Just a short write-up (I will expand much more in an upcoming chapter of my next book ), but a few points to consider:
*High quality summer food sources (alfalfa,soybeans,clover) = high doe numbers, especially when combined with
adjacent high quality stem count habitat fawning cover. *Doe family groups have a much smaller home range than mature bucks *If you have high doe #s during the summer…those does often stick around into the fall *High doe #s carried into the fall take up space that mature bucks could otherwise take over
Every wonder why the sex ratios seem so unhealthy? It may be because a much higher % of bucks are living on your neighbors during the hunting season, where there may be less food…but there is quality cover that is not over-run by doe family groups.
Not surprisingly I don’t see a lot of does during the summer months on my SW WI lease because we are surrounded by high quality food sources on neighboring parcels. Until it gets into December and later, our antler-less populations remains fairly stable, but our buck population explodes! I believe it explodes because we offer more cool season forages and bedding cover…but at the same time we haven’t created a summer “Doe Factory” so when bucks are making their late summer moves to fall ranges, we have the space to collect them. This was the same on my UP of MI wilderness parcel, where the summer ratio would go from 3 mature does for every antlered buck…to 1 mature doe for every 2 antlered bucks in the fall.
Looking at the 25-30 different bucks we get on film in SW WI it would appear that we carry a ratio of more bucks to does and one could concluded that was what the area holds. Instead, we have neighbor that rarely see a mature buck, instead experiencing poor sex ratios.
I believe you can choose whether you promote a “Doe Factory”, or Cool Season Mature Buck hangout. And when you think about it, if you are the one holding the cool season buck population, your ability to promote a QDM herd is extremely high…and an outstanding opportunity to have a major impact on the local herd with 1, small parcel.
Ask yourself…are you creating a “Doe Factory”?
Anyways…food for thought
BTW, I have clients in 14 states this year, basically Nebraska to Delaware and north…very cool to see these concepts hold true over a very large area. Each parcel is a “scouting trip” and I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do what I do…and being able to described what I am seeing, to you guys. Hope the habitat season is going well!
By Jeff Sturgis, www.whitetailhabitatsolutions.com