I recently had the opportunity to interview Jeremy Flinn, Wildlife Biologist for Cabela’s and co-founder of Buck Advisors.
Jeremy Flinn delivered a seminar to a crowded room of eager listeners at the Minnesota Deer Classic event, myself included. After the seminar, he graciously sat down with me to discuss his background, lessons learned, and tips for landowners.
Flinn has a very entrepreneurial lifestyle. He co-founded several companies, including The Buck Advisors, Stone Road Media, and DeerGro. Since 2013, he has served as a professional wildlife biologist for the Cabela’s Wildlife and Land Management department in the Midwest and Northeast U.S.
Flinn has worked with several clients while at Cabela’s, including the well-known host of “Midwest Whitetail,” Bill Winke. Flinn spent a lot of time on Winke’s farms conducting trail camera surveys, helping establish food plots, conducting TSI activities, and managing native browse.
He also helps private landowners with common questions about land management. He is only a quick phone call away and finds cost-effective solutions for them.
Another aspect of his job includes producing a weekly online show to help teach landowners about common management activities. The series includes how-to videos, testimonials, and management tips.
First, set realistic goals based on your area and baseline information collected via different methods like trail camera surveys.
Second, it doesn’t have to be complicated; all you need is a simple approach and small steps to manage your land effectively.
Third, don’t be afraid to get out of your element and try new techniques. You’ll learn from the process and your mistakes.
Easiest ways to improve a property.
Trail camera surveys are very easy to conduct and are critical to establishing a baseline condition. If you don’t know the basics, such as buck to doe ratio, fawn recruitment, and buck age classes, it is difficult to manage your herd well.
Don’t underestimate native habitat and its benefits. It provides cover, bedding areas, and food. It can an be managed or improved by selective tree harvests or hinge-cutting.
How to conduct trail camera surveys.
The seminar room was full of listeners, so clearly there is an interest. Flinn advised us to plan on one camera per 100 acres as a general. You can either conduct the survey late summer to early fall, or just after hunting season closes.
Place the cameras over a bait station and keep it stocked for 10-14 days. Shelled corn pile works well, but check your local regulations. Set your trail cameras to take one photo every five minutes, which gives you the best chance to sample 80 percent of the deer herd.
The photos help you:
- Analyze the conditions, such as weather patterns, deer favor.
- Pattern their movements at certain times of the day.
- Discover from which direction they enter and leave to inform the best stand location.
Biggest mistakes hunters make.
The biggest mistake is to ignore projects for small properties. You can still have a big impact and manage deer without owning hundreds of acres.
For example, go out and cut just a couple of trees in a cluster using TSI techniques and a handsaw. Even this small step will immediately provide additional browse and add horizontal cover from downed limbs. The additional sunlight will promote dense re-growth to serve as both browse and cover.
Good land management activities.
When the weather gets warmer, go out and walk your property. You’ll learn more about it without a fear of bumping deer. While you’re out scouting, also consider frost-seeding old food plots or fallow areas with clover and chicory. You can also do some shed hunting or TSI hinge cutting.
Lessons Learned from Bill Winke
As much as possible, eliminate competition by mowing or using an herbicide to get good seed to soil contact. Seed it with a fast-growth annual. It will establish very well and have the best chance at beating any remaining competition.
Thanks Jeremy, for taking time out of a busy schedule to teach me and our readers how to be better stewards of the land.
All photos via Jeremy Flinn
Follow me on Twitter @rjlisson