Should I hire a habitat consultant?
The time to determine if a consultant’s general approach is right for you/you are comfortable following through with the principles of their plan is before you pay for a plan, not after.
No, one will likely not know all the details they’ll be given, but you should know the foundation type principles. Granted, Jeff’s first book doesn’t make it clear that he doesn’t want to offer much for overwinter nutrition and calls them “lines of movement” instead of painting a picture of leading deer in circles with various hinge cuts, long, narrow food plots and water holes, but the plan Jeff did that was posted by the WI guy (sorry, forget his handle….just remember he was new to property management) and the two hand drawings (I think both were from MN guys, one was Wildfire) should have made that pretty clear. I could be wrong, but I got the feeling that thread was what inspired you to hire a consultant in the first place.
Jeff and I use some of the same tools and concepts (as all managers do), but we come at it from different angles and seem to have very different goals. It’s up to you guys to figure out which fits better with your goals and desires…Or take what you like best/best fits your goals from both of us, combine them with other approaches and come up with a hybrid of all this stuff.
Obviously, I like my approach best/it fits my and my clients’ goals best. No doubt Jeff likes his approach better. It would be WAY too self serving and just plain shitty for either of us to try tell you that you made a mistake going with the other and try to explain why. Frankly, I have no doubt that for some, Jeff would be the best possible choice. Others feel that way about me. It’s all about which fits your ultimate goals better, and only you can decide that.
As far as the biggest mistakes I see, sadly, IMO, there are many, but that is also no doubt injecting some personal bias into things.
Some offer no attempt at defining movement. Some create otherwise great stands, with exceptionally high impact. Some either ignore or don’t research what the owners’ goals are. Others create cookie cutter type designs that they then apply to every property. Ultimately, what it comes down to in the end is if the client is happy. If not, it doesn’t matter if it would be viewed as the best plan in the world by others, if it doesn’t fit the client’s goals, it’s a shitty plan, as I believe nothing is more important than matching a plan to the client’s goals. Those goals can vary significantly and they are never wrong, as achieving them is ultimately why they are paying a consultant. Whether they are truly attainable is another issue, but the consultant should have figured that out before they took their $.