Of all the people associated with deer management I probably respect Charles Alsheimer more than any. He is the one person with whom I would most like to spend a day or two discussing the subject.
However, his article Look Before You Leap[/i] in the August issue of D&DH left me a little dismayed. My first thought after reading it was "thank God" I didn't read this before we purchased our property or I might never had made the leap. I suppose it does take a cold hard look at the facts, but with some of the twelve points perhaps he is being a bit too cold and a bit too hard with his views.
For example, How Much Land Can You Afford[/i] states I need 300-500 acres if I want any chance of shooting 3 ½ year old deer on a regular basis. Well I do want that chance, who doesn't but can't afford that size of acreage so I shouldn't purchase something even if it's only 20-30 acres? I realize Mr. Aslsheimer isn't saying I shouldn't purchase something, but why discourage my dreams. Had he added a couple of sentences about the fact that the possibility will exist, no matter what size the property, that a B&C buck may someday cross my path, I think he would have done the topic more justice.
Regarding, Will You Live on the Land[/i] , trespassing can be a problem whether you live on the land or not. Again, don't discourage me from my dream because I can't live on my property. With good neighbors near by, trespassing may not be a problem at all, whether you live on the place or not.
[font=calibri]Time and Money[/i] and Can You Be a Farmer[/i], are the two points where I have the biggest problem. $7000-$12000 for ATV with equipment could be some pretty top-of-the-line stuff. We started out with a used $3500 ATV, a $400 ATV disk and a $100 sprayer and a $20 hand seed spreader and were pretty much able to put in any size food plot we wanted. Sure, we had to work a lot harder at it and we used some of our household lawn tools, but we didn't need tractors and big farm implements. And we've got two food plots over two acres and several smaller ones. [/font]
As for needing to be on the farm every weekend, nothing could be further from the truth. We were able to put in food plots AND convert an old pole barn into a living quarters spending every other weekend or every third weekend on our place. We did work hard while we were there, but had plenty of time to fish and fool around. Maybe it took a while longer, but the end result is still good. Truthfully, if someone had said to me that I was going to need $10k in additional equipment before we even purchased the place I probably wouldn't have done it.
Seven years later, with a much smaller property spending far less money with not nearly the poaching problems that some experience I can say our weekends of heavy work are pretty much done, our hunting is great, and the time spent has been very worthwhile. I realize Mr. Alsheimer was putting things in a very no-nonsense, unadorned perspective, but if we want people to continue to hunt and pursue dreams of owning their own property, we should also point out the good, and what can be done with minimal tools and money.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”