Habitat Management for Better Deer Hunting

Question: “We have a small farm 60 acre in Pennsylvania that we use for deer hunting. We are interested in managing the place to attract and hold whitetail and to make it better for whitetail hunting. I know the place is small, but is there anything we can do to provide more for the deer and keep them hanging around? About 45 acres are wooded and the rest are fields.”

Response: There are things that any hunter can do to develop better deer hunting, even those restrained to small acreage deer management. You are not the only one in this situation because most land owners do not have thousands upon thousands of acres. Most land holdings are less than 100 acres. With only 60 acres there is very little you can do to hold deer on your place for very long. However, you can provide foods for them to eat and attract them.

Whitetail Deer Hunting

Food plots, supplemental feeding, mineral sites, and the like will attract whitetail deer. Deer move around a lot, so don’t expect to the small amount of land you own to hold them. Deer regularly have home ranges that are several hundred acres in size. But by keeping the habitat on your property in good condition, and keeping the right kinds of supplements in place, you can make your place an important part of their lives.

In order to get deer to bed on your place you will have to do a couple things. Half of your place, probably the thickest, most nasty part, needs to be off limits to all human traffic.The other thing you need is to have the type of cover or habitat that deer like to use as bedding areas. You can create bedding areas by hinge (half) cutting a bunch of trees in the thick bedding area. Whitetail deer love this type of cover to set up shop for the night.

Also, make sure you hunt your land properly. If not, deer will change their travel patterns and you will not have any success. Bucks, especially mature ones, will avoid areas where they detect danger. Hunting your property correctly means scent control. Make sure your scent does not get blown into the bedding area on your place. In addition, proper stand placement should mean that you can get to and from you parking area to your deer stand without allowing your scent to come in contact with the animals you are hunting.

Small acreage deer management means planting food plots, developing supplemental feeding sites, providing bedding areas and keeping the place quite. Put all of these techniques in place and the deer hunting on your 60 acres of Pennsylvania land will improve. If you can get the neighbors involved that’s even better. Hunt smarter, not harder, and you will have success!

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