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Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew


Habitat
WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management
 
In this blog series we've looked into concepts, practices, and management tactics for managing deer on one's property. We've studied food plotsselective harvest, herd balancemineral sitessupplemental feedsdeer surveying, & water sources, but we still have one more item to cover so let's get to it. 
 
WeHuntSC.com - HabitatIt seems that game management can be divided into two categories: habitat management & population management. Habitat management describes the work we do to manage the environment in which the deer live while population management describes how we manage the deer themselves. Both of these management aspects are connected. We've looked a several concepts and practices that affect, enhance, or alter a deer's habitat, but we haven't really focused on the overall habitat from a broader perspective. 
 
Several of the game management concepts we've examined in some way helps enrich a deer's habitat.  The underlying goal for managing the habitat is to create an environment that fosters successful growth and allows deer to easily thrive.  A deer?s health usually linked to the condition of their habitat, so if monsters bucks are one?s desired goal, then a habitat that can support growth and development is essential.
 
A whitetail deer can adapt to virtually any habitat. Evidence of this is the simple fact that whitetail deer are present in nearly every region of North America. A whitetail deer's habitat in South Carolina may be totally different from other states/regions and for that matter the habitat in South Carolina alone differs greatly just from the low-country, to the coastal areas, to the Sandhills, to the Piedmont, and to the upstate. If you've hunted around different parts of the state then you've seen the habitat differences around South Carolina.
 
A deer's habitat generally consists of a variety of areas such as swamps, hardwoods, fields, and sometimes even urban areas. Ultimately deer need places for cover, feeding, bedding, locations with water sources, and locations of safety. When considering one's hunting property a look from the perspective of habitat can prove beneficial.
 
Techniques for habitat management
The habitat management concepts we've mentioned previously in this blog series have been food plots, mineral sites, water sources, and supplemental feeds. All of those practices are mechanisms that add to a deer's habitat to assist in providing deer with nutrients they need throughout the year. There are a few more things we can do to help manage our deer's habitat. 
 
Some game managers use controlled burning as a technique to increase forage quality and improving the habitat for wild game. I found a great article on deer habitat improvement through burning on BuckManager.com. I wouldn't naturally think of burning being associated with game management, but it can provide benefits for the habitat.
 
I've also heard experienced hunters who practice game management note that on their property there is always about 1/4th of their land that they never set foot on. The thought behind this practice is that deer need a portion of the land where they feel comfortable and secure.They need a safe-haven that is undisturbed.This tactic helps keep deer on one's property and also gives them a feeling of security. By allowing them an area of complete safety a hunter increases chances that deer will hold near, if not on, his/her land. 
 
Having an awareness of a deer's current habitat along with the needs of the deer can pay dividends for hunters. Knowledge of the habitat can help with one's hunting strategy along with helping a habitat manager figure out if enhancing the habitat makes sense. 
 
In some areas I hunt there are large fields that farmers farm every year. From a habitat perspective it probably wouldn't be the best move if I tried to plant a food plot near these fields. Maybe if I want the deer to simply stop to browse these areas, before heading to the other fields it would be a good idea, but from a nutrition standpoint it probably wouldn't serve the deer best. In this instance maybe a mineral site would be a better fit as it would offer a more diverse range of nutritional items a deer may be seeking. 
 
Wrapping it up
It's been a long blog series and hopefully someone has benefitted from my investigation into game management this year during deer hunting season. If you've read all these entries then kudos to you for sticking it out with me!  While I've only blogged about this during deer hunting season many facets of game management happen in the off-season.  True game management is a year-long process that takes dedication and commitment, but that hard work is well worth it when years of game management produces the trophy buck of a lifetime!
 
Regards,
 
 
Clint
 

Water Sources
WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management
In this blog series we've looked at different facets of game management. We've covered several concepts, practices, and techniques to managing game. Thus far we've looked at food plots, selective harvest, herd balance, mineral sites, supplemental feeds, and deer surveying. We've got two more entries left to cover in the series and in this entry we're going to investigate water sources as they relate to deer and game management.
 
