Have You Implemented Any of These Strategies?
Sometimes deer densities are too high. Other times, they're too low. During times of the latter, it's important to know how to remedy the situation to improve things for the deer, and for the hunter. Here are eight ways to increase the buck density where you deer hunt.
Create More Bedding Cover
Bucks might love each other's company during summer and early fall months. But that changes come fall. It's important to have several bedding options on the property you hunt. This allows bucks to spread out. If you only have one or two good bedding options, it'll be much harder to hold numerous mature bucks.
Add Additional Food Sources
The more food you have, the more deer you can support. Simple mathematics. In essence, improve and increase the natural vegetation available to deer and plant food plots, too.
Place New Water Sources
This is one thing that often goes overlooked. It will have the most impact if you don't already have water on the property. However, even adding additional water sources to your property is one of the best things you can do. You'd be smart to implement it. On a small scale, you can add water troughs, tubs, etc. Or, you can go big and put in a pond.
Deer need minerals throughout the year. Having a year-round supply will only add value to the tract of land you hunt on.
Give Them Something They Can't Get Elsewhere
It's simple. Give bucks something they can't find on your neighbor's properties. Whatever that is, figure it out and immediately implement it where you hunt.
You need to have specific locations marked off as no-go zones. Having a sanctuary will leave an area of the property that deer feel extra safe living in. Hunting around these areas, and not within, will mean more mature bucks live there. As for size, it'll be different for every property, but I've found 5 to 10 acres is a good number. You don't want sanctuaries to be too big (or small).
Manage the Does
On the surface, it might seem like having less does will mean less bucks. In most cases, that isn't true, though. If you have too many does, reducing that number will free up quality bedding cover and leave more food sources for bucks. Also, if you have a more balanced buck-to-doe ratio, you'll see more bucks during the rut because they'll have to search harder for receptive does.
Don't Shoot Any Bucks
This might sound rudimentary, but I'm serious. I do this with places that I hunt and manage. Some years, it's best just to shut the buck hunting down and decide that you aren't going to harvest any bucks off that piece of land. It takes some self-discipline, but is an effective tool in your management arsenal.
Bonus Read: QDM Cooperatives: The Future of Deer Management on Small Properties
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