Deer Hunters: 3 Affordable and Beneficial Habitat Improvements

You don’t have to be a food plot farmer to improve habitat for whitetails.

Deer Hunters: 3 Affordable and Beneficial Habitat Improvements

Mature trees often form a canopy above the forest floor, preventing sunlight from generating new growth. A couple hours of chainsaw work can make a big difference in removing this canopy. Photo courtesy of QDMA.

Today, securing a whitetail hunting property is a feat in itself, regardless if you lease or purchase it. For blue-collar folks, the budget ends here. Implements, fertilizer and food plot seeds are the straw that breaks the camel’s financial back.

But, there is good news. There are three cool and convenient ways to improve your hunting property cheaply and with minimal tools. 

Plant Fruit Trees

Apple and other fruit trees are deer magnets. If wild apple trees already exist on your property, then boost the yield by fertilizing it and cutting back a few taller trees around them to allow more sunlight. If planting new fruit trees, Kip Adams of QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association) recommends planting them where they get lots of sunlight and moisture so they grow quickly and produce fruit as soon as possible.

To allow fruit trees to mature and produce fruit, it’s mandatory to protect newly planted trees from deer with tree tubes or fencing.
To allow fruit trees to mature and produce fruit, it’s mandatory to protect newly planted trees from deer with tree tubes or fencing.

Spray Grasses and Weeds

If you have an open area on your property, “You can spray it with an herbicide to kill the weeds and grasses,” Adams said. “This will allow natural forage and broadleaf plants to grow in their place. It creates exceptional food and cover for deer. To boot, these are extremely inexpensive improvements to manage and require little time commitment.”

Cut Some Trees

In dense, forested habitat, Adams suggests using a chainsaw to cut down several dominant or poor-quality trees to allow sunlight to reach the forest floor. “If you don’t feel safe cutting them down, you can groove them with the chainsaw, then spray an herbicide into the groove, which will kill the tree. When sunlight reaches the forest floor, it will generate new growth, providing both food and cover. It could even be a good place to hunt.”

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