It should go unspoken that water sources are a must for any type of species? I even get thirsty every now and then.  Deer are no exception, they need water to survive. I'm including water sources in this game management blog series because it's an aspect that I think we sometimes overlook, not because I think it's easy to just go out and create a pond, divert a creek, or create a water source. Knowledge of the location of water sources on one?s hunting property can provide very valuable insight to us as hunters and very valuable resources to the deer on our land (and other game in the area). 
 
I'd like to note that over time I've noticed a trend in deer hunting related to water sources. In the past 2-3 years I've gone hunting with several other people in various parts of SC and, in general, I've paid attention to what hunters around the state are harvesting.  It seems to me that the hunters who harvest large bucks, the ones who consistently kill big deer, all hunt somewhere near water sources. Whether it's a lake, a river,  a creek, a pond, or a natural spring, the guys who have multiple trophy bucks on their walls are hunting near one or more water sources, at least the ones I know or have seen.
 
Water to Survive

WeHuntSC.com - Water SourcesAs deer hunters we often game-plan our hunts based on available food sources and rut activity, but we don't really factor in water sources that much. Not including water sources into the game-plan may be a mistake on our behalves. Think about it, food and water are the most elemental needs of a deer with water being the more critical of the two. Trying to look at deer hunting from a "water", perspective can prove beneficial,especially in drier areas.

Deer get water from a variety of sources, such as ponds, streams, and lakes. They also get water from the dew on plants and the water contained within plants. In some articles I read it was noted that, if lush forage is available, deer may be able to meet their body's water demand solely from the water within plants. This has not been scientifically proven, but it appeared to be a believed concept.

Also, typically the richest soil in a given area will be near a water source. The moisture in the water helps the soil be more fertile. This richest soil will grow the best forage and this provides deer with succulent forage to browse on along with providing great cover. These aspects of areas near water sources are very attractive for deer?naturally they will want to be near these areas.  

 
Using Water Sources for Protection
I read an article on imbmonsterbucks.com that made me look at water sources from a totally different perspective, one not directly related to game management, but still a neat concept. The author noted that an area of land he was hunting came to a point that was surrounded on 3 sides by a creek.  The land was very dense and essentially unapproachable from 3 sides?unless you wanted to cross a creek that was about 5 feet deep.  Over time the author caught on to what was happening, deer were bedding down in this area and using the creek for protection. Since this portion of land was surrounded on 3 sides by a creek, deer came there to bed down. While they bed down they faced the one direction that didn?t have a creek on it knowing that if a predator were to come from any other side he would have to cross the creek first. The loud splash of something getting into the creek would signal to the deer that danger was on its way and provided them time to escape. The deer were outsmarting the predators and once the author figured this out he moved his deer stand and shortly thereafter he got a trophy buck that is still hanging on his wall. The author quoted "Remember when hunting whitetail deer over water sources that the key isn?t thinking that you must hunt over the water to kill monster bucks coming to a water source. The key is understanding how to use water sources to your advantage while deer hunting." Thinking about water sources and deer hunting from this perspective can make you ask some questions of your strategy.
 
Water Sources & Hunting Strategy
In areas that are drier in nature, areas such as South Carolina in the early season, water sources may be more important for both the deer's dietary needs along with a hunter?s strategy. In the early season in SC it's still hot and sometimes really dry so if you know where a water source on your property is located, then deer probably won't be too far from it. Dry leaves also really make a lot of sound and give away a deer's location when walking through the woods. If available, deer usually opt for moist or damp areas that will help conceal the sound of their footsteps. I've noticed that deer frequently travel along the corridors of creeks in the areas I hunt.  As aforementioned, these creeks offer plenty of forage, cover, and most likely a quieter path of travel.
 
Another thing to think about when considering water sources and deer hunting is the period of time during a flood. True it doesn't flood a whole lot here in South Carolina, but I have seen periods of several days of heavy rain. It may prove beneficial in times such as this to alter your strategy. When some of the deer's bedding areas that are in a flood plain are flooded deer are pushed to higher ground.  Deer will adjust and have a new pattern and so should anyone hunting!
 
