An “EHD” Start To the 2013 Whitetail Habitat Site Visit Season

image *southern lower MI EHD victim Starting with 3 clients in northern WI between Christmas and New Years, followed by 5 clients in southern to central lower MI the next weekend...the old truck is now up to 322,000 miles! Maybe time to get a new one? In lower MI my client and I ran into what I fear will be a common and recurring theme throughout the season; EHD killed deer. With deer numbers

substantially reduced in many Midwestern location, its a great time to look at re-shaping your deer herd for the better, if needed.

1. By defining and separating both bedding and feeding areas, you can set the table for enough separation of the various whitetail groups; Doe families, dispersing immature bucks, and mature bucks. A 1/2 acre of highly improved daytime bedding cover can house a doe family group of several deer. Dominant doe family groups can and will take over large bedding area so by keeping your areas small and defined, you begin to se the table for housing all 3 groups of deer.

The same goes for food too! This is not to say that large destination plots are not effective, only that the need to be broken by strips or islands of cover. Elevation changes within food sources to hide deer from one another also serve a similar purpose of separation. Increased definition and separation = lower stress levels and the lower the stress level on your property, the higher the potential that you will attract the most stress wary group of deer; mature bucks!

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2. Offer an orderly structure of bedding. Significant hunting season food sources flanked by high quality hunting season daytime bedding cover is the first step in attaining an orderly structure of bedding. Expect doe family groups to be housed within this first layer of bedding opportunity. As you travel deeper into your cover, away from the food source, each layer of bedding cover has the a higher opportunity to house a immature and then mature buck groups.

If that first layer of quality bedding cover can’t be found until the outer edges of your parcel…expect thos mature bucks to bedding on your neighbors.

3. Provide a “low stress” environment on your parcel.
*reduced hunter impact
*separate and define both food and cover
*structured orderly bedding pattern
*continuous flow and consistency of quality in your overall parcel improvements

By designing a more organized, separated, defined, and stress free whitetail parcel, the table is set on your property to be one of the most attractive in the neighborhood. By using a “trigger control” to mold and shape the biological herd dynamics of both overall population numbers and sex ratios, your property can now have the foundation for outstanding future success, even when EHD rares it’s ugly head.

I am in the process of traveling to another EHD hit state; Delaware. I am currently scheduled in 13 states through the end of May and hoping to add Louisiana and West Virginia to the mix as well! Stay tuned for more pictures and to Mark, John, Jeff, Kevin, Jordan, Jeff, Doug, and Doug…it was great meeting you guys and spending a day in the woods with you!

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1/14/2013 DE EHD victim

By Jeff Sturgis, www.whitetailhabitatsolutions.com

1 Comment on An “EHD” Start To the 2013 Whitetail Habitat Site Visit Season

  1. Hi Jeff,
    Always find your writings most informative and interesting. Question about a “low stress” environment. If human presence causes stress, how can intense habitat management be low stress. All that time in the woods jukin’ around building bedding areas and food plots, isn’t that similar to hunting pressure.

    My deer sightings are down this year. I am on my second season of a 62 acre property in Lapeer county. I have been adding food plots and it seems the more work I do the less deer I see. I attribute it to all the changes on the land and the human presence needed to do that as a factor in less deer sightings. Can you elaborate or advise on this conundrum?

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