Any advice on what to do when neighbors don’t do any herd management and shoot what seems to be everything?
We have a liberal season bag limit and a long gun season in Ms. I only have 100 acres and except for south of me,which is modestly hunted, the rest is heavily hunted.
I know 100 acres is very small but I have tried to make a deer habitat heaven out of it. Plots in summer and winter planting. Young pine bedding cover, a large pond in the middle of the property, thinned pine for native growth, supplemental feeders, some hardwood, and mineral licks.
I had 21 identifiable bucks before the season. 8 were shooters for this area.
I go opening day and don’t see even a doe while it sounds like a dove hunt going on around me. I have yet to see a single deer on 5 or 6 hunts there.
Now I’m only seeing 2 nocturnal “Cowhorn” spikes and some does now on camera.
To say I’m discouraged, after all the time and money put into my place, is a tremendous understatement. This was my 1st season owning the property.
Should I just give up on it?
It can be frustrating to invest in a property and find out the neighbors don’t share the same deer management objectives. I helped start a local neighborhood deer cooperative for that same reason. Ours is a 100% voluntary, no fee membership. We simply share information. We don’t force anyone to follow any deer management rules. I’ve learned it’s much better to educate than legislate. There are many deer management cooperatives throughout the whitetail’s range.
Don’t expect results in one season. It takes time for folks to change their minds and/or habitats. We’ll having our next meeting February 11th at the local Bass Pro store (more folks will show up for a meeting there!). I’ll try to share portions of that meeting on http://www.GrowingDeer.com. Maybe you can start a coop with your neighbors!
In the meantime don’t give up! Enjoy the process of improving the habitat.
Finally – if your neighbors are baiting during season, you may need to feed in the middle of your property. I suggest not hunting over or near the bait as that often results in deer only using the area after dark.
January 8, 2016