Wrapping this up, deer need water to survive. When thinking about managing game on your land be sure to consider not only what water sources have to offer your deer, but the valuable insight water sources can offer to us as hunters when contemplating our hunting strategy.  Hunting & game management articles discussing whitetail deer hunting strategies as they relate to water sources are not very common. As I researched for this blog entry I came across concepts and facts that made me critically think about my hunting strategy as it relates to water sources. Looks like I'll be moving a few stands in the off-season!
 
Regards,
 
 
Clint
 

BuckYum Game Cam Pics
WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management
 
In this blog series on Game Management we recently covered Supplemental feed and spoke about the supplemental feed and attractant BuckYum. I just wanted to post a few pics from our game cameras below.  There should be more to come as well.
 
 
WeHuntSC.com - Buck eating BuckYum Supplemental Feed & Attractant
 
WeHuntSC.com - Buck eating BuckYum Supplemental Feed & Attractant
 
WeHuntSC.com - Buck eating BuckYum Supplemental Feed & Attractant
 
WeHuntSC.com - Putting out some BuckYum
 
WeHuntSC.com - Buck eating BuckYum Supplemental Feed & Attractant
 
WeHuntSC.com - Buck eating BuckYum Supplemental Feed & Attractant
 
 
 
WeHuntSC.com - Buck eating BuckYum Supplemental Feed & Attractant
 
WeHuntSC.com - Deer eating BuckYum Supplemental Feed & Attractant
 
WeHuntSC.com - Deer eating BuckYum Supplemental Feed & Attractant
 
WeHuntSC.com - Deer eating BuckYum Supplemental Feed & Attractant
 
 
 

Supplemental Feed

WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management

 

In this blog series we're looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter's area. We've looked at food plots, selective harvest, deer surveying, herd balance, mineral sites already in this series and in this entry we'll look into the concept of "supplemental feeding".

   Buck at supplemental feed feeder - Image cited from BuckManager.com 

  
Buck at supplemental feed site
Image cited from
BuckManager.com

Supplemental feeding of deer is not a brand new concept, but the trend is gaining momentum in game management circles. Outdoorsmen who invest a lot of time and resources in hunting and managing game usually provide some form of supplemental feed for their deer. If you've ever seen a deer who's benefited from supplemental feeding then you'll understand why game managers put in the time and effort to incorporate this practice into their game management strategy. 

Supplemental feeds are typically high in protein and game managers put them out all year long. Like many other game management practices, it's not a "quick fix" and will take time before the full effects can be noticed. Supplemental feeding is generally part of a habitat management program and requires a long-term commitment on behalf of the game manager.

It?s also important to note that these supplemental feeds are intended to be exactly what they are called, a supplement. Supplemental feeds are not intended to replace a deer's natural diet, but rather to add to it. Supplemental feeding is also not a magic cure for poorly managed deer populations. It won't give you monster bucks or a healthy herd overnight.

While I was investigating this topic I found a lot of high-level, scientific research regarding supplemental feeds.  If you're interested in getting really in-depth info about supplemental feeding of deer there are several scholarly articles on supplemental deer feeding available online. This blog entry however is not "scholarly" in nature ;-)

I found some really good info on supplemental feeding at a web site called "BuckManager.com". I encourage you to investigate that site for more information on supplemental feeding if you would like to read from someone who's lived and breathed it for a while. One of the articles on that site discussed the notion of whether deer could live on supplemental feed alone. The author noted

"Regardless of what the current study finds, both scenarios end up proving that deer cannot live on supplemental feed alone. Even when supplemental food is provided free-choice, white-tailed deer still desire native browse plants in their diets. Not only are these plants important for food, but also for the shelter and screening cover they provide for deer and other wildlife species. And let's not forget that browse plants typically contain protein levels ranging from 15 to 35%. And that can feed your deer and really supplement your supplement, for a lot less money." 

The bottom line is that deer will consume more than just supplemental feed regardless of how much is provided! As the author noted "Food preference is probably a function of palatability, digestibility, and overall nutritive value." Incorporating supplemental feed as one more available food source for your herd is the best approach. 

WeHuntSC.com - BuckYum

What blend, location, and ratios of supplemental feed are suggested for game managers? The article on BuckManager.com prescribed that "The preferred method is to use a 16% to 20% protein pelleted commercial feed, fed free choice, from feeders distributed at the rate of at least one feeder per 300 acres located within or adjacent to adequate escape cover." This recommendation is similar to what I found on other sites and articles so it's probably a good rule to go by.

