John’s Note: Most sportsmen think they must manipulate habitat and provide more food for more deer to manage the wildlife on their lands. But you can have inexpensive deer herd management by applying the tactics of Dr. Grant Woods of Reedsville, Missouri, a well-known wildlife biologist, and other avid outdoorsmen who love developing their lands and deerherds.
As outdoorsmen know, you can spend plenty of money on deer management by clearing land, plowing, planting and manipulating the habitat. Because some hunting clubs can’t afford the type of deer management that they really want, I posed this problem to a hunting friend of mine who enjoys deer-habitat development and researching the management of food plots. “Suppose I’ve just gotten 1000 acres of land to hunt. My wife doesn’t like for me to be gone every weekend. She says I can’t spend more than $50-$100 on wildlife management. How can I manage a deer herd for that money on 1000 acres and get the most for my money, improve the habitat and grow more and bigger deer?”
Well, my hunting buddy laughed when he heard my proposal. But then he scratched his head and answered, “You can do a pretty good job of deer management with about $100, if you identify what needs to be done.”
My friend first recommended I buy gasoline for my limited-budget deer-management plan. “For $30 or so, you can buy enough gasoline and oil to run a chainsaw for a couple of weeks. Since almost everyone in a hunting club has a chainsaw, my first suggestion is that you buy gas for the chainsaws and clear brushy places and areas with non-commercial timber growing on them.”
When leasing land, make sure you have the permission of the landowner before you cut any trees or brush. However, if some trashy, grown-up areas not in timber production have grown up with non-commercial timber or brush, then after you get the permission of the landowner, take your chainsaw in, cut that brush down to the ground, and clear out a spot where sunlight can reach the forest floor. Your consulting forester needs to play a major role in helping to determine areas that you can clear.
“Any time you can open up the forest floor, so that sunlight can get to it, native grasses and shrubs will begin to grow and produce a tremendous amount of natural food for deer,” my outdoors friend informed me. “Remember that although deer like young, tender plants, they only can feed on vegetation that grows up to about 6 feet off the ground. So by opening up the forest floor, creating wildlife openings and stimulating new growth, you’ll drastically increase the amount of food and cover that the deer have on the property that you hunt and begin to better manage your deer.”
“For $30 you can buy quite a bit of fertilizer for a 1,000-acre hunting property,” my friend told me. “Fertilizer enables plants and trees to put on more foliage and nuts and makes the fruit it produces much-more nutritious for the deer.”
Several buddies who enjoy managing their properties recommend that you first fertilize naturally-occurring, mast-producing trees and bushes and shrubs on which deer feed. If apple or nut trees are on your land, you can fertilize them, and they’ll put on more fruits and nuts. You also can fertilize wild persimmon trees, Japanese honeysuckle, blackberry, smilax (greenbrier) and other wild deer foods.
A little fertilizer can go a long way in helping to produce more deer food and cover. Your consulting wildlife biologist or forester can play a major role in your wildlife-management program by naming which trees and shrubs the deer prefer to feed on at different times of the year. These professionals also can tell you how and when to fertilize these plants to get maximum production. You’ll enjoy seeing just how lush you can make a cleared wildlife opening, if you sprinkle some fertilizer on the ground after you’ve cleared the land.
You’ll learn more deer-hunting information and tips from hunters in John E. Phillips’ Kindle, CreateSpace and Audible books. Go to http://johninthewild.com/books/#deer to purchase and download to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer. You also can go to Nook Books at www.barnesandnoble.com to buy.
Also you can download free books by going to http://johninthewild.com/free-books.