A September 2013 client of mine, John, experienced some outstanding small parcel success, while using a heavy dose of deer sanctuary tactics on less than 30 acres! Here is the story, in John's own words:
"I feel like Im in year two of land management program and the results so far has been amazing. Before you came out I would see maybe one doe in a week of hunting, now I see 3-5 does every sit and they are actually living on the property based on the trail camera pictures. I sat sun up to sun down starting Friday Nov 6th, wanted to get out there on the temp drop like you say on your website, also hunted Saturday, Sunday and shot the guy in the picture on Monday at 2 pm. It was actually my 3rd sit in the same stand. I have other stands, but a lot of confidence in that one also with my screening and scent control try to keep them from knowing Im hunting them. Did pretty much text book of what you talk about on your website all the time, except hunt the same stand more than once.
*My Whitetail Success by Design trilogy of books, offers you the complete line-up of habitat, herd and hunting strategies. There are also over 100 reviews on Amazon, so make sure to check those out too, if you would like to see what others have to say about how the books have helped them.
Also for your other clients, one I was reading his blog on the QDMA website where he was frigging out a bit about not seeing bucks on his cameras in the summer. I not once saw a buck on camera until Oct, as you know how the land is setup. Its not a place bucks are going to live in all year round, but as long as they come through during hunting season that is what we are looking for, but I do have a number of doe family groups now. Knew if I put my time in, it would be a matter of time. Also have a 8 pointer on camera that is very long tines, almost looks like a crown on his head. Plan on shooting him during the gun season. : ) Not bad coming from a WI county where they say there is no deer left and its buck only hunting (no doe harvest allowed).
I shot it at 15 yards and is a 10 pointer with a 16 inch spread. Weighted at the butcher 210 lbs. Biggest buck I have ever seen in the wild.
Thought you would like to hear the good news."
-John, Northern WI
*A deer sanctuary, is not truly a sanctuary, unless the deer can't see you, smell you or hear you while you are hunting. For a more in-depth look at deer sanctuary tactics, check out"Strategies For Creating a Deer Sanctuary"
John's Deer Sanctuary Tactics:
Would you believe that John's success was created on less than 30 acres? In fact, John has roughly only 20 acres that are not under water at nearly all times, on his land. By keeping a long line of movement intact, that included deer travel corridors (yellow), food plots (green) and deer bedding areas (orange), John was able to maximize his acreage over an areas that includes several hundred yards of unpressured daily deer movement. John had a plan, but he also had to apply a lot of patience, and a lot of hard work to get the job done! I am very proud of John and his accomplishment, because he accomplished something that very few hunters experience: The power of successfully implementing effective deer stanctuary tactics! By only using his treestands (red) when the cold front conditions and wind patterns were appropriate, John was completely dialed in to create an outstanding opportunity, following a lot of very hard work. Outstanding job John!
Switchgrass can often be a great way to create a deer sanctuary! Here's an excellent video on creating a switchgrass bedding area
Here is what else John had to say:
"The other thing with my property if you remember is I do not have any tools for the food plot. Everything is done literally by hand. I use a chainsaw, backpack sprayer to kill the winter rye in June, respray again in July & august and hand seed middle of August and over seed two more times. Hmm, doesnt this sound like something someone puts on their website? : ) Also at work here had them build my a roller ( read a lot on the QDMA website blogs from Crimson & Clover) about just rolling over the dead vegetation which I pull along (similar to a horse) using the roller to flatten out the plants and seeding over it using the dead plants as a mulch. It has worked great on my long narrow plot, probably more of a killing plot than a food plot but as you always say it has created a direction of travel for the does that live on the property year round and the bucks that cruise it during the rut and hopefully during gun season. Wasnt able to hunt that area of the property last gun season because couldnt get back to because of the deep snow so have only hunted the area twice since starting on your plan.
The rewarding part is twofold as you know. Killing the deer is great, but creating the opportunity is more satisfying. I cant tell you how much time I have put in on the property making fixing with food plot, screening cover, creating trails, hinge cutting bedding areas, adding Lyme, fertilizer and planting. Cant tell you how many bags of Lyme I carried in and spread by hand with the temps over 80s. Lots of sweat dropped by me doing the work. Its funny, but when Im doing the work even though its crazy hot out and the bugs are terrible I always think about something you said and it actually keeps me motivated when working on the land under not the best conditions. hard work creates luck. That couldnt be more true for me.
Just an FYI my buck was scored at 155 1/8 gross, 152 1/8 net. Was scored at the taxidermist by his buddy who is an official scoring guy. I know you asked to use my story and that is kind of the conclusion to this years hunt for me. Honestly the score doesnt mean all the much to me. As you have figured out Im about creating opportunities on my property, got lucky this year that the big guy actually walked out in front of me. The good thing is on my camera last year I had a buck that was even bigger than the one I shot this year. And this past year I had one buck that was pretty close in size to the one I shot, so if they both made it through the hunting season, things are looking good for the future.
Not going to lie, spent a lot of time, effort, sweat in the property every year, but find it extremely enjoyable. Still working on your plan but doing more and more every year. Looking forward to getting back out there in the spring and hinge cutting an area to create bedding and work on some additional deer trails. Also want to plant some Dunston chestnut trees but never seem to find the time to order them and get up there to plant."
-John, Northern WI