I want to talk to you about how important it is to create deer sanctuaries. About eighteen years ago I got permission to hunt a farm. This farm had not been hunted in about five years. However, the neighbors hunted hard from what we were told. It was mid December when I gained permission to hunt. Being young, I decided to go out hunting without ever stepping foot on the property. The landowner told me the property lines. He said there was an old deer stand on the back of the property that they had a lot of success in growing up.
It was a cold and brisk December morning. Since I had never been there I waited for the sun to come up so I could sneak in. As I sneaked through the woods I saw buck sign everywhere. Of course, I was walking slow and out of nowhere I saw a big buck walking towards me. He was coming out of a thicket. I shot him at 30 yards off hand. Ultimately he piled up at about 40 yards. No doubt it was the biggest buck I had ever killed to this point.
We Put Lots of Pressure On This Land
The following season I killed a buck just a little bigger than him. Coincidentally it was in the same area on the exact day as the year before. Due to life, I had only hunted this farm about four to five times that season. Over the next 5-6 years my brother, father, and me hunted this farm hard. I had killed two wall hangers and we knew there were others. We put lots of pressure on this land and built great memories. As a result, each year it seemed we saw fewer and fewer big bucks. Trail cameras were always put out. As a matter of fact, we would see bucks all summer. But as fall neared, they always disappeared. In spite of putting out tons of stands and ground blinds each year we would come up empty handed.
Why was I able to kill two great bucks so quickly and then nothing? My brother and I started to look at the trends. Not only did we study the trail camera pictures but also watched hunting shows and began to do a lot of research. The conclusion was that we were putting to much pressure on the deer.
Create Deer Sanctuaries So They Feel Safe
Creating deer sanctuaries on the land became a priority. These sanctuaries are all over now. They are places that we created for deer to live and not be bothered by deer stands or us walking through. Some of these sanctuaries are not convenient for us. However, after studying the lay of the land we realized they were the best areas for the deer. Big bucks felt comfortable moving through these areas. Some of them were natural bedding areas and others just untouched woods. Work was done cutting trees and creating walkways for them to get to these areas. Furthermore they now had protection and a safe haven. We created five sanctuaries on 150 acres. Hunting is only on about 50% of the land now.
Over the past ten years we have been able to enjoy the success of our hard work. I now have a beautiful ten point buck on my wall that was aged at 7 years old. My father and brother both have taken bucks over the age of four and placed them on their walls. Some years it is hard not to go into these sanctuaries but we’ve learned that our year to year success is dependent on it.
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