A lot of hunters have that place they call home. For Casey, this is his grandpa’s farm where he got his start deer hunting with his brother, dad, and grandpa. Over the years, the hunting turned into managing by being more selective of their harvest, planting food plots and enhancing the habitat by planting Switchgrass. It was a family project and vision shared by the Shoopman family. The last time Casey saw his grandpa was the same day the first Switchgrass seed hit the soil just months before he passed away in 2010.
In the years since, the habitat projects as well as the hunting have continued, but not until this year has there truly been a noticeable change in the whitetails on the farm. All the projects and habitat manipulation are progressing and helping hold and attract more deer as well as improve their overall health. The focus of of these enhancements was never concentrated on producing a 200 inch whitetail. Instead, to improve the land and take care of the wildlife that call it home. This year, a buck that had been gone for a few years came back to call grandpa’s farm home. On October 30th, Casey was in a stand along a Pennington food plot when this deer came within range after a snort wheeze. This moment was 4.5 years in the making and the first mature deer had been taken since all the property enhancements had started and grandpa had passed.
While the family farm might not be the biggest tract of land or the most pristine whitetail haven, a little work goes a long ways and it is quickly becoming a place that many whitetails want to call their home. The culmination of all of this planning, hard work, and time has done exactly what it was meant to do. It’s for the tradition of family, the heritage of the land, and the animals that call it home.
*Casey was married less than a week prior to this hunt. His wedding ring was crafted from a shed antler found on his grandpa’s farm.