View Full Version : Man made watering hole ideas

07-08-2012, 10:57 PM
I'm thinking about putting out a watering hole this fall. This is big woods hills and hollers country, so I'm wondering what kind of artificial watering hole ideas you guys might have. There isn't a good source of water within 3/4 of a mile of this property, so if I can get something going, it should be a honey hole in this dry year.

Jim Timber
07-08-2012, 11:28 PM
You could get a 275 gallon tote and cut it in half making two basins out of the parts (with a little work to stabilize the top half - or just sink it in a hole).

The other options are pond liners, but those run more than the totes do around here, or other containers that are easily procured.

I know some people have had luck using livestock feeder bowls with deer - keeps the water from being contaminated, and also slows evaporation considerably.

07-08-2012, 11:37 PM
I place a few small water troughs on my land a few years ago. They may hold from 30 to 50 gallons each. I've never seen mine go dry.....and I have lots of pics of deer taking a drink out of 'em. We have had some pretty wet years however.

I put a branch in each trough so the fallen critters can crawl out. Lots of pics of owls and chipmunks on the lip of the trough. Mine are placed near my mineral licks.

07-09-2012, 01:43 PM
Are you planning on filling them with water - or is it your intent to have mother nature do it? The reason I ask is that stock tanks or things of that nature will require filling and thus you will need to keep that in mind. If you intend on mother nature filling it then you need to potentially push a small berm across a gully so the water (once it eventually rains) to pool or locate a small spring or weep in the woods. You could also sink tanks and the like in the ground. I turned a pesky spring near a foodplot into a water hole earlier this summer when a neighbor had a track hoe on site and he took a couple of swipes and I now have a spring fed water hole that I don't have to fill. Alot will have to do with what you can and can't do. I would think that location would be important as well. I simply made mine where it was easy, but the nearby food put the deer in the area and the dried up creek pushed them to search for better water.

07-10-2012, 12:03 PM

si...take a look at this article I wrote...I love waterholes! Here are a few ideas for you though I think you will like. The type of habitat you describe seems ideal for waterhole set-ups. Consider a waterhole at each of your bedding locations, located away from the bedding, within secure travel on the way to evening food sources. Those are great areas for early season and all-season evening sits, as well as morning/all-day pre-rut and rut stands.


Basically, if you have food deer want to get to in the evening...by offering water on the way there you will head them in the right direction. Dry bedding areas are perfect! Deer will sit dry all day, and be frequent visitors of the waterholes in the evening on the way to food. On the otherhand, after dining all night on lush green forages, the need to hit water on the way back to their bedding areas is reduced...make sense? At the same time, deer will rarely go out of their way to hit water off your property...when they can hit it ON your property on the way to a food source located on your parcel.

Anyways...here you go, http://www.whitetailhabitatsolutions.com/?p=74 let me know what you think!

07-10-2012, 01:17 PM
We had a track hoe come in and dug us some mini ponds 6' x 12' they were in some very poor "pond" soil as we have a lot of sandstone. We used 9 -50# bags of bentonite per pond. poured it all over the bowl of the pond and raked it in as we did this. We then drove all over it with an atv to pack it down. We have never had a problem with them and they are always full of water.
If I wanted to do something smaller I wouldn't be afraid to take a shovel and dig a hole the size I want it and spread bentonite, mix it, pack it and walla... pond.

07-11-2012, 05:24 PM
Jeff, I thought you would chime in here. I think I remember a thread you did on watering holes a while back, but I couldn't find it. I'll check out the article before bed. I love your strategy in them though!

Brutus, did you fill the ponds at first or did you just let mother nature do it? If mother nature, did you have to put them in lower lying spots to get some drainage?

07-13-2012, 06:11 PM
Some great ideas. I just take a sheet of tin roofing and secure it to a 2 by 4 frame. I prop up one end of the frame on a couple of cement blocks and angle it down to 30 gallon water tanks I purchase from my local ag dealer. Dig a shallow hole and set the tank. The tin roofing should just cover the side of the tank. What I have found is just a minimal rain will allow the tank to fill back up. We are in drought right now and my tanks are all within 3-4 inches of the top and getting used daily. I was watching the water pour off of my mower shed one April and it hit me. Water hole anywhere I want and never have to fill it. Putting a stick in the tank is good info. Allows small critters to get out if they decide to take a swim.