permanent cover questions....

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by Swamp Stalker, May 25, 2013.

  1. Swamp Stalker

    Swamp Stalker Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Posts:
    12,323
    Likes Received:
    19,012
    Dislikes Received:
    39
    Location:
    RI
    I bought 40 acres last year in RI. its thick and nasty 3 season wetlands. awesome deer activity, i have never NOT seen deer while out hunting, my question is, during the green months its very very thick undergrowth, and i have found several beds...but when the leaves drop, the deer are gone and bed elsewhere on other peeps property and bed in thick pinegroves and mountain laurel patches. i have ZERO mountain laurel patches on my prop. what can i do/plant to keep them bedding on my prop during the cold months, not just to pass through? selective forestry was done on this property about 12 years ago, sop that's why it is very thick undergrowth. can i transplant mountain laurel? is there another thick all season cover bush/tree?

    thanks in advance!
     
  2. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Posts:
    12,128
    Likes Received:
    24,272
    Dislikes Received:
    31
    Location:
    greater-Charlotte NC
    Any chance of planting a food source (e.g. Apple trees or persimmon) in there to attract them? Other ideas: Winter Deer Foods - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

    You can also hinge cut a few patches to encourage some native grasses, bushes and other undergrowth.

    By me I've found beds in the midst big clumps of berry beds, brambles, hollys, etc.--dense sharp things that afford some additional protection and cover.
     
  3. scooters

    scooters Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Posts:
    190
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Central, WI
    Can you post arial and topo? This may help determine where beds may be. Look for points and little trees or island in your wetland area. Bucks tend to be loners and will bed in the most remote areas or the least expected.
     
  4. Swamp Stalker

    Swamp Stalker Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Posts:
    12,323
    Likes Received:
    19,012
    Dislikes Received:
    39
    Location:
    RI
    some good ideas, but fruit tree's leaves fall off in the winter as well. I have great food and water sources on my property...just no late season bedding areas. what about hinge cutting a few trees towards each other? almost like a large loos brush pile? would that work?
     
  5. Swamp Stalker

    Swamp Stalker Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Posts:
    12,323
    Likes Received:
    19,012
    Dislikes Received:
    39
    Location:
    RI
    here's an aerial photo:
    prop.jpg

    map legend:

    thick yellow= prop line

    thick grey = gravel drive, only one other house guy owns 100 acres and does hunt lightly

    dotted thick grey= old stone walls....(deer follow them like crazy)

    thin yellow line= edge of the very thin pine grove stuff gets thicker towards the swamp obviously (my dad hunts there...lol old timer never see's anything,,,but ya know he "knows what he's doing" LOL!!)

    red dot= ladder stands

    black dots= climber locations

    blue rectangle= eventual spot for my farming habit I have.....I just love to eat corn...and turnips!(it will be in a different shape..just the general idea)

    Green X's = the abutting prop owners ladder stands.

    you can see where the swamp swamp stuff is. the land is very flat, and low lying, no terrain features. I'm a few years away from getting a tractor/bucket loader to clear the field to start farming it. my land is for hunting only, no ATV's no running through the woods, its only used for hunting. myself and my 12 year old son hunt it, and my father does every now and then. but my pops is old school doesn't care about scent control, wind direction or anything like that. he goes to the thin thin pine grove area...lol thank god!! myself and my son are very careful and strict on scent control and wind direction. the dominant wind direction during the hunting season is W-NW. sometimes blowing our scent into the swamp, that's the reason for having multiple spots to "play" the wind.

    like I said earlier, it is very very thick during the green months. deer are EVERYWHERE this time of year, they walk right through my yard in daylight and non daylight hours. there is plenty of green food for them(berries and a few fruit trees)BUT as soon as the leaves drop, its very thin and they bed in the swamps. there are plenty of white oak trees on my prop, which does draw them out during the day. Late season is when I venture out towards the swamps, to catch them in the transition area. I NEVER go into the real swamp, I know for a fact its pressured from the other side, ive seen the ladder stands and heard the muzzle loaders. early season I stay close because they are right there literally in my backyard. (maybe I should stay close year round? to provide them the safe felling?)

