When to Start Habitat Projects

By GrowingDeer,

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I need to clear an elongated “S” shaped swath down in my timber bottom to create a killing plot for bowhunting.  I have already determined the size and location.  However, I have found little information on what time of year will impact the deer the least.  Having a bulldozer and chainsaws running will cause a considerable amount of noise.  There are bedding areas less than 100 yards from where this plot will be located.  Your insight would be greatly appreciated.



Most habitat improvement projects cause a temporary disturbance to deer, especially during the daylight hours.  However, as long as the project is finished and the improvement (food, cover, or water) in place at least a few weeks before deer season, deer usually readily adapt to the new habitat feature.  This is proven over and over again during pond construction, planting of ag or CRP fields, etc.  Usually there will be deer tracks on top of the dozer tracks every morning during the construction phase.  Deer, especially mature deer, rarely leave their home range because of construction disturbance of that scale.  They will certainly adapt their behavior to avoid disturbed areas while the disturbance is occurring, but usually check it out at night and readily use the habitat feature during daylight hours soon after they sense no danger is present.  I believe my hunting activities at these habitat improvement areas likely alert deer more than the activities associated with creating them.  So, start the project anytime you want and try to finish it at least a month before deer season.  Then slip in with much caution and enjoy the fruits of your labor during deer season!

Growing Deer together,