Wildlife managers come in all types. Walter Gilbert is no different. He is a loyal TMA viewer and has put what he has learned through our episodes into practice on his farm in South Carolina. Gilbert is the type that didn’t need told what to do, he just needed someone to confirm his plans and practices were the right moves to make which is why he invited us down to his property. His management practices on his farm have been spot on. He is not only benefiting his deer hunting and whitetails, but quail as well. He has introduced high protein food sources by taking advantage of harvests in his pine plantations. By taking what he has learned through viewing our episodes and combining it with his own small twists, he has been able to improve his property. Just like all of us, he has taken it upon himself to improve his land and use it as a an avenue to introduce others to the outdoors.
This week we’re with Levi Carlock and Bill Gray the ADWFF District Supervisor Biologist and they’re preforming a fawn recruitment study with Auburn University. They’re trapping one of two sections of a large piece of land to study not only the effects of intensive predator trapping, but also the effects of good habitat and cover.
Through a brief camera survey, Levi was able to roughly identify the number of coyotes on each section of property. He identified the area with the highest density of coyotes and proceeded to set his traps. Since it’s summer, most of the traps were set near den sites, foraging areas, or water. This time of year, coyotes don’t travel far so locating their core areas is vital to success.
Managing Food Plots
As we move through the summer months, there are still tasks to complete as a land manger. The heat may have you wanting to sit inside in the air conditioning, but tasks that you do now can have a direct effect on the success you have this fall and winter.
Soybeans are a heavily browsed upon forage during the summer months. For land mangers that plant them specifically for food plots, it is vital that some sort of protection be applied to the emerging soybeans. Many install an electric fence, but Tom likes to apply Milorganite to to his soybeans. It is an organic fertilizer that doubles as a deer deterrent thanks to the odor it puts off. The effects of the Milorganite only a last a few weeks, but that gives the soybeans time to grow and increase their odds of surpassing the effects of the deer browse through the late summer months.
Last year’s drought was tough on deer herds across much of the country. It was no different in Central Illinois at the Fogle Farm. Numerous mature bucks that Ross and Derek had on their hit list either went missing or were found dead. They believed the outbreak of EHD to be the main cause. Luckily, a new mature buck frequented the property during the deer hunting season and Ross was able to connect in late November.
Any management or hunting someone does is strictly dependent upon access. Whether it’s an impenetrable thicket, an over grown fence line, a creek, or a washout, moving from point A to point B is vital. In land management, access is especially important because of the machinery and equipment involved. By foot, you can get around or through many of these obstacles with a little extra effort, but tractors and trucks need clear paths. Without road or trail systems through your property, the ability to productively manage is depleted and the property value diminishes.