Monday, July 9, 2012

Improving Hunting Properties

Hunting properties can come in many sizes and styles, and they can all be improved for hunting big deer.
One of the most obvious ways to improve a property for hunting is to add to the quantity and quality of food available by creating and maintaining wildlife food plots . There is some information on food plots on my "Hunting Land" webpage.
Another way to add food is to add fruit trees . Deer love apples and pears. Some things you should know about apples and pears are:
-Crab apples are just as enjoyed by deer.
-Dwarf and semi-dwarf trees take less time to grow to fruit bearing maturity.
-If you want to grow fruit from your trees, then you'll need to plant more than one type of tree, so that they can cross pollinate. (examples: plant two honey-crisps and a pair of johnny come latelys near each other.)
-When selecting the types of trees look for trees that produce fruit at varying times of the year. A tree that produces fruit in august adds value to your hunting properties but won't help your hunting in September or October.

Another way to improve any hunting properties is to create water sources. Creating water sources in dry regions is better than creating food because water in dry regions is scarcer than food. This Wisconsin Lake and Pond company has good information, and hiring a company to build your water sources is a good idea since you'll most likely need to hire at least an excavator anyway, and hiring experts to create ponds will likely lengthen the time that the pond holds water.

If one of your land already has a ditch holding water, or is very low, then in order to create a pond all you may want to do is hire an excavator to widen the ditch or to dig a hole that will hold water naturally.

If you create a pond consider if you want to hunt ducks there too.

One of the most important ways to improve your land for hunting big deer is to leave a section of the property alone. A deer sanctuary where the deer feel safe and never smell, hear or see people is where the biggest bucks will go if they feel that they are in danger. And if that sanctuary is on your property, then you know that the biggest bucks will live near where you hunt. If you do not have a sanctuary the biggest bucks will travel elsewhere to feel safe.

Having a deer sanctuary doesn't mean you'll only hunt there once a year, it means you'll only ever enter if you wound a deer and it runs in. Once you enter the bucks will move out.
One more thing that you can do to improve your hunting properties is to cut down trees.

Trees that are more than 20 or 30 feet tall do not provide anything of value for deer, other than a few acorns. Deer eat fruits, and nuts, and leaves, and browse. Large trees are none of those, nor are they cover. But if you cut down big trees, sprouts will grow and small trees will grow. All of the fresh growth is the browse that deer like to eat. But, be sure to leave a few big trees for stands and cover for the stands, Ideally you best acorn producing trees.

The interesting part of this picture is the background. We had a mature oak forest with trees 50 and 60 feet tall but they had oak wilt. So they were clear cut. The background of this picture is what a clear cut oak woods looks like a few years after the cut. Doesn't that look like thick cover that deer would feel safe hiding in? Compare it to mature forests, with tall trees and no undergrowth, which is more likely to hold deer?

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