How To

Using Whitetail Water Holes to Enhance Your Food Plot

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You’ve got your food plots planted, trail cameras snapping away, and early season scouting tactics tackled. Now what?

The popularity of whitetail water holes has boosted the success of antler-crazed outdoors enthusiasts from across the country. As this new trend floods the market you may want to splash into this tried-and-true deer hunting method.

Whitetail deer quench their thirst by any means necessary. Usually, deer will dunk their nose into a fresh moving stream, sizeable pond, or small ditch. H20 is one of the most essential elements for life to exist on planet Earth. Both humans and animals alike fully depend on water to survive. Water plays an incredibly vital role in the health, growth, and survivability of a whitetail.

Whitetail Water Holes Work

Small manmade access ponds are a way for deer to grab a quick sip. You can easily consider this as an attractant, beyond food plots, baits, or lures. Generally, deer receive much of their source of water from the foods they eat, but a water hole brings in a new aspect of thirst quenching!

This year, summer has been hot, humid, and horrid. Temperatures have skyrocketed into the 90s and the humidity soars over 80%. The scorching temperatures spur wildlife to seek an intensive cure for their thirst.

Deer will use water holes in the summer months and rutting phase much more frequent than anytime of the year. Place your game camera on a nearby tree that overlooks your new water hole and be amazed by some of the sites you will see, especially if you amplify the spot with a mineral site.

Typically, I’ll build water holes with the fall hunting season in mind by including a Vitalize Mineral and a small food plot with a couple stands hung for different winds. This creates a mini-Mecca location for you come early season and the rut. You can count on raccoons, birds, opossums, and so much more other than simply deer visiting.

Placing the Water Hole

Location is incredibly vital to the longevity of your waterhole. You must be sure your water hole is in a spot that will retain water year round, won’t evaporate, and leaves deer at ease.

I prefer building at least a 10′ x10′ water hole that is at least thigh-high. This ensures me that my deer quenching station is large enough to notice, full enough to attract, and nice enough to contain a lot of water.

Many hunters dig their water holes in extreme low spots, which may sound good initially, but the ending results are not as flattering. Many times this creates a manmade pond that overflows, breaks your retaining wall, and floods your hunting location. The best spot to build a water hole is just below a ridge. This ensures that there will be an adequate water flow that dribbles into your hole. You must also dig your hole in a spot that is covered in shade. Evaporation is the most detrimental factor to a great watering hole. Pick your site with a full understanding of daily sun hot spots to avoid this problem.

Depending on which soil type your property thrives on, you must take consideration whether or not you may have to use a rubber lining to retain water. Clay is obviously the best water-retaining soil imaginable.

Building Basics

Building your water hole is a step that includes a general idea of your property’s topography, deer travel corridors, and prevailing wind direction. Be sure to take precaution in remembering that this is a spot that you will be hunting come crunch time.

There are many land management companies that specialize in digging holes with heavy machinery. The cost varies significantly across the country. Use your local yellow pages, Google search, or friends to find an excavator that trips your trigger.

If you are not interested in hiring an outside source, you may want to make quick run to your local farm supply shop. You may want to purchase a plastic water tank that cattle farmers use. If that doesn’t work you will find a variety of kiddy pools that you can easily dig into the ground. Many people find that small manmade dirt ponds can be too inconsistent for holding water in sandy locations even with a rubber coating of liner dressed around the edges. All it takes is one tear to ruin your creation and the floodgates open for water hole disaster!

You may want to speak with your hunting partners and see if you can use a water hole strategy on your property. With a little hard work and preparation, you will find yourself sitting over a dynamite spot this fall!

Images copyright Brandon Wikman

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