How important is a water source when you're trying to bag a buck?
So, you're looking for a new place to hunt, thinking of some land improvements, or just wondering about the advantages of sitting on that watering hole? Well the answer might prove surprising.
First, you need to know how deer hydrate themselves. Obviously, we've all seen deer drink from standing water. The other two are less tangible and are called preformed water and metabolic water. A deer's food provides preformed water in the vegetation it is eating. Digestion of the vegetation releases metabolic water to further aid in hydration. The most common way a deer stays hydrated is in the form of performed water.
Next you need to be mindful that the time of year affects how much liquid the deer needs. Deer require more water during the spring and summer than any other time. Water during this time is used to help growth in fawns, keeping a deer's body temperature cool, and lactating with does.
Now, to apply this to hunting.
Be mindful of when you are hunting and where, in most cases towards the fall deer can primarily get by with the water from their diet. This is especially true with the mild winters that we have been having. The deer are having no problem getting water from the budding shrubs and trees. So your efforts to find a water hole or making one for a property improvement would be better spent looking for a very green food source. Not that hunting over a water source can't prove beneficial; especially on hot days.
If you live in the south, or an area that is prone to drought a watering hole can be one of the best improvements you can make. In the case of a drought deer need standing or free water more as they cannot find it from their food. This often occurs during the time of year deer need water most. To keep your deer healthy and prevent from rack stunting keep a couple kiddie pools full of water.
Drought outlooks look pretty well for this year. If you live in the southeast, Florida, or Oklahoma, it would be beneficial to start planning a watering hole.
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