Keeping Records of Property Work | Recording Your Wildlife and Land Management Activities
When managing your land for wildlife, it is important to record what is happening on your property. There are many variations of wildlife and land management data collection, all of which will assist you in achieving your goals in the future. Many hunters are stubborn when it comes to keeping track of activities on the property. They focus on hunting and what needs to be done in order to improve their hunting, but they are missing out on a lot of information when they don’t document their wildlife and land management progress and success.
Typically, hunters keep two types of wildlife and land management records. The first are harvest records. This information can be kept in a small spiral binder so it can easily tucked it into a hunting pack and make observations after a hunt takes place or before dressing out a harvested animal. It’s important to always record the weight of a deer and the score of the antlers if it’s a buck. For turkeys, record the length of a gobbler’s beard, spurs, and the weight. The approximate time of the shot, and the location of the hunt are also documented. You can also expand the wildlife and land management data collected such as the moon phase, barometric pressure, and other weather conditions present at the time of the hunt. When dealing with turkeys, you can also record what calls worked best during the hunt, the roost sites, and even examine the recently consumed foods in a turkey’s crop, which tells what food sources have been on the menu recently.
There are a few other things to check for when it comes to whitetails, such as if sloughed hooves are present, which is common with deer that have survived EHD. Broken bones and chipped antlers are also suggestive of a deer’s behavior before death. Biologists commonly remove the fetus from a harvested doe and then measure it to gauge its development in the latter part of the season. This data collection provides a timeline you can backtrack down and determine the approximate peak breeding period in your area. As you can see, this is great from a herd management standpoint and can provide insight to the breeding times and peak activity times in your area. There are many places you can purchase a binder, notebook, or other materials you can use for data collection and documenting records.
The other type of record you can document is the success of the habitat management techniques you have implemented. A great example is an exclusion cage in a food plot. The unmolested forage in the cage suggests what the overall plant height and production would have been like without any wildlife browsing. This is useful when gauging the success of the forage without any external factors from wildlife. Other examples include, how a stand of timber reacted to a prescribed burn and which stage of growth resulted in the most wildlife activity sightings. Which food plot forages work the best and which ones have lackluster performances are also important to jot down. The amount of lime and fertilizer that was spread on the plots, the weather conditions after planting and throughout the growing season, and the soil pH are some of the most important figures you can record for a later time. The documentation of the soft and hard mast production on your property can also be done. Collecting wildlife and land management data on what areas produce a consistent crops of mast will benefit you in the following seasons.
There are numerous benefits of documenting the progress of your wildlife and land management techniques. The information collected may not help you tag out quickly, but it will pay off in the long run.