240 acres management help (food and retaining dear)

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by bensm2ba, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. bensm2ba

    bensm2ba Newb

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    Been checking out the forums a lot this year and this is my first post on the site.

    My family has a 240 acre farm in Northeast Michigan and we would like to get serious about food plots and deer management. We already have all the necessary equipment as it used to be a family run cattle and agricultural farm. The property consist of three 80 acre parcels and has lots of water and thick cover, the only thing lacking is food. The property has literally only 5 mature red oaks and my uncle who lives on the property has planted rye grass in the past and some rape as well (He says this is all deer need).

    This year We saw a lot of deer in the early season (a lot consist of three 3.5 to 4.5 year old bucks and five 2.5 year old bucks) as there are a lot of apple trees that are planted in our food plots, but once the apples were gone the deer seem to be gone as well. I have attached a picture of the property and highlighted the property lines in red and existing food plot areas in green. not all of the food plots have been planted in the last couple of years so these are the locations that we have used in the last 5 years. I feel that the food plots that we have planted are not enough to attract and keep deer on our property year round. Our goal is to develop a spring and fall planting plan that would provide year round nutrition and help produce larger racks.

    Currently my uncle is skeptical about quality deer management and actively harvesting does to maintain a health population. His logic is that if there are does the bucks will come hence we leave his does alone. As such our doe harvest has been only 2 in the last 4 years. So if anyone knows of any good books or research papers that are available to the public that would help to convince him recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    So my questions would be what should we plant in the spring (open to try a few things this year and see what the deer like the best), the fall, and what should be planted for food over the winter months.

    Also, how many does should we kill each year. I know that this is subjective and requires research and knowledge of the herd size, but currently we shoot 3-5 bucks a year. So I hope that that number helps give you a size of the herd. Not all of the bucks are mature, typically 2.5 year olds, but there is a 3 points to a side restriction that we have to follow.
     

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  2. rsf31tmp

    rsf31tmp Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I like what you are thinking. I am no expert. Is there a bedding area? If not can you create one by hinge cutting some smaller trees? I will be watching and hoping to learn as people share good stuff with you.
     
  3. rsf31tmp

    rsf31tmp Die Hard Bowhunter

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    would love to see the pic better, it is very small and when I make it bigger it loses quality
     
  4. GregH

    GregH Legendary Woodsman

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    It looks perfect for what you want to do.

    Before I could reply I'd have to know if the rest of the farm is still being actively farmed.

    I would run cameras and see what your buck/doe ratio is. Then you can determine what needs to be done with the does.
     
  5. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    My guess is you are going to have to find a way from having to fight the uncle tooth and nail at every turn. He sounds like he feels he already knows how to manage and won't be willing to let anyone else alter what has already been done in the past. I have a feeling this is going to be a tough situation....I hope I'm wrong.

    You have a nice base to build on from what I can tell, a larger pic would be useful.
     
  6. bensm2ba

    bensm2ba Newb

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    I work on getting a larger pic, i just grabbed a screen shot from Bing and saved it as a jpg. Anyone have a better way of doing this?

    GregH the property is not being farmed any more. The only thing that goes on is we mow the fields every other year to prevent the woods from taking them over.

    rsf31tmp there are a some thick areas of balsm and cedar trees that we try to stay out of. Also, my uncle made his living operating heavy machinery and planting trees for the US forest services. So he has several areas of Blue spruce and white pines that are about 10 to 15 years old. I am not certian that the deer use these areas as bedding, but they do offer thick cover.

    Anyone now what types of trees i should hing cut to make bedding areas?
     
  7. coheley665

    coheley665 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    first you need to let me come hunt:poke:. Joking aside though a bigger picture would help put and is he going to let you put food plots where ever you want? any size you want? I would have a food plot down in the bottom right of the property. Looks to be a nice secluded small square.
     
  8. bensm2ba

    bensm2ba Newb

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    So I think that he is open to suggestions of food plots as he sees that the deer are not staying on our property. Also, because we didn't have a very successful season. He does have some fields where he has planted walnut trees and some pines that are off limits. Other than that I think any of the fields are fair game.

    I also attached some larger photos I think. I highlighted some areas with blue where we typically stay out of and some areas where there are thick pines. I know some don't look thick on the map but the map is a good 5 years out of date.
    larger Pic of Farm.jpg Larger North end of property.jpg
     
  9. bensm2ba

    bensm2ba Newb

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    So the pics didn't upload any larger. I will upload one of each 80 tomorrow.
     
  10. purebowhunting

    purebowhunting Die Hard Bowhunter

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    If you want to p.m. me your address I'd be happy to upload a aerial photo of your property for you.

    As for hinge cutting, hardwood species tend to be the best trees to hinge cut. I've had success with maples, oaks, ironwood, white birch, ash, basswood, willow to name a few. I seldom cut oaks, but the key is to open up the canopy. Most evergreens and trees like poplar tend to break off and don't hinge cut as well. I've learned that while hinge cutting think about deer movement and force deer movement through locations in a way to make it huntable. .

    As for the tillable land, if you're not going to plant it, why not let it be taken over with high grass, brush, etc. Would be more valuable to deer. Looks like a great piece of property, hope the uncle is easy for you to work with.
     
  11. Jake/PA

    Jake/PA Grizzled Veteran

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    Do you have a photobucket account? If so.

    1. Upload the pictures into your library.
    2. Go to your library and select the image you want.
    3. After that image comes up, click the image code to the right. Should say "copied" after you click it.
    4. Go to the reply box in this thread then right click to paste the image code.
    5. Paste as many image codes as you want then submit it.

    It's so easy a caveman can do it. :tu:
     
  12. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    I'd deffinitely use the old crop fields, mix some nice sized food plots in with some tall grass and some screens and boom, you're a made man! Hope I got the wrong impression of the Uncle...he obviously knows something needs to change after this season it sound like...thats a good thing.

    Evergreens are fantastic but you're missing key bedding insulation and food and mineral. Run soil tests and be sure your PH is in the upper neutral range. Plant a good mix of groceries in your food plots and sit back and enjoy the trail cam pics of monsters.
     

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