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.
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.
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.