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Big Mature Land


Food plots are for many of us the most fun and dramatically rewarding part of being a gamekeeper. But as you delve deeper into habitat and wildlife management, it becomes clear that there are plenty of other improvements that need to be made to the habitat if your goal is to attract and hold mature bucks on your property.




big mature land



BioRocks are good. I also like to dig up and mix in Full Potential into the top 8-12 inches of soil in several key sites for every 50 acres of land. Place them in or near cover, where a mature buck is more likely to make use of them. By putting that many sites out, you can monitor which ones are most attractive and keep those activated while eliminating the others. Refresh them as needed, but avoid checking the site too often.


6. Add shrubs and vines. Habitats that are mostly open crop fields and mature woods can benefit from releasing and enhancing any shrubs and vines present and planting others. If you have Japanese honeysuckle, fertilizing can double the forage production of this non-native, but still valuable plant for deer. Also nurture any raspberry, blackberry, greenbrier, and plum shrubs on the property. These offer both food and valuable cover.


Often state wildlife biologists will visit your land and give recommendations for free. Institute as many of the habitat projects described here as you can and chances are any mature bucks in the area will make your land their home year-round.


In the last several decades, many people throughout the Northeastern United States have come to love the wild turkey. While many are happy just to see or hunt turkeys on other people's land, others want to manage their land to benefit turkeys.


One of the first things you need to consider is how much area a turkey can normally be expected to cover, also known as its home range. A turkey can and does cover a lot of ground in its daily travels. Their home range varies by season and can range from 400 to 2,000 acres or more. Therefore, unless you own a large tract of land (at least several hundred acres), you do not need to provide for all of a turkey's annual needs on your land.


Look at your land and the surrounding area and determine what habitat component is in the shortest supply, then try to provide that habitat type. For instance, if your property is forested and surrounded by active agriculture, creating a small field will probably not be an effective method of attracting turkeys. Instead, maintaining it as a woodlot and managing for mature mast producing trees would be a better choice.


When turkey management first began, biologists thought that turkeys required very large stands of mature timber to survive. It is now recognized that turkeys do best in areas with a wide variety of habitat types and plant species. One recent researcher has described the ideal turkey habitat as one-half wooded, one quarter abandoned fields, and one quarter active agriculture.


If those three needs are met, interspersed with mature woodland, you have greatly increased the probability of having wild turkeys in the area. The only other component you might want to add is a late summer/fall food source. The primary benefit of this would be to hold the birds for your enjoyment, as fall food is seldom lacking in the Northeast.


If you do manage your land for turkeys by providing improved habitat, just what can you really hope to accomplish? Before deciding on a method of enhancing the value of your land for wild turkeys, think about your objectives.


If you do decide to manage your land for wild turkeys, you will have the enjoyment of knowing you have a few more turkeys on your land. In many cases, they will be visible so you can enjoy watching them. Even if they are not visible from your house, you will have the enjoyment of knowing that they are using your property and you have improved their habitat.


The African bush elephant is the largest land mammal in the world and the largest of the three elephant species. Adults reach up to 24 feet in length and 13 feet in height and weigh up to 11 tons. As herbivores, they spend much of their days foraging and eating grass, leaves, bark, fruit, and a variety of foliage. They need to eat about 350 pounds of vegetation every day.


In the past, when an elephant made a wrong turn and ended up in a community garden, a villager often defended their food supply with a spear. A direct hit can be enough to kill the animal within a few days. But now, villagers have a safer way to redirect elephants from their farmland, a specially-developed firework that deters rather than harms.


Amboseli will forever be known as a real stronghold for elephants. Decades-long research on the elephant population here tells us that elephants move south from Amboseli into the forests of Mount Kilimanjaro. If we can keep Enduimet open and viable, we are both protecting critical hectares of land for elephants and helping improve livelihoods for local communities. A key vision for this area is to be able to showcase in future years that Maasai living along the northern border of Tanzania are seeing a better life with elephants alive. Today, I am not sure that is the case.


