Many of us in the Wired To Hunt Nation are on the younger side of the scale when it comes to the overall hunting population. That being said, most likely, many of us have no land of our own or own small pieces of land if any. So can the “next generation of hunters” succesfully practice quality deer management on small parcels of land? I believe the answer is a definitive yes. Whether you have 20 acres to hunt or 200, you can still takes steps to increase the quality of your hunting and your herd. The steps you take may be different and the results might be less impressive than those on a 2,000 acre ranch, but success can still be had on small pieces of land. Read on for six thoughts to keep in mind when trying to practice quality deer management on your own little piece of dirt.
- Improve Your Land’s Cover & Food: If you have a small piece of land, you can still make it the most attractive spot in the area for the deer herd. You can do this by providing the very best of two things. Food and cover. Provide great forage options and very thick cover nearby and you have the perfect set up to keep deer on your property. If designed properly, you can ensure that the optimal amount of daytime activity takes place on your property, before deer move on to other hunter’s land. Create sanctuaries and lots of thick cover to keep your deer bedding on your land, then leave it alone.
- Don’t Give Up On Letting Young Bucks Grow: Don’t shoot young or small bucks just because you assume your neighbors will. It’s common for many to have this frame of mind, but it can only make your situation worse. Now, yes, your neighbors may shoot some of the deer that you want to see grow older, but on the other hand maybe they won’t. They’ll only have that chance to mature if you pass on them. That’s all you can really control, so do your part and eventually you’ll see results.
- Set Reasonable Expectations: If you’re on a small piece of land, you need to set reasonable expectations. You obviously can’t control what deer are harvested on your neighbors properties and it’s likely that too young of deer will be taken. Do everything you possibly can on your piece of ground, but realize that results will be tempered and slow to come if your neighbors don’t buy in with you.
- Join or Create a Co-Op: Speaking of your neighbors buying in, one of the best ways to improve the quality deer management on your land is to get the surrounding hunters to practice QDM as well. A co-op is essentially a group of hunters who agree to a common set of guidelines for managing their deer herd. The larger the area and the more people you can get to practice QDM around you, the better the results can be. Reach out to the surrounding land owners and pitch them on practicing QDM along with you.
- Hunt Smart: You can do everything in the world to make your land great for deer, let deer grow big and old and get more people around you to practice QDM. But if you don’t hunt your small piece of land effectively, you will never reap the benefits of your quality deer management philosophies. For example, always make sure to set up stands with wind direction in mind. Nothing will send a deer to your neighbors land faster than a nose full of your sweaty arm pits. Every action you take during the hunting season has to be planned strategically when you are hunting a small area. Small land means less room for error.
- Limit Pressure and Activity: Tying into hunting your land smarter, you also need to reduce the activity and pressure on your land as much as possible. During the hunting season deer are obviously very effected by human activity, usually resulting in an increase in nocturnal behavior. Keep the pressure as low as possible on your land, so as to see the maximum amount of day time activity.
Quality deer management occurs on many levels and in many locations. No matter what your land size, shape or style is, you can improve the quality of deer and deer hunting in your area. Keep these thoughts in mind and work hard, and you can enjoy the wonderful and far reaching benefits of quality deer management in your own neck of the woods. Have any other tips to improve the chances of success for a quality deer management program on small acreage? Please share them with the rest of the Wired To Hunt Nation!
For more on QDM from Wired To Hunt, check out these posts: