Improve Next Hunting Season With Three Easy Steps
From February til April you have the opportunity to do three things to improve next hunting season. You want to take inventory of your deer herd, feed your deer herd, and finding antlers. In my opinion, these three things are the baseline to the rest of the year.
First opportunity you have is to take inventory of your deer herd. So many people only use cameras between July-October, and this is a huge disservice to your cameras! They are willing and able to be out in the woods after deer season ends. This gives you the knowledge of not only what bucks lived but how healthy the herd is. It is important to know your doe herd as well. I usually find that this time of year the trail cameras also pick up more coyotes than usual. The winter weather really gets them on their feet. I then can monitor the coyotes and hunt appropriate areas on my farm to thin them out. Cameras are a year around tool that can really transform a farm.
The Deer Are Hungry
Second opportunity you have is to feed your herd during the final harsh stages of the winter. The rut is over, the boys are back together, and the deer are hungry. Their bodies are in desperate need of nutrients. Most hunter’s and farmer’s crops though are all gone by this part of the season. The snow and the ice have killed most life for animals to eat. Studies have shown that several mature bucks pass away this time of year because their bodies are so worn out from the rut that they can’t replenish the minerals they need to survive the weather and lack of food. So putting out minerals and feeders can be vital for your farm. This also can be a huge attractant to wandering deer from other properties.
A few years ago one of our largest bucks showed up this time of year. We had never seen him before but due to the food and minerals we put out he found his way and ended up staying on our farm for two more seasons. I personally use RAKS™ Big Game Supplements mineral and pellets this time of year. The deer will crush it and not only do they love it, but it helps them grow stronger and healthier. The minerals are blended together perfectly for optimum antler growth and their bodies fully process it to help them fight off diseases.
Shed Antlers Are Like A History Book
Third opportunity you have is shed hunting. Finding antlers is not only a fun thing to do but it is like a history book. It allows you to watch how bucks grow from year to year. Finding sheds from a buck for two to three years allows you to study your deer and see how the food plots and minerals are working. I think it gives you insight on which bucks might be good for culling since they are not developing. It is also a great way to get the family out on the farm enjoying hiking around and searching for the largest antler prize!
This time of year is slow and so using these three opportunities to get out and manage your deer herd will set you up to improve next hunting season and beyond.
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