning my retirement :D. Looking to start my fruit oasis- not for profit, but for enjoyment. Most of the land sites I've visited already are white sand/clay type of soils.
The Earth laughs in flowers. And bear gifts through fruits.
No where to plant it...but atleast I got it. ;)
F*ck squirrels
and deers

DeeMango

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2017, 09:23:38 PM »
I work in commercial real estate. I would suggest you find a commercial broker that specializes in land. If you are looking in Polk or Eastern Hillsborough county (anywhere in the greater Tampa Bay area) I can recommend someone.
Dee (I can haz a) Mango

WGphil

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2017, 10:30:49 AM »
It all depends on what you want to grow.

Match your climate to that and your location will be easier

Are chill hours needed and how many

Closer to the Atlantic the warmer you are going to be

Mark in Texas

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2017, 03:23:32 PM »
As you stated however, mother nature can be a cruel mistress.  Do you sell your grapes?  If so what strategies have you employed to market the fruit?

I sell premium vinifera grapes to amateur winemakers.  Most of them are from the San Antonio Wine Guild.  I also provide a crusher/destemmer at an additonal 10 cents per pound.  We have fun!

I've hit a brewery shop with a poster in Austin but word of mouth is enough.





Mark in Texas

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2017, 03:26:38 PM »
I am planning my retirement :D.

Retirement?  You'll be spending all your free time at doctor's offices now.  Best plan on getting some reliable transportation.  ;)

TnTrobbie

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Re: Looking to buy some acreage. Advice welcomed
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2017, 08:40:22 PM »
It all depends on what you want to grow.

Match your climate to that and your location will be easier

Are chill hours needed and how many

Closer to the Atlantic the warmer you are going to be

I want to grow a mix of temperate and tropical fruit. Persimmons, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes to Jackfruit. Smaller more managable tropical/ultra tropical trees can be grown in a greenhouse.
Think jackfruit (10-12ft) can survive zone 9b with some reliable frost protection?
The Earth laughs in flowers. And bear gifts through fruits.
No where to plant it...but atleast I got it. ;)
F*ck squirrels
and deers

 

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