Recreational, hunting and fishing properties have become heavily sought-after in our region, as well as nationwide. Managing this land for the benefit of game animals, including whitetail deer, wild turkey, mourning dove, bobwhite quail, waterfowl and game fish has become very important for recreational landowners. Not only do I manage my own land for wildlife, but I also help land owners all over Southern Oklahoma through my consulting company Potts Land & Wildlife. In addition to managing land, I am an extremely avid outdoorsman, hunter, bowhunter, and fisherman.
Food plots have quickly become one of the most widely practiced techniques for deer and turkey; planted forages include cereal grains, brassicas and legumes, for both warm and cool season, as well as annual and perennial varieties. The varieties, cultivars, planting techniques, implements and opinions vary widely and can be overwhelming to say the least.
Supplemental feeding in the form of corn and protein feed is also a popular practice and can be a useful tool for land owners at certain times of the year, but it is very important to remember the term "supplemental" in title. Both food plots and feeders need to be used in conjunction with native vegetation management and proper population management to ensure the health of wildlife in question.
Herd Management is an often overlooked form of wildlife management, but is extremely important, especially with regards to whitetail deer. Every choice to pull the trigger or squeeze an arrow release is in essence a management decision. A healthy deer herd consists of a near equal ratio of bucks to does, an older buck age structure and an overall population only as high as the native vegetation can withstand.
Native Vegetation Management is undeniably the most important technique for management of wild game animals. All of our native game animals not only survived, but flourished for thousands of years before any planted crops or feed was provided for them. Our native plants are specifically designed to be drought resistant, insect resistant and nutritious for the game species we pursue. This being known, it is vital to manage the majority of our properties for a native environment. Food plots and supplemental feeding are to be used to supplement their native diet.
There are many techniques involved with native vegetation management, all of which focus on providing a balance of plant successions...ie bare ground, annual plants, perennial plants, brush, young timber and mature timber. Animals need the plants in all off these successions for different reasons and at different times of the year. If allowed to remain unmanaged, all land will eventually pass through all of these successions and become mature forest. Management techniques are designed to strategically "knock-back" plant succession into the varying stages noted above and provide a diverse mixture of all of these stages scattered across the landscape.
Prescribed fire is arguably the single best and most natural technique to continually provide all levels of plant succession. Visit the Noble Research Institute and Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Council for more information regarding prescribed burning.
Waterfowl Management is an entire subject of its own and has also become a very important part of the recreational land market. Unlike all other game animals, waterfowl require a specific and unique set of ingredients and parameters needed to provide the types of food and shelter for migrating ducks and geese throughout each phase of the season. The Central Flyway and specifically the Red River basin of South Central Oklahoma is an extremely diverse area with regards to waterfowl habitat. Native moist-soil management and planted waterfowl food plots are the most common practices, although they both require a specialized knowledge base and a little luck from mother nature.
Game Fish Management is an another popular strategy used by many to extend and diversify the use of recreational properties outside of the general hunting seasons and greatly increase the value. Although some properties contain large ponds or lakes, this topic oftentimes begins with the design and construction of the impoundment. In order to build a legitimate, manageable game fish lake, three major components are necessary to find on the property: topography, watershed and soil composition. From there, a multitude of topics and techniques can be discussed depending on the goals of the impoundment.
Click the link below to visit my wildlife management website for more information:
Trevor Potts, Broker
Cody Gillham, Associate
Atoka County, OK
9 acre stocked lake
BIG mature deer