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Deer Management Techniques

Deer Management Practices During the Summer

There really is little down time on properties that are interested in white-tailed deer management. As soon as one whitetail hunting season is over another year begins in preparation for the next. One of the most important deer management practices is harvest (aka population control), which takes place in the fall, but almost every other activity takes place during another time of the year. Most work with regards to deer habitat improvement, food plots, supplemental water and other projects take place at some time outside of the standard deer hunting season.

Summertime Deer Management Practices

Deer management activities will vary somewhat by month depending on the part of the US where your property is located, but the generalizations below will cover much of the whitetail’s range. Though it is always best to accomplish as much of the habitat work as possible during the cooler months, such as post-season, some activities can only accomplished when temperatures rise:

  • June – Continue to develop summer food plots and or protein feeders for supplemental forage. This will increase antler growth and help fawn production. Advertise deer lease openings to get open spots filled well before hunting season starts. If rains continue in to the heat, spot fertilize browse plants for increased deer nutrition.
  • July – It’s never to early to start building, repairing and placing out stands. Many hunters forget to check these items in the off season, only to remember they are not in great shape come hunting season. Also tune up hunting vehicles and maintain roadways for property access. Get ready for deer surveys, which will be just around the corner.
  • August – Maintain supplemental feeding of pellets into the hottest time of the year. Bucks will be wrapping up antler growth, but does will be nursing fawns that are much larger now, but food will be scarce. Start planning winter food plots for your area. Begin conducting deer surveys, which may include daylight incidental deer observations of deer, spotlight surveys, stand counts and deer surveys using trail cameras.

Habitat for Deer Management

The key to deer management is habitat and the size of the deer population. To understand how certain factors can limit white-tailed deer population on a property, it is important to understand the concept of carrying capacity. Basically, the carrying capacity of a whitetail range refers to the maximum number of deer the habitat can support. If the size of the whitetail herd is too close to carrying capacity, the size of the deer herd will rise during favorable years (high rainfall) and decline during poor ones (low rainfall).

Many managers want the maximum number of animals the land can support, but this is not the best good practice. A deer management program should try to achieve optimum carrying capacity, which means finding and maintaining a deer population number at which the animals are in good condition and can meet their needs on a sustained basis. If the deer look skinny or their coats look in disarray during the summer, the deer are probably not be in good condition. If the brush and low-growing trees show more than 50 percent of the branches have been browsed, the property is holding too many deer.

Food, water, cover and space are the habitat components that determine suitability for wildlife. Deer management practices should focus on keeping all of these at optimal levels for a whitetail population. Many times, manipulating the deer population itself helps to maintain food and cover. It takes good surveys to track the population from year to year, and Rome was not built in a day, so get started and you’ll have a good handle on what’s happening on the landscape in a couple of years.

Deer Habitat Improvement for Whitetail and Other Wildlife

From coast to coast across the United States, wildlife game species get the most interest of any wildlife. This interest stems from income and recreation to private landowners through hunting, and state and federal agencies are available to help landowners interested in wildlife and habitat management. One of the best-known game species around is white-tailed […] Continue reading →

Deer Management Techniques: Provide Good Habitat

There are many theories when it comes to producing good white-tailed deer year after year, but the common theme among all deer management techniques is to provide good habitat. Habitat plays a critical role in a deer’s life because this is where they find their food. Good nutrition is required for individual deer to be […] Continue reading →

Protein Pellets for Deer: Feeding Whitetail

Interest in white-tailed deer management decades ago spurred all sorts of research on improving deer herds. Since that time, many habitat management practices have been implemented on properties across the whitetail’s range, but none are more popular than providing supplemental foods. Supplemental forages are often presented as food plots or as protein pellets for deer. […] Continue reading →

Tips for Prescribed Burning for Deer, Wildlife Management

Hunters and landowners alike often look for quick-fixes when it comes to white-tailed deer management. However, nothing is better than good old fashioned habitat management for maintaining and enhancing vegetation that is favorable for deer. Of all the possible management activities, one of the most beneficial and most overlooked management practice is prescribed burning. Often […] Continue reading →

Feeding Whole Cottonseed to Whitetail Deer

Landowners and hunters wanting to produce bigger and better white-tailed deer through deer management practices are often looking for an economical way to provide supplemental foods. Food plots are a common way to provide additional forage, but often times the most cost is associated with high protein foods. Protein pellets are the most common supplement […] Continue reading →

Deer Management for Growing Quality Bucks

It goes without saying that white-tailed deer hunters love to see deer when they head out into the woods. But when it comes to deer management and the ability to grow bigger bucks, numbers can work against you and the habitat that your property provides. Deer foods, after all, are in limited supply. There may […] Continue reading →

Developing a Deer Management Plan

The most wide-scale deer management problem facing whitetail herds in the many parts of the country is competition for available forage by white-tailed deer, other wildlife species, and livestock. Excessive numbers of any of these animals will have detrimental effects upon the others, and the resulting deer habitat. The first step in developing a deer […] Continue reading →

Deer Management, Herd Size and Sex Ratio

There are a lot of factors that come into play when one starts talking about whitetail deer management. Though many things can be done to manage a deer herd, there are 3 things that you should know before you start. Every landowner or hunter owner needs to determine the carrying capacity of the property, how […] Continue reading →