Re: A good way to start the season.
Great story and write up!!! Congrats on another successful hunt.
I'm no expert in farm management but in my neck of the woods every one that hunts with us or on our land is under orders to shoot mature animals. It's frustrating to have pics of young bucks with great potential on our trail cams and see them growing only to have the neighbors blast everything with horns. It's sad but this seems to be the case with most places I've hunted and with most people I know. Unless you have a really large tract of land it's hard to manage the animals how we feel is proper.
For now we will do the best we can with what we have and try to keep the animals on our place as much as possible. We have the thickest nastiest cover for a long ways on one of our places and we try to keep feeders full from sept-feb and really monitor the trail cams as best we can. Now that we have the equipment needed to keep food plots in and maintained we will be covering all the open ground we have in winter wheat and clover, and a few high protein crops. Our deer have plenty of corn and soybeans to feed on through the summer and early fall and are generally fat and healthy come season.
I love to hunt predators and we try and keep them in check, there's no closed season in Kentucky for coyotes so there's a rifle kept close any time we are out and about. We manage our "little" places we've got 70 or so acres in one spot and about 30 in another the best we can. With out the cooperation of the neighbors it's just discouraging. We've only had these farms a short time and I'm pretty sure there's heavy poaching in the area which will only stop when I can be there full the time in a couple more years. It's amazing what you can do for a little money and a healthy dose of work.
Our goal is to have a place for all the wildlife in our area to live. We make piles with all our storm damaged trees and each time we re-clear the trails on our places. Keep a few feet on either side of our fence rows grown up for the small game to hide and hopefully the brush piles will hold rabbits and quail for years to come. From everything I've read that's the best thing you can do for them cheaply, we also leave most of the place untouched. We've got a mix of hardwoods which the animals seem to love "I've got a serious squirrel problem", which is great for my niece and nephew and I like hunting them too.
Good luck and happy hunting