Do you feel that you have missed the opportunity to improve your habitat and hunt for this season? In my experience, you may be just in time for water, fencing funnels or mock scrapes. Here are some last minute bowhunting habitat improvements that you can still create during the next few weeks, to raise the bar for your hunting expectations.
*Make sure to check out my whitetail book series including, "Whitetail Success By Design" and "Food Plot Success By Design", to help you find mature bucks this hunting season!
Mid Summer Bowhunting Habitat Improvements
Low-impact waterhole installations can be a great way to offer a much higher level of precision for mature buck travel. The 1/2 barrel waterhole creation pictured above, was a great addition to a natural pinch point that the hunter wanted to narrow down with an effective bowhunting habitat improvement. The entire waterhole was built within a 1/2 hour, and was placed within 25 yards of a stand location. By burying the container below the level of the ground, the tank will "self-fill" often with timely, heavy rain fall. A tank that is buried deep also blends in quickly with the surrounding habitat for an extremely low-impact habitat improvement.
*A waterhole can offer quick stop for a cruising giant, in particular if it is located between a buck's daytime bedding area, and his preferred evening food source. If the bedding area is "dry" (lacking any water source), than you can bet that the water source will be a hot potential stop on his way to feed, or possibly even a daytime cruising pit stop. For a complete guide to a last minute waterhole improvement, check out "Deer Waterhole Hunting Strategies".
When should you add a mock scrape bowhunting habiat improvement to your land? Anytime before mature bucks begin to cruise. My favorite time frame for a quick mock scrape creation falls between May and September, which is during the low-impact lull of lazy Summer deer movements. This is also a time well before the majority of mature bucks shift to their preferred Fall habitat.
*There are many ways to create a mock scrape, but the K.I.S.S. pinciples certainly applies! I like to focus on natural mock scrape improvements that compliment existing bowhunting set-ups, but at the same time become a part of the local habitat. My favorite is what I call the "Hoop Scrape", but to read more about appropriate last minute mock scrape creations try checking out"How To Make A Mock Scrape".
Deer and chainsaws have always seemed to have an understanding because when the saw quits, an experienced deer seems to sure know it is time to feed. So although the process may seem loud and destructive, an argument can be made that a chainsaw travel corridor may be the best way to offer highly defined deer movements for bowhunting; while spooking very few deer!
*Although I would allow at least a month to pass by to allow the deer to become fully conditions to your new bowhunting habitat improvement, the process can still be completed this year to help you this season. Making sure that you are matching your new corridor to the natural movements of a mature buck is one of the many strategies that you need to take a look at, in "Deer Corridors: Hoop Dreams".
Have you ever used snow fencing to create a high quality funnel? This may be a perfect fit for you! A food plot is already a location that features a certain level of risk to the local deer herd. Tilling, planting, fertilizing and weed control efforts create a high volume of human pressure, and that "pressure" often includes placing a bowstand or two along the food plot borders. So why not take the additional steps needed to create a snow fence funnel bowhunting habitat improvement?
I personally recommend that you leave a minimum of a 10 yard window, to create a high quality funnel within your hunting plot. By using fencing, or even brush blockades, rock wind rows or heavy conifers you will not only define precision mature buck movements, but you can also keep a decent % of deer from traveling through the area on the downwind side of your treestand. Snow fencing can easily be rolled out of the way for your planting efforts, and then re-positioned after planting to improve your favorite stand location.
*Is it really a good idea to hunt a food plot and if so, how do you make sure that you aren't spooking more deer than not? Make sure to read "8 Effective Kill Plot Strategies".
Putting It All Together
When you combine waterholes, mock scrapes, chainsaw corridors and fencing funnels together, you are heavily tilting the odds in your favor for a mature buck encounter; and it isn't too late!
*There are several strategies for making sure that you are effectively defining buck movements on the land that you hunt. To make sure that you are creating the conditions for consistent mature buck movement all season long, in particular during the daylight hours, check out "Creating Daytime Buck Travel On Your Land".
*Have you successfully put together your entire whitetail habitat and hunting design? If you think you could use some improvements, make sure to check out my "Whitetail Success By Design"series of books.