Habitat planning for deer notes
I let the habitat tell me how to section off a property. That said, if the habitat allows, I’m going to try to create 2-4 sections on properties ranging from 40-80 acres. I’m under no illusion that I’ll have 2-4 mature, dominant bucks that live exclusively on that 40-80 acres, but giving them each a section allows me to get more to spend disproportionately more time on the property than if I treat the property as one piece, just offering 1 of everything important, if that makes sense. As we start getting into bigger properties, I start trying to get bucks to live more in each of their “sections,” but that takes larger acreages to pull off. Even on a 320, you’re almost always going to have our bucks leave, at least at times. The trick is to try to get them to do as much of that after dark as you can, and hopefully get them back before daylight. That’s what I’m striving for, anyway.
Cody, I obviously agree completely and even apply that to does and doe fawns. I don’t want them the least bit on edge or looking up in trees for me, either. Sure, one never knows when Mr. Big will be following or watching them, but I sincerely believe that when the does are comfortable, the bucks are lulled into a false sense of complacency far more than they otherwise would be.
Dave, I never say never, but it’d take some pretty special circumstances for me to cut producing apple trees, in an attempt to get deer to stop feeding on them, just because they weren’t by a food plot. In my area of the country, there are very few locations where there are more apples produced than the deer can keep up with. IF I was in that situation, I could see removing the ones from areas that don’t help me, to help focus feeding in areas that did. Remember, I’m most often trying to strike a balance between growing, holding and killing bucks. Having as many apples as they could want does a lot for “holding” them, even when they aren’t in ideal locations.
On the farm I meant to do the plan for, there weren’t any wild apple trees.
P.S. after really reading your post, I’m with you. I’d much rather have an apple tree along a “sidewalk” or even in bedding areas than in an areas that I wasn’t trying to encourage deer activity in. If I still had too many apples (more than the deer could ever eat), I’d start getting rid of those that were in the bedding areas. Still too many, those on the “sidewalks” would go next, leaving only those around food plots. That said, I can’t imagine a situation where I had that many apples that I could remove all of them, expect for those around food plots, and still have more apples than the deer could want/eat. Also, if I was in a low deer number area and trying to get the deer numbers up, I wouldn’t start even contemplating cutting out apple trees until my numbers were up to where I wanted them and I believed I could hold them at this level. Even then, I’d want to error on the safe side, hedging my bet for having ample apples on poor producing years.