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Waterholes, Good or Bad?? - Don Higgins Seminar Takeaways from the Iowa Deer Classic - Article #4

In recent years it seems that waterholes have become a popular addition for hunters looking to improve their property…

As I write this article in June of 2021 we are experiencing some really warm temps in the

80-90’s+ and even drought conditions in some areas. So you would think that waterholes would be a great idea!

Maybe...maybe not…

Don elaborated a bit on this subject during the seminar and I agreed 100%.

What I’ve seen promoted on the internet by “whitetail gurus” has been the idea of placing and digging in water tanks where you want a stand location. Most of these locations tend to be located in wooded portions of the property to give you more spots to hunt. Although it certainly could, and they do make great summer time trail cam locations, most of these setups have no way of maintaining the water in the tank without hauling water back there and filling it up yourself.

I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures or video’s of people taking those white square totes of water back into the woods on a trailer and filling up these tanks.

But what is the #1 killer of a whitetail property?

Disturbance and human pressure.

I’d say hauling tanks of water into the property all summer would definitely put unwanted pressure on the deer there.

So in Don’s opinion (and mine as well) the use of these types of waterhole setups would actually do more harm than good to your property just due to the pressure created in maintaining them.

Now I can also say that in summer and especially in a dry summer that waterholes are a huge draw and are one of my favorite summer camera locations. However there’s a few things I believe these waterholes should have that will make them an asset rather than a liability.

  1. Location - If you can locate these waterholes near areas you already frequent like field edges or larger destination food plots you can easily access them to refill them. This won’t affect the deer much at all since they already are used to the pressure in these areas and tend not to show up there until later in the day or night. This also allows you to check trail cameras over them without added disturbance.

  2. Water Supply - If you plan to put in a waterhole what would be better than one that can maintain itself? I realize not every location has adequate water such as springs but If it does that should be where you dig the hole. It’ll save you the time, effort, and disturbance of going in to refill it. These would still preferably be located away from the heart of the property but if not they would still make a good cell camera location during summer and possibly a good stand location come fall.

If you have waterholes already or were thinking about putting them in I hope this helps you make a better decision to further improve the hunting on your property!

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We publish a new article each Wednesday so keep an eye out for it :)