Riley Johnson of Lebanon, Tennessee, has been a member of the Mossy Oak ProStaff for three years, with a focus on gamekeeping. He's also a Mossy Oak Properties realtor.
“I've been an outdoors person all my life,” Johnson said. “I found out about the Mossy Oak GameKeepers Program from Jesse Raley who works at Mossy Oak, and I met a lot of the Mossy Oak people when I went to visit them down in West Point, Mississippi. I really enjoy managing the land and trying to improve habitat for wildlife.”
Johnson, like many other Mossy Oak pros and property owners, has seen that the notion of needing to have access to large acreages is not the key to being able to manage deer, and the habitat and harvest deer and turkeys. More and more hunters are beginning to learn that small properties - often as small as 5-10 acres or as much as 500 acres - can be great places to hunt, to own and to increase the wildlife living on that property, if you practice some of the recommendations made by Mossy Oak GameKeepers like: planting supplemental food; limiting the hunting pressure on the property; only hunting the property when the wind and weather conditions offer you the best opportunity to see deer and turkeys; and creating sanctuary for the deer during hunting season.
“I have permission to hunt a 350-acre farm that has cattle on it not far from where I live,” Johnson continued. “So, I have to be selective of where I put the food plots, because I want them to benefit the wildlife and not feed the cattle. I only have two food plots. One is about an acre, and the other is about a two-acre plot. I planted those plots with Mossy Oak BioLogic, and those crops seem to really draw in the turkey and the deer.
“Because I know the person who owns the land, and I’ve obtained permission to hunt there, I don’t have very much trouble with hunting pressure or overhunting the land, because my friend and I are the only people who hunt this property. We put very little hunting pressure on the land.