For hunters, the off-season is the worst. It seems like all you can do is sit around and dream about bagging bucks. But you can only stare at that picture of your trophy for so long until your pride begins to fade.
If you are a property owner, however, there are lots of things you can be doing before next hunting season. Prepping your hunting grounds not only gets you outside and active, it also increases your chances of grabbing a few more trophies in the upcoming year.
Let’s take a look at some of the important things you can be doing for your hunting grounds right now.
You need clear access to get from your parking spot to your hunting area, and you can’t afford to spend opening day moving logs, brush, and rocks. Before the season, head to your hunting ground and walk your trails, clearing out any obstructions as you go. Dealing with these obstacles will make lots of noise, so get it cleared before you go hunting.
If you have a large forested area, clear out a small section, preferably in the center, to act as a deer and wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary doesn’t need to be large; a 40-foot radius will do. Cut down trees and brush to give deer bedding and food. This will attract more animals and give them a place where they feel safe and secure.
If you haven’t already, mount a trail cam on your property to get an idea of the game available. Find a quality area that is near food and deer paths, as this will give you the best chance at capturing the information you need. When you have images, take note of the sex and size of the animals.
All animals need water, including turkey and deer. During wet seasons, finding water in streams and puddles is pretty easy for most animals, but during dry seasons, many will congregate towards areas that have access to water. You can increase the amount of game on your property by building a pond. You’ll need a good area where you can dig a pond, but this investment will give your hunting ground more activity and can also increase the property value.
All year long, take the time to record information related to game populations. Keep a log of deer, turkey, ducks, rabbit, or any other game that you like to hunt. This can help you identify the health of a population, and can provide hints for whether or not you should enhance the property. For example, if you only spot two deer throughout the year, you may want to consider adding vegetation and water that attracts more whitetails.
Conservation administrators can help you improve the quality of your land and the health of game on your property. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has divisions dedicated to conservation efforts, and state and local DNR officials may provide assistance with enhancement projects.
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