What should I do to maintain or increase the number of critters using my 55 acres northeast of Dallas?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersHabitat Management

I recently purchased 55 acres located 1 hour northeast of Dallas. The land is surrounded by a 1,000 acre ranch to the east and south, and a few 50+ acre farms to the west and north. Hunting pressure seems to be moderate, though I am still meeting my neighbors.

It has been uncultivated for over 30 years, and overgrown in every way possible (trees, weeds, grasses, etc.). In my opinion it’s perfect because it is an empty canvass, just waiting to be shaped.

The southern boundary is a seasonal creek which floods about 13 of the properties acres under heavy rains. Here you will find large hardwoods and dense cover, with well established trails coming onto the property.

Most of the property north of the creek features heavy patches of saplings (up to 5 inches in diameter) much of which is honey locust, bodark, and young pecan trees. The remainder of the property features overgrown fields anywhere from 0.5 – 2.0 acres in size, some of which feature wild blackberries.

We have deer and pigs both bedding and crossing this property, and my fear is I will remove something that will adversely effect the attractiveness of the land. What steps would you take to turn this property into a sanctuary for my family to hunt for years to come?



I always start by evaluating the best sources of food, cover, and water on the property and in the neighborhood.  

Are there permanent sources of water on your land or the adjoining properties?  What/where are the deer eating during the hunting season?  It sounds like there’s great cover on your property. Of the three, food, cover, and water I normally prefer cover because this is a resource that deer seek daily and use the most during daylight hours.  

If the deer are using your farm as a sanctuary, then you may not need to change anything.  You’ll need to carefully plan how you hunt/use this property.  There’s more to cover than good structure.  Deer need to not associate an area with danger to consider it “good cover.”

Finally, knowing that locust trees will continue to grow and spread, I’d very very tempted to suggest you start using the hack and squirt method to remove this invasive species!

Enjoy creation,