Despite the abundance of public land in the United States (nearly a million square miles), hunters increasingly favor pursuing their quarry on private property. Its appeal is obvious: hassle-free access in a quiet space. For landowners, it's financially lucrative and with a long-term lease hunters can bring added value to the plot (and ecosystem) if jointly responsible for its upkeep.
You can improve your property to make it more attractive to deer (or any other animal) in a number of ways.
1. Add food plots
Adding food plots encourages deer and a wider variety of wildlife to visit your property. Boosting the nutritional value of your land impacts the genetic potential of visiting species, in terms of their body size, resilience to disease, weight, and overall health.
When it comes to the types of plants you grow in your plot, consider a mix of annual forages and perennials. Whitetails love snacking on annual forages, but it's more work for the land manager to re-plant every year. On the other hand, perennials reap longer-term benefits — lasting up to five years — provided you properly maintain them throughout the year. Whatever you choose, your aim is for a neutral soil pH, which ups your chances of producing an enticing, high-quality source of food.
2. Create natural and artificial cover
It's crucial that you maintain an environment that feels safe and comfortable for deer to feed. Multiple long and thin strips of plots, separated by a few feet of cover, creates an illusion of shelter for deer and enables you to easily monitor each corridor from a distance. Comfortable bedding areas near food and water sources encourage them to stick around for longer periods. If you lack beds you can create them by hinge-cutting trees, controlled fires, or dragging in felled trees and brush into your woods.
3. Establish and improve water sources
In the summer, deer consume up to 3 quarts a day per 100 pounds of weight and half that amount in winter. Ponds of any size draw in animals from afar and many will visit the same source on a daily basis. Less surface area and more depth reduce the rate of evaporation. If your land is favorable, you can dig a decently sized hole with a diameter of 5-6' within a day. Permeable soils may require a pond liner; alternatively, you can use a burly tarp, bury a water tank, or split plastic barrels into the ground. Building a small lip around the perimeter reduces any overflow.
4. Use the right gear to help you
When you're managing your property, functional and trustworthy gear saves time and increases efficiency.
Motive trail camera pack
The Motive allows you to easily transport up to eight trail cameras to observe your property. The large compartment with adjustable padded dividers provides added protection and encourages anyone borrowing your cameras to properly store and organize them before and after use. Includes lower side-mesh pockets for stashing a limb saw or pruners, so you can quickly and easily get to work with trimming unruly overgrowth as you go.
Crusader X Duffle
The Crusader X's 2800 in³ capacity and watertight welded seams protect your gear and make it a reliable load carrier in all seasons. A roll-top seal and compression straps minimize bulk and stabilize the load. Offers multiple carrying options; padded and removable shoulder straps, side and top grab handles.
With a few simple steps it's easy to improve your property, no matter its size or location. Sure, you may require some time to set things up. However, in just a few months you will start to see local wildlife flourish from all your hard work.