Throughout our great land lies a lot of ground that is serving as a sanctuary to wildlife populations, especially whitetail deer. “CRP,” or the “Conservation Reserve Program” is a government-funded program, which pays farmers to take highly erodible ground out of agricultural production. The result is natural habitat is returned and enhanced, with the ultimate result being a “win-win” situation for both landowner and local wildlife.
CRP is often grassland, thus often overlooked by deer hunters. This is a great mistake because these grasslands often consist of native prairie grass that commonly grows to heights of 3 feet to 6 feet.
If you don’t think that deer utilize such areas you’re shortchanging yourself. I’ve often hunted in woodlots next to CRP fields and watched deer go to these “open” areas in the morning to bed, and exit them in the evening as they rise to feed.
In all actuality, it’s been my experience that trophy bucks prefer to bed in this type of “open” habitat, instead of thick cover.
Don’t ever think that CRP is only good for quail, pheasants and rabbits or you’ll be doing the deer — and yourself — a grave injustice!
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Eddie Claypool provides tips weekly on bowhunting, with an emphasis on whitetails. Over the past dozen years, Claypool has harvested 22 Pope & Young recordbook whitetails. Six of the deer were taken on public ground, with the rest coming from private ground that he accessed through knocking on doors. He has not been guided on a hunt, or hunted on managed properties. He also has hunted many other species of game including elk and mule deer.