    I have one full season under my belt at this property. last year was a learning year, I scoured the property, the guys on the other side must have had a banner year cause im sure I pushed ALOT of deer towards them!!! now I know where the major runs are, where to be and where NOT to be! I feel that in a few years when im able to put in my corn and turnip field, it will provide them a substantial food source to keep them on my prop. permanently. HOWEVER...I need to provide them a good safe bedding source YEAROUND! I don't want the abutting prop owners/hunters benefitting from MY hard work..

    how can I do this? if I hinge cut,,,wont the undergrowth thin out once the leaves drop? if I hinge cut a bunch of BIG trees into a thick tangled mess, would that be good enough? if I do it in a few spots? and obviously stay far away from it?

    TYNIMILLER: I've been on your site and found it fantastic!! any advice?

    thanks in advance guys!
     
  6. AUbowhunter

    AUbowhunter Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Posts:
    810
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North Alabama
    Privit hedge is a thick bush that grows well down here. You may want to start cutting down some big trees that don't offer food. Seen deer bed in the tangles of thick downed tree tops all the time. Also might want to lay them down in a way the makes a funnel. Good luck.
     
  7. 931jasons91

    931jasons91 Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Posts:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NC/TN
    I was reading a bow hunting magazine the other day that was talking about deer sanctuaries. I will get you the name later. It stated though that you should only hunt like 20% of your property and the rest should be off limits for bedding areas. Anyway though, its main point was you should plant sanctuaries in the middle of your property and food plots on the edges. That way the deer spend a majority of the time on your property, and then right before dark they will hit your food plots giving you a chance to shoot them, before they move onto your neighbor’s property after dark. The same concept goes for the morning they will hit your food plot before they head back to the middle of your property to bed down. I am also looking at buying about 43 acres though and I have been researching what to plant for bedding areas a lot. I think I am going to try to plant cedars for the cover it provides cover and thermal advantages for deer. I also am thinking about putting some raspberries and blue berry bushes in with the cedars to add to thickness and add food. Like others were saying you can also do hinge cutting. I hope this is helpful, but congrats on the property I can’t wait to have my own.
     
  8. 931jasons91

    931jasons91 Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Posts:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NC/TN
    The magazine was deer and deer hunting the August 13 edition
     
  9. Tim Ainsworth

    Tim Ainsworth BHOD Crew

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Posts:
    689
    Likes Received:
    38
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NW Illinois
    ^^ What about the neighbors shooting your deer with the food plots out on the edges?
     
  10. 931jasons91

    931jasons91 Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Posts:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NC/TN
    It didn't answer that question, but hopefully they will not shoot onto your property. But, if that was a concern you could put screens (thick brush) around your food plots not only would that keep your neighbors from seeing in, but it would also make the deer feel more secure.
     
  11. Hoyt_Archer

    Hoyt_Archer Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Posts:
    202
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    CIR and dakota switchgrass are great bedding and cover for deer.Best to frost seed it.Hybrid poplar and willow cuttings grow fast 8-12 ft a year.As far as deer sanctuaries usually 20% for bedding.That depends alot on the size of your land. If your piece is 20-40 acres then i would never hunt anything but the outer edge.Spruce trees are a great tree also but takes a good 5 years. Egyptian wheat is a good screen grows 10-12 ft. but needs to be planted yearly.Gigantus Micantheus is also a great screen and grows quite fast by your 3rd year of planting it you will have a great screen.But it cant be seeded you have to plant from rhizomes.Elderberry is another good option for cover along with tag alder. What ever type of tree you plant odds are if your dpsm is high you will need to protect them till they clear a deer's browse line. Whatever you buy make sure you get it from a nursery that is in your usda zone. Buying trees from a georgia ( for example) nursery that are used to warm climate arent gonna last usually in a colder climate. Always try to buy as local as you can. and check the usda hardiness map on each species before hand.Good Luck..
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
  12. Swamp Stalker

    Swamp Stalker Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Posts:
    12,323
    Likes Received:
    19,012
    Dislikes Received:
    39
    Location:
    RI
    Great advice so far guys!! definitely got some ideas!!!
     
  13. Swamp Stalker

    Swamp Stalker Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Posts:
    12,323
    Likes Received:
    19,012
    Dislikes Received:
    39
    Location:
    RI
    I'm thinking I will drop a bunch of big trees to thicken things up this winter. I want to create a thick mess with very large tree branches, dropping some trees on top of each other hopefully making it a good bedding source. I feel that I offer them a great food source...not to much hunting pressure, and a solid water source. I have everything patterned for this fall so im not gonna mess with anything now.
     
