GRASS Advice? Creating New Transitions / Bedding

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

  1. jvanhees

    jvanhees Die Hard Bowhunter

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    We are trying to create bedding, and new transitions on a 40 acre piece, as later in the year the deer move off into the "good bedding" areas, leaving this 40 most all together.

    This property consists of a 25 acre crop field shaped in a C , and 10-15 acres of woods in the middle of that C ...being very open later in the year. Here is my attempt at explaining what we are trying to do. We would like to add some type of grass for bedding/transitional areas, and for plot screens....but do not know what. The deer currently travel mostly through Russian olive, but we do not want to add any more of that. Its invasive and loses leaves therefore losing cover.

    [​IMG]

    The blue lines are the travel paths and transitional zones we are trying to create, out of thick grass. Something more than CRP, that is very high and holds high all year...therefore holding deer.

    The Russian olive transitions are where they travel now most always... from the neighboring properties awesome bedding areas. Hugh swamp south, and huge low pressure tract of woods east. We hunt the 30 acres of olive to the west with good success, but even that runs thin later in the season.

    [​IMG]



    So, heres the plan. We take the empty 25 acre field and leave two crop spots for alfalfa, etc.(green). We surround those fields, and the road edge, and all wood edges with plot screens (thicker red). Then we fill in the rest of the field with tall thick grass to create bedding(sparce red) and transitional runways (blue lines).


    What types of grass/plants would you use for:

    1) Plot Screens - I have heard Egyptian Wheat? We may look into juniper bushes or something in the evergreen family for along the road and intermittently throughout the grass to create warmer cover late.

    2) Bedding / Transitions - we need to hold deer on this property to hunt. So thick, thick, tall, stuff. The deer would have to feel comfortable moving through this during the day along those blue lines or in that general direction.



    I know this is kinda confusing, so lmk if you have any questions. Thanks for any help!
     
  2. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Yes, Egyptian wheat or sorghum sudan grass will work for your heavier screens as long as you don't mind replanting them every year as they are annuals. Not a problem for me, I like the dependable annuals for this. Outside of the annual screens for grass you could use switchgrass or native warm season grass mix. These are warm season perinials and are reliable but take a couple of years to really get going and establish...I hate the slow establishment, they look like a rats nest the first couple of years. I've actually had better luck with switch than NWS. Switch seems faster to establish by a bit, seed them heavy...switch is cheaper too.

    The other option would be to use the EW or the SSG on all of it every year....I've thought a person might sow the Switch or NWSG and no-till EW or SSG in it while it establishes but have not tried it yet...may in 2014 though.

    Looks like a good plan.
     
  3. jvanhees

    jvanhees Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Thanks Brent. Anyone else have any ideas??
     
  4. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    Sorghum can be used as a "nurse" type crop and I know of a few guys that plant both together in the spring... lots of good thoughts here bud, if I had more time I'd share more but busy. Will check back in hopefully.
     
  5. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Weekend Warrior

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    How about some good ol' Johnson grass.
     
  6. flystraightandtrue

    flystraightandtrue Weekend Warrior

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    Plant a mixture of native prairie grasses such as indian grass, big and little bluestem, and . Burn it on a 3 rotation to increase forb production. Contact a local Pheasants forever chapter about purchasing pre mixed seed blends, or possibly your county's SWCD about enlisting your property into a Farm bill program such as CRP or CREP. native grasses produce more food lbs per acre than any food plot ever will even come close to and in the same time providing bedding cover. It is low maintenance, and it creates excellent habitat for all sorts of wildlife. Look up Drumming log wildlife management on youtube and he preaches about switchgrass and natural forage.
     
  7. pastorandrew

    pastorandrew Weekend Warrior

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    Looks like a pretty good plan. I started my first switchgrass stand this year, got it to 4 feet year one which is really impressive. As someone previously stated takes 3 years to reach POTENTIAL should hit 6 feet. I planted cave in rock, it is supposed to withstand snow and stay tall in winter, which is what I lacked. I will tell you this the deer love it! I watched many an evening this fall as the deer just disappeared into it, only to emerge an hour later. stuff is awesome, but it takes time. If you do CIR switch grass be sure and kill the area well first to ensure good weed control year one.


    another thing to consider is to plant the egyptian wheat in funnels then mow paths down the middle for them to walk, the advantage to this would be you could really help steer them right by where you want them to go. A few thoughts, I am sure you will get lots more!
     
  8. pastorandrew

    pastorandrew Weekend Warrior

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    they say a picture is worth a thousand words, this is a plot with EW screen around it. directly behind the camera is a screen that shields it from the house and road traffic. this is central Michigan 11th day of gun season, as this picture was taken there was probably 5 guys within a half a mile of this plot on the neighbors hunting, and this guy is on his feet an hour after daylight. key to killing mature deer in Michigan good food source, good cover, clean entry and exit for hunts! the plan you are working will work well!
    [​IMG]
     
  9. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Don't mean to stir up trouble and with all due respect, but I have a real problem with the claim that NWSG produces more pounds of food per acre than any food plot ever can. That's simply not true....IMHO.

    It is great at providing cover....food value sucks, I don't care what anyone says....for birds or deer, food wise it sucks. Deer will graze on it while it's young and tender but it WILL NOT compete with a food plot for year around nutrition. I say this as an owner, manager and steward of over twoo hundred acres of CRP NWSG for the last ten years. It came out this fall and will never go back in...I hated the CRP (pronounce that CRAP).

    I signed mine in under the hyped up BS that it would bring quail back...total BS. The deer loved it for bedding and early summer graze...that's about all it was good for. The better usage would be and is, border strips with grain in the field interiors and a random, small field, of it for refuge/bedding and for game birds.

    It has it's uses but NWSG is not a "cure all" miracle cover. I feel it's been widely overhyped by FSA and DNR as well as biologists from PF among others. They tend to get on a kick promoting one thing and go totally over board with it. It's a great tool and a piece of quaity habitat but it's not the entire enchilada.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  10. Isaac Coy

    Isaac Coy Newb

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    I know BioLogic and Frigid Forage make a plot screen, and i'm sure they're very similar. We're looking to do the same type of project on some of our property this year, and we will plant Cedar trees (Eastern Red Cedar) along with a prescribed burn to promote the Blue Stem and other native grasses. The cedars are evergreens, so they'll stay the same all year. They are invasive, but its not hard to keep them under control. Some of my best hunting has been in and around cedar thickets, it is probably the best cover you could get.
     

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