Now that March is well upon us, it’s time for most people to begin thinking about turkeys and food plots and I am right there with them! I’m currently neck deep in my Quality Whitetails Magazines and the best food plot book I have read to date, Quality Food Plots. So throughout the coming spring and summer months look for us to cover all sorts of different food plot and land management topics. But today I think we should start at the very beginning, because thats a very good place to start. And at the beginning of every new land management or food plot project, a few questions must first be answered. Let’s discuss what those might be…
What Are Your Goals?
Before ever picking up a chain saw or buying a bag of seed, you must first very clearly understand the goals for your project. Do you want to improve the nutrition available to your deer herd year round or do you just want to improve your hunting opportunities? Do you want to encourage more deer to live on your property or make your property easier to hunt? The best strategy for providing nutrition for deer might look very different than what you might want to do when hunting attraction is the goal. Avoid generic goals like “improving the habitat” and focus rather on clearly articulated goals for yourself and then dive into land management topics that can uniquely move you towards their completion.
What Is Your Property’s Weakest Link?
Once you’ve determind your immediate goals, you need to consider where the most help is needed. Look at your property and those surrounding it and see what is the weak link. If you’re looking to improve the nutrition of your deer herd, look at food sources in the nearby area. If there is very little winter nutrition available, fill this void and become the top spot for winter food for your local whitetails! If you’re goal is to increase the number of deer living on your property, take a look around and find out whats missing. Deer need food, cover and water. Is there no water nearby? Build a pond! Is there precious little cover after corn is harvested? Create a sanctuary! Understand the universe that your deer live in and provide them what they can’t find anywhere else. No matter what your goal is, this idea can be put to good use.
What Conditions Are You Dealing With?
Before you can actually take action on your plan, you’ll need to take stock of the cards you have been dealt. If you want to improve nutrition, but live in an area with an overpopulation of deer, you need to take this into consideration. If you’re wanting to increase the number of deer you see, but you hunt on a 5 acre parcel, you’ll need to take this into account when developing your strategy. Some habitat management programs will work great in certain areas, while failing miserably in others and the same goes for food plots even more. Take inventory of your setting and the situation before you, and then dive into the unique solutions for your specific situation that can lead you towards the completion of said goals.
I think a common problem for people just getting into food plots or habitat mangement is to dive in head first before really thinking through their plan. It’s so easy today to go to the store, pick up a bag of “wonder seed” and expect it to transform your hunting land into a whitetail wet dream. But this just isn’t the case. Foods plots and habitat management require sound strategy and careful planning, and this all begins with a few simple questions.
Any other points or questions you would have others consider before diving into food plots/habitat management? Share them in the comments!