Preparing Hunting Property Before Deer Season
Dr. John Woods 10.19.20
Many fall hunting seasons will soon be open, if they’re not already. Just like my hunting club, we sit cool as a cucumber at home in the air conditioning daydreaming about what the coming hunting season will produce. Right now is the best time to lay out plans and then get to work on them.
In the recreational hunting business, one never knows what situation will turn up next. We found out this week our food plot prep man is out of the business of mowing, disking, and planting food plots. That puts us in a pickle for the fall. We were lucky to hook up with a new farmer to do our work, but at more than twice the cost of last year. These days, there are fewer and fewer options to find someone to work a hunting property.
Then when there are multiple owners involved, everybody has their own opinion and sometimes it is difficult to get a consensus on what to do. We bantered all the ideas back and forth from doing minimal food plot work to expanding the operation. Money usually turns out to be the least common denominator. The old guys want to save while the youngsters want to spend. We’ll reach a compromise as usual.
Mowing, then disking and planting roughly 50 acres of plots takes time, especially when it is all spread out over 12-15 different plots. It takes time to move equipment from one area to the other and time is money. The secret is planning for a smooth execution. Easier said than done especially when factoring in a new food plot guy. The best plan is a thorough survey of the whole hunting property to assess how the land faired during the off season.
As soon as possible, make a complete inspection. Ride the property ideally on an ATV to get a full close up view. Go up and down every trail, access road, and food plot. Take note of any downed trees that will need clearing. This always happens winter through spring storms. How wet is the place? Can plots be mowed now? If not, how soon. Sooner the better.
Map out all your property plans now after the property assessment survey. Know what you are going to do in advance of bringing in plot farming equipment. Write down a sequence of operations and convey all that to the food plot farmer. Ideally several owners will need to be on site to guide and supervise the work plan. Try to track the hours of work performed so the charges are right.
Prepping a hunting property for the fall season is no easy task. It needs to start with a complete survey then setting a plan in motion. The payoff will come later when the hunting seasons commence.