Here are some helpful tips to protect your deer hunting property.
Owning your own slab of land for hunting purposes is a huge pleasure that many of us work for many years to attain. There’s something about hunting your own property that you can’t get from hunting on another person’s land (and something you certainly can’t get from hunting in public spots).
But when the property belongs to you, so does the full responsibility of making sure everything about it is protected from intruders, trespassers, and animals themselves.
Here are six tips for making sure your property is as good as you left it every time you head out the door for a hunt.
1. Deter treestand theft
Treestand theft is generally more of a problem for hunters on public land, but the fact is that you never really know who is lurking around your land when you’re not there. This doesn’t mean you have to lug your treestand back and forth from your hunting property every day to make sure it doesn’t get stolen, but like anything else, it means that you should make it as difficult as possible for thieves to steal from you.
Lock your treestand to the tree with a bike lock or similar contraption, conceal your stand with branches, leaves, and brush when you leave and consider removing the ladder or climbing sticks to prevent thieves from reaching your stand in the first place.
If someone is really motivated to make off with your stand, there’s not a whole lot you can do to stop them, but you can make their job incredibly difficult by making the thing as inaccessible and inconspicuous as possible.
2. Deter trail camera theft
As unfortunate as it is, treestands aren’t the only hunting items that run the risk of being stolen if left unattended in the woods. If you’re approaching your hunting property like smart hunters should, you will probably be leaving a few trail cameras in the woods at any given time, and they will likely be a prime target amongst trespassers and thieves.
In order to deter theft of your camera, do what you did with your treestands, making it as difficult and unrewarding as possible for someone to steal your valuable gadget. Conceal the camera with as much camouflage as possible so it isn’t noticeable (which helps the overall goal of a trail cam anyway), put it high up in a tree and out of reach and lock it to a tree if possible.
3. Look out for trespassers on your trail camera
Speaking of trail cameras, they can often be a great way to spot trespassers, vandals, thieves, or other intruders on your property. If someone has been tearing up your land with their ATV, poaching your deer, or stealing your stuff, try positioning cameras near where you’ve found evidence of the intrusion.
With any luck, you’ll catch a face or a license plate number and be able to give the police ample proof that someone has been overstepping his or her boundaries.
4. Fence your food plots
Sometimes, you’re not just protecting your property against thieves, but against the very animals you are using that property to hunt. Growing a healthy food plot is a challenging proposition under the best of circumstances, and it gets a lot harder when deer and other animal pests won’t leave the crop alone long enough to let it grow.
For these reasons, many DIY deer property owners build fences around their food plots to keep out intruders and prevent unwanted crop consumption. From simple, lightweight fence set-ups to advanced, solar-powered electric fences, different deer hunters have different ideologies when it comes to protecting their plots. Just make sure whatever you build is easy to remove and re-install, since a permanently fenced in feeding plot won’t do much good when you actually want your deer to start eating the crop.
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And remember, deer can jump higher than the average person thinks, so keep that in consideration.
5. Establish deer sanctuaries
When you first acquire a deer hunting property, one of your first thoughts may be something along the lines of “Great! Now I can hunt wherever I want, whenever I want!” Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true, especially if you want to build a habitat where deer consistently want to take up residency year after year. In managing a deer property, you not only have to protect bits and pieces of it from outside intruders and gluttonous deer, but you also have to protect it from yourself.
Overhunting, or hunting strategies that leave deer with no place to hide out and feel secure, can result in herds becoming entirely nocturnal at best and fleeing your property at worst. Establishing deer safe zones or sanctuaries can go a long way toward making sure deer feel safe and at home on your property, in turn giving you a better chance of hunting them successfully. If you give buddies permission to hunt your property, make sure they understand your rules as far as sanctuaries are concerned as well.
6. Safeguard your hunting camp
If you’ve got a cabin or shack on your property that functions as a hunting camp during deer season, then you are going to have to think even more seriously about protection than other hunters. Protecting these camps from vandals and burglars is difficult, especially in the offseason, because they are so clearly seasonal outposts.
If a thief or a vandal can invade a cabin or shack without the risk of being caught in the act, they are going to do it. Safeguards for your hunting camp can take many forms, from making sure you have insurance on the property to recording serial numbers of the items left in a cabin in case of theft.
Do you have any other tips to help protect your hunting property?