Improving Deer Habitat on your Property

by American Legacy Land Co. March, 2023

Improving Deer Habitat on your Property

Improving Deer Habitat on your Property

When you are looking for a great deer hunting property, it’s best to assess the current state of the habitat on the property and to identify any areas that need improvement. Look for areas with dense vegetation or trees that deer can use for cover, as well as areas with food and water sources. If a property is lacking in any of these areas, here are some ways a property owner can improve the habitat for deer in Nebraska.

Food sources:

Adding a Food Plot

A food plot is a planted area that is intended to provide a supplemental food source for wildlife, including deer. Food plots can consist of a variety of plants, such as clover, soybeans, corn, alfalfa, wheat, oats, and brassicas, among others. These plants are chosen for their nutritional value and the fact that they are preferred by deer.

The purpose of a food plot is to attract deer to a specific area on your property and provide them with a high-quality food source that is readily available during times when natural forage is scarce. This can be particularly important during the winter months, when food sources are limited and deer may struggle to find enough to eat.

To establish a successful food plot, it is important to choose the right plants for your area and soil type, prepare the soil properly, and plant at the right time of year.

It is also important to take steps to protect the food plot from over-browsing by deer, such as using fencing or repellents.

Adding Mineral Supplements

Mineral supplements can be a valuable addition to a deer's diet, as they provide important nutrients that may be lacking in their natural forage. However, it is important to add mineral supplements at the right time to ensure that they are effective and safe.

The best time to add mineral supplements is typically in the spring, when deer are recovering from the winter and preparing for the breeding season. During this time, deer require a lot of energy to build up their body condition and prepare for the rigors of the breeding season.

When adding mineral supplements, it is important to choose a product that is specifically formulated for deer and contains the appropriate balance of minerals. These supplements are typically available in the form of blocks or loose granules.

To make the supplements more attractive to deer, you can place them in a secluded location that is easily accessible to deer, such as near a water source or along a deer trail. You can also add the supplements to a feeder or other feeding station, which can help attract deer to your property and provide a consistent source of nutrients.

It is important to note that while mineral supplements can be beneficial, they should be used in moderation and according to the manufacturer's instructions. Over-supplementing with minerals can be harmful to deer and may interfere with their natural diet and foraging behavior.

Improving Cover

Adding or enhancing thick brush, tall grasses, or evergreen trees can provide cover for deer, which can help reduce stress and increase their survival rate. Improving cover on your property can provide important habitat for deer and other wildlife. Here are some steps you can take to improve cover for deer on your property:

  1. Plant native trees and shrubs: Planting trees and shrubs that are native to your region can provide important cover and food sources for deer. You can choose species that are preferred by deer, such as oak, hickory, and dogwood.
  2. Create brush piles: Piling up brush and other woody debris can create important cover for deer and other wildlife. You can use fallen trees, branches, and other natural materials to create these piles.
  3. Establish a wildlife sanctuary: If you have a large property, you can designate a portion of it as a wildlife sanctuary. This area should be left undisturbed and allowed to grow naturally, providing important cover and habitat for deer and other wildlife.
  4. Leave grasses and other vegetation uncut. You can also create small openings within these areas to create additional habitat for deer.
  5. Install brush screens: Installing brush screens along the edges of fields or other open areas can provide important cover for deer, while also creating a visual barrier to help reduce disturbance.
  6. Create edge habitats: Creating edge habitats by planting a mix of shrubs, trees, and other vegetation along the edges of fields or forests can provide important cover for deer and other wildlife.

Improving cover for deer on your property can take time and effort, but it can provide important benefits for wildlife and contribute to a healthy ecosystem.

Adding a water source

Adding a water source to your property can provide many benefits for wildlife, including deer. There are many different routes to go down when considering this and the Nebraska Game and Parks commission has many resources to help you determine what the best course of action would be on your property.

Overall, creating a habitat that provides food, water, and cover for deer can help improve their overall health and population on your property. These improvements don’t happen overnight but putting in the time and effort will produce great results and improve the value of your hunting property.

Written by American Legacy Land Co.