Managing deer by the numbers

Deer season 2022-23 is in the history books and here’s hoping that you have something to hang on the wall to show for your efforts. Don’t have anything? Maybe you’ve been doing it all wrong.

Daniel Colvin has access to 1,300 acres of family property in Union Parish, land not really known for being able to produce trophy bucks. Even so, he has mounts of 18 bucks hanging on his wall scoring between 150 and 170 inches, bucks he has taken from his Union Parish property.           

Is he the luckiest deer hunter around or is he on to something that allows the growth of bucks that size on property not known for the production of trophy bucks?

“I’m serious about getting the best from the deer in my area,” said Colvin. “I work at it all year long and there are several things I have discovered that have helped me and will help anyone who is interested in growing bigger deer no matter what kind of property they hunt.”

Colvin is offering what he has learned to any property owner serious about improving the lot of deer they hunt.

“I’ll contract with property owners to assess their land, see what I think is not helping and offer assistance in getting the right things done. If anyone is serious about wanting to grow bigger deer, the most important thing right off the bat is to control the trigger finger. You shoot a 120-inch buck and he’s never going to make it to 140,” Colvin said.

Controlling what grows on the land as well as supplementing food sources to give deer the best and most nutritional foods is important, he said. Control burning and timber thinning is an easy tool to trigger growing of forage plants that deer prefer. In addition, the use of minerals is of utmost importance, he noted. The principle need for foraging animals is salt because as soon as a deer gets a belly full of browse materials, he’ll head for a salt lick which aids in water retention.

“Minerals such as salt supplemented with calcium phosphorus is important because during the growing season, minerals are pulled from the bone structure to grow antlers and minerals provide those that are depleted,” said Colvin.

The establishing of food plots is another matter that is often not done in the best possible method as a property owner is more likely to take advantage of a logging set to plant a food plot.

“If you plant it and fertilize a small area such as this, deer will eat it up in a month. My food plots are usually three to five acres each and it will draw the deer that are in the area. I’ll often see 25-30 deer a day on my plots. These will draw in the does and when you attract them, especially during the rut, the bucks will follow,” he said.

Colvin keeps records of the deer on his property and he feels this is very important so that he can know what is there. The use of remote cameras is another tool he feels is quite valuable in keeping up with individual deer and seeing what they’re doing from one year to the next.

“I try to get my deer to imprint on a particular spot and my food plots help me accomplish that and cameras help validate it. Several of the deer I have hanging on my wall I have kept up with them for several years from what I see on cameras as well as shed antlers I find,” he said.

Anyone interested in visiting further with Colvin to contract with him on their personal hunting woods can contact him by telephone at 501-554-2824 or searching for him on Facebook.

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