By: James Neff
The latest report shows that nearly 102 million, or 40 percent of Americans participated in some type of wildlife activity, be it fishing, wildlife-watching or hunting. Many hunters dream of having their own hunting land, and if you’re one of them who searched and searched for that perfect slice of hunting land for sale and finally made the purchase, now it’s time to ensure it provides the best hunting opportunities possible.
The animals need a place to rest and relax if one isn’t present. Deer like tall grasses and trees to help them feel safe. Having at least one significant “safety zone” is essential, an area located near the center of your property ideally, providing thick cover so they feel secure. It should be completely off-limits for everything: scouting, hunting and even hiking. Humans in the area defeat the purpose.
Limit the Pressure
Deer, especially more mature bucks, have the ability to sense hunting pressure. If your land is a relatively small area and you’ve got four people stand-hunting regularly while others are rattling or still-hunting, it’s likely that they’ll move away, looking for ground that’s less pressured or become nocturnal. That makes it important to limit the number of hunters on your land and incorporate certain days when no one can hunt.
Don’t Shoot Young Bucks
It’s best to wait until bucks are mature, at least five years old, which is when they’ll get their very best antlers in. A buck that’s just one-year-old has a rack only a tenth the size it would grow over a lifetime. A management plan only succeeds by allowing these deer to mature. At three-years-old, the buck will have a rack about half the size of its potential – in some places that might be okay depending on the pressure in the area and how your neighbors feel about it, but ideally, it’s best to wait.
Harvest the Does
As a tract of land is only able to hold a certain amount of deer, the more bucks that are in the herd, the more likely some will manage to mature, reaching older ages and that full-size rack. A balanced deer herd is critical for success, as does will push smaller bucks away, off your land, which means harvest one increases the odds a young buck will grow up on your property while ensuring there are plenty of resources, like cover and food for a diverse herd.
Provide Plenty of Food
While it may seem like a no-brainer, be sure there is a good food source on your hunting land to keep the animals there and get them to come back when they leave. It’s important to invest for the long-term by having a food plot to bring them in on a more immediate basis, as well as planting things like apple trees for the longer haul.