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Wildlife Management 101 – REALTORS® Land Institute

This article on wildlife administration was initially revealed in the Summer time 2016 Terra Firma Journal.

When learning that RLI had an curiosity in publishing an article on wildlife administration, I’ve to confess, I used to be greater than hesitant.  My reservations didn’t stem from a “lack of knowledge”, my reservations have been derived from “the knowledge I have,” and the criticism I’m aware it might appeal to. Success doesn’t come straightforward, nor with out trial and error or a failure or two, and typically it doesn’t match within a historically accepted field.

Wildlife administration consists of so many elements, that the collection of books, movies and blogs concerning the topic are actually overwhelming.  Politics, laws, social perceptions and opinions, surroundings, mathematics, chemistry, biology, areas, species, habitat and disease are all just some on a lengthy listing of difficult elements that affect managing wildlife.

In a nutshell, wildlife management is finally about conservation; the guardianship and greatest practices of safekeeping our biggest pure wild assets for future generations.

It additionally supplies a unprecedented enjoyment via a passionate relationship between land and property house owners, and justifiably continues to be a motivating factor for people who buy land!

I’m extraordinarily lucky to own, handle and management a good tract of leased and deeded ground in the Pacific Northwest.  Taken with amusing, my personal expertise, hasn’t been discovered simply, nor finished inexpensively by way of conventional venues.  Personal land wildlife administration practices are generally dominated by Whitetail deer, a bit waterfowl and an occasional fish or upland chook matter.

To be candid, the parents within the Midwest and down South are arms down, far ahead of the curve with regard to wildlife administration.  Whitetail deer are routinely the primary matter of selection.  Justifiably, the Whitetail deer geographically dominate North America by the situation they reside.  Non-profit and conventional organizations such as the High quality Deer Management Affiliation (QDMA) and Tecomate have executed a unbelievable job of promoting and making wildlife administration materials out there.  Nevertheless, I humbly consider, the Whitetail species is a a lot easier species to manage than many others, and one more reason why I chose to write down on this topic.

I do know, I do know… I’m positive I’ll by no means stay that remark down (chuckle). Okay, how about this, as a result of there’s extra info out there on Whitetail wildlife administration, justifiably because it’s the dominate non-migratory recreation in North America, I feel they’re simpler to manage and understand (and ought to be) than different species with less availability and a broader migration range… they usually’re simpler to reap than blacktail deer… KIDDING!… sheez… chill out! Just making an attempt to keep ya’ll inquisitive about reading!?

In the early 2000s, after reading an in depth QDMA guide, frequenting blogs, watching videos and dwelling the life-style we promote, I made the commitment to start out managing wildlife on our household’s floor about forty minutes outdoors of city.  Straightforward proper? Simply install a couple of meals plots and feeders, develop water sources (in the event that they’re not already there) and voila, the wild recreation will come flocking in!  Yeah? Not so much!  As with many subjects in life, a person can learn all of the books they will find, however real life experiences, each good and dangerous, are the world’s greatest academics.  Typically, the fundamentals are the identical: provide a superior meals supply, water, and plush habitat. Doing this, is without query, engaging to wildlife.  The first difference between my management practices and conventional wildlife management practices are dictated by my area.

food plot wildlife management

The wildlife management business started to flourish within the early 2000s. Recreation cameras have been few and a new “hot item” and feeders have been on searching exhibits all over the place – plus, they have been everywhere in the web.  Ever hear the saying, “Never test the depth of a river with both feet first”? That’s good recommendation! My unique thought course of was methodical, and targeted on the generals; to reinforce food, water and habitat within drainages that naturally lent themselves.  Logically, it made sense to analysis and purchase obtainable merchandise which have worked so properly for others?  So I used to be off… Feeders! Cameras! Meals plots! …and all the related gear!

