If you like hunting and either own or lease land it then you are likely interested in quality deer management in one form or another. Besides, I’ve never heard anyone say that they wanted the whitetail on their property to be less healthy or that they actually preferred to shoot bucks that were way below average. Deer management is not something that is only practiced during the deer hunting season. To think so would be oversimplification of a dynamic animal.
Sure, proper harvest during the season is a part of of managing a deer herd. It’s important to reduce the herd where there are too many animals, especially if it’s been a better than average year for fawns. Most lands practicing quality deer management conduct surveys right before the hunting season starts. This gives them a good idea of deer numbers, ratios and lots of other info. This is ideal and should always be done, but surveys are not just limited to the late summer and fall.
Source: “When most people think of trail camera surveys, they think of the summer time and placing a trail camera over a bean field or mineral station to gather an inventory of the caliber of bucks using their property, as well as fawn recruitment and overall property population. A lot of information and data can be gathered at that time, but trail camera surveys shouldn’t stop there.
The problem with trail camera surveys during the summer is they only tell you what deer are using your property during the summer, obviously. Once food sources change – crops are harvested, fall food plots green up, acorns fall, etc. – those same deer you photographed during the summer may not be the same deer using your property during the fall.
Trail camera surveys during the hunting season are a great way to learn what deer are using your property when you can actually hunt them. Since both bucks and does will expand their home range during the fall, it can be a little more difficult to find a high traffic area where you can get the most photos. To get photos of the bucks using my property, I like making a mock scrape. If there is a mature buck in your area during the pre-rut and there’s an active, unpressured scrape in an area he feels safe and secure, he’ll check and work that scrape.
Once one buck uses a scrape, pure curiosity will drive other bucks to it. I also like putting trail cameras in funnels and pinch points leading back to known buck bedding areas, or any other high traffic area where you’d expect a buck to travel during the rut. Just because you don’t see the buck from stand during the daylight, doesn’t mean he’s not walking right by your ambush site after dark. Remember, fall trail camera surveys are great for identifying bucks, but won’t necessarily help you kill that buck.”
We all want better deer hunting on the properties that we hunt. The only way to maintain a healthy herd and grow bigger bucks is to put in the time and work to achieve your goals. There is something that can be done on every property out there regardless of size. Quality deer management is about finding the factors that are limiting for deer and then striving to increase those deficiencies. Big bucks do not happen overnight, but the longer you wait to start the further off into the future you push having and killing better deer.
If you love Texas, you will LOVE this video!