- Chris Campanelli
June is a Critical Month for Wildlife
Photo by Wide Open Spaces
The month of June could be viewed as a dull one for passionate deer and turkey hunters across America. If you enjoy cool, crisp fall treestand sits or a spring breeze with a shotgun on your knee, you probably don't love June. That is fine, but we need to recognize the importance of this month and our role as stewards of the land during it.
It can be easy to get short-sighted if you hunt for a hobby to kill some time here and there. It's definitely seasonal, whether you're a professional or a hobbyist who hunts every other year or two. Deer, turkey, and all game species are only in season for so long, and that makes it easy to forget about things if you are a hunt-only outdoorsman. Meaning that you enjoy the hunt but do not partake in food plotting or land and wildlife management.
We'll make sure to note that not practicing wildlife management does not make you bad or less than anyone who does. Some people simply cannot do more than the hunt itself, and I would personally prefer that they actually hunt instead of repelling good folks away from this incredible lifestyle. With that being said, hunters are in a unique position. We have to give back for what we take, and thankfully hunters do that better than anyone.
Back to why June is so important- in case you are still puzzled and wondering why a month filled with rising temps and no deer or turkey hunting would be so cool. June is when Mother Nature really goes above and beyond to keep the circle of life moving. June is when whitetail fawns and turkey poults are getting their legs beneath them, and that is pretty profound.
This month is where future deer and turkey seasons are made. June is when the merits of wildlife management and proper hunting are so apparent. Nature fills that void left by hunting kills, vehicle kills, and the natural life cycle. That makes June pretty important if we seek to assist the wildlife we pursue.
Whitetail fawns are beginning to take their first steps in life as turkey eggs are beginning to hatch across the country. Creating an important period of the year in which outdoorsmen should be paying attention to a number of factors.
Food is always going to be a primary thought for hunters. We hear about it to no end, and rightfully so. Adequate food sources are critical in the month of June. Thankfully, Mother Nature generally does a great job of providing tons of forage following those driving spring rains. However, we can always assist.
Planting and growing successful clover plots is almost too easy. As we have chronicled in the past, you can even do it by simply tossing seeds on frozen ground if you're in a cold climate. Regardless, clover and other perennial blends are on fire in the spring. Having that extra kick of high quality forage on your property will undoubtedly help the entire deer herd. Keeping mother does healthy and providing a protein-rich food source for growing fawns.
Don't overlook just how beneficial clover plots can be for your turkey population. While turkeys don't hammer forage like whitetails, they love to pick off bugs in clover plots. A prime bugging zone certainly will not hurt the turkey population as those hens begin moving about with tribes of poults.
Supplemental feeding can be a crucial boost in the month of June, especially if your area lacks agriculture or natural browse and forage. For folks in my area of the Midwest, forage and crops are usually plentiful in June. However, I love to focus on mineral sites in the early summer. Providing the deer herd with several mineral locations is a dynamite tactic to keep mother does and young fawns healthy. It also provides those big bucks on our hit lists with critical trace minerals for antler growth.
Something as simple as a feeder tossing out corn can do wonders for all wildlife. Deer and turkey love diversity, so having some corn or even another type of supplemental feed hitting the ground can only help. If you cannot tell by now, nutrition is key in getting the young wildlife off on the right foot. June is a great time to give your property a little bit of an extra kick of attraction.
Remember, the fawns and poults of today are the trophies of the future. I'd much rather give them a reason to love my property and the variety of food sources within it. But the real focus here is promoting quality wildlife management and helping them to not only survive but thrive.
We don't love to think about it, but predation is a reality of life on this planet. As soon as those fawns and poults hit the ground running, they are being hunted. Not by humans, but rather by predators like coyotes. Not to mention the devastation that nest destroyers like raccoons can levy upon turkey nests. There is always a predator to evade in nature.
While we will never eliminate predation, and we shouldn't try to eliminate it entirely, we should try to manage it. All wildlife populations must be properly managed in order to thrive. We believe in that deeply here at MPTV, and it's why we devote so much air-time to wildlife management, food plotting, and hunting. It's the perfect balance.
If we pay zero attention to the predators in our neck of the woods, they will bite us in the backside during the month of June. This month is when young wildlife is most susceptible to predation. If you see a coyote while you are in the deer stand, kill it. If you have the time, hunt them during the off-season. If you're lucky enough to know a trapper or practice quality trapping yourself, by all means get out and trap.
The young wildlife hitting the ground in June and growing throughout those seemingly dull summer months will thank you, and the universe has a way of repaying us for doing good deeds. I can think of no better repayment than killing a giant whitetail buck that was able to thrive on or near my property thanks to quality food, supplemental feeding and minerals, and proper predator control.
As a finishing point, we can all do our part by keeping an eye out for young wildlife and remaining vigilant when working with tractors and other pieces of heavy equipment. You never know where a fawn is bedded in an overgrown meadow, so mow and ride with caution.
As outdoorsmen, we have to set the example for the non-hunters around us. That means telling your neighbors like it is when it comes to viewing and approaching young wildlife. Humans should avoid touching whitetail fawns by any means necessary. That young fawn may look lost or hurt, but there's a great chance that mom is nearby and the deer is just fine. Don't let those non-hunters out there ruin the life of a perfectly healthy deer just because they think it looks cute and lonely.
You may have never thought of June like this before, but it is a month of importance without a doubt.
Just make sure that you do more harm than good, give back if you can and as much as you can, and simply enjoy the beauty that is Mother Nature replenishing our beloved natural resources.
Happy management season!