- By Brandon Wikman
Like many of the supposedly ingenious hunting tactics that have come-and-gone over the past years, the tried and true method of using a waterhole has never evaporated! In fact, it has only flooded the hunting industry with an incredible niche to increase their success.
Whitetail deer will quench their thirst by any means necessary. Generally, deer will dip into a fresh moving stream, sizeable pond or even lake! As we all know, H20 is one of the most critical elements for life to exist on this planet. Both humans and animals alike depend on water to survive. Water plays a vital role in the health of whitetail, more than we may even realize!Why Waterholes Work:
Waterholes are a way for whitetails to grab a quick sip. They work as an attractant in many ways. Although deer do receive much of their water from the foods they eat, a small manmade waterhole is a great investment. During the summer months when temperatures are skyrocketing into the 90’s and the humidity soars, deer develop an intensive craving for water.
You will find that deer will use them in the summer months and rutting phase much more frequently than any other time of the year. Place your game camera on a nearby tree that overlooks your new waterhole and you’ll be amazed by some of the sights you will see!
How to Pick the Best Location:
Location is incredibly vital to the longevity of your waterhole. You must be sure your waterhole is in a spot that will retain water year round, won’t evaporate and leaves deer at ease.
I prefer building at least a 10x10ft waterhole that is at least thigh high! This ensures 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 waterholes 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 waterhole 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 ruining 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 consider whether or not you may need to use a rubber lining to retain water. Clay is obviously the best water retaining soil imaginable.
How To Build One:
Building your waterhole 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. Please refer to your Yellow Pages, Google search engine or friends to find an excavator that works best for your situation.
If you are not interested in hiring an outside source, you may want to make a quick run to your local farm supply shop. You could 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 swing the floodgates open for a waterhole disaster!
You may want to speak with your hunting partners and see if you can use a waterhole strategy on your property. With a little hard work and preparation, you will find yourself sitting over a dynamite spot this fall!