Keep records to track progress

Detailed and meticulous records are vital tools for clubs wanting to raise the bar, Anderson-Tully Lumber Company biologist Mike Staten said.

“I think they need to know the age of every deer they kill. I think they need to know the weight of every deer they kill,” Staten said. “They need to have antler measurements on each deer they kill.”

Staten, who has helped clubs manage their deer for more than three decades, said many clubs don’t understand the importance of those vital statistics.

“I’ll ask them about their hunting, and they say, ‘We kill some good deer,’ and then I ask them to see their records, and they say, ‘Well, uh …,’” Staten said.

Recording age and weight, along with lactation status on does, allows a real assessment of how their management plan is progressing.

“They have a real good set of information to live by every year,” he said. “They can make informed decisions based on those records.”

He said another benefit is showing whether or not a club’s stated goals are being met.

“You can look at those records and see change over time,” Staten said. “It’s very easy to get frustrated and quit (a management plan) without having something to substantiate the gains.”

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Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.