Late-Season Habitat Assessment

A hardwood bottom in Northampton County

A hardwood bottom in Northampton County

January and February can be a tough time for us hunters. Other than waterfowl, our hunting seasons are rapidly winding down. Black bear and whitetail deer season have now closed and we still have a few months before the turkeys begin to gobble. It’s also too early to plant food plots. It won’t be long, and in some cases it has already occurred, that we will shift our attention to small game and fishing. On the other hand, there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t completely shift gears away hunting and managing your land until the spring. Here are a few reasons why you should take a proactive approach to your management now.

  • The vegetation is practically non-existent, making moving stands around and clearing shooting lanes an ease. Also, the possibilities of stepping on snakes, and getting bit by mosquitoes and ticks are at an all-time low.
  • Deer sign is easily identifiable and finding bedding areas is easier than usual. Scrapes and rubs are still fresh from rutting activity. Just because the rut is over doesn’t mean you can’t learn from residual sign.
  • Creating food plots and prepping the soil is much easier to do now than in the spring. Soil tests aren’t known for their rapid lab results, therefore it is better to go ahead and get a head start on your food plot projects. This will give you time to determine the best forages to plant. The best food plots are well thought out and planned ahead for.
  • Mineral sites should be established during the winter months. We tend to think that mineral are for bucks, but pregnant does will use these sites well before the bucks will. This helps with skeletal growth and lactation. By providing a fresh mineral site on your property now, you can really give your herd’s new fawns a head start.
  • Trail cameras can be situated for a brief camera survey. This allows you to see what bucks survived the season and provide insight to your property’s usage by late-season whitetails, as well as other wildlife species.


If you are beginning to manage your property, or maybe just acquired as piece of land, now is the time to gauge its productivity and derive a game plan for this upcoming years hunting and management. For a professional assessment of your property, or tips and pointers on how to improve its efficiency, give me a call.


Andrew Walters



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