Depending on the product you choose, supplemental feeding of deer can be one of the more expensive facets of game management. We've chosen to use a supplemental feed that was designed with a deer's overall health in mind and that is reasonably priced.

Enter BuckYum

BUCK YUM was started to provide hunters with a quality feed and supplement product that not only attracted deer but also provided them with the proper nutrition deer need to grow. The idea to develop and implement a feed and supplement product that accomplished this was the inspiration of the launching of BUCK YUM Products and the creation of BUCKYUM.

BuckYum is a feed and attractant mixture of peanuts, peanut chips, and corn that provides the proper balance of nutritional supplements that deer need to grow. BuckYum also contains a special blend of seed that grows as a permanent food source as well. When you pour it out you can really smell the odor of peanut butter in the air (and the deer can too!). Deer and other game will browse on BuckYum and when you return be prepared to see some green growing from the ground where you poured it out! BuckYum is very efficient in this manner because not only does game in the area eat the corn & peanuts, but they also love the forage that grows from this blend as well. It's like a 2 for 1 deal!

BuckYum Guranteed Analysis 

  • Crude Protein: Not Less Than . . . . . 13.00%
  • Crude Fat: Not Less Than . . . . . . . . . 6.00%
  • Crude Fiber: Not Less Than . . . . . . . 12.00% 
  • Mineral Breakdown
  • Calcium:  Min  2.5%  Max  3.0%
  • Phosphorus:  MIn 1%
  • Salt:  Min  2.5 %  Max  3.0%
  • Sodium:  Min  1.0%  Max  1.3%
  • Vitamin A:  26000 IU/lb
  • Vitamin D-3 Supplement:  6000 IU/lb

Ingredients

  • Processed Roughage Products
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Ferrous Carbonate
  • Cane Molasses
  • Monocalcium Phosphate
  • Diacalcium Phosphate
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Salt, Magnesium Oxide
  • Manganeous Oxide
  • Processed Grain By-Products
  • Brewer's Concentrated Solubles
  • Iron Oxide
  • Copper Oxide
  • Calcium Iodate
  • Cobalt Carbonate
  • Sedium Selenite
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D-3 Supplement
  • Peanuts
  • Peanut Chips
  • Barley
  • Corn.


Where can you find BuckYum to buy? http://www.buckyum.com/Dealer_Info.php


Information in this post cited from the following locations:

BuckYum http://www.BuckYum.com 

BuckManager


There is no doubt that providing deer with a supplemental feed can be beneficial for hunters seeking to ?Grow the Hunt? and have monster bucks on their property. The only question is, are you committed?

Regards,
 

Clint

 

 


Mineral Sites

WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management

In this blog series we?re looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter?s area. We?ve looked at food plots, selective harvest,deer surveying, and herd balance already in this series and in this entry we'll look into the concept of "mineral sites".

WeHuntSC.com - Game Management & Mineral SitesMineral sites, in many cases, are one of the most overlooked and underutilized parts of a game management strategy.  Mineral sites provide deer with great sources of vitamins and nutrients that they need throughout the year. We put in a lot of work creating food plots and we're selling ourselves short if we don't compliment them with mineral sites. Mineral sites are not too difficult to create and can pay big dividends in the long run.

Mineral sites provide similar benefits as food plots in that they help increase deer health which in turn helps them better survive the rut and the winter. Having a healthy deer, whether it be a doe or a buck, is great for the whole herd when it comes to breeding, reproduction, and survival. Most importantly for those seeking "monster bucks", mineral sites are great locations where bucks will get nutrients that aid in rack growth and development.  A buck's antlers grow during the summer months and this is the time when they will really visit mineral sites.

WeHuntSC.com - A Deer at a Mineral Site in SCIt's a good practice to keep mineral sites in a consistent location year after year. Rain helps the minerals dissolve into the soil which creates a location that will be frequented by deer long after the minerals are no longer visible. Hang a game camera up over a mineral site and watch the pictures as time passes. The results may be surprising and this is a great way to survey your deer. Just ask anyone that keeps mineral sites year after year, the deer will literally dig a hole in the ground seeking out the minerals and nutrients. 

