Make Your Deer Hunting Land Better for Big Bucks

hunting land
An aerial map of prospective hunting land can pinpoint areas best for a whitetail's habits for feeding, drinking and bedding down. (Photo by Ron Sinfelt)

Identifying a property's strengths and weaknesses for whitetails can help improve the quality of deer hunting land.

It's basic human nature to buy something and immediately, no matter how perfect or pristine the object might be, start fiddling around with it.

Fixing it. Improving it.

Property is certainly no different, and hunting land perhaps heads the whitetail enthusiast's list of ongoing projects.

But what can be done to make a parcel — any size parcel, and anywhere — more attractive to deer in general, and trophy bucks specifically?

Or, rather, what should be done?

"It (the improvement projects) can vary," said Stephen French, a four-year land specialist professional with Whitetail Properties. "But the first thing I would suggest doing, and regardless of whether the property is large or small, is to get an aerial map of the property and the properties around it. And the smaller the property, the more important this (overview) is. What you're looking for is what's there.

"For deer, what's available and what's not. Is the property agricultural rather than cover? If so, you'll want to create that cover. Is the nearest water a mile away? If that's the case," he continued, "then you might want to go in and dig a pond. Essentially, you want to find out what's lacking, and then create that."

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Tom James, a three-year veteran with Whitetail Properties, suggests a similar approach when evaluating a parcel's needs in terms of what can be done to improve its overall attractiveness to whitetails, and to wildlife in general.

"Every property," he said, "is unique and different. So first, you need to identify (the property's) strengths and weaknesses. They're like holes in a bucket, and you need to decide which holes to fill first. Whitetails need food, water, shelter, and an environment in which to reproduce. These are the basic necessities. So you identify what the property lacks, and address, then, what it is you need to do. And it's likely," he continued, "these projects will grow more grandiose over time, and with labor and the accumulation of equipment."

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