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You Can Grow Bigger Deer Through Management

Scott Davis | Mossy Oak ProStaff

Scott Davis Mossy Oak ProStaff

My family and I can attest that managing your property can absolutely improve your hunting.

When I first started hunting these two, 150-acre farms, I might see one to three bucks per year, all year, on both properties. The bucks we spotted back then didn’t have brow tines for some reason. The farm we leased wasn’t producing any bucks bigger than a basket rack. 

Today, the bucks we harvest on that leased farm score between 130-140 Boone & Crockett. We’ve taken several bucks on our farm that will score 150 B&C or more. Over the years, what we’ve done to improve our properties and what our neighbors have done to improve their lands, has taught us that we can hold some nice, mature bucks to hunt each season. We can grow bigger deer and improve the genetics of the bucks we hunt and harvest. 

Ten years ago, when we first started using trail cameras, we’d get a few hundred pictures of deer in a week. Today, on that same property, we’re getting 3,000 – 4,000 photos of deer per week, depending on the time of year. We get most of our deer pictures during the summer months and the early fall when the acorns are dropping, and the Clover Plus and Hot Spot plots are producing plenty of food. We also get good pictures before, during and even after the rut, because of mock scrapes. 

Before we began managing our lands for deer and turkeys, most of the deer photos we got were of does. However, we do more doe management now than when we first started improving the land for wildlife. In the beginning, we might harvest two does per season. Now, depending on our trail-camera surveys, we may take 10-12 does each season. 

We try to harvest does during the early part of deer season. Our archery season opens in early September each year. During early bow season, we may see a nice buck in the velvet on our lands, and we may decide not to take that buck until he comes out of the velvet and changes his movement pattern. So, that’s the time of year (during bow season) when we attempt to take the number of does that we need to remove. If we spot a mature doe without fawns, we want to harvest her before the rut starts. 

I have two other Mossy Oak Pro staffers who hunt these two pieces of land with me. During the course of the year, only six people may hunt these lands in an effort to keep hunting pressure low. Reducing hunting pressure is another important factor in managing your property for better hunting.

Mossy Oak GameKeepers ProStaffer Scott Davis of Louisville, Kentucky, grew up hunting on his family’s farm. Davis shares that The GameKeepers program fits his family’s lifestyle, giving back to the land and to the animals and giving more than you take.

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