Now is the perfect time to scout for new stands and properties for fall deer hunting. Last week I checked out a few trees to hinge-cut and provide more cover in the area that I hunt. After scouting around, I found an incredible bottleneck of trails laden with scrapes made in late winter. These trees had not been rubbed at the time of the rifle season and the rut sign must have occurred in January. Believe me, I’ll be moving stands.


Now is the perfect time to scout for new stands and properties for fall deer hunting. Last week I checked out a few trees to hinge-cut and provide more cover in the area that I hunt. After scouting around, I found an incredible bottleneck of trails laden with scrapes made in late winter. These trees had not been rubbed at the time of the rifle season and the rut sign must have occurred in January. Believe me, I’ll be moving stands.

Many people believe deer management and habitat improvement are projects best left to the State’s wildlife management division and large landowners with thousands of acres and expensive farming equipment. But dramatic improvements in the deer herd, the habitat and the quality of hunting can be made even on small parcels of land by individuals or small groups of sportsmen working together. Improvement of the land and the herd takes place one acre at a time and one deer at a time, no matter the size of the property or how many whitetails it holds.

After more than 35 years of visiting deer hunting properties throughout the country, I’ve seen the benefits proper management and habitat work can bring even on small parcels of land. And for the past two decades, I’ve put many these principles to work on the 117 acres my wife and I purchased and live on in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Along the way, I’ve developed a set of guidelines for improving what I call the three H’s — the herd, habitat and hunting. Sound boring? Believe me, it’s not. One of the things I’ve found through the years is that managing the deer and the land and working on the habitat are immensely rewarding activities. In fact, lately I enjoy them as much, if not more, than hunting for the quality bucks and does that are the fruits of this labor.

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