Little did I do know that I used to be in for a totally totally different schooling, and all of the gear would ultimately be destroyed with minimal results of what I used to be making an attempt to manage–huge Blacktail deer, elk and turkey.  The failing issue wasn’t a scarcity of genetics, nor wildlife inhabitants.  It boiled right down to my regional location, and the shortage of experience managing wildlife on this location.  Our terrain isn’t flat to rolling just like the South or Midwest, where flatter open plains and pockets of creek backside thickets monopolize regions.  It’s the other the place I handle wildlife.  We have now timber coated mountains, drainages and ridges so far as one can see; small pockets of open meadows monopolizing the terrain in hopes to get a glimpse of something.  That state of affairs also positions the last word unmanageable issue; a number of species of wildlife, including and not restricted to, ample predators!  Most importantly, learning how and the place those species habituate all year long and methods to greatest manage my terrain and climate was a recreation changer for me.


Being new and few, the first few recreation cameras I purchased have been “top of the line,” nothing but one of the best… HA! I’ve by no means been accused of catching on too shortly. After numerous dollars in cameras being destroyed, regardless of how properly I hid them, a light-weight got here on in my head: never set a trail digital camera after eating without washing and deodorizing your arms in Black Bear country! Their eyesight is poor compared to their odor and hearing. No matter what slight scent is on my arms once I set cameras, they’ll wind it–and evidently, bears assume path cams taste like hen!

black bearConventional feeders? UHG! My three-hundred pound metallic feeders have been knocked over, ripped open and crumpled up like low cost little tin cans. It’s unbelievable how robust Black Bear are! So, I improvised by designing and installing “Bear-proof feeders”. Ah-ha–Gotcha! Solely to study that feeders, if used too persistently, work like a dinner bell for our plentiful mountain lion and predator populations.  Luckily, I examine my cameras often, and DID catch on shortly BEFORE witnessing any lion kills on digital camera. Embarrassing as it’s, at first, I used to be like, “hey, there’s another mountain lion on camera? I didn’t know they’d come into feeders also after they go off?” Then, a Wait!? Ruh-Row-Shaggy! mild bulb came on.

So I now only use the feeders, installed in several drainages, sporadically all through occasions of the day and week and primarily through the winter when natural feed and meals plots sources are dormant from deep freezes and snow.

Late fall, winter and into the spring are probably the most essential occasions of yr for wildlife management for my part. The does are pregnant and bucks are both rutting or later shedding their antlers.  It’s really the most effective time to offer a strong protein source, vitamins and minerals to the males for recovery, in the course of the rut and horn progress before they migrate to greater elevations. While essential vitamins to impregnated momma’s all through the birthing and nursing course of is pertinent.

All that being stated, the most efficient source of wildlife management that I’ve persistently witnessed by all varieties of wildlife are my licks.  The meals plots are good, however there are a variety of pure competitive sources for deer and elk to browse on this space. Ours are primarily frequented by does and youthful bucks whereas the mature ones are at a better floor, solely passing via.

My licks aren’t the blocked sort bought and shipped online.  Those don’t last long round here.  Bear will decide these up and even haul them off like little tennis balls in their mouths or typically eat them in a single sitting like candy.  I exploit a method I discovered online years ago, posted on a weblog by a retired biology instructor out of Missouri, referred to as “Mo’s Lick”.  I’d positive wish to reconnect with that gentleman once more to thank him and comply with up.

He’d posted an in depth story about only with the ability to afford a five-acre tract of creek bottom ground to lease and hunt on.  He knew there have been good genetics in that area, but counting on those deer to reside within his creek bottom with out objective was an unreasonable hope.  Just like our mountainous nation, his tillable meals plot ground was restricted by access and terrain.  So, in turn, he started his own biology challenge utilizing licks.  His first deer harvested, and a standard measurement in that thicket scored within the one-hundred and twenty inches, if I recall.  By the fifth yr, he’d harvested a one-hundred and eighty-six inch Whitetail!  He never concluded whether or not he’d thought the unique smaller deer have been just young, underdeveloped and grew into mature bucks being underneath nourished prior to his lick provide or if the previously mentioned mature, good genetic bucks from the region frequented and resided his creek backside extra typically because of the licks.  His only conclusion was, he’d leased the ground for a number of years prior, always scouting smaller bucks.