It's a good idea to start mineral sites in April, refresh them in July, then again in October. Experienced mineral site managers say it's good to have mineral sites along a deer's travel route in a low spot that can hold moisture. Hunters who I know that are serious about game management keep minerals sites year round in various parts of their hunting properties.

One thing to clarify though, don't confuse simply putting out a salt-block with creating a mineral site, they are two different things! A mineral site usually has a mixture of nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, and several different types of vitamins which greatly benefit deer. 

There are several mineral site products available for purchase and I'm not going to endorse any certain one because communicating the principal of why hunters should create mineral sites is my main goal here. Each product will have different methods for implementation so be sure to read the directions for whichever product you select.

Start a mineral site and see what happens!

Regards,
 

Clint
 


Deer Surveying

WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management

It?s evident that managing game on one's land can have long-term benefits for hunting. In this blog series we're looking at the concept of Game Management. So far in the journey we've discussed Food Plots, Selective Harvest, & Herd Balance and with this entry we're going to look into the concept of deer surveying.

WeHuntSC.com - Deer SurveyingDeer surveying is exactly what is sounds like, surveying the deer on your land. Recent technology has made surveying deer (and any species of game) a whole lot easier, mainly via the creation of the game camera. The invention of the game camera has undeniably changed the way we hunt. Game cameras give hunters an advantage by providing valuable information about the deer in our area. Obviously game camera pics don't give an outdoorsman a 100% accurate read on the deer in a given area, but they do give way more insight about the deer herd than if we didn't have game cameras.

Game cameras are the most common (and affordable) way to survey one's deer herd. Though, there are more scientific and expensive methods of surveying deer.  I heard one speaker at a conference say that in some locations they were flying airplanes over tracks of land taking thermal imagery to survey the game on the land. I imagine thermal imagery is more accurate and way more expensive too! I also know that DNR uses some more advanced, scientific techniques for surveying deer population & growth. These are all neat methods that provide more accurate data, but any method besides a game camera falls out of my financial range. Nevertheless the importance of having a feel for the game on your land is the main point to be noted.

WeHuntSC.com - Man checking Game CameraWhy is having knowledge of the deer in an area important for game management? If you are herd balance conscientious then surveying deer can give you a feel for the ratio of bucks to does on your property.  Sure it's not accurate down to a finite percentage, but it does allow more informed decisions to be made about the herd in a given area.  From this insight a hunter can help determine which deer he or she should or shouldn't harvest based on numbers. Essentially a hunter can get a feel for the herd balance in the area they are hunting through surveying the game on their land. You'll find that die-hard hunters survey deer year round and move their game cameras around a few times a year. Surveying deer, like game management, is a year round process.

Surveying the game in a hunter's allotted hunting area also helps one determine the age class of deer in the region. Viewing the size of deer in a game camera's pictures can help hunters determine the age of bucks based on body size, rack size, and other traits of mature bucks. Along with viewing the different age class of bucks any recent fawns, yearlings, and does can be observed as well. Viewing the deer in your area helps you get a feel for the health of deer as well.

Knowledge of the game in a track of land is a must in any effective game management strategy. Whether you survey deer through more expensive techniques or simply through a game camera, surveying deer pays dividends and helps hunters make informed decisions. Surveying deer allows hunters to watch deer mature over time and gives insight toward the herd balance ratios. If you haven't already, start learning about the deer in your area and you'll be a better hunter because of it.

Regards,

Clint
 


Herd Balance
WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management
We're continuing along in our blog series on game management. Having to research for these blog entries is helping me learn some things and forcing me to look at game management from various perspectives. We've talked about food plots and selective harvest already and in this entry we'll discuss "herd balance".
 

WeHuntSC.com - Herd Balance

The notion of herd balance is one that not all deer hunters consider. The term "herd balance" most commonly refers to the ratio of bucks to does in a given area, but it is also related to a deer's habitat. The overarching goal of herd balance is to have a quality deer herd. A quality deer herd means that the population of deer is in balance with the available forage and cover.  A balanced herd has deer that are healthy, well nourished, and the herd has a well-balanced ratio of bucks to does. A balanced herd will produce healthy fawns that survive winter and will also have an even distribution of deer age classes.

