Spring is around the corner, bringing new life and new antler growth. Helping your herd will help your hunting season, and you can start today.
Maintaining and managing your land for deer in the spring is important to increase your odds in the fall. Whether you own land or not you can help deer by becoming active in the hunting community by attending public meetings and joining local and national groups dedicated to preserving hunting habitat and rights. You can also make a difference in your own backyard.
Here are five ways you can actively help your local herd.
Delay shed hunting:
While the first warm day of spring may tempt you to set out on a shed hunting adventure, depending on your region you could be doing some harm. If your region has suffered a hard winter, March is one of the toughest months on deer. Their fat reserves are low and there is little food left to scrounge.
Scaring deer in these conditions puts undue stress on them and could tip the scales of fate, especially for pregnant doe.
Put minerals out:
Spring is when bucks start to grow new antlers and doe are in the last stages of pregnancy. Natural minerals benefit every aspect of a deer’s health. Deer will actively seek out minerals to supplement their diets. Deer need more than salt and minerals specifically for deer are best. They are available in natural forms and man-made mixtures.
Leave fawns alone:
Most hunters know that a doe will leave a fawn to feed. The fawn is mostly scent-free and will lie still until mom returns. In today’s share-everything society it is tempting to take pictures or even a selfie with the adorable fawns but you are potentially putting them at risk.
Educate non-hunters that a lone fawn is not abandoned and they should leave it alone and alert a game warden or contact a local wildlife official if the animal appears to be abandoned.
Protect and avoid known bedding areas:
While it’s tempting to check on the growth of your bucks and count the fawns, it’s best to leave them alone. Hang a trail camera and keep minerals replenished but spend as little time as you can in bedding areas, especially in the early morning and evenings. Keeping pressure low will help you be more successful when fall rolls around.
Plant spring food plots:
Bucks growing antlers, pregnant doe, and lactating doe benefit from the high protein levels found in spring crops like legumes. Grains are mostly carbohydrates and are more beneficial later in the fall when deer need to build fat reserves.
If you are respectful and conscious about caring for your local deer herd, it will most definitely pay off once hunting season rolls around again. Plus, some of these conservation activities will keep you busy!