John's Journal...

Trees and Bushes Bowhunters Can Plant to Increase Their Success

The Truth About Honeysuckle + Creating Sanctuaries

Click to enlargeEditor’s note: Many have written about the advantage of planting food plots to manage wildlife. You can provide quality nutrition for your wildlife when you plant crops, but you’ll also have to invest time and money managing those food plots. You may find planting permanent food plots comprised of trees and shrubs instead of just small grains a more-economical alternative. Here are some tips for planting permanent food plots to attract wildlife.

For years, hunters have known that deer like to eat honeysuckle. They’ve also realiClick to enlargezed that deer will utilize fertilized honeysuckle more than unfertilized honeysuckle. While many hunters say they already have honeysuckle on their properties, they must determine if they have the honeysuckle in a place where they can hunt over it and attract deer within bow range. “We suggest that bowhunters buy honeysuckle and plant it in 100-foot strips on the edges of their greenfields and build wire cages over the plants,” Allen Deese, a nursery manager for the Wildlife Group of Tuskegee says. “I suggest you use 4- to 6-feet tall 2X4 wire to make an A-frame over the honeysuckle plants. Then use wire to box-in each end, and stake the A-frame to the ground. Once the cage is built over the honeysuckle, fertilize it so the deer can eat the leaves and stems that grow outside the cage. Otherwise, they’ll eat the honeysuckle all the way down to the ground and kill the plants like they tend to do with the strawberry bushes.” By protecting the honeysuckle plants with cages, you’ll have a high-protein food that feeds deer year-round. Fertilizing the honeysuckle in your land regularly can bring the protein level of the honeysuckle up to 16 or 18 percent.Click to enlarge

The Creation of Sanctuaries:
To hold deer on any property, you need to create a sanctuary for the deer consisting of cover at least 4-feet high. Then the hunters can’t see in, and the deer in that sanctuary can’t see out. Deese recommends planting the Chickasaw plum tree in a thicket to create a sanctuary and provide food for whitetails. “The Chickasaw is a small plum tree that is very easy to grow if you have an open space where you haven’t planted a greenfield.
If you’ll plant a patch of Chickasaw plums, you can create food for deer and a thick-cover bedding area where the deer can dodge hunting pressure and grow those oldeClick to enlarger-age classes that hunters prefer.”

The Chickasaw plum yields its fruit in late July but produces cover all year long. Turkeys also will nest in regions dedicated to growing Chickasaw plums. An ideal sanctuary situation will have a plum thicket within 100 yards of a greenfield with small-grain crops on it. By micro-managing your property, you can provide food and cover throughout the year so bucks will stay on your land instead of drifting off it and onto your neighbors property.

To learn more about the Wildlife Group, visit, email call 1-800-221-9703 or write the Wildlife Group at 2858 County Road 53, Tuskegee, Alabama 36083.

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Tomorrow: The Best 1-Acre Bowhunting Plot and Honey Holes

Check back each day this week for more about "Trees and Bushes Bowhunters Can Plant to Increase Their Success"

Day 1: Trees and Bushes for Bowhunters
Day 2: The Advantage of Planting Permanent Food Plots
Day 3: A look At Nut Trees and Bushes
Day 4: The Truth About Honeysuckle + Creating Sanctuaries
Day 5: The Best 1-Acre Bowhunting Plot and Honey Holes



Entry 402, Day 4