About the Post

Author Information

TJ Nagel has been involved in the outdoors his entire life. Hunting and fishing at every opportunity!

Timber Time – Whitetail Fanatic 365 Part 1



Like every man I have a pretty stern opinion of what happens on or near my favorite hunting spots. So now that the season is over its time to make some changes. This is the perfect time of year to get into the timber and “prep” the area. That’s right, prep it! Get things set up for next year now! Over the next few blog entries I will give you some ideas that may just turn the odds in your favor months from now!

If you’re an average hunter, you wait until mid Aug and slip out to put some trail cameras in your most familiar area. The area you have hunted for some time. You know the terrain, and may even have a tree stand or two that you love so much you decided to just leave them in for the year rather than re-position or take them out. This is mistake number one! So many hunters expect or hope to have a giant deer walk past them in the fall, but why should they?  One of the most common definitions of insanity- Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results! If they haven’t before why should they now?  So ask yourself what you can be doing now to tilt next year’s hunt in your favor.

Click to view

Click to view

The first thing you read in every article about improving hunting areas is food plots. I will leave that for the future as we are ready to apply putting them in. However this is the BEST time of year to plan this food plot. You may not have hundreds of acres to apply standing crop style food plots, but in almost every woods, public or private we all have a few areas that will make perfect harvest plots. A small area that is 20 yards by 20 yards is a great start. Several of these harvest plots can be surveyed out and prepped for later planting. Look for areas that are open enough to work the land but enough cover around them to have the deer feel confident, only a leap away from safety at all times. Keep in mind these areas do NOT need to be round or circular at all! My best harvest plot is approximately 12-15 yards wide and 35 yards long.

These are areas you need to plan on harvesting an animal not feeding them. The planting is to entice them to be comfortable in the area, not to feed them from April to April. Think of prevailing winds,( most dominate winds for this location), bedding areas and direction of deer travel. Cut small trees, remove logs, create shooting lanes and prepare trees for stand placement. This is the best time of year to get this work out of the way. Even if you don’t plan on planting this plot until later, if the work is all done it will make planting a far easier job when time comes.

one of the many trails cut from bedding to food that I have cut, obviously deer are using it

One of the many trails cut from bedding to food that I have cut, obviously deer are using it

Take these trimmings and create corridors or funnels that will dictate how deer enter or leave these areas. Doing this now will give the deer months to become accustom to the area before the planting is put in; Deer- especially big trophy deer take to change negatively… make changes now and they seem normal by fall. Don’t be afraid to clear trails from thick bedding areas directly to these small harvest plots. These trails need only be 2’ wide, again placing the trimmings in strategic places to funnel deer in the direction you would like them to travel. With a follow up in spring for a planting and another in fall- just to clear any new growth stopping short of the bedding areas to not interfere with local deer.

Deer can and will take the route of least resistance as long as they feel safe! Now let them get used to traveling this area for months in advance to pre-selected harvest areas and you’re in business. Make sure to check n next time as we discuss the Ultimate Tactic for deer on your land!


Comments are closed.