February marks a crucial period for deer hunters, with various tasks and decisions shaping the future of your hunting season. Today we’re here to talk about the essential deer chores for February while highlighting common pitfalls to avoid. Beyond the routine tasks, we'll explore broader concepts to elevate your deer management game.
1. Dynamic Planning Over Complacency
One of the biggest fails in deer management is the trap of complacency. Assuming that last year's successful pattern will repeat itself rarely holds true. A prime example is Jeff’s reflection on a 12-year lease in Southwest Wisconsin, where 17 bucks were harvested from 14 different stands, it's clear that diversity and adaptability are key. Always look at the big picture, plan strategically, and avoid the pitfall of doing nothing.
2. Timing Matters: Shed Hunting Strategy
Premature shed hunting can do more harm than good, especially on private land. Timing is everything, and heading out too early may push bucks off your property, scattering shed antlers across neighboring lands. Assess the signs – if bucks are still holding, delay your shed hunting for a more fruitful and strategic endeavor.
3. Balancing CWD Concerns
Controversial but critical, the issue of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and its management sharpens the focus on nighttime sharpshooting. While it may be tempting to scout or hunt during winter nights, the risk of pushing deer to neighboring bait piles with sharpshooters becomes a real concern. Striking a balance between enjoyment and responsible land management is crucial.
4. Hinge Cutting Wisdom
Hinge cutting during deep freezes is a misstep to avoid. Frozen trees tend to shatter instead of hinge cutting cleanly. To preserve this habitat improvement strategy, wait for milder temperatures that allow for proper execution. Optimal cutting conditions involve temperatures well into the 30s and 40s, ensuring the sap is flowing, and the trees respond favorably to the cutting process.
5. Utilize February for Archery Mastery
Do you or your buddy have a heated pole building? Take advantage of it to fine-tune your archery skills in February. A heated and insulated building opens up opportunities for indoor archery practice. Shooting throughout February sets the stage for a well-sighted bow when the hunting season arrives.
As you navigate the critical tasks of February deer management, keep these tips in mind to enhance your overall success. From strategic planning to precise execution, each step contributes to a more fulfilling and prosperous hunting season ahead.
Article Credit: Information sourced from Jeff Sturgis of Whitetail Habitat Solutions