After a number of years of persistently using the “Mo’s Lick” method, the typical buck’s antler measurement changed dramatically and extra persistently within that thicket.  I’ve used Mo’s lick since, and located great results.  I have footage of all species using Mo’s Lick: squirrel, fox, turkey, elk, deer and extra.  Nevertheless, as soon as once more, our regional terrain performs an enormous position in consistency.  We don’t routinely see the same bucks time and again like many Whitetail managers.  When fawns hit the bottom and the weather starts warming, the Blacktail deer bachelor up and head for greater elevations where it’s cooler–typical males, proper? Babies are nonetheless young and may’t travel the distances or terrain that mature bucks go each summer time.


In turn, I do know what I call “my girls” by identify once I see them on digital camera as spring progresses.  I hold a fawn rely, who’s had how many, a buck to doe ratio and so forth, whereas watching them grow up, or disappear to predators–when Mama seems on digital camera on the lick or food plot alone later within the yr.  By the point the babies are robust sufficient to make the migration to larger ground, fall is upon us once more, days get cooler and the need to migrate larger turns into less and less fascinating.

As winter storms blow in and the rut approaches, the mature bucks start heading to decrease floor.  Depending on which path the storms blow in and the amount of snow that falls on which dealing with slope, this could dictate the drainage taken by these mature bucks over previous years. (Keep in mind, our ground isn’t flat, a grid of one-hundred and sixty acres might be three-hundred and twenty plus acres of surface floor, it’s simply not flattened out on grid view). The youthful bucks keep local for a couple years. Then, start to migrate every spring with the opposite mature bucks as they mature.  Yearly we get mature bucks on digital camera that we’ve never seen earlier than, and certain might never see again.

Cattle have been recognized to do comparable.  Oregon is an open range state.  We’ve typically had cattle in our drainage, with tags belonging to a rancher whose range is three drainages over.  As feed thins, they start heading down the drainage they’re in.  Oregon is extraordinarily numerous.  I’m aware of an space, ten miles away because the crow flies, that buddies of mine manage who find the same deer sheds yearly…?  These deer additionally migrate and only frequent the world in late fall and shed in winter.  The difference is that there’s actually just one major drainage choice, a highway and a river that I consider naturally funnel these deer again yearly.

For me, the wildlife administration studying curve has been an costly and devoted dedication value every second and cent spent.  My advice is that there isn’t any good answer or magic wand in managing wildlife.  If there was, the ebook would have been written and no more wanted. Contemplate your terrain, species and the final results you’re in search of to obtain, before shopping for a bunch of issues that have worked nicely in other areas and species.  Don’t get me fallacious, I’ve used, proceed to use and check out new wildlife management products on a regular basis–because they work! Nevertheless, remember that every space possesses totally different circumstances.  Speak to others in your area which were successful. What’s worked for my region, might not work on your area.  Most of all get out and do it, benefit from the process. Management practices can change, but the objective should all the time keep the identical.  Greatest practices of safekeeping for our biggest pure wild assets, for future generations.

Mo’s Lick Recipe

deer lick recipe

(1) 50lb bag of Di-calcium phosphate (21% or extra)
(1) 50lb bag of Trace Mineral Lick (effective)
(1) 50lb bag of Rock Salt (high-quality)

Dig a hole near a yr close to a water source, pour and mix components properly. I’ve added Selenium to the combination in greater elevations and acquired an excellent response from Elk also.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article and better of luck!

Concerning the writer: Garrett Zoller, ALC, is the Managing Principal Broker of Document, and a founding father of both LandAndWildlife.com and LandLeader. Garrett’s hands-on experience in the improvement of actual estate, with power in rural and business properties, administers an skilled information of leisure, agricultural and timber real estate.