How to Hunt on a Small Plot of Land
A lot of us don’t have much, but nonetheless, we strive to find ways to make the little bit that we do have meaningful. Every day me and my four dogs hunt on our small five-acre plot. I shouldn’t even say ours, because my landlord owns it. But most of the time it feels like ours. You’d think by now I would have these whole five acres memorized, but actually, I find it still surprises me. A patch of mushrooms I’d never noticed. A game trail through the swampy areas. A tree I always thought barren of life now harboring a red squirrel. A mother ruffed grouse and her chicks.
Many hunters aren’t fortunate enough to own or have access to large private ranches or massive plots of public hunting land. Not to mention, public land can often get crowded. My little plot of land has brought me a lot of happiness and success in my hunting ventures, and I hope this article will help you find the same happiness by learning how to hunt on small property.
Lay Off with the Lawnmower and Chain Saws… Plant Trees
The best way to attract local wildlife onto your property is to make it suitable for wildlife. Cut grass hardly offers camouflage to a field mouse. For years the large, freshly cut lawn was labeled the most appealing look for a landowner’s property. Many people are starting to question this model, and for your hunting endeavors, it might benefit you to do the same. High grass and lush plants are appealing to animals for both safety and nourishment. Same goes for trees. If the animals feel comfortable on your property, they’re more likely to go there. If there’s food on your property, they’re more likely to go there.
Plant trees and alfalfa…let the weeds and grasses grow. This will create your own little patch of wilderness. It’s not just you who’s disgruntled by the lack of wilderness in 2022…the animals are too. With this method, both you and the animals benefit.
Hide in a Deer Hunting Blind
If you’re hunting on small property, it might be in your benefit to sit and wait instead of wandering around its perimeter. You’ll make noise and spread your scent all over the place, which could unfortunately drive the animals away. So instead, consider lying in wait in a deer hunting blind. Any spot that you have reason to believe is a spot that animals will go to can be a good spot to set up your blind. Is there water nearby? Is there food? Is there coverage for them to hide? Where have I found most of the scat? These are questions to ask yourself in determining the right place for your blind.
I think you’ll be surprised by how much life there is on your property if you sit and wait and observe. It’s fascinating how much goes unnoticed when we’re focused on our footing. One time I decided to write a poem in the woods behind my house—something I hadn’t done in quite some time. Writing poetry is 90% staring off blankly in thought, 10% actually writing. In that time I saw at least five squirrels hopping about from tree to tree. I had thought I had hunted most of them from the property. No. I hunted the easy one…the mouthy ones. The ones who were silent and agile were still there in plenty.
Don’t Measure Your Success by Kills
It’s true that you might have lower success rate on your five-acre plot than your neighbor who has a two-hundred-acre plot. It’s true that your hunt will be quite different from the hunts you see on TV. It’s true that you may have to settle for what you can get and not what you want. These are the wrong things to be disappointed about. You shouldn’t see hunting in this manner, for your own sake. If you measure your success as a hunter by the biggest, most impressive kills in the highest quantity, you’re bound to lead a life of disappointment.
More often than not, I come home without a dead animal to eat. That’s okay. I enjoy my time in the woods and constantly remind myself to appreciate what I have. I don’t have impressive trophies and I have limitations on this plot, but again, that’s okay. The pursuit can still be hot. The woods can still be mystifying. This little plot of land is my little plot, and it means everything to me. Maybe this season was bleak, but there’s always next season. And nonetheless, I just enjoy being out there. The woods are my place of comfort and even it’s not expansive, I find tranquility in it.
Try to have this mindset, instead of the mindset of envy and frustration. It won’t bring you more success in your hunts, necessarily, but it will bring you success in life fulfillment.
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