In mid summer, my 2 little water holes that I fill every couple of weeks with fresh well-water (600-900 gallons each) give me more pics of more animals than I can believe sometimes. Every single animal that walks or flys on my farm use them at least occasionally.
They’re by far not the only water sources in the area, even in dry times, but their proximity to all my food plots makes them super active. I also personally believe that the cold fresh water I put in them is preferred over local swamp seepage and barely moving “creeks”.
This is the 4th year since I had a rented mini-ex and 3 hours to kill in my one day rental. I basically enhanced 2 spots that already held water into early summer - but I made them about 3’ deep in the center.
One is shaped like the figure 8……the bottom half is only about 12” deep and the top half 3’ deep. So it’s stepped….which seems to be a key for young animals and birds. I can fill it to the rim with 900 gallons and it takes at least 2 weeks to get low in the heat of summer.
The other one I made a trench in an L shape with a little outflow ponding at one end when it’s full. Both ends of the trench are sloped where animals enter and walk through. I have perennial clover planted in the tailing and sometimes rough it up and plant turnips. The trench is narrow and deep so it stays shaded and holds water for more than 2 weeks in bad conditions. I usually fill it with 600 gallons every few weeks because it’s the furthest haul.
I keep a salt / mineral block by both. They get hammered.
I believe it’s the single best wildlife change I’ve made to my farm so far, bar none. Your Mileage could vary.