It’s only the end of January. You’ve got plenty of time to start your deer habitat work right? Well, if you want to make the most of your property, you should start now. Here’s why.
It’s the slowest time of the year – create your deer habitat plan now
As busy as you may be, there’s generally no time of year when you will have more time to develop your deer habitat plan and perform the necessary research required. While there are things you should be doing outside, and we’ll detail them below, late winter is the slowest time of the year for work in the woods. Take advantage, as you’ll want to have all the time available later in the year to perform the work. Things you can plan are food plots, forestry, equipment needs, treestands, and more.
Winter scouting is unlike scouting at other times of year
Most of us spend the most time in the woods in summer and fall. Based on our experiences at that time of year, we develop an understanding of our property and the way the wildlife uses it. But this changes over the course of the year, and needs to be evaluated in winter and spring to truly understand your property, its strong points, and deficiencies. A winter walk may reveal that deer vacate your property in late winter. This information can help inform your deer habitat management decisions, such as how to increase late winter food sources.
Visibility allows you to know your property better
Many of us place and prepare our treestands in late summer and the few weeks before season. Yet this is the toughest time of year to see the woods and understand the lay of the land. The difference in visibility between summer and winter is stark, especially in climates with snow. We aren’t suggesting to place your stands in January. But walking the woods at this time of year may reveal things that aren’t visible in summer. You may decide to slightly move your stands, cut shooting and viewing lanes differently, or put up new stands.
Order your seed in advance
Most of us have had the experience of going to our favorite hunting store the weekend we hoped to plant, only to find our desired seed was out of stock. Instead, you’re forced to buy a different blend, drive to another store, or simply not plant. This is easily avoidable, buy purchasing your seed in advance. You can guarantee you’ll get the right seed and have it in time for planting.
Research and order your trees now
Are you planting hardwoods, fruit trees, or others? These items are great for deer habitat improvement, but often sell out each year. You may have already missed the boat on some, but you can’t wait any longer if you want to find the right trees for your property.
Shed hunt for fun and knowledge
As a form of scouting, shed hunting is a great activity to stay involved in your property in the late winter. You’ll learn more about where the deer winter, the travel corridors, and winter food availability. It’s also a healthy activity and one that can be shared by the family and dog(s).
No matter your deer habitat plans, winter is not a time to be idle, so take advantage of it!