In our last episode, we began the story of Tom's season. His daughter, Morgan, has pursued Whitesocks for a number of years. While coming close, she has't sealed the deal yet. This past season, one of Whitesock's old running mates, Buddy, showed back up on the farm. Through much of the season they battled for dominance and in the process beat each other's racks up pretty badly. This story is a great example of success on a small property. The James' own and manage just 58 acres in Indiana. With an excellent balance of summer and winter forages, they are providing great year round food sources that are attracting and feeding not only deer that call their farm home, but also the neighbors deer. On December 22nd, Buddy visited one of those food plots as Tom was in a treestand nearby. At first glance, Tom thought it was a 3.5 year old buck, but upon further inspection he realized who the deer was. The rigors of the rut had greatly cut the body weight of Buddy and without prior knowledge of the deer, he would have aged the deer incorrectly. Knowing this, he took the shot and was able to harvest an awesome 5.5 year old buck that had character from the rigors of the rut.+ More details
When managing properties for mature whitetails, the habitat work is only part of the equation. Herd management plays an integral part in managing your property and harvest goals need to be decided upon prior to the season. Age structures and sex ratios will play a huge role in determining which deer to harvest. In the case of Chris Parrish, he is looking for a 4.5 year old buck or older. Through a substantial amount of trail camera photos and hours on stand, he has determined there are very few bucks that meet this criteria on his farm. The drought the past two years has led to a large number of deer dying from EHD and many mature bucks were victims. The outlook for him shooting a mature buck that calls his property home is slim, but that doesn't mean his season is a waste. Now that the rut is on, mature bucks cover ground outside of their home range. One of these bucks could roam to Chris' property and if he's on stand he could still harvest a mature buck this season. If you find yourself in this scenario, it's important to stick to your pre-season goals and not shoot a deer that doesn't meet your harvest criteria. Hunters often get wrapped up in "shooting a buck". For some, that is their goal, but for land owners who are managing their properties, it is vital to adhere to your goals. If this means not harvesting a buck this year, so be it. You can still take does off your property if your sex ratios call for it.+ More details
The story of Whitesocks continues in this week's episode of The Management Advantage. Morgan James, daughter of TMA prostaff Tom James, had her heart set on harvesting Whitesocks as a 3.5 year old during the 2011 season. As James Luck would have it, Whitesocks finally entered a Pennington food plot late during the 2011 Indiana gun season, but Morgan shot just over his back. As the 2012 season started, the now 4.5 year old Whitesocks frequented the James property just as he did the year before. Many of the other "hit list" bucks they had been seeing had disappeared as the season began, but the deer Morgan had hopes of taking as her first buck was still around. She hunted as often as she could, but her bad luck with this deer continued. Her sister, Lauren, and boyfriend filmed Whitesocks directly under one of their stands, but Lauren knew Whitesocks was Morgan's deer and allowed him to walk off. Later in the season, Tom saw Whitesocks in a food plot as Morgan was driving home to hunt for the weekend. The next day, Morgan and Tom were on the very same food plot as a 3.5 year old injured 8 point stepped out. Since it was a mature deer and appeared severely injured, Morgan elected to take the shot even though she had her sights set on Whitesocks. With a well placed shot, Morgan was finally able to harvest her first buck. It wasn't the deer she had chased for 2 years, but it was a mature buck that had been previously injured. As they looked over the deer the next day, it became evident that the injury had come from a previous gunshot wound and the deer had been a survivor of EHD. The very next day, just as anyone would have guessed, Whitesocks visited the food plot with only Tom in the stand. The story of Whitesocks isn't complete. We hope Morgan and the deer that has consumed her the past two years will cross paths in the 2013 season and finish the story.+ More details
Although the season is wrapping up across the country, it's not time to relax. The real work begins now! Follow along as we go through our equipment and prepare for timber stand improvement, habitat enhancement, food plots, and collect a deer herd inventory with our trail cameras. To make the dreams of big bucks next fall come true, the work starts now!+ More details
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