As Gamekeepers we are always looking for another reason to spend time in the field. Whether you’re improving a lease you rent or working on a family farm, there is much work that can be done this time of the year that will benefit you throughout the upcoming year. Soon the turkeys will be gobbling, then the dog days of summer will be upon us. Before you know it the leaves will be changing and we’ll be back in a treestand or duck blind.
I’ve yet to see a property, regardless of the size, that has not seen an increase in wildlife activity after the implementation of a successful food plot. Planting food plots isn’t nearly as complicated and difficult and most make it out to be. To limit stress and ensure your work isn’t for naught, careful planning should take place. Before you can choose a forage, test the soils, and spread lime and fertilizer you may have to improve or create a food plot area. Now is a great time to determine where lanes need to be cut and where certain food plots need to be established. An aerial map can be very helpful when doing this. Even if you’re inexperienced or too busy to do it yourself you have plenty of time to hire a professional who can get the job done before the spring and summer months arrive.
Creating a road system or maintaining a preexisting one is something that can be done now as well. A solid road system that goes through a property is something that adds value and convenience. Most roads can be maintained with ATVs, side by side vehicles, or tractors. After months of use most road systems could use an overhaul this time of year. ATV paths are included in this. Usually ATV trails are narrower than paths vehicles and tractors travel down so vegetation can encroach after time. Now is the time to clear that vegetation and have your paths ready for yet another year or outdoor recreation.
ATVs, side by sides, tractors and other recreational vehicles need to be maintained as well. If you’re like me you use your truck and ATV often during the fall and winter. Now is a great time to conduct any preventative maintenance to these vehicles. Wheel bearings, oil changes, weak batteries, and leaky tires are just a few common problems that can delay your work in the field.