While you’re out working your land with a tractor this summer, try this. Bush-hog a strip of grass or mow a lane through a thicket right up to one or two of your favorite tree stand locations. Keep those lanes trimmed one more time this summer. Deer will find them and use them. One day later this fall, an 8-pointer might walk smack down the strip to your bow stand. The trimmed lanes are also great places to plant mini-plots of clover.
Scour an old grown-up farm field for hidden fruit trees, like apple or persimmon. Open up the trees by clearing away brush; prune a few limbs and pour some fertilizer over the roots. A tree should make some soft mast just in time for bow season, and you’ll have yet another honey-hole for a bow stand.
One of the best land improvements doesn’t take a drop of sweat. Pinpoint some of the thickest, roughest cover and terrain on your land, and designate it a deer sanctuary for this fall. No walking, scouting or hunting in there! A good sanctuary is so thick that a buck feels safe and hidden if you walk or drive an ATV by at 50 yards. Best case, 20 to 30 percent of your land is in sanctuary; the closer to the center of the property it is the better. Deer and especially mature bucks will find this no-pressure zone and use it regularly.