Perfect VA Management Plan: Food Plots and Let Bucks Walk

Got this from a fellow Virginia hunter who I will keep anonymous. In just a few short years he and his buddies have grown some big deer on their land.

va bucks

Hello Mike: Love the show and website. Wanted to show you a few bucks from our land. We started our club 7 years ago by leasing two farms that adjoin each other. Six of us hunt together and we are all sportsmen and stand hunt. We don’t allow dog hunting for deer (welcome it for rabbits).

Three years ago we decided to manage the 700-plus acres and let the small bucks walk. Each member can shoot all the does he chooses for the freezer. We had always gotten 1 or 2 sightings of “a nice one”; we decided we had the genetics, we just needed to let the young bucks grow and feed them. 

We have 19 food plots, most of them clover & alfalfa, but we made 6 plots with a mixture of buckwheat, corn, sunflowers, sorghum, cow peas and millet.

va buck 2

I can’t say it enough, food plots, food plots, food plots… Keep food for the game year-round. We have let the deer walk for 3 years now and what a difference!—Thanks, a fellow VA hunter

This post got me to thinking: Many hunters read all the books and watch all the DVDs about food plots and management, get all worked up, and make the whole thing too complicated. But these 6 Virginia guys have the right idea. Follow their 5 easy steps and you will have more big deer on your property in just 3 years too…push it out to 5 years and you’ll have some giants for your area.

–Scatter a good number of small food plots across your land. I say “good number” because there is no hard and fast rule; the size of everybody’s land and budget is different. Disc and plant in as many areas as you can get too with a tractor.

–Plant mostly perennial clover, but mix it up. You want and need food to grow year-round on your land to hold deer. If your plots dry up at some point in the year, the deer will leave to find food. Click for more of my quick and easy food plot tips.

–One thing I’ll add to the plan, which I am sure the VA boys do, is to leave some thick “sanctuary” covers near the middle of your land for does and bucks to bed and hide in, and feel completely safe. Establish a perimeter and do not go in there scouting or hunting. The food and the sanctuaries are the 2 most important parts of the equation.

–Shoot does. The VA guys shoot plenty because we have plenty of does in their part of the state, but be smart about it. Hunters have killed too many does in some areas, even though states have permitted it with liberal limits. You see and know how many deer are on your land—set your doe harvest accordingly.

–Step 5 is the easiest. Pass the one- and 2-year-old bucks, and by age 3 and 4 those bucks will have grown 75% to 95% of their racks and morphed into shooters. It’s amazing how many more of these big deer you’ll see in a few short years.

I’d love to profile your land tactics and your bucks; everybody does it a little differently, and we can all learn from the various ways you do it. Shoot me an email with pictures. I’ll never give away your secret big deer spots.

Trail-Cam: Coyote/Buck Feed Together!

coyote 2

Thanks to Neil Webb from Arkansas for sharing these unusual photos:

Mike: I’ve been overrun with coyotes this year, with 4 or 5 of the predators showing up at times, and the deer activity dropped to nothing. So imagine my surprise when I checked the camera and got these pictures. The feeders are only 5 feet apart. Pretty cool and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I did see this little buck a week later chasing a couple of does, and that might help explain his behavior a little. Now if I can just see the coyote and put an end to his camera time! Love the show and keep supporting what we all love to do.

—Neil

Check it out: the coyote comes to the feeder, looks at the deer, turns and looks at the camera, and they both start feeding side by side! This is an amazing twist to the predator/prey relationship and I can’t explain it. What do you think?

coyote 1

coyote 3

Wisconsin: Giant Buck on Trail Cam!

WI cam jason

Hey Mike: I just got this pic off my trail cam from my property in WI. I can’t wait until my upcoming time off work. Hopefully this guy steps out into the daylight come the rut!–Happy hunting, Jason

Great buck, good luck man!

The rut is officially upon us, how is the hunting going for you? What is it like in your part of the woods? Let us know!

Big Buck on Trail Camera

Hi Mike, this has been a weird summer with minimal big-buck photo ops. I know they’re out there, but getting them on camera has been a chore.

Today I went and retrieved my camera that had been set back on Labor Day weekend. This buck I call Fred showed up in the early part of the month in full velvet, and then showed off and on again the rest of the month up until today.

dean cam 2

Last year he was a 5X4 with main beams that swept upward and gave his rack that “rib cage” look that I think is so neat. I never saw him all last hunting season, so I know he’s a survivor.

This year…well, see for yourself. He is now is a 6×4. If I could just get that left side to “conform” to the right…wowsers!—anonymous BIG DEER blogger

dean cam 1

Awesome buck man, keep us posted on your hunt for him.

Giant 10-Point Buck Update

20130904-080919.jpg

Danny sent this last update before he starts hunting this huge 10-pointer that his wife named Spike on Friday:

“I got an absolute ton of pictures of Spike last week. The majority of the pictures were nighttime, but for some reason he came into the field at 3:16 in the afternoon one day.”

20130904-080936.jpg

I really like the image of him in the morning with a few other bucks. Unfortunately this spot is impossible to hunt in the morning with a bow. I have pictures of deer in this field’s corner from 11:30 p.m. thru 7:00 am every single day last week. There’s no way to get into the stand without blowing everything out of the fields.

Our bow opener is Sept 6th. Just a few days to go.”

Great misty morning picture! Danny, we’re rooting for you, good luck and keep us posted.