A significant number of hunters prefer to harvest antlered deer in comparison to antlerless deer, which leads to unbalanced sex ratios in the population. Dr. Dave Guynn, professor in the Department of Forestry, Clemson University and a member of the QDMA's Executive Board posted a great article on herd balance on QDMA's web site. In his article he asked the question "Why should we concern ourselves with maintaining a natural social balance in a managed deer herd? Because, to survive as long as they have, deer long ago developed social rules or mechanisms that would keep deer herds and their individual members fit and competitive. However, when harvest regulations allow hunters to deplete certain social classes (with deer, this is usually most or all bucks 1.5 years old or older) in an unscientific, haphazard manner, the herd's social mechanisms can become stressed". As hunters harvesting deer every year we should keep the concept of these social classes in mind. If we only harvest the largest bucks we see then we?re causing an imbalance in the herd that can have longer-term effects on the quality of deer in a given area.

WeHuntSC.com - Herd Balance

In his well written article Dr. Guynn also stated that 'In a balanced population, mature bucks will do most of the breeding. The presence of older bucks and their signposts may suppress the competitiveness and libido of younger bucks. Lower testosterone levels should result in decreased weight loss during the rut and allow young bucks to grow to greater size before they assume breeding duties." In the end of his article he noted "Once established, such socially balanced herds will have high rates of reproduction and fawn survival." I think we all want high rates of reproduction (bred by the big boys) and high rates of fawn survival. In order to help this process out we can take measures to ensure a balanced herd. The restoration of balance between males to females in the population, along with healthy habitats filled with high-value forage is a must for successful game management.  
 

WeHuntSC.com - Leslie Sims with a pic of the big buck she got in Pageland SC 2 weeks ago

If you're like me you don't hunt on extremely large tracks of land and it's easy to feel like your actions to improve herd balance may be futile. Since a deer herd will generally occupy a region larger than the area of land one hunts, it's a great idea to form a "cooperative". A "cooperative" is an agreement made by neighboring property owners to abide by game management practices. If agreed to and abided by it only takes a couple of seasons before the benefits will start being noticed. 
 
In this blog entry we've looked at the concept of herd balance as it relates to Game Management. Having a balanced herd is a critical part of effective game management. As we just witnessed this past week in Pageland, the size deer in South Carolina can grow to when hunters work together in a cooperative to practice game management can be amazing.
 
Information in this blog entry cited from:
 
Regards,
 
 
Clint
 

Selective Harvest

WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management

In this blog series we're looking at concepts, practices, and approaches that can aid in managing game in a hunter's area. "Game management" in our approach stems from the perspective of "the everyday hunter" rather than someone who owns a ranch and is managing game as a business. We've looked at food plots in depth already in this series and in this entry we?ll look into the concept of "Selective Harvest".

As you would imagine, "selective harvest" simply means what you would expect, being selective about the deer that you shoot. This concept goes against the grain for some hunters because it means not shooting every deer that you see. Given a normal scenario, in order to have mature deer with good genetics on your land, a hunter simply can't shoot every deer he/she sees and expect to see a lot of "Monster Bucks" on the same land. Letting young bucks walk is critical in order to get mature bucks to hold on your land. I have been surprised at the number of bucks we're seeing now simply from practicing selective harvest on our hunting land for a few years.

WeHuntSC.com - Selective HarvestI'm no pro hunter and I'll admit that its way easier to "talk the talk" than it is to "walk the walk" when out in the field.  It's easy to get worked up when you see a deer and then the trigger finger starts to itch, but if you're trying to manage the game on your land then you must be able to control yourself. I try to think about the future and the bigger picture of what we're trying to do rather than getting caught up in the moment and yes it does get awful tempting sometimes.
 
Selective harvest involves a great deal of discipline. A hunter who is trying to manage his game must be disciplined about the deer that he/she does and doesn't harvest. The moments that I really debate whether I should or shouldn't shoot a deer are the moments I remember when I see the same deer the following year and he's that much bigger. We see the benefits of our discipline in the future by way of bigger, more mature bucks. It's also important to note that when it comes to breeding, it's better to have bigger, more mature bucks breeding the does than having the younger bucks mating with them. The helps spread good genes down the line to the deer of the future.
 
