It fascinates me how one season is different than the next. I have been doing a woodland make over on one piece for the last 6 seasons. Last year the improvements paid off - I shot the 3 biggest bucks of my life - one with the bow and two with gun. This year the population seems to be back, I am a little worried. The deer are very, very healthy looking but I am not getting pictures of nice ones. Still early. I plan on planting 6 acres of fall plots in a few weeks to hopefully keep some does around as bait for some deer with head gear.
We did aggressive doe harvest for 4 years - I think it paid off in the overall deer size - I see very few spikes and small fork bucks. I am struggling though, the more does you shoot, the disruption to my land affects the deer sightings on the property. I guess in an ideal world I should shoot the does in Dec but they actually are hard to hunt on my property then because they dont winter in the open hardwoods. I guess I am going to have to hope the neighbors drop some.
We all hated earn a buck but it did do a good job of keeping the herds in check. I think I will harvest every doe I see if I am in stands and situations where I can get them out of the woods without going close to my sanctuary.
This year I doubled my sanctuary (about 60% of my property) and added an awesome 1.4 acre in woods food plot between a major bedding area and 1/4 mile from the Ag fields. Since we took out the trees and stumps ourselves, we designed this one in the right place - it is a dream situation. I also tripled my food plot acreage to try to get some food left in the fields. Each of the past 6 seasons, my food plots looked like putting greens in Nov. We will see if these changes pay off
I wish I could do this stuff full time -