How Many Acres do I Need to Have a Deer Management Program?

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Dr. Woods,

I definitely enjoy and have learned some interesting things from it. My question is pretty basic.

If a person is interested in acquiring land to develop a private managed area approximately how many acres should be looked for to make it worthwhile and to have a positive influence on the local herd?

Keep up the great work as many benefit from your efforts.




I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer to your question. I know of several examples where small tracts of land provide fabulous hunting/management opportunities because they adjoin properties with great characteristics. An example includes a buddy of mine that owns 140 acres in the middle of a 4,000 acre state park that doesn’t allow any buck hunting, conducts a highly controlled hunt to remove does, and there is production ag (soybeans and corn) in the neighborhood. So, his “neighbor” harvests a bunch of does, protects bucks, and the area is constantly patrolled by law enforcement officers — all for the price of only 140 acres. That 140 has produced multiple 180+ bucks. It is an extremely rare 140 acres. Before you ask, the last time I checked it wasn’t for sale…

The size of deer home ranges vary greatly based on the quality of habitat. Generally, deer living in good quality habitat have a smaller home range size than deer living in poor habitat. So, 1,000 acres in great habitat may allow a significant portion of bucks to reach maturity without being harvested by neighbors that don’t have the same deer management objectives. On the other hand, a tract of the same size in low quality habitat probably won’t yield the same return from your management efforts. When buying land, consider the neighborhood as carefully as the tract for sale.

Growing Deer together,