Farming For Wildlife – In Your Back Yard?
For most Whitetail deer hunters the term Farming for Wildlife probably isn’t a new term. Whitetail hunters have been farming for wildlife on a grand scale for the past ten years or more. In the hunting world this means planting large food plots, putting out automatic feeders, clearing paths in transition areas and allowing thick brushy undergrowth to grow for good bedding areas. All of this is done in an effort to make wild game feel as comfortable as possible on the landowners property. That way when hunting season comes around, they will hopefully still be in the habit of hanging around. If you own several acres of land you should consider doing this! But most people don’t own several acres of wilderness to be able to do this on such a large scale to keep game on their property. Most people live in a neighborhood in a city or rural community and have a house and a backyard. But even though you may not have Whitetail deer in your back yard you probably do have frequent furry little visitors who are edible and could provide a life saving meal in a dire situation. The principles used by Whitetail hunters can be applied in the same manner to lure small mammals to your back yard where they will be within range of a pellet gun, bow and arrow or even sling shot or blow gun.
How To Attract Game
To make small mammals feel more comfortable in your backyard consider the following suggestions:
1. If you have a fence, make sure there are a few areas in corners or areas that border some type of cover where rabbits and other small mammals can pass through the fence. In most cases they can probably fit through the majority of standard neighborhood fences anyway. But some modern PVC fences can block off access altogether.
2. Allow your grass to grow at 4 1/2″ to 5″ tall. Don’t let it grow wild and go to seed, you don’t want to have your neighbors calling the city or home owners association. But allowing the grass to grow a couple inches longer than the typical 2 1/2″ to 3 1/2″ will provide the rascally rabbits a better sense of security and you will be more likely to see them in the day time.
3. Plant thick bushy plants along edges of the fence line. This could be a dual purpose as a food source and possible an added security measure if the bushes are thorny (raspberries, blueberries, etc).
4. Intermix flower beds, planter boxes, hardscaped landscaped features, gold fish ponds, waterfalls or other potential food and water sources.
5. Have a garden or even a few large garden planter boxes planted in unused areas of the yard as well. Even though the bunnies may not be able to get to the food, the presence of it may help to make your back yard appealing. See how to construct a 6ft X 6ft Victory Garden Planter Box by clicking on this link
6. A wood pile in a corner with six inches or so of space behind it also makes a nice place for rabbits to feel safe. This also provides the dual benefit of giving you some additional fuel for a fire pit or fireplace.
8. Instead of throwing green leafy vegetable scraps in the compost pile, consider occasionally throwing some those scraps (something that rabbits may eat) behind or on the side of the compost pile.
9. Plant several variety of trees. Evergreen trees help to provide some cover from the winter winds for squirrels and birds. Pine trees also provide a food source for squirrels. Oak trees and other nut bearing hardwood trees and fruit trees also make good attractants for squirrels and birds. Fruit trees have also have the added benefit of providing an additional food source for you.
10. A bird bath and bird feeder or two also helps keep our feathered friends in the area. Bird seed can be bought in bulk and is cheap.
11. Setting out some alfalfa pellets out in small bowl once a week will also do wonders to keep the bunnies coming back for more.
12. While planting a large food plot isn’t a realistic option, you could consider sprinkling some clover seed along the back fence or in a portion of your yard. Clover grows low and isn’t a pain to deal with, in fact most people have some clover in their yards already. Clover is a good source of protein and rabbits prefer to eat it over grass.
13. Also consider training dogs not to chase after rabbits so as not to scare them off and making your yard an off limits area.
14. A small brush pile of sticks and leaves, this provides good cover and nesting material and has the dual use of allowing you to have some kindling on hand in case you need to start a fire in your fire pit or BBQ Grill. Obviously every back yard may not be capable of doing all of the items suggested and you don’t want to do anything drastic to make your house stand out in your neighborhood, but doing a few low key things like those listed above will make it much more likely to keep a few more of the furry critters close by in case you are in need of a little extra protein.
What ideas do you have to help farm for wildlife in your backyard?
Also be sure to checkout this post on how to build a small Victory Garden.
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