I recently caught wind of a new deer management project being worked on by Erich Long, a professional wildlife manager and the 2009 QDMA Deer Manager of the Year. This project is a new online show, featuring deer hunting and management tips for the average, every day guy. I’m a big fan of any management related information, so I decided to check out “Reality Deer Management”. My thoughts? It looks good! While just a few episodes in, it looks like this could another great resource for us hardcore hunters/managers as we strive to grow and hunt mature whitetails. Below I’ve shared a quick interview I did with Erich, in which we discuss the new show and some great land management tips for us all to consider.
1. What makes “Reality Deer Management” different than the other hunting and management related shows online and TV today?
Well, our show is dedicated to the guy or gal that doesn’t have huge amounts of land. I know in Ohio for example, I’m dealing with clientele that have 30 to 200 acres. With the tracts of land being small in size, the clientele still have high expectations based on what they read or see on TV. This is where the concept of the show comes in. We are going to show people that it can be done, but with realistic expectations based on your budget, land, and available time.
2. When you take on a new property to manage, what are typically the three highest priority items you like to stock of first?
Location in the state, county, and even township in which the property is located for starters. Certain areas obviously produce bigger deer than others do. Secondly, we concentrate on what are the landowner’s limitations are, such as finances and equipment. It allows us to decide what we can do and how much time it’s going to take to achieve the landowner’s goals. Lastly, we see how much percentage of tillable to woodland we have to deal with. Our style of management may differ than others because the smaller the land the more we try to provide a stress free environment. In these situations, we concentrate on native vegetation more than supplemental forages.
3. What is the most valuable piece of advice you could give to a new property owner looking to manage for deer?
You have to give them a reason to be there! With that being said, we really enforce people to provide a stress free environment with the aid of managing your native vegetation. Those older class whitetails that we’re all after need to feel stress free. Concentrate on the quality of cover. Cover equals food, cover equals bedding, and cover also provides age which means bigger deer!
4. With a couple months or less left until most folks start their hunting seasons, what are three easy projects a hunter can do now to improve their land or hunting opportunities?
It’s amazing how quickly it comes but it does. Prepping your fall food plots for starters. Take the time to make sure they’re weed free and have the right amounts of lime/ and fertilizer so they turn out the way you have envisioned. I would also suggest people getting a feel for what’s out there. Do your homework. Just because you don’t own the mass amounts of acreage doesn’t mean you can’t get involved with your neighbors in what they are seeing in the local bean or alfalfa fields. Get those cameras out as well, but use them wisely. Don’t go tramping around in those bedding areas trying to get that big buck pic, but utilize them around water sources and foraging areas. The last thing we concentrate on is getting our stand locations picked out and set up. We like setting up early so were not bothering them come hunting season. We usually spend one day and were in and out. Once again, stress free environment when dealing with any property in size but especially small acres.
Interested in learning more? Check out the first episode of Reality Deer Management below and visit there YouTube page to watch the rest!