Land management. It's important and necessary for wildlife populations to thrive. Here at Realtree.com, we live for that. Conservation is everything. And if there's something that can be done to benefit the animals we love, we'll do it. We talk the talk, but we also walk the walk. Here are our top five land management posts from 2018.
10 Trees That Will Hold Deer on Your Hunting Property
Mention planting for deer, and most hunters automatically assume you are talking about food plots. While there is no doubt that a nice food plot will attract and hold deer in an area, planting trees and shrubs can also be an excellent way to improve the hunting on your property. I checked with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Joe Lacefield and USFW Wildlife Biologist Brad Pendley to get their top picks for wildlife-friendly trees.
Unlike annual or semi-annual food plots like beans, clover or alfalfa, trees and shrubs are a long-term project. How long? It depends on what you plant.
Short-term plantings consist of small trees and large shrubs that begin to provide fruit or forage in the years immediately after planting. Some plants start to provide food a year or two after planting, others won’t produce for as long as 10 to 15 years.
Unlike the soft mast and fruit production of the short-term plantings, long-term trees take longer to mature, often as many as 15 to 20 years, but will produce regularly for years to come after they start. The good thing about those long-term plants is that they will still be around to bring deer in for your grandchildren . . . continue reading . . .
6 Food Plots on a Budget
Food plots serve as a big part of what I do each season. They can be used to feed deer. They can be used to kill deer. It all depends on location, orientation and design. But one thing remains constant regardless of the purpose of the plot: You need the right seed. But food plot seeds aren’t cheap. Here are six great options for those on a budget . . . continue reading . . .
The 10 Commandments of Food Plots
I don’t always plant food plots. But when I do, I plant food plots that don’t draw deer. Maybe that's not entirely true. Numerous deer have died at the hands of my food plot handiwork. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the first five food plots I planted failed to fill a tag for me. But then, something miraculous happened. I pulled my head from my behind. I forgot my own stubborn ways, studied how deer movement correlates with feeding patterns, and paid attention to what others do to take more deer . . . continue reading . . .
6 Things That Attract Big Bucks
There are two questions that people invariably ask when discussing whitetail hunting and land management. The first is, “What can I do to hold more deer on my property”? The second is, “What can I do to kill bigger bucks?”
Ask these questions in a room filled with deer hunters, and you can sit back and enjoy hours of debate and countless opinions on how to best accomplish these goals. Few subjects will generate more interest and discussion among deer hunters, and it’s easy to understand why.
Let’s face it: most people hunt because they enjoy it and want to put meat on the table for their families. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t enjoy sitting in the woods for hours or days on end without seeing much game. I do everything possible to my property to ensure that there are plenty of deer living on it and that they are visible in daylight hours.
There are literally dozens of different things that can be done to accomplish the goals of having more deer and bigger bucks. A whitetail’s basic needs are food, water and cover . . . continue reading . . .
Native Shrubs That Hold Deer on Your Property
Mention food and bedding sources to most deer hunters and they automatically think of ag crops, food plots, or mast trees. But, if you want to benefit and hold deer on your property all year, native shrubs are perhaps the most important food group on your farm.
Shrubs provide browse, berries and mast on a nearly year-round basis. Good, low cover provides a hiding place and shelter to spring fawns, protecting them from predators. Most midwestern farms will already have some of the shrubs on this list. Encourage them by clearing non-native or invasive plants from around the desired shrubs. Fertilizing encourages growth and mast/berry production, too.
Many shrub seedlings can be purchased from native plant nurseries or through your local Ag offices. The following native shrubs are common throughout the midwestern United States. Plant them along field and food plot borders for year-round browse and to provide edge feathering cover for deer moving in and out of the plot . . . continue reading . . .
Are you a hunter wanting to learn how to accomplish your goals? Check out our stories, videos and hard-hitting how-to's on food plots and land management.