Habitat Management: Talk to a Wildlife Pro

Question: I have some property that I’ve been managing for wildlife for several years, but I’m not sure that I’m making any headway. I’d like to have more deer, larger bucks, and generally better whitetail hunting, but I don’t seem to be seeing any results. I’ve been thinking about getting another opinion, as in contacting a private biologist, but am not sure that they won’t just try to sell me food plot seeds. What do you think about getting a professional biologist out to my property?

Answer: Do it! I’m always surprised at how hesitant many folks are to seek professional advice when it comes to managing their property for native habitat and wildlife. It’s almost as if people think that because managing land has to do with whitetail and trees and wildlife food that they it should be easy to figure out.

If you have never assessed and managed wildlife habitat before, there’s no reason why you should know anything about deer habitat management, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. You, of course, bring the local knowledge about how deer use or don’t use your property, and your knowledge about hunting, deer behavior and deer habitat requirements are invaluable.

However, the first thing you should always do prior to implementing any type of habitat management practice is to determine what your goals are and then set objectives, which are linked to results within a given amount of time.

Even if you have been managing your land for years, almost every landowner will benefit from having a professional wildlife biologist on their property. Most everyone finds it useful to hear someone else’s ideas about how their property could be managed. In fact, a trained biologist may very well suggest management approaches you may never have considered—or knew about, for that matter—and they could really improve your whitetail hunting.

Before you dial up the first private biologist in the phone book, keep in mind that most states already have biolgist on staff that are paid by by your hunting and fishing license sales. They can help you free of charge!

In addition, they can also inform you about financial assistance programs to help you pay for your management activities. Not all wildlife management activities qualify for free money, but it never hurts to ask because there are many federal and state cost-share programs available to help fund habitat management projects on private land.

Lastly, a biolgist can assist you in writing and implementing a wildlife management plan for your property. This plan will serve as a formal guide for the long term management of your property to achieve your goals and objectives. Keep in mind that before you see improve whitetail hunting you will likely have to create better habitat for them to live.

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