There are also some tactics we can use to help people live with wildlife. For example, tracking lions makes it possible to alert community members to move their cattle into new areas to avoid predation when lions are nearby. Developing crop protection teams and ensuring that the viable elephant corridors remain open grasslands rather than being cultivated are proven strategies as well.


Elephants are a key focal species that help us identify where to focus our conservation efforts throughout Africa because they need such large habitats to exist and thrive. They shift north, south, east, and west through forests and grasslands all year. If a system works for elephants, it generally works for impala, zebra, giraffe, kudu, lion, and other species that utilize similar habitat.


Although a section of land is always around 640 acres, the number of hunters within a section of land can very greatly, from as few as 1 or less, to 50 or more. In many areas that I have hunted (and still do) I would guess that an average number of hunters would be between 15 and 25 folks, often all going after the same mature buck or two. Is that a fair estimate? And if the average number of deer hunters is somewhere between 15 and 25, how can you expect to possibly beet the odds to target a specific mature buck? By having the only land in the area that does not contain hunting pressure, while you hunt.


It would seem like there is one big secret, because while so many hunters think that you need 200, 500 or even a thousand acres or more to consistently harvest the oldest bucks in the area; a small % of hunters often harvest the majority of mature bucks from the smallest parcels in the area. Often they do this by actually spending less time in the woods instead of more. Here is how you can use their hunting pressure secrets to do the same as well, every single year


Until you have enough land to completely encompass the effects of negative hunting pressure, than having more land just equals more headaches to manage, and more money to spend. I often find that hunters who would spook deer on an entire 40 acre parcel, would likely do the same even if they hunted 240 acres. So what does more land often mean?


These hunting pressure secrets can save hunters a lot of money: Less is often more when it comes to the number of hunting acres that you should own or lease. My personal choice is to lease or own 2-3 parcels containing less than 50 acres of cover each. With a small collection of micro parcels I can potentially tap into several different buck herds at a time in a section of land, instead of one buck herd on a larger parcel of hunting land.


A mature buck pinballs to the area of least resistance. If a mature buck can find a quieter, less stressful area to live during the daytime that is close enough to a quality food source, he will find it. For example if every nearby hunter is using an ATV to access their hunting stands, then you may hear about quite a few ATV using hunters connecting on mature bucks. However it is because the bucks do not have a choice. If 1 person in the area offers a higher level of peace and quiet on their land, then bucks will gravitate to that land like flies to a gut pile.


If you believe this, than you have already lost the mindset and experience for what it takes to consistently harvest mature bucks. And if this is indeed true on the lands that you hunt, then major changes in hunting style need to take place. A doe herd is one of the greatest indicators of hunting style health. If the doe herd on your land is predictable and easy to hunt nearly any day of the season, than you are on the right track.


Doe family groups have very small home ranges, and will often react completely different on one neighbor's land vs another, by reflecting the level of hunting pressure applied to each parcel. If doe family groups will not enter food sources until after dark, hunters will be fighting an uphill battle.


*There is a distinctly different set of tactics that you need to hunt with for mature bucks, than you would mature does. However, when you employ high quality hunting tactics towards your doe population, it is easy to find a highly efficient level of success. To learn how to be a more efficient doe hunter, make sure that you check out "Buck Tactics For Doe Harvest Success".


Every acre of cover needs to be supported appropriately by food. The basis of daily movement contains two pieces of habitat: Food and cover. Your goal shouldn't be to control a mature bucks movements over a 24 hour period, but instead only his daytime bedding to evening food source movement.


While a mature buck's daily movements may include 10-20 acres or less much of the season, his nightly movements could include 100's of acres or more. In most regions it is very hard to find 10-20 acres that does not receive hunter sight, sound, or scent. By focusing on enough Fall food and Fall cover for the daytime hours, you will be well positioned for the timeframe that matters most: Shooting hours. But in the end, more food and cover equals even more deer to potentially spook, if your access or intrusion on the land is poor. 041b061a72


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