Hunting for the perfect, trophy whitetail buck can be very time consuming, from establishing the perfect food plot to setting up the perfect deer blind, to actually managing the deer herd. Each component is very important in this equation and should be taken seriously if the hunter is to achieve his or her goal of taking home that perfect buck. Of course, the easier way to this goal is to hire a wildlife manager or to hunt on ranch where there is a fulltime wildlife manager on the premises who does all this work.
A wildlife manager works year round to ensure that the hunters on his land will have a productive hunting season, whether it is whitetail deer hunting, quail hunting or any other type of game hunting. A wildlife manager is responsible for all aspects of the hunt, except the actual ability of the hunter to shoot the game. This includes food plots, protein feeders, corn feeders, location of feeders, blinds, locations of blinds, herd management, hunter needs, and of course, taking care of the game after it has been shot.
Food plots will need to be located in prime areas where the game will have the best opportunity to use them. The locations should be away from busy roads, should be close to cover to ensure security for the game and the wildlife manager should do some scouting in the area to see if there are any signs that the deer are in the area where the food plot is being considered. After deciding on the location, the type of seeds use in the food plot is the next consideration. Using the food plot year round is accomplished with a little work and planning. When deciding on what to plant, the location of the food plot as well as the amount of rain and other factors that may influence the growth of the plants should be taken into consideration. Food plots are generally planted with sunflowers, oats, peas and other forms of seeds that will produce plants that will attract the game. After planting the food plot, it is time to leave it alone and let the plants grow.
While the food plot is growing, the wildlife manager has other tasks that need tended to such as placement of deer feeders. The deer feeders will need to be located strategically, as are the food plots. Many of the same criteria will be used for deciding on the location of the deer feeder such as locating trails used by game animals and the distance to safety found in brushy areas. Another consideration when using deer feeders are the times to set the feeder to go off or to distribute the feed. This is generally once in the morning and once in the afternoon, depending on the time the sunrises and the time the sunsets. Some wildlife managers will set their feeders an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset. This can also be best determined by knowing the routine of the game animals on the ranch. If the animals prefer to graze two hours after sunrise, then the feeder will need to be set for that time. After setting the timer on the feeder, load the feeder with corn. Most year round management will keep feeders full year round, thus conditioning the game animals to rely on the feeder and on the time when the feeder will distribute the feed. This makes it easier to hunt the game animals. Another feeder to consider is a protein feeder. Protein feeders are left out yearly and are kept filled. This helps ensure a healthy herd. These feeders are strategically placed also. Blinds are not generally placed close to protein feeders, making them safer for the game animal, which in turn makes it more probable that the game animal will use the protein feeder. After the feeders are in place and filled, the wildlife manager can move on to the blinds that will be used.
Blinds are very important in hunting game animals. These can be as easy as inexpensive as a hand made wooden blind, or as expensive as a ready built blind. There are all types of blinds, from fiberglass to easy to assemble pop up blinds. The types of blinds used will totally depend upon the wildlife manager, the owner and the budget that has been set for buying or supplying blinds. The location can sometimes determine the type of blind to use. Some will simply not fit in the desired location. The location of the blind has to be considered. It must be placed where the hunter can easily see and shoot the desired game animal, but, at the same time, it has to be placed where the game animal cannot see or detect the hunter. The distance between the feeder and the blind must also be taken into consideration; this will be based on the distance of the perfect shot. The wildlife manager must know where to set the blind in order to afford his hunter the perfect shot at the perfect game animal.
The wildlife manager is often responsible for the management of the herd of game animals on his ranch. This management can be as simple as keeping feeders and food plots active to as detailed as actually managing the herd, from determining what animals will need to be taken to introducing new animals and all the paper work that will be entailed by this.
The hunters are another responsibility for the wildlife manager. Hunters have different needs because they are humans. The wildlife manager has to consider this and try to make each hunt as special for each hunter as he or she possibly can. This often entails making lodging arrangements to meals to the actual hunt. When the wildlife manager has made his hunters happy, his job becomes easier.
The final responsibility of a wildlife manager is to take care of the game that the hunter has successfully taken. This includes having the meat prepared to having the game animal ready for taxidermy services and anything in-between.
Many people may believe that the life of a wildlife manager is one that they would like to have one day. But the problem with this is that they only see this life from a hunting point of view. Hunters only spend a few days a year with a wildlife manager; they do not actually see all that the wildlife manager actually does on a day-to-day basis. It is not a career for anyone who needs to stay on a routine, or for anyone who is allergic to early morning and late nights as they happen often, especially during hunting season. But hunters should always keep in mind that their opportunity to have the shot at the perfect game animal is thanks to their wildlife manager and his or her ability to manage the wildlife.