How can I use a dry pond to improve deer habitat?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersHabitat Management
Deer Grant,
I am trying to build a deer habitat that I can build sanctuary as well as food source to entice plentiful hunting on the location I have enclosed. There’s lots of hickory and oaks in the cover you see with red berries of which I’ve seen the deer eat. Where I dropped the red pin,I’ve started a throw and grow food plot and in it laid down a solid patch of turnips looking for more ideas and tips. The coordinates : long:-92.011, lat:38.820 the field to the south is always planted with alfalfa and the tree line just north of the pin is the property line, all the way west to the second picture with the next marker.
There is an old dried out pond in the west field any and all thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks very much,
Rookie Rob


I’m glad you are working on improving the habitat!  Dry ponds often make great hidey hole plots.  I simply remove any weeds and duff so seed can make contact with the soil.  I then lime and fertilize appropriately and plant during spring or fall.  For you, the local ag fields will feed deer during the spring and summer and your efforts should be focused on establishing quality/attractive forage during the hunting season.

Deer will most likely continue feeding in the large ag fields during deer season but will use the hidey hole plot as a staging area.  I like that you can use the edges of the property and approach without alerting deer by entering from all directions. This may mean you walk a bit further but will likely increase the number of deer you see while hunting!  

I always evaluate the best sources of food, cover, and water in the neighborhood and consider how deer are using each resource – and how this changes throughout the year.  I believe based on what you’ve shared with me that hidey hole plots or staging areas may be the limited resource and key to improving the habitat and hunting on this property.

Enjoy creation,


November 5, 2015