Several benefits can be drawn from implementing selective harvest in areas where game is being managed. The obvious benefit is that deer will mature and hunters can notice larger bucks over the course of a few seasons. A result that doesn't take as long to notice is that from practicing selective harvest on our hunting land I've noticed that I see more deer during hunting hours. Over time deer can "feel" it when hunters apply too much pressure and they either become nocturnal or simply stay away from the areas where they feel unsafe. When using the selective harvest approach deer aren't as pressured and disturbed and because of it they feel more comfortable about their environment. The more comfortable they feel, the more deer that will be seen. Every hunter that I knows enjoys seeing deer when they go out hunting.
 
One thing I've found helpful is to make the decision of what deer I will and won't shoot at before entering the woods. Once I make the decision, I stick to it. I go into the stand knowing that I will or won't shoot a doe and that I will only shoot a certain type of buck. I study the traits of a mature buck and I look for those traits if I see a buck while hunting. Having this knowledge helps me make decisions about the age of the buck and whether it's a "shooter" or not. Going in with a plan is always a good thing.
 
Many hunters think "If I don't shoot this deer then the guy in the woods across the road from me will." This may or may not be the case in every instance, but one can never truly know. We've tried to be proactive and talk about game management with hunters who hunt neighboring properties. Thus far everyone has been upbeat and responsive to this approach because ultimately everyone wants to see big deer. I think it makes everyone a little more optimistic if we know the people around us are also on the same page. Over the course of time, with everyone working together in our area, we are seeing bigger deer. The same concept can hold true for anyone who works at it and communicates. 
 
In this blog entry we've looked at a select harvest approach to deer hunting as it relates to game management. While being selective about the deer we do and don't shoot at can be tough at times, the benefits in the long run far outweigh the momentary happiness of shooting a small buck or doe. Selective harvest is a must in any game management strategy.
 
Regards,
 
 
Clint
 

Early November Food Plot Update
WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management Blog Series
As we continue on with the Intro to Game Management Blog Series we're about done with all the "work" that we have to do with our Tecomate Seed Food Plots. Now it's just time to watch them grow and hunt over them! 
 
I went out and took some pictures of the food plots one afternoon. These pictures show the plots about 3-4 weeks after fertilizing them. They are looking good and green! With frost starting to get here now and the leaves falling off the trees it won't be a long time until the deer are spending a lot of time in these food plots! I think they turned out pretty well and they've still got some room to grow.
 
Below is a photo gallery that I created with updated pics of each food plot. I hope to post one more update later in the season to give you another look,and hopefully we'll have some deer in these plots as well!
 
WeHuntSC.com - Early November Food Plot Update Photo Gallery
 
Now that we've covered food plots thoroughly we'll be moving on to other facets of Game Management that one should consider when thinking of managing game. Stay tuned!
 
Regards,
 
Clint
 

Fertilizing the Food Plots
WeHuntSC.com - Intro to Game Management
As part of the Intro to Game Management blog series we discussed how food plots are one tenant of game management. This blog entry shows us fertilizing our fall food plots.
 
Last year we detailed food plot creation in our "Food Plot Journey" and I learned a lot about food plots over the course of that blog series. One thing that I learned was that fertilizer can actually damage the seed if you take a couple of wrong steps. We typically try to fertilize when we know rain is coming in the next few days and we also wait until the seeds have germinated before applying the fertilizer. Giving the seed time to take root and grow lowers the possibility of the fertilizer overpowering the seed and "burning it up" as you will hear people often say. Some may use different planting techniques for applying fertilizer, but this is the method we've found successful. When the plants are this young it doesn't hurt to drive the ATV on them. They keep right on growing and pop back up in no time. I can remember how our food plots looked last year before we fertilized them and then how they grew really quickly afterwards and the difference was drastic! I'm excited to see this year's plots grow as well. The key is to have some good rain though. We'll be crossing our fingers and praying for rain again this year.
 
The below video will give you a look into our day fertilizing
 
 
Stay tuned for more food plot updates coming soon!
 
Regards,
 
Clint
 

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