John's Journal...

Micro-Manage Deer

Keep the Deer at Home

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: "A 60-acre lease can provide all the land you and your friends need to bowhunt or gun hunt successfully - if the lease is the right 60 acres," says Jim Crumley of Roanoke, Virginia, founder of Trebark camouflage. "If plenty of deer are passing through the property, and if you can shoot accurately for at least 20 yards in every Click to enlargedirection, then all the land you need to take white-tailed deer consistently is about 40-square yards." The rest of the week we’ll learn tactics to use to micro-manage deer successfully.

According to Dr. Grant Woods of Reeds Spring, Missouri, one of the nation's leading deer nutritionists and wildlife researchers, "The best way to micro-manage your deer is to teach your deer to stay at home. You don't want the deer on your land to play Columbus and go discover new worlds. To keep the deer happy on the land you manage, provide plenty of nutritious, high-quality food year-round, and give the deer places of refuge and sanctuary." Woods says that hunters may supply all the cover deer need by leaving thickets alone and/or planting thick-cover crops and naturally-occurring plants.But, if hunters constantly walk through the cover, the deer will leave the property. Woods describes an operative refuge area as a safe place where deer can hold without coming into contact with humans. "Creating a deer sanctuary means not only physically staying out of that region, but keeping Click to enlargehuman scent out of it as well," Dr.  Woods explains."You must orient the refuge area, so you don't pollute it with human odor as you travel back and forth on your property."

Click to enlargeThe two-most-common characteristics of good micro-management for deer include dense, short, vegetative growth and abrupt changes in topography. "One of the best sanctuaries for deer that also has eye appeal is a 30-acre native-grass field," Dr. Woods remarks. "This type of refuge requires limited management once you get it started, and deer love to bed in the native grasses." However, planting and establishing a natural-grass field takes about 3 years. To determine which native grasses will produce best in your section of the country, contact the National Conservation Resource Service or your county agent. You can create another type of refuge after cutting timber from an area. For the first 3 to 5 years, these fields will fill with native grasses and pine trees. Once the pine plantation has matured, the deer still will use these clear-cuts as sanctuaries. "The more centrally-located your sanctuary is on your lease, the better you can hold deer on that property," Dr. Woods emphasizes. "You want your deer sanctuary to be danger-free. Then any time a deer is spooked on another property, it will move to your land. If the sanctuary is on your property rather than on your neighbor's land, then there's a good chance the deer will run onto your property instead of off of it."

Tomorrow: Pick the Best Spots

Check back each day this week for more about "Micro-Manage Deer"

Day 1: You Can Hunt Successfully On Small Acreages
Day 2: Keep the Deer at Home
Day 3: Pick the Best Spots
Day 4: Determine the Harvest and Keep Quiet
Day 5: Keep Hunting Pressure Off


Entry 527, Day 2