Attracting Huge Whitetail Bucks to your Property
If you are looking enviously at the size of bucks that friends are harvesting on their properties, then there are several steps that you can take to attract big bucks to your property. While it may take some time to convince the biggest bucks to move on to your property, it will be worth the trouble.
Getting the big bucks to your property does not begin at the start of hunting season. It takes good year-round management to attract the biggest buck to your property.Completing these five easy tasks will greatly improve your chance of attracting a big buck to your property.
Bucks Need You to Establish Sanctuaries
Big bucks look for cover in which to hide. The first step in creating cover that bucks will love is to test your soil. Make sure that your soil is full of nutrients that bucks need to grow big like phosphorous, sodium and fiber. Testing your soil so that it grows healthy plants that bucks love to eat is an important first step in helping bucks grow big.
The nutrient needs of bucks change throughout the year. Just like the picky eater, bucks want food that taste good. They also want it to be readily available, and they want to stay hidden while they are grazing. Keeping these three factors in mind will help you feed your bucks.
Bucks who are fed properly will spend 95 percent of their time within 0.5 miles of their food source. In fact, they normally are found within 0.1 miles, and they are often found right in it.
Protein is essential in the spring as the buck’s body is worn down by winter and the rut. Throughout the year, about 16 percent of a buck’s diet should consist of high-protein sources. Brassicas like canola, turnips and radishes contain up to 36 percent protein.
Planting even a small crop in front of your deer stand will increase your odds of getting a big buck come hunting season. If you have more land, then think about planting some clover that will grow quickly.
As spring turns into summer, then the buck’s need for calcium increases. High temperatures and lack of rainfall can make summer one of the hardest times for bucks to grow.
Hardened antlers are made up of approximately 30 percent calcium and phosphorous. Lablab, beans and peas provide bucks with foliage that are high in needed nutrients. Consider thinking about putting these plants in fields that are located close together.
Surround your legumes with plots of sorghum, corn or milo as bucks need these seeds later in the year. Since these plants take awhile to mature, it is essential to plant them early.
As you anxiously mark days off the calendar until opening day, the buck’s need for fat increases as they are storing energy for the rut. While your summer plants will provide much of the needed food for bucks during the fall, planting cereal grains can increase the size of your bucks.
If you want big bucks for the next season, it is important that they not lose too much weight during the winter. If you live in an area where snow blocks food supplies, then take steps to make sure that bucks can get to food during the winter. Supplemental feeding can be key during the worst parts of winter.
Think about planting groves of hemlocks, spruce, pine and cedar as these trees provide some food during the winter along with helping to provide cover during storms. This is especially crucial if you live in an area that gets lots of bad weather.
Concentrate on plantings on the interior of your deer hunting property. Keeping them focused in the middle will discourage the big buck from moving off your property.
Big Bucks Need a Place to Hide
Big bucks are very solitary animals points out Field and Stream.Providing the right circumstances for big bucks to hide can be essential to encouraging him to stay on your hunting land and not your neighbors. They often want to separate themselves by up to 0.5 miles from other deer. You will need to look at the property to determine where big buck can hide along with creating a plan to help them out.
If you have old-growth forest on your property, then big bucks may prefer to live in this area. Create areas within the forest where bucks can see water and grazing within 75 yards. Bucks prefer areas of higher elevation, and they will even choose an area where the elevation gains about 1 foot in a flat area.
If you are hunting in a low-lying agricultural area, then big bucks usually prefer to bed on the edge of a habitat as long as it is away from highly agricultural areas, not overly hunted and away from large herds of does. When possible, locate a slight indention and plant a line of conifers near it. Try to discourage does from using the area by planting areas of different widths.
Alternatively, if your hunting property contains hills, then big bucks prefer flat areas. Low flats even as small as 0.25 acres are often preferred as long as they are not overly hunted. Second crests, often called military crests, are often preferred by big bucks, so creating a feeding area near water there can yield big results.
If you do not have thick cover on your property, then you need to create it. After locating where big bucks would like to live, then chop down big trees to give them a place to hide. Additionally, tall grasses can be used to encourage big bucks to bed there. Ideally, deer prefer areas with small transitions so try to provide it to them long term.
