Deer Hunting’s Country Mile – Preparation for Fall Hunting
Dr. John Woods 10.26.20
If you are designing or laying out a plan for a new piece of deer hunting property or perhaps redesigning an existing location, there are many things to consider implementing in such a plan. To do so first requires a complete overview assessment of the entire property and all the natural features it possesses. Know your property before you set up stand locations a country mile away from your deer camp or access to an ATV/UTV to get your harvested game out of the woods.
Aerial surveys from an aircraft photographic flyover, or even photos taken with a drone will provide some excellent details as to how the property lays out. You need to know the locations of natural trails or potential roadways, possible food plot sites, water courses, ponds, streams, and timber types, shapes and configurations. Is there a good spot for a central camping area or site to build a hunting cabin or to set a house trailer? Is there electric power and water access? These resources should all be centrally located and close to each other not that everything you do requires a country mile jaunt.
As you plan, consider creating several smaller wildlife food plots rather than just a few much larger plots. Deer prefer smaller feeding areas with plenty of access to hiding, and bedding cover nearby. Ideally, build two access lanes or trails so you can slip in and out depending upon the prevailing winds on any given hunting day. A well-trimmed walking trail may be enough.
Consider how far away from your central operating camp you will be from the sites where hunting stands or shooting houses may be set up. How far would be it from a distant stand back to camp? How far will it be to drag a downed deer or to get to it with an ATV? Plan ahead to make these distances and access points as convenient as possible knowing that an isolated site off the main beaten pathways may be best for hunting.
If you can determine annual prevailing winds, you will have more information on where to set up hunting stands especially more permanent shooting houses. You might want more than one on a plot so you can hunt different winds. This is another reason for having two access trails or roads into the plots.
Remember, too, that you will have to get to these plots with equipment to mow, disk, and plant the plots. That takes more than a walking trail if you’re going to use farm equipment. Very small plots can be done by hand for sure, just calculate that into your master plan. This may sound ridiculous now, but consider all these factors as you get older and deer hunting property work gets more difficult. That country mile may get longer over the years.