Maintaining your hunting property can get expensive, but it doesn’t always have to be that way!
There’s no sense is wasting time trying to hunt on non-maintained property. Below are a few low-cost habitat improvements that can attract game to your property.
1. Natural Food Plot
“Natural” is the key word for this. Planting clover, winter wheat, or rye can be costly. Effective, but costly. With a natural food plot, you’re only splurging on the cost of fertilizer, plus the cost of gas if you are fortunate to have a tractor or rototiller. Find an area that’s currently getting enough sunlight for growth, or trim back limbs to allow more sunlight.
Then, clear out the vegetation. Fertilize the area with high nitrogen fertilizer (46-0-0) and watch it grow.
2. Hinge Cutting
Hinge cutting trees is the process of partially cutting through a tree to create a temporary habitat modification. You can do this in key areas to keep the interest of your deer herd.
Hinge trees in a bedding area; the enhanced cover will encourage more deer to bed down at the location you want them to. Also, determine where you’ll be setting up when the season starts, and use this method to protect yourself from sight. Think you might get busted by a gobbler that walks in on the game trail behind you? Hinge a tree to cover that trail so nothing can sneak up on you again… well, sneak up as easily.
3. Help Beneficial Plants
If you have fruit plants or oak trees that are just starting out, help them! Clear out the vegetation around the plants to remove competition. You can also clear out overhanging limbs to ensure the plants get enough sunlight.
This is a long-term investment, but it still falls into the category of low-cost habitat improvements. While you’re out clearing the beneficial trees and plants, be on the lookout for small fruit or acorn-bearing trees. When you dig them up, ensure you get the root ball and move them to a location that is beneficial to both you and the plant.
It is also a good idea to make sure you are re-planting properly. Some plants benefit when the roots are planted inline with the ground, while others need to be placed above.
With these simple and (almost) cost-free steps, you will have a better shot at finding success when the season rolls around.