How To Make Bucks Feel At Home On Your Land

Go to Grass
A field of native warm-season grasses makes a superb sanctuary. A half-acre patch will hold bucks, but a couple of acres planted in long strips is ideal. Last year, I took a 21-inch-wide 8-pointer from a wooded trail leading to such a spot. Switchgrass is the easiest to grow and can be planted simply by broadcasting the seed on bare ground and covering it very lightly. But using a seed drill is the best way. You can hire a local farmer to do this or rent the implement yourself. Government programs, such as the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), may be able to help with financing and planning.
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Form a Big-Buck Corridor
Mature bucks will ignore lots of natural travel corridors-"small creeks, drainage ditches, saddles, or swales-"if they lack cover. On your property, search for such potential funnels that lead from bedding to feeding areas or between doe bedding areas. Along them, plant two rows of small trees or bushes, about 6 to 12 feet apart. You want a wide-racked buck to be able to walk comfortably down the aisle as the plants grow. Honeysuckle, dogwood shrubs, crab apple, and viburnum work well. Add extra appeal by mixing in a few favorite soft-mast species, like apple, pear, or persimmon.
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Get an Edge
Wherever agricultural fields or food plots are surrounded by open woods, big deer typically wait until dark to approach. By creating a border of thicker cover between field and forest, you can get those bucks to show up earlier. Along the edge of the woods, for a minimum of 60 feet, saw a number of low-value trees to chest height. Fell the trees, but leave them partially attached to the stump. Soon vines and shoots will grow up, forming a thick shelter that big bucks will gravitate to. Before you know it, you'll have a perfect staging area-"and a great spot to hang a stand.
Field & Stream Online Editors
Go to Grass
A field of native warm-season grasses makes a superb sanctuary. A half-acre patch will hold bucks, but a couple of acres planted in long strips is ideal. Last year, I took a 21-inch-wide 8-pointer from a wooded trail leading to such a spot. Switchgrass is the easiest to grow and can be planted simply by broadcasting the seed on bare ground and covering it very lightly. But using a seed drill is the best way. You can hire a local farmer to do this or rent the implement yourself. Government programs, such as the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), may be able to help with financing and planning.
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Make Your Beds
You'll never have a true whitetail hotspot without good bedding cover. The best place to make it is on a wooded hillside or ridge, away from human traffic, and close to the center of your property. Once you locate such a spot, mark one- or two-dozen low-value trees per acre in a 2- to 4-acre section. Then take a chain saw and start cutting. Fell the marked trees and let them lie. This creates a labyrinth of protected buck beds. It also admits more sunlight, promoting the growth of grapevines, honeysuckle, berries, and other young food plants. Soon you'll have a thick, junglelike area that bucks will love.
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Plant Some Pines
When hunting pressure builds on surrounding properties or when the weather turns nasty, an isolated grove of thick pines is just what a buck is looking for. And you can provide it, easily and cheaply. Many state forest departments offer seedlings at discount rates in bulk. I put in 500 white pines every year, for example, and it costs me just $75 for 2-year-old trees. Space them 8 to 12 feet apart and plant as large an area as you can, up to several acres. Leave the groves as sanctuaries. Set your stands on travel routes leading to them. Hunt these only occasionally for your best shot at a trophy.
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Bow Hunting Guide: 2006
Find and Prepare a Place to Hunt
How to: scout out a trophy, read a buck rub, hang a tree stand, plant a food plot and more pre-season tips you need to read before you hit the tree stand. Lesson Plan: How to Scout for a Trophy Buck
Follow these three assignments from trophy whitetail guide Rick Krueter before the season starts, and you chances of putting pins to your local monster this fall will get a whole lot better.
Click here for the story How to Read Pre-Rut Buck Rubs
Pre-season buck rubs are hard to find, but when they give you a much more accurate picture of a buck's habits than the far more common rubs created later in the season. These tips will help you find and read them.
Click here for the story How to Hang the Perfect Tree Stand
Bowhunters have very little wiggle room when it comes to tree-stand location. a stand that's even slightly in the wrong spot--a little too high or low, or a tad too close to or far from the hottest sign--can cost you your deer. Here's how to create the perfect setup.
Click here for the story Tree Stand Hanging Safety Tips
Every fall, a few hunters who were not careful are found where they fell. Their troubles are over. Job One here is not to join these people. Here's how to hang a stand safely.
Click here for the story How to Build a Last-Minute Food Plot
Never got around to putting in food plots this spring? Don't sweat it. Sow the right seeds in the right places right now, and your last-minute plots will sprout in days and start attracting deer in time for bow season.
Click here for the story How to Build Buck-Holding Cover on Your Property
Create holding cover on your property and bucks drawn to your food plots will stick around al
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Create holding cover on your property and bucks drawn to your food plots will stick around all year long. And with a little careful planning, you can arrange the perfect ambush for an unsuspecting trophy. Here's how.