Managing Whitetails: Habitat DesignJanuary 25th, 2013 by Grant Woods
This morning I toured a 280 acre tract of land recently purchased by the owners of Redneck Hunting Blinds. The property is in west central Missouri. It’s about 50% tillable land and 50% hardwood forest. A power line and a gas right of way cross the property. Basically the timber is on the west of the property and the crop ground on the east.
The area has much potential as we found both sheds to the buck in this picture. However, it’s a long way from finding one set of sheds to producing and harvesting two mature bucks annually.
My goal is to design a habitat management and hunting strategy that will yield an average of two mature (4+ year old) bucks to harvest annually – or a mature buck per 100+ acres. That’s a very tall order! However, the habitat is conducive to that objective. I’m not sure about the neighborhood yet.
I always begin by assessing the availability and quality of food, cover, and water. It seems most folks focus on food – either row crop or food plots. However, deer, especially mature bucks, spend the majority of their time during daylight hours in or near cover. This is especially true in areas where row crop ag is the primary land use – especially after the crops are harvested.
The Redneck Proving Grounds has some cover, but no sanctuaries. That’s to say there were no areas where there wasn’t sign (treestands, ATV trails, etc.) of hunting activity. One of my first thoughts during the tour was that I need a plan to encourage mature bucks to spend a majority of their time on the Redneck Proving Grounds. I will accomplish this by creating three sanctuaries in different corners of the properties!
Let me know if you’d like to follow this project closer and I’ll share step by step my plans and the progress.
Growing Deer together,