By Mark Kenyon
Now that we’re into the month of March, I’d be willing to guess that habitat management is creeping to front of many whitetail hunters minds. With that said, I thought I’d share with you five of the best books I’ve come across on the topic of whitetail and habitat management. These five guides to management have helped me tremendously, and if you’re looking to improve your property for whitetails and whitetail hunting, these are five books you definitely need to check out!
Grow Em Right – A Guide to Creating Habitat and Food Plots by Neil and Craig Dougherty: If you wanted one book that covered almost all aspects of habitat management for whitetails, it would be hard to find a better option than “Grow Em Right.” Neil and Craig Dougherty have used their own property as an example to discuss such habitat improvements as timber management, food plots, creating sanctuaries, properly laying out a property, and much more. The Dougherty’s are two of the most qualified and experienced whitetail managers in the country, and they share their vast amount of knowledge in “Growing Em Right”. This is a fun and very interesting book – and if you’re looking to improve your property for deer, it’s a must read.
Quality Food Plots – Your Guide To Better Deer and Better Deer Hunting by Kent Kammermeyer, Karl Miller and Lindsay Thomas Jr: Food plots are obviously a huge part of whitetail habitat management, and a topic that many whitetail hunters have tons of questions about. For that reason, I say “thank goodness for Quality Food Plots” , published by the QDMA. There truly is no better resource on food plots than this book. I would be pretty confident in saying that almost any question you might have on food plotting is covered within these pages. Whether it be soil preparation, fertilization, tools needed, food plot design or what to plant. Everything is covered. I could go on and on about this book, but instead I’ll just close by saying that if you’re looking to plant food plots – you need to read this book. You won’t regret it. (Read my extended review here)
Whitetail Success By Design – Designing Your Next Hunt Of A Lifetime by Jeff Sturgis: Here’s another very interesting habitat management book, and one that is pretty unique when compared to other books on the market. “Whitetail Success By Design” is a book true to it’s title, in that it is focused on property design concepts that can help you improve how your land holds whitetails and how you can hunt them. Improving habitat is great, but if you don’t make your changes with a high level plan and design in mind, you’re wasting your time. Jeff introduces unique design concepts with us, such as “paralleling land features”, “depth of cover” and “lines of deer movement”. All with the goal of helping you strategically improve your property! A very interesting book, and if you’re looking to implement a smart, big picture oriented management plan, it should definitely be on your reading list.
Deer & Turkey Management Beyond Food Plots – Your Guide To Forest Management, Oaks, Fruits, Minerals, Predators & More by Karl Kammermeyer & Reggie Jackson: As mentioned earlier, food plots are a topic of great interest and because of that, there are many resources devoted to them. That said, there is much more to habitat management than food plots! This is where “Beyond Food Plots” comes in. Within the pages of this book, you’ll find dedicated chapters to forest management, “landscape context”, detailed profiles on oaks, fruit trees, other mast producers and much more. For those looking to expand their knowledge outside of food plots, and into other natural food sources and topics, this is a great read. (Extended review here)
Deer Management 101 – Manage Your Way To Better Hunting by Dr Grant Woods, Bryan Kinkel and Robert Bennet: Habitat management is great, but if you’re not properly managing the actual deer on your property you’re really missing the boat. Dr. Grant Woods and company do a terrific job of tackling the somewhat complex topic of properly managing a whitetail herd and they’ve done so in an interesting and understandable way. Within Deer Management 101 you’ll learn about the importance of adult sex ratios, age structure, record keeping and various whitetail management strategies and theories. If you want to truly manage the whitetail herd on your property to it’s fullest potential, Deer Management 101 will help you do it.
Be sure to click on each book’s title to see more details or to purchase a copy of your own! And if you have recommendations for any other good management focused books, let us know in the comments!