Tree Farmer - September/October 2011 - (Page 24)

sharing your experiences 24 Big Bucks to Your Woodland Many of today’s Tree farmers and land managers have discovered that big bucks can be grown and harvested on small timberland tracts. What is still being debated, however, is the best way to achieve this lofty goal, and what opportunities it opens up (especially for young hunters). In the past, it was thought that large tracts of land (more than 5,000 acres of contiguous land) or high-fenced operations were essential to effectively and consistently produce quality whitetails. However, many Tree farmers have realized they can produce trophy-class bucks on small tracts of timberland if they manage these tracts properly. By Draw Burley BLAINe Many of today’s Tree Farmers and land managers have discovered that big bucks can be grown and harvested on small wooded tracks. What is still debated, however, is the best way to achieve this goal and what opportunities it opens up, especially for young hunters. Previous thought was that large tracts of land (more than 5,000 contiguous acres) of highfenced operations were essential to effectively and consistently produce whitetails. Now, many Tree Farmers realize they can produce trophy-class bucks on smaller tracts of land if managed properly. The cornerstone of managing small tracts of timberland effectively is to provide everything a deer herd needs within the boundaries of the property. The basics may be obvious: adequate amounts of food, water, and cover. Yet, many small tracts of land lack one or more of these three basics. Woodland owners must provide these three key elements in order to attract, grow, and keep quality bucks. Planting small, year-round food plots is key. Well-planned, strategically International Year of Forests, 2011 located food plots will provide a highquality food source for deer during the year. They can also serve as an effective means of concentrating and holding deer on your property. Deer will have to travel less to feed, which lowers their chances of harvesting by neighbors. “Holding” deer with good food, water, and cover also increases chances of managing to produce a good population of older-age-class bucks on your property. Small food plots throughout you’re your property are needed. These plots should not be confused with planting a few “easy” food plots each fall. Small, year-round plots are needed to provide a sufficient amount of quality forage to attract, grow, and hold these older age-class bucks. Next is the challenge of getting to more remote areas to plant. Traditionally, food plots are planted in areas easily accessible to large tractors or equipment. Smaller plots require an all-terrain or utility vehicle, or small tractor and smaller tillage/planting equipment. I prefer to use a utility vehicle (500cc or larger) and a small unit of my design, a Plotmaster, to plant my small plots. Whatever your situation, consider planting food plots in firebreaks, small openings in planted pines, cut-overs, swamps, and wooded areas. These remote, isolated areas are where mature bucks spend the majority of their time. Providing an attractive, year-round food source near a known bedding area in remote areas is the key to harvesting mature bucks consistently. If your property does not have a readily available, year-round source of water such as a river, creek or pond, you can dig small watering holes or strategically place small watering tanks across your property. If you have access to a small tractor with a front-end loader or backhoe, you can dig a small pond or water hole in a short time. If not, you can use a shovel or hole digger to create one – this will involve more sweat equity and take more time. If your soil is non-porous (clay) you will need to install some type of plastic tank or liner to hold water. A lack of rainfall will require keeping your tank or watering hole filled to be filled in order to maintain a year-round supply of water for the deer herd. Tree Farmer SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tree Farmer - September/October 2011

Tree Farmer - September/October 2011
Cover Story
Inspectors Honored
Tree farmers Gather
A family of Tree farms
Sharing Your experiences
Taxing Issues
Wildlife Matters

Tree Farmer - September/October 2011