One essential factor that you need to consider when creating a bedding area for bucks in the need for water. Big bucks need water to survive, and they will usually bed near it. Therefore, you can often help get bucks to your property by digging a hole about six feet deep at its deepest and letting it fill with water.
Make sure that your property is ready for the big buck in the fall. If you must concentrate on only one season, then make sure that it is the fall. In fact, if you feed deer too well in the spring, then you may attract too many does causing the big buck to leave the area.
You Should Proactively Manage Your Herd
Many experts recommend one buck to five does. Your chances of getting a big buck dramatically increase if you have manage to have one buck to every three does. Therefore, you must take steps to proactively manage deer living on your property.
Making a plan and following it is essential to raising a big buck. Start by understanding where you are currently at, and then outline your plans for the future. It takes about 6.5 years for a big buck to mature, and it may take about the same amount of time to encourage him to stay on your property.
Killing an equal number of bucks and does tend to stabilize deer populations. Hunting more does than bucks tends to decrease the deer population while shooting more bucks than does tends to increase the population.
The first step in a quality deer management program is to determine the right amount of animals based on your property’s habitat. Keep in mind that other animals on the property decrease the habitat left for deer.
Start by trying to determine the age of deer presently living on your property. Big bucks are usually older than 6.5 years old. Yet, almost 80 percent of all harvested deer are less than 18 months old. Providing good nutrition and which type of deer needs to be harvested on your property is essential to getting a big buck.
While many deer hunters have the attitude that they are going to shoot any deer that they see, this is not productive to developing big bucks on your property. Instead, develop management goals where you kill deer that have weaker genetics or are of the wrong sex.
Think about limiting the number of hunters with access to your property. The more hunters that are allowed, the less likely you are to be able to follow management goals resulting in a big buck. Do not fall prey to hunters who promise to obey your rules as you may be sorry when you see your plan failing.
Get a notebook, and record your observations about your deer hunting property. Make sure to also record improvements you have made along the way. Refer to it to see if the steps that you are taking has you headed in the right direction.
You Need to Limit Access to Your Deer Hunting Property
Big bucks are solitary animals. Therefore, they will move on if they sense trouble. They really do not like lots of activity and noise bothers them greatly. A minimum of 20 percent of your property should be left as natural as possible.
If you want to be able to kill a big buck, then limit activity during other seasons. Do not use the big bucks watering hole as your swimming pool during the summer. Create ATV roads around the edge of the property so that you can get to essential areas easily without cutting through the property.
You may feel like a meanie when you tell the kids and wife that they cannot use the area, but too much activity will scare away your big buck. Likewise, do not give into the temptation of visiting the area yourself. Staying away gives you the best chance of attracting a big buck and keeping it there.
During hunting season, make sure to limit the number of people that you bring along to your hunting property. While there are no hard fast rules, generally if food and water is plentiful, then you should have no more than two hunters per 400 acres. If water or food is a problem, then limit access to no more than one gun per 400 acres, and if both may be a problem, then limit access to one hunter for every 1,000 acres.
Remember that allowing additional hunters on your property makes it harder to manage your herd. These people may promise to abide by your rules until they see a deer standing in front of them. Then, they choose to kill it telling themselves that you will understand.
Build Mock Scrapes
Big bucks love to start thinking about breeding right before hunting season starts. Adding mock scrapes to your property encourages bucks to come to and stay on your property. Mock scrapes are most effective just before big bucks start thinking about does.
While the exact right date depends on where you live, be sure to not start using your mock scrapes too late. Some hunters use mock scrapes all year, while others use them only during the rut. Whichever you choose, it is essential to keeping a big buck on your property to not start too late.
Your mock scrapes should be located near areas where the big buck beds. Placing it near where you have created the bedding area gives it the best chance of succeeding. Using trail cameras often help you locate the right spot.
If you have never used mock scrapes, then watch this video to understand how to build one.
Getting that big buck that will make your friends envious seldom happens by accident. Start by planting enough food to attract bucks, but not enough to be too attractive to does. Be proactive in managing your herd working on achieving one buck for every three does on your property.
Limit access to your deer hunting property so that you do not scare big bucks away. Use mock scrapes to attract the big buck to your property, and keep him excited about staying there. If you follow these tips, then you are more likely to shoot the big one instead of bringing in a small doe.