Hunting whitetail bucks on small farms is tough, but we're here to make it a little easier.
Hunting whitetail deer on small tracts is becoming a more popular craft with the rising difficulty of accessing larger, highly sought-after tracts of lands. It's no secret that hunting a small property has different variables most deer hunters wouldn't even consider.
We're going to provide you with a couple tips for hunting big bucks on a small parcel.
Over the years, I've started hunting more small parcel properties because they're often much easier to get access to, and many other hunters overlook them.
Each one tends to pose different challenges, though, depending what part of the season it is.
Let's talk about the first parcel that comes to mind.
The Prairie Spring Property
It's 100 acres in total, but only 10 acres has some level of cover. There's a hedgerow that makes a 'T' and a spring that runs through the farm. Of the 10 acres, approximately six are in alfalfa with tall prairie grasses surrounding the area. In the summer, this property holds multiple doe families because of the food source and the lay of the land allows for multiple bedding areas. Now if the goal was to tag a doe, this property would be great during the early season, as the doe groups are very predictable with their feeding patterns.
Once the rut starts to kick up and hunting pressure from neighboring pieces increase, more deer start spending time on this piece. Bucks tend to court does in this area and it becomes a prime location for mature bucks for a limited time. This only occurs if the doe groups continue to feel safe in that area.
So it's key to stay out of this parcel until bucks start spending time on the property and let the deer movement shift from other hunters.
Thick Timber Adjacent to Food
The next small piece I enjoy to hunt also has hay fields, but features small patches of timber, too. The thick bedding cover holds bucks all year. Last year, I passed a buck that that's still on the property. He's now made a slight jump, and I'd estimate him to be around 4 1/2 years old. Although it seems his exact travel pattern has shifted, he's still in the area often. However, in the same area, giant bucks roam in search of more does. During the rut and even this summer, I've captured photos of some fantastic whitetails. Hopefully, they'll be back during the rut and I'll be in the stand. This farm is a very overlooked hunting area.
Thankfully, because of farmers' crops, food plots aren't a concern at all. The human pressure on this piece is high, but the deer seem to coexist well.
The key takeaway here is to hunt when the conditions are right. It's best to do some low-pressure scouting, implement trail cameras and actually hunt less.
Hunting on small parcels take a little more homework and patience, but they can often provide a great reward. This year I'll continue bowhunting various small tracts. The hunting opportunities are out there, and smaller farms are a great place to start.