Why You Need A Deer Sanctuary

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deer sanctuaries
Some Land owners go so far as to make sanctuaries off-limits even to shed hunting. No one ever sets foot inside these areas. Hunter shown wearing Mathews Lost Camo.

Why You Need a Deer Sanctuary

In some deer hunter's experience, people with small properties avoid setting up deer sanctuaries because they don’t think they can afford to give up deer hunting land. In fact, they actually benefit dramatically by creating them because the deer remain on their farms and they remain more “huntable” throughout the season. Though deer sanctuaries are important for all deer hunters, they are actually more important for those deer hunting small properties.

In this article, we’ll make a case for small property deer sanctuaries and talk about how to select them and what to have on them (including food plots). One deer hunter actually hunted most of one deer hunting season on just 125 acres and had good hunting by keeping some areas off-limits. You will read some detail on how this deer hunter was able to do this, as well.

The Value Of Deer Sanctuaries

blood trailing deer
Blood trailing wounded deer is the only acceptable reason to enter a sanctuary area during the season. Hunter shown wearing Mathews Lost Camo.

Most of us understand the purpose that a deer sanctuary serves. The intent is to keep a portion of your deer hunting area off-limits to human entry for various portions of the year. This permits the deer living in these areas to feel at ease, not compelled to leave in search of greener pastures. Literally, you are trying to create a whitetail deer paradise – everything they need - and then to keep them relaxed in these areas.

Without question, the deer will not leave the sanctuary as often as they might if they are feeling stressed in some way, whether by lack of food or water or the result of hunting pressure. However, in some deer hunter's experience, most of them will leave occasionally, giving you some access to these deer as a hunter. The main, and most obvious, goal of the deer sanctuary is to keep deer in your hunting area.

The only time when deer sanctuaries are not essential is when your hunting area butts up to another parcel that is not hunted and can act as your sanctuary.

Size Of The Deer Sanctuary

mapping out a deer sanctuary
When mapping out the boundaries of your deer sanctuary, strive to select the areas that are hardest for you to hunt effectively, as long as they fulfill all the other requirements of a good deer sanctuary. Hunter shown wearing Mathews Lost Camo.

This is where some of you are going to disagree. Some deer hunters firmly believe that small properties need deer sanctuaries more than large properties. Unless many people hunt the large property, it likely receives considerably less pressure per acre than the small property and there likely are places within the large property where no one goes even during the deer hunting season. By default, the large property likely has a few moderate sized deer sanctuaries just because those areas are particularly tough to hunt or hard to get to.

On the other hand, those deer hunting small properties tend to hunt every inch of the place because they feel the small size handcuffs them and they need to spread their efforts out to include as many tree stand locations as possible.

That line of thinking is a mistake. Actually, any given property has only a certain number of good tree stands. By good, we mean tree stands that you can get to and from without alerting deer that also allow you to sit in them without detection. Larger properties have more such ideal tree stands than small properties simply because they take in more land. It sounds blunt, but regardless of the size of the property, those should be the only tree stands you hunt. By spreading your efforts out over many marginal tree stands you do your deer hunting more harm than if you hunted the really good tree stands more often and then left the rest of the property alone.

To give some life to this notion, below are a few stories to relate to from a deer hunter's experience. A deer hunter spent most of  two deer hunting seasons hunting just 125 acres. he was hunting nearly everyday from late October through the end of November and then again in late December and early January. He probably spent 50 to 60 days each season hunting this small area. In fact, he spent most of that time on just 40 acres!

This deer hunter was after one particular buck and that was where he lived. Those two seasons were a truly eye-opening experience for him. He hunted as carefully as you can possibly imagine; he was a huge buck. The neighbors found him dead after the 2004 season and he scored 225 inches, so you know he was tiptoeing everywhere he went.

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