How Planting Trees Can Improve Your Hunt


It’s been said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and the same can be said for wildlife. The way to attract and grow wildlife is by providing food on your property. For land managers, planting mast-producing shrubs and trees to benefit wild turkeys and deer may seem like two very different tasks. After all, they have different needs and in most areas, turkeys are hunted only in spring and deer in the fall. Here, Dudley Phelps explains how to plan for and plant trees that will benefit wildlife and improve hunting in any season.

masttrees_hdr Photo courtesy of Mossy Oak

Even though its ingrained in our heads how important it is to follow a long-term management plan, that small block of thinned pines you’ve been hankering to burn to create a scratching and strutting hotspot, suddenly needs to be left alone to grow thicker for deer cover. The same can be said for that food plot you planted in chufa last spring, now you wish you would have saved it to plant in Maximum for this fall. Or what about all those egg-eating coons you were going to trap this coming season? Well when are you going to have time to run all those new trail cameras and hunt that old buck if you’re busy on the trap-line?

These so-called seasonal mindset changes happen to just about every gamekeeper, and the good news is all of these practices are beneficial and rewarding, even if they do weigh a little more towards either fur or feathers.

Photos: Turkey Country magazine (top); Mossy Oak (above)

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Shannon Rikard
Shannon Rikard is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for conservation and wedding and portrait photography. The Archery Trade Association and National Wild Turkey Federation have published her work. A self-professed word geek, she enjoys Wheel of Fortune, crossword puzzles, and finding a dynamite synonym to illustrate any point. After starting her career in public relations with a national conservation organization, she ventured out on her own with Copper Door Studios.