As landowners, or potential landowners, we often want to jump right into   what we need to do in the way of deer harvest guidelines (i.e. size and numbers of bucks we should harvest, doe quotas, etc…), and an immediate game plan for the development of the property. However, the professionals generally look at the overall long-term picture. They know that each landowner should develop a broad plan for the management of a given property before considering such things as deer harvest guidelines.

In an effort to obtain ideas, we contacted Bill Tomlinson with Sustainable Resource Managers, LLC, and asked him to list the top five management factors a landowner should consider and address when starting to develop a management plan for his land.  Bill’s factors are summarized below:

  1. Landowners need to know the specific government regulations that are likely to impact their property.  Ignorance is no excuse and can get a landowner into hot water.  Government regulations most often fall under the jurisdiction and control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). The most common regulatory issues landowners encounter pertain to wetlands, i.e., draining wetlands, digging in wetlands, depositing fill in wetlands, building a pond or lake in wetlands, and building or elevating a road through a wetland area.
  2. Landowners should develop a comprehensive and clear protocol for the management of their property.  This needs to include forest management, wildlife management, lake and / or pond management, cropland management, pasture management and wetlands management.  Specific problem areas with plants include Kudzu, Privet Hedge, Cogon Grass, etc.  Problem animals include beavers, alligators, hogs, etc.
  3. Landowners need to develop a resource list for people and entities that can assist with the management functions identified as being important.  This list may include a private consulting biologist, forester, USDA NRCS and FSA officials, the Forestry Commission, state wildlife agencies, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DEQ and the Cooperative Extension Service.
  4. Landowners should know the locations of their property lines and corners.  It is important to maintain property lines and mark them with paint at least every five years (more often in areas with frequent flooding).
  5. It is important to know your neighbors.  If you do not know your neighbors…go meet them.  Neighbors with bad reputations are quite often not as bad as rumored and may become friends.

Bill Tomlinson is a wildlife biologist, registered forester and owner of Sustainable Resource Managers, LLC.  Bill graduated from Mississippi State University in 1972, with a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management, and in 1977, earned a Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology.  Bill has worked in the field of integrated property management (timber, wildlife, recreation and agriculture) since 1977.  Sustainable Resource Managers conducts hands-on management on over 120,000 acres of property geographically located from Mississippi to New Mexico.

Bill Tomlinson’s Contact Information:

Sustainable Resource Managers, LLC

820 South Street, 4th Floor

Vicksburg, MS 39180

601-661-8585 (office)

601-415-5674 (cell)

btomlinson10@gmail.com