Is my property too small to manage for wildlife?
Westervelt works with landowners who have as few 100 acres to properties that are over 50,000 acres. We are capable of working with any property, regardless of how big or small it might be to achieve desired wildlife management results. Obviously, managing game animals that have larger home ranges, such as deer, on small properties presents a challenge due to some of the constraints that are out of the landowner's control. However, our Westervelt Biologists have a great deal of experience helping small landowners achieve wildlife management goals through innovative solutions to some of the challenges commonly associated with this task.
Does Westervelt manage game species other than deer?
Yes. While deer management is our most common request, we commonly develop management plans in which turkey, waterfowl, dove, quail and/or other non-game species are the primary objective. We have a diverse staff of talented biologists that specialize in various game and non-game species.
Does Westervelt only work with landowners or can they help hunting clubs?
Although many of our clients own the land, we work with hundreds of hunting clubs through the Southeast to help them achieve game management and recreational goals. In many cases, because hunting clubs do not own the land, they face difficult challenges when it comes to habitat management options. Because we own and manage hunting leases on over 500,000 acres of Westervelt properties in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia, we are very experienced in integrating and enhancing hunting programs with industrial timber management land uses.
Does Westervelt just manage wildlife in Alabama?
No, while our headquarters is located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and we have many clients close to home, we work with landowners, hunting clubs, and outfitters across the Southeastern and Mid-west US. We currently work with clients in 15 states. Our diverse staff of talented biologists have experience managing game in most regions of the country.
How much does it cost for Westervelt to manage my property?
Because Westervelt offers many different services for clients to choose from, cost varies with each property and project, depending on their management intensity. However, we can assure you that the benefits of hiring Westervelt to help manage wildlife on your property will more than offset the costs. If you are interested in Westervelt's services we suggest that you visit with one of our consulting biologists.
What is the difference between a Property Management Assessment (PMA) and a Habitat Management Plan?
A PMA is typically the first consultation with a landowner to assess property management goals and allow the Westervelt biologist to become familiar with the property. A PMA is an overall, broad assessment of a property that identifies the property strengths and weaknesses (e.g., food availability, bedding/escape/loafing cover, hunting pressure, etc.) based on landowner objectives. Recommendations are then provided to help address the limiting factors (e.g., improve the food plot program, increase the quality and quantity of cover, population management strategies, etc.) and provide guidance to help reach the property's full potential. A Habitat Management Plan typically follows a PMR and identifies site specific habitat management techniques (e.g., where to locate wildlife clearcuts and how to implement them, strategically managing specific food plots to provide year around nutrition for the deer herd, creating nesting and brood-rearing habitat for turkeys or quail, etc.) that need to be implemented to reach the property management goals.
If I conduct a Property Management Assessment, is that all I need to reach my property goals?
No. Wildlife populations and their habitats are extremely dynamic and change over time; hence, management is constantly necessary to maintain optimum conditions. In addition, as a management program matures, many more opportunities are provided to further enhance wildlife and their habitats. Once management plans are developed for a given property, we often set up a "retainer" system, which guarantees a certain number of property visits each year (depending on management intensity or landowner goals) to follow up on property enhancements and provide additional management recommendations.
I want to grow bigger and better deer. What do I need to do?
The answer to this question depends on many factors including your goals, the location of your property, habitat, level of management, property weaknesses, and the characteristics of the existing deer herd (among other things). To keep this simple, you need to identify and address the properties limiting factors which may include quality and abundance of food, cover, neighbor's management, harvest strategies, overall layout of the property, etc. Next, you need to know the population characteristics and current status of your deer herd. This is best achieved through a full scale camera census. A camera census is by far the best method available to determine the current status and condition of a deer population. Results from the census will help you make sound harvest decisions such as how many does to harvest, which bucks to harvest, and which bucks to protect to achieve desired goals. In a nutshell, we recommend initially conducting a Property Management Assessment to determine habitat and property needs, and a camera census to determine the current condition and characteristics of the deer herd so that you can make educated decisions on how to proceed to enhance your deer management program.