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Information > Hunting & Fishing

SO YOU WANT TO MANAGE DEER by Bacwoodsboy

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TalkHunting Mag:
So you have made the decision to manage your property for deerÖare you crazy? That seems to be a popular thing you will hear from the occasional deer hunter. You however are different, you see it takes a special person to take on Mother Nature and win! Youíre the kind of person that takes your deer hunting very seriously, from scent control to the latest gadgets and gear. You are different!

Now the fun begins, you have just got your hands on that dream lease or property that you have been drooling over for years. Now what? Well you know that you want great deer and huge racks over flowing the bed of your pickup truck right? So how do I get there?.....PATIENCE!

Thatís right patience; you see it takes time to develop a good plan and strategy for your property. This is not one of those things that come over night, it takes time and hard work but man is it fun!

I have had the great pleasure of helping set up properties in northwest Florida, from 20 acres to over 7,000 acres and man is it awesome to get out there and get a property figured out.

This will be a series of topics and for that reason we will break them up and address them one at a time. We will start with the property itself.

Property: The first thing to do is understand your property, where it is, how it flows, what areas of the property are accessible and so on. Getting to know the property is goal #1. When we set up properties I like to start by asking a lot of questions. How much hunting pressure is around me, where are the closest water sources, and what type of food sources does the property have. Once you have pegged down some of this you can start to put together a plan. For instance if I have a neighbor that shoots everything that walks I will recommend not putting any kind of food source near that property line. Instead I would maybe go in and hinge cut

I hear a lot of people ask how many acres do I need to manage for deer. Well like with most things the more the better, but you can manage small and large acreage properties.

Small Properties: Every Square Foot Matters! 


 A small property can really be a fun place to manage if you set it up to maximize every square foot. When setting up a small acreage property for management you have to really think about how you are going to make every inch work for food, water, sanctuaries, and access to stands. The first thing would be to get out your aerial map and figure out what areas of the property you have access to, what funnels and pinch points you have and circle them on the map. Next look at those areas and see where you can get some food plots that will work with the travel patterns of the deer herd. On small properties donít worry if you canít fit huge food plots, small well placed ones will serve you well. I would recommend figuring out the amount of total acreage you have available and get your set up at about 60% perennials and 40% annuals. That ratio should serve you well in keeping a good year round program out. Donít forget your native vegetation. Small properties need everything they can get and man can native vegetation boost your deer health. It takes some hard work and fertilizer but it can really add to the appeal of the property to deer. I set up a 20 acre block for a friend and he has seen some great hunting on that property. We went out and checked things like browse height of native vegetation, tree species, water and so on. The trick is making whatever space you have as attractive as you can afford. Some trees along that line and give those deer a safe place to run once they start shooting like World War 3.

Large Acreage: Micro Management:


Large properties are fun also but should be approached with the mind set of micro management. For example if you have a 100 acre property, bust it up into four 25 acre blocks and tackle them in sections. If you have large property it can overwhelm you if you look at it as one large block. One thing to consider is water. Deer might get picky over food but water is a must for your property. I think a water source for every 80 acres would be the goal but do what you can. If you can go in and dig a small pond or two on your property thatís great . If youíre on a lease or budget, a few plastic 55 gallon drums cut in half work great, I have drums at every food plot on my property. I have 2 large ponds and a creek but the deer still hammer those drums even when the water is flowing here. I look at it like itís just another reason for a deer to be around a stand or plot.

Another thing to consider is what can I do here? If you are leasing the property, you may have restrictions placed on you by the land owner. There are things you can still do to take advantage of the property. One thing you may want to look at is food plot space you may lease from a timber company and they sure donít want you cutting down trees for food plots. So use logging roads, for every 1000 yards of logging road that equals about an acre of food plot space, landing decks can also be used for setting up food plots. You just have to get creative with some properties. I like to set up each block independent of one another with the exception of the travel routes. Setting up each block this way will help make more of the property deer friendly. When you start dealing with large acreage you will see deer that only seem to use certain areas of your property thatís because some of your property is a deer desert. There are areas that just make more sense for a deer to be than others. I look at it from this point of view, your paying for every acre you might as well use every acre. Every acre should serve a purpose to either you or the deer.

We have gone over a few of the many topics that can be discussed regarding your property. I will try to make these short and to the point because there are so many variables when dealing with properties. We will look at another building block in the next article. If you have any questions please feel free to send me a message or if you have a topic that you would like to get an opinion on. Remember to leave it better than you found it.

Bacwoodsboy

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