Improve Whitetail Deer Habitat For Bucks AND Does.
Most guys who want to improve whitetail deer habitat on their property focus too much on food plots and nutrition for the deer. Food plots are great but they can also be planted with crops that do not attract deer for the most critical time of year for nutritional needs, but for the safety from other hunters. There are a few things you can do to improve whitetail deer habitat on your property.
One thing that is critical to improve whitetail deer habitat that is often overlooked is what I like to refer to as “Segregation of the Sexes”. We all know that 4 one acre plots is better than 1 four acre plot…same with bedding areas, beds, etc. However, I think it’s more extreme to the point that 4 well placed 1 acre plots is better than 1 ten acre plot. The more feeding areas you have, the more bedding areas you have, the more room you make on your property for segregation of the sexes. You not only allow room for both sexes, but age of sexes as well to Improve Whitetail Deer Habitat.
That’s why I personally don’t advocate large, single plantings of any species. For example, if you planted a two acre brassica field and the deer didn’t touch the brassicas until mid-Nov., that would eliminate the deer usage in the early season. However, I don’t like to see 8 plots with different plantings on each plot, this will not improve whitetail deer habitat. Instead, I like to see combinations of plantings within the same plot. You can do this with designated perennial portions that you maintain indefinitely by alternating combination plantings that include cool season plantings, and you can also include designated annual planting areas that are rotated between cool and warm season plantings in the same year. To make sure your food plot will improve whitetail deer habitat, plant a variety of perennial and annuals in each of your small food plots.
In the end though, you keep each plot’s efficiency high for the entire year, you scatter the deer herd, and you make room for more deer including both sexes. This will all add up to improve whitetail deer habitat Unless you do NOT want deer use a plot for some reason during certain times of the year because you have to walk through them to access stands, etc….then by all means plant single plantings on a plot. That plot will experience time line holes in nutrition and attraction that lead to less deer that can use your property. In particular, when they have the largest chance of being shot.
If I had to choose 1 crop to improve whitetail deer habitat, I would go with cool-season crops so I’m getting the highest amount of efficiency when the local deer herd is the most susceptible to getting shot, basically the month of November.
Also, on your property with all the switchgrass, your plots will actually help to separate your bedding areas, at least by defining them more for various family groups or bucks to use as opposed to one large wandering, undefined bedding area. Improve whitetail deer habitat with multiple efficient plots that will also help to encourage more use of the defined bedding areas throughout the hunting season as long as those plots offer great attraction during Nov. and later. I’ve never cared if the deer were eating on my neighbors great crops and nutrition during the summer…as long as they lived in and around my property to improve whitetail deer habitat during Nov. and Dec.
Improve Whitetail Deer Habitat Conclusion:
There is no reason that with that much cover you shouldn’t actually be collecting deer as the season progresses as food supplies are dwindling and hunting pressure is most intense, but you have to have enough quality small food sources and diversity in bedding areas to Improve Whitetail Deer Habitat.