Whitetail Management for your Property

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Last Updated: Aug 6, 2010 – 1:11:39 PM
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Whitetail Management for your Property

By Shane Renard

Jun 15, 2010 – 11:55:06 AM

Whatever the size of your parcel, you can make a difference in the whitetail herd. I don’t care if you only have 10 huntable acres. Your trigger management has everything to do with it. The key ingredients to help manage and grow larger bucks are genetics, age, protein and secure cover.  Now’s lets discuss them further in detail.

The primary justification for not harvesting button bucks is that they will remain on your property until they reach maturity and become eligible for harvest. Let’s examine this premise in closer detail.

 

Genetics play a great role in this management effort for raising bigger whitetails. Think of it like survival of the fittest. Get rid of the bucks with poor genetics so they don’t reproduce with your does. If there’s a big boy patrolling the area let him replicate his genes to your herd. That’s the beauty of the rut. The deer move all day long.  Clean up the older matriarch does and let the young fawns live.

Next is age, which is very important to any management program. A mature whitetail is anywhere from 4-7 years of age this is an acceptable time to start the harvesting period. The mature good genetic bucks have had a few years to pass their genes now. To help with the growing process build food plots and hunting plots. A food plot is NOT designed to be hunted off of, just simply to feed the herd in the colder months.

Hunting plots are designed for just that; hunting. Design your next hunting plot tailored to your hunting spot. (ie) Hunting plot architecture will help you lure the big boy into effective range. With a food plot in mind you would want to hunt the trails going to and from these locations using the wind to your favor. It’s really not much of a challenge to shoot a deer at the dinner table.

Let’s talk a bit about protein. Protein gives body mass first then to the antlers. When planting your food plots for the colder months get something with a high protein ratio in it. Talk with your local co-op and let them know what your overall objective is. Remember soil preparation is very crucial. The professionals at the local co-op can guide you in the best choice of seed for your application.

When the colder months are near start implementing the supplemental feeding stations only if it’s legal in your state. Check with your local Department of Natural Resources agency and verify what is legal for supplemental feeding.

Secure cover or what I like to call a sanctuary should never be touched. EVER. No hunting allowed in these area(s). This area is designed for when the hunting pressure is high; the big boys head for cover and safety. Now hunt the known primary trails going to it. This way if you see a deer heading there he’s not being harvested in the sanctuary to scare out the others already in their safe zone. This tactic works exceptionally well when your neighbor will shoot anything. He can’t shoot them if they are safe on your land, right? Put some cameras in this area just for the hunting season, then collect and review them when season is over. You will be surprised what you will find.

Remember a well managed forest is a healthy forest. Select cutting in parts of your parcel to allow the under growth to emerge and wild grasses, and flowers to bloom. This will bring in curious deer to bed, and possible stay on your land.

The primary justification for not harvesting button bucks is that they will remain on your property until they reach maturity and become eligible for harvest. Let’s examine this premise in closer detail.

A study conducted by Dr. Chris Rosenberry and others in Maryland provided some interesting findings. During this study, they captured and radio-collared 75 male whitetails ranging from six to 18 months of age. Of these, 51 were followed until death or the end of the study. Of these, 70 percent dispersed from the 3,300-acre study area with half dispersing more than 3.7 miles.

A similar study conducted by Dr. Harry Jacobson and others in Mississippi reported that 42 percent of the 52 male whitetails captured as fawns died in excess of three miles from their original capture site. Another study done in Florida, by John Kilgo, reported that all seven male fawns captured and followed in their study dispersed from their original capture area by 18 months of age.

I know what you’re thinking, a lot of acreage to roam. Deer know no boundaries like humans do so of course they will roam. If your neighbor and you do not harvest young bucks until maturity in about 4 years everyone in the neighborhood will be putting up wall hangers. I have been into many debates over this topic. It’s your land. Manage your property as you see fit.

This my friends will help in your quest to wall hanger bucks. Please feel free to contact me at shane@afterthesnaphc.com

or visit our site at http://www.afterthesnaphc.com

 

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