Without a plan, whatever you are trying to achieve is just an idea. This is exactly why as hunters and outdoorsmen, we need a management plan specifically made for our property.
The landowner with the management plan is usually the one who consistently has enjoyable hunts with many wildlife sightings. They are also the ones who have typically had many successful seasons and trophies under their belt. There is a reason for their success. They have a plan.
When developing a plan, it is important to have a professional perform an assessment of your property. This is why your long-time hunting buddy may not be the best for go-to hunting advice and management. It is necessary to have someone who understands how to read your property and understand how the wildlife is using your property from a biological standpoint. Proper plant and tree identification is also a must. These are all critical components of evaluating your property.
There are two components of a management plan. The first is from a habitat standpoint and the second focuses on herd management. The habitat aspect will focus primarily on manipulating the existing cover in order to achieve your goals. For example, many properties lack early successional vegetation. This succulent vegetation provides ample fawning cover and lush, palatable forage for wildlife, especially whitetails. Another common element that is commonly manipulated is the lack of bedding cover on some properties, or in the case of wild turkeys, nesting and brood cover. Some properties are more active during certain seasons compared to others. This is an indication that you are lacking something on your property during those “lull” months. For example, if you can’t find a deer on your property during September and October, there is a strong possibility that a neighboring landowner has something you don’t. The most likely case would be a stand of soft or hard mast-producing trees. In this case, there is only one way to fix your problem. Have a professional evaluate your property and design a plan to implement fixes.
Habitat management plans aren’t just for the manipulation of pre-existing cover. Food plots can be a headache if not done properly. Therefore having someone who understands what forages are best for your area, taking into account the annual precipitation, the soils, and the wildlife density in the area is a must. Between seed blends, planting methods, and fertilization, it will save you time and money in the long run to consult someone who is knowledgeable about these things.
Another aspect of land management is the governmental programs available to landowners. It is important to have someone who can properly navigate these passages and assist you in a implementing a CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) or other habitat management programs. These programs are more than just an annual commitment, so having someone who knows how to design them and decide what forages you need is a huge plus. These programs are great for the landowner who wishes to improve their land on more than one level. Many of these available forages benefit whitetails, game birds, wild turkey, and small fur-bearing species.
Whether you need a plan to assist you in managing land you have owned for years or a piece of land that you have just acquired, your property along with the wildlife on it will benefit from a correctly applied management plan. From prescribed burns, to CRP, to pre-existing habitat manipulation, I can help you with anything you need in order to realize your property’s full wildlife potential. Next week my blog will focus primarily on the herd management aspect of a management plan and how the density of wildlife on your property will affect the habitat and your hunts. Please contact me with any management questions.
Andrew Walters is an Edgecombe County native and spends much of his time pursuing wild game and fishing across eastern North Carolina with his family and his fiancé, Noelle. His passion for the outdoors was the driving force that led him to North Carolina State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology with a concentration in Wildlife Science in 2014. He was the President of the NCSU Quality Deer Management Association club and continues to be an avid member of QDMA. After graduating, he earned his real estate license and joined the Mossy Oak Properties NC Land and Farms team in Greenville, NC. He is a freelance outdoor writer and has had a number of featured articles in the Wildlife in NC magazine, as well as, Mossy Oak Gamekeepers. Andrew is also a major contributor to the Mossy Oak Properties NC Land and Farms weekly blog, the Management Minute. His extensive knowledge of wildlife management coupled with his ability to identify plant and tree species provides him the unique ability to help clients not only identify, but manage their property to maximum potential. Andrew’s enthusiasm and knowledge enables him to properly navigate the channels necessary in “finding your favorite place” outdoors, as well as, developing a wildlife management plan specifically tailored for your piece of ground. Contact Andrew today to find out how he can help you find and manage your next dream property.
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