Create a better food source for deer by selecting trees that drop their mast at different times.
The late winter can be a great time to take a look back on how your season has gone and make a checklist of things you would like to improve in the coming year. For wildlife management purposes, call it a New Year’s resolution.
To prepare for next deer season and ensure you can grow the best food possible for all the critters you are trying to manage, late winter can be a great time to soil test. Getting the soil tested in areas that you plan to plant in food plots or mast-producing trees and properly amending the soil with the recommended lime and fertilizer will be the best money you can spend.
Prepare for Next Deer Season by Adding Lime and Fertilizer
I encourage land managers to get their lime spread in the late winter for a couple of reasons. Ag lime can take months to begin to break down and neutralize the acidity of your soil. The finer the mesh that the lime is screened through at the quarry, the sooner it will break down. If you usually use the local co-op to spread your lime or rent equipment from them to do it yourself, late winter is a good time to get it done before the row crop farmers begin their planting season.
Getting your plots amended with the proper amount of lime will increase the effectiveness of your fertilizer which will positively impact the growth and palatability of your spring and fall food plots.
Prepare for Next Deer Season with Strategic Tree Plots
This can also be a great time of year to create a tree plot by utilizing hard and soft mast-producing trees. Many of us have those hard-to-reach fields or grown-up areas that don’t make great food plots because of their tough access or poorer soil types. These areas can be turned into a tree plot by selecting mast-producing trees that will drop highly-coveted acorns and fruit for your wildlife.
One great tactic I like to use is this: take a couple of acres and select two or three varieties of tree that drop their mast at different times. This creates a two-to-three-month source of food. For example, persimmons and swamp white oaks can be planted for a great early-season drop tree, and Shumard oaks can be used for the mid- to late-season drop.
The guys at Nativ Nurseries in West Point, Mississippi have these and many other varieties of beneficial wildlife plantings available.
Share the Love of Outdoors
Most of us have at least a couple weeks or more of deer season left to hunt this year and many of us have filled our freezer and more by this time of year. If you live in the southern portion of the state, you are gearing up for the rut and ready for a shot at the bucks you have protected all year.
Find the time this year to take a break from preparing for next deer season and take a kid or an adult along who may not have an opportunity to hunt, or the resources to get out and enjoy God’s creation. A positive impact can be made on so many people by bringing them along and showing them all the different ways we work and enjoy the land.
Simple management chores on the farm can be a great way to spend time with kids and teach them things they don’t get from a classroom. Planting trees, working on farm equipment, and building duck boxes are just a few of the hundreds of things we need to make sure we are passing on to not just our kids, but any others who show interest.