When my journey as a whitetail hunter began years ago, it was always my dream to own a piece of land that I could manage as I saw fit. Now, not a day goes by without my mind wandering to thoughts about the farm. I lie awake at night thinking, “… Do we have enough cover to protect the fawns from the coyotes and bobcats during the spring? What if we made a treeline out into the field we can’t hunt now because the wind comes off the hill, but at the bottom of the hill it circles back around us, and we can’t get close to the base because the deer coming down the hill will smell you? …” That’s the way I go to bed at night. I’ll call my land manager, Glenn Garner, in the morning: “Hey, I’ve been thinking …”
Buying the farm changed me from being not only a deer hunter, but also a deer manager, and a deer manager thinks about deer 12 months out of the year. The coolest thing is, others are catching the QDM fever. You don’t need hundreds of acres to let an immature buck walk. I love it when folks show me a scouting cam photo of a deer and tell me they passed him up this season. The next words out of their mouth are always something like: “I can’t wait to see what he looks like next year.”
“Next year” can start right now. There are factors we can control to shape what that buck will look like next season. Soon, it will be shed hunting season, time to plant food plots, and many other steps we can take to have a better season this fall. I look forward to discussing all the topics with you here. With all my heart, I believe QDM is the future of our sport. There is a joy to it, and more and more folks are realizing the pleasure of land stewardship.
We have neighbors who are all doing the same thing. Nobody’s shooting young bucks, and we’re taking the right number of does. Even if you only manage a small piece of land, get some neighbors together and develop a cooperative effort. You hear people say, “If I let him walk, somebody else is going to shoot him.” Maybe, but if you shoot him, that’s the end of the story.