Whitetail Rugs from Pelts

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This is rug I made from a deer that I shot with my bow on the last day of bow season.  As you can tell it has a reddish tone to it from its summertime coat.  This may look a little difficult to do, but in reality all you need is a sharp knife, a lot of salt, and some leather softener and your good to go.

Here’s how I do it:

1.) Skin the hide without making any cuts in the skin.

2.) Immediately remove all the extra meat and membrane left over on the membrane side of the hide.

3.) Salt the entire membrane side of the hide with roughly 12 lbs of unionized salt.  Let sit for 2 days.

4.) Remove salt, and stretch out the hide (hair down) and nail to plywood in order to let dry.  (This keeps the hide stretched out while it dries allowing a greater surface area for your rug once it is completed.)

5.) As hide is drying apply leather softener to membrane side and allow it to soak in

6.) Let hide COMPLETELY dry.  Enjoy your new rug for your living room!

Food Plots

QDMA’s Food Plot Guidelines

Click, read, study, and take advantage of the information this link provides you with. (Courtesy of QDMA and Jeff Sturgis)

Food plots are much more than spreading seed over an area of cleared land.  In order to have a successful food plot it must be constructed in a natural shape and have easy in and out access with little disturbances.  If you follow these guidelines, the sky is the limit with your deer heard.

That being said, there 2 things that this article does not mention when it comes to food plots: when and what to plant.

In regards to WHEN to plant: It depends on where you are geographically.  For me, I hunt in South Alabama, and generally speaking it is a rule of thumb to plant the day after the first rain in October.  History shows us there is always a sufficient amount of rain every year during the first week of October.  We have logged rainfall during the first week of October for the past couple of years, and without fail it always rains during that first week.  If your elsewhere geographically, talk to near by hunters and collaborate.  Sometimes this is the quickest way to learning when to plant.

In regards to WHAT to plant: Depends on your deer herd.  The fact of the matter is all whitetail deer are genetically different based on their geographical location.  Deer in north Alabama have undergone natural selection in order obtain more fat to keep themselves warmer for their colder winters.  On the other hand, you find smaller bodied deer in the southern half of Alabama.  Southern Alabama winters are cold too, but usually not as brutal.  Taking all this into consideration, some whitetail populations prefer different food plots.  Some techniques that I use to determine what the deer prefer are as follows; Plant different kinds of seeds in different fields to see what the deer prefer.  Another tactic that may be a little more efficient is to plant half a field in one crop and the other half in another and see which side gets eaten down the fastest.

If you can determine what you deer herd prefers to eat and when the best time to plant is you will get the most bang for your buck (no pun intended).  Once you figure this out and take into account the guidelines this link provides you with, your deer herd will reach its maximum potential and your hunting success will sky rocket.

The Archery Edge

The archery movement in Alabama is real.  It adds a whole new dimension to hunting, but it also has it’s advantages too: it’s stealthy and quiet.

The single most advantageous idea behind bow hunting is that it doesn’t make a booming sound like a rifle.  More and more hunters are doing their doe management with bows instead of rifles simply because it puts less pressure on the deer.  Deer associate the boom from a rifle with death, but what do they associate the whisper of a bow with…? Nothing, because they cannot hear it.

Not only is it quiet, but it also levels the playing field in a sense.  How hard is it to sit in a tree with a rifle and harvest a deer? Not very difficult, but how about with a bow? It’s tough.

Being efficient with a bow takes dedication, diligence, and precision.  You have to know the ins and outs of your weapon and deliver a precise shot while being stealthy as possible.

If you haven’t jumped on board with archery movement in Alabama, think about it.

The Pressure Factor

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Having nocturnal deer problems where you hunt? … me too

This is a picture I found on my game camera last year, and it seems that this deer only comes out and feeds during the night hours.

This could be due to a multitude of things, but the most likely reasoning is probably because of unnecessary pressure put on my deer herd.  Any kind of human activity such as shooting guns, being loud, driving near bedding grounds could all lead to this nocturnalization of your deer herd.  It’s a real problem because chances are you will never get an opportunity to harvest a mature deer when they’re always feeding at night.

The steps you can take in order to reverse this process is simple: decrease your commotion.  There is no reason to put any unnecessary pressure on your deer.

This will relieve the human pressure on your deer herd, therefore making the deer feel more comfortable moving during the daylight hours.

Invasive Species: Feral Hogs

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This is probably the last thing you want to see on camera when trying to manage your whitetail herd.

Feral hogs originated in Mexico, and infiltrated Alabama during the early 1800’s causing all kinds of problems when it comes to deer hunting.  They may be fun to harvest, but they will completely destroy your green fields, roads, and harass any deer in your area.  They’re simply pests.  To my dismay, I found this picture on one of my game cameras from last year at our hunting camp in Alabama.  We haven’t had any serious damage done by these critters yet, but it is only a matter of time.  Feral hogs reproduce at an incredibly rapid rate.  A female pig can have up to 3 litters a year with up to 8 piglets each round.  That up to 24 piglets in a year!

We have countered their infestation on our property by trapping and relocating them.  More to come on trapping techniques…

Doe Management

The more deer you have in your herd the better right? Wrong.

This could be the single most important management technique for your whitetail herd.  The method behind all this madness is simple; You want your buck to doe ratio to be as close as 1:1 as possible.

The more does you have compared to bucks, the shorter distance a buck has to travel in order to find a hot doe (doe in heat) during the rut.  This decreases your chances of harvesting a mature buck drastically.  The fewer does, the more active the bucks have to be during the rut in order to find a hot doe to reproduce.  The outcome: better chance of putting a big boy on your wall and meat in the freezer.