The people's voice of reason

Watch your calendars, stay cool, and when the time gets here, go get'em!

By now, most of the Summer planting has been completed. As for me, I'm not really into Summer planting, as the areas I like to hunt all ready have a rather large amount of browse for the deer to go through later in the year. But in some areas, that extra bit of green thrown in there can make a huge difference in improving deer habitat. Of course, aside from the usual Summer planting, there's another option that eludes most hunters; establishing soft mast in your neck of the woods.

Some of you are probably not familiar with the term soft mast, but it refers to different kinds of buds or fruit produced by trees and shrubs. Think apples, pears, persimmons, berries, and other things of that nature. Mast, in general, are the things produced by trees that wildlife feed upon. Hard mast would be more like your nuts and acorns. Deer, though, are very particular to soft mast, such as crabapples and persimmons.

Now, the big advantage to hunters is that deer will frequently visit trees that produce fruit. During bow season, the prime spot to keep an eye on is near a persimmon tree; if it's producing fruit, you'll get deer traffic for sure. Of course, apples kick off in the fall as well, and deer love them too.

Some kinds of fruit trees don't produce during prime hunting season, at least, not naturally. However, through grafting, trees can be modified to produce more fruit and at different times of the year. Naturally, trees can't produce fruit without good soil conditions and proper sunlight, so you can't just go sticking saplings just anywhere and expect results.

Fortunately, there are folks out there who specialize in these sorts of things. Take The Wildlife Group of Tuskeegee, for example. Allen Deese and the other folks there work hard to keep up with the needs of hunters and land owners to help them improve their property, and for us hunters, to improve the quality of hunting. If you want to check them out, feel free to give them a call, toll-free, at 1-800-221-9703, or visit them at

Another interesting thing I've read up on lately is how folks are seeing tons of fawns out there now. Of course, the folks at QDMA hear about it all the time, and I'd like to share a few pointers to bust a few commonly held myths about fawns. If you find a fawn all by itself, that doesn't automatically mean it's been abandoned. For the first few weeks, fawns will hide by themselves in order to stay safe and hidden from predators. Another common myth is that fawns are odorless. Momma does can identify their fawns by the unique scent each one has. In fact, fawns will urinate on their tarsal glands daily, even when they're just a few days old.

Does can produce twin fawns that are from multiple bucks. There's even been reports of triplet fawns born, each sired by a different buck. Another myth is that there are more does than bucks born each year; as it turns out, males edge out the females in birth count by just a bit. Lastly, picking up a fawn doesn't mean that its mother won't take it back. If for some reason you've had to tote a fawn around for a minute or two, you can return it back to where you found it, and odds are that it'll be just fine.

As for me, I'm still on the road, working with lots and lots of hunters all around Alabama and Mississippi. QDMA is still forging ahead with efforts and plans to ensure that our heritage of hunting will continue for generations to come. Of course, as much as I love my job, I'm still ready for that weather to cool down a bit so I can get back into my camo and go watch some critters run by. So watch your calendars, stay cool, and when the time gets here, go get'em!


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