Off-season wildlife management determines the genetic potential of wild game.
Deer season is coming to a close. With that being said, it’s time to start thinking about what can be done to improve your wildlife management. This also includes any property, lease, or hunting club.
The off-season is a great time to start supplemental feeding. This is great for folks who are really looking to improve body weights, antler growth, and overall health in their deer herd.
Unfortunately, many fail to realize that the toughest time of year on a whitetail can be the late wintertime period. Specifically, right before spring green-up. This is especially true in the northern states. Many reliable food sources are few and far between. Many deer consume a lot of low quality, hard-to-digest, woody brush in the late winter.
Provide supplemental feed in a free-choice, trough-style feeder. This is a great way to relieve some of the physical stress on a whitetail’s body. Record Rack makes a product called Golden Deer Nuggets that has a great ratio of fats, carbohydrates, and protein to help deer recover from the rut and get them headed into the spring in top health.
I have found that deer utilize this just as much as they do corn. It also has a much better nutritional content. Deer that enter the spring in top physical shape also have the best chance of reaching their genetic potential. This is because they don’t have to repair and play catch-up,
Proper planting of late-season food plots and supplemental feed can really give you the edge in growing bigger bucks and healthier deer.
Supplemental feeding of protein pellets also has a positive impact on turkeys. Many properties that have a year-round supplemental feeding program hold high numbers of turkeys all year long. They also have measurable increases in their body weights.
“Keeping trail cameras up and going on supplemental feeders can show you what bucks have made it through the hunting season. It can also show you when and where they may be dropping their sheds.”
Keeping trail cameras up and going on supplemental feeders can show you what bucks have made it through the hunting season. It can also show you when and where they may be dropping their sheds.
Get some trapping done in preparation for upcoming turkey nesting in the spring. Raccoons, opossums, and skunks are responsible for the majority of destroyed or eaten turkey nests. Properties with low or very little turkey populations can increase the survival rate of turkey nests. You can do this by trapping these nest predators.
An intense two- to three-week-long trapping session can dramatically reduce the number of nest predators in a given area. It will also increase the survival rate of turkey nest substantially. This can really help with wildlife management. Live traps, footholds, coon cuffs, and other styles of traps can be placed in many areas. This includes creek bottoms, hardwood hollows, roadbeds, ponds, and anywhere else that these furry varmints like to travel.
Trapping really is a lot of fun. It can be another great sport to introduce your kids—or even other adults—to. I have found trapping to also be a great way to explore sections of a property you haven’t seen. Plus, you frequently find trails and deer sign that can help in next years’ deer hunting.
It’s never too early to be thinking about the upcoming spring food plot plantings. You should also be making sure your soil is in the best shape possible so you can grow good groceries.
Many co-ops and farm stores are relatively slow in the off-season. This is an ideal time for wildlife management. Get lime spread on food plots while the supplier’s spreading equipment is not tied up with row crop jobs. Are you sure whether or not your plots need lime? If not, take the time and get your soil tested. It’s not costly.
Finally, it’s important to determine the current pH level of your soil. Proper pH is one of the most overlooked aspects of growing good food plots. Soil testing is inexpensive and can save you a lot of money in the long run. This will keep you from guessing what your soil needs or doesn’t need.