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How To Manage a Small Property for Whitetails

The right cover is key to managing deer land – especially land surrounded by heavy hunting pressure. When a buck doesn't bed on your place, tagging him is a major challenge. (Vic Schendel photo)
The right cover is key to managing deer land – especially land surrounded by heavy hunting pressure. When a buck doesn't bed on your place, tagging him is a major challenge. (Vic Schendel photo)

The string of bucks waltzing by my stand on this late-season bowhunt was incredible. A snow storm had been forecasted for overnight, and apparently the local deer had checked the weather report. On this afternoon hunt it seemed every deer in the area was on its feet and either feeding or moving toward food in anticipation of what was to come. My stand was in the perfect funnel between a prime bedding area and a real world soybean plot, the hottest food source for miles around.

Among the numerous deer passing my stand were several bucks. Some came alone, others in pairs and some in groups of up to five. By sunset, I’d seen 17 antlered bucks and many does and fawns. While I didn’t draw my bow that day, I was smiling as I quietly slipped away in the fading light. I knew I was onto something big.

This hunt took place almost two decades ago, but it was one I’ve never forgotten. It opened my eyes to the possibilities and even the clear advantages of managing a small property for quality whitetail hunting without any support from surrounding landowners. In every direction from this property the hunting pressure was substantial, and any buck was a target to nearly every hunter in the area. In spite of this, I was seeing some real benefits from my solo management efforts.

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STARTING SEP 16, 2019
STARTING SEP 16, 2019