  14. Hoyt_Archer

    Hoyt_Archer Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Posts:
    202
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Hinge cut them don't drop them. Better results with a still living tree.
     
  15. Fitz

    Fitz Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    Posts:
    19,215
    Likes Received:
    447
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ely, MN
    Once it gets cold, deer often bed on south facing slopes. That would be the best place to "thicken" for a Fall/Winter bedding area.
     
  16. Dampland

    Dampland Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Posts:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    N.W. Wisconsin
    What he said above! May I add that if you can clear an area even as small as 40' x40' and plant it in Big BlueStem, Indian grass and Switch grass, you will have deer bedding in it in 2 years guaranteed. So why not find a spot near the center of your property, that you can start clearing and converting to bedding cover now. You DO NOT need to get it all cleared and done in one year, just do a section at a time, and within a few years you should have a great bedding area...... if you surround it with hinge cut trees, and make it a "NO ENTERING" sanctuary, it should become a buck magnet soon enough!

    Best of luck!

    PS - In the Deer and Deer Hunting article - when they talk about planting food plots on the edge of your property, the INTENT is that you will still have a layer of woods/brush between your plots and your neighbors, so they can't just see into your plot.
     
  17. Swamp Stalker

    Swamp Stalker Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Posts:
    12,323
    Likes Received:
    19,012
    Dislikes Received:
    39
    Location:
    RI
    After being on the property for a full year, and learning it's strength's and weaknesses, and doing much research and consulting, I've put a plan in order with 4 phases. and I started phase I today!!!
    Phase I is hinge cutting and making a 1/2-3/4 acre bedding area. close to where the field will be.
    Phase II Is hinge cutting deeper on the prop making a larger 2-3 acre bedding area
    Phase III is to start clearing the 3 acres for my farm field and orchard including a tornado cut area on the SE-S-SW sides to let early morning/early spring/late fall sunlight into the field for better growing, and leaving the western side with mature trees to block the baking afternoon summer sun.
    phase IV Will be creating another hinge cut bedding area.

    The yellow line is the prop line. the yellow X's are areas im not touching
    (I own 40 acres, I'm only altering 20 acres leaving the rest untouched per request of my wife)
    the thin blue lines are seasonal streams
    the THICK blue line is a year round stream.
    the green box is roughly where I will be clearing for farming and fruit trees.
    the thick green lines are view blocks/hinge cut fence rows
    the thick green circles will be/are the hinge cut bedding areas.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    the pictures don't really do justice to the improvement I did today to the property...it's hard to see how impenetrable I made some of those area and how much sunlight is now being let in. I cut a few BIG mature trees down, then hinged the rest. left a few gateways into the perimeter where I wanted them to enter/exit. the next step throughout this week will to go through with a machete and clear a few travel lanes through the perimeter for bedding. like the last photo...it's a picture of a trail I made through the thick stuff that the deer have taken over and use several times daily.
    here's a few pictures of the soon to be cleared farm field. not nearly as bad as I thought it was gonna be to clear this area!!
    the last picture is showing the entry way to the field and a few smaller trees I have already cut down.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]




    kinda tired now....LOL but feels REALLY GOOD to get started!!!
     
  18. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2013
    Posts:
    9,879
    Likes Received:
    3,044
    Dislikes Received:
    18
    Location:
    MO/KS state line
    Congratulations, looks like you have a good plan and a good start.

    I'd try to get some tall grasses in there somewhere, hinge cuts will provide cover but not the thermal breaks that are present in all great bedding areas. Switchgrass would likely be a good fit closer to the swampy and flat areas for you. I'd clean some of the small scrub junk out of there and hingecut some edges of the openings and plant switch in the openings.
     
  19. Swamp Stalker

    Swamp Stalker Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Posts:
    12,323
    Likes Received:
    19,012
    Dislikes Received:
    39
    Location:
    RI
    sounds like a good idea, I'll definitely look into it!! after hearing the boomsticks go off the past week....I want to make it very nice and comfy for them on my property!!
     
  20. Swamp Stalker

    Swamp Stalker Legendary Woodsman

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Posts:
    12,323
    Likes Received:
    19,012
    Dislikes Received:
    39
    Location:
    RI
    Spent 4 hours yesterday altering some areas, making a few easy routes, and making some of the existing ones a real PIA for them to go through. spent 3 hours today hinge cutting a smaller area off of a buck run. curiosity got the better of me seeing as we got 6 inches of snow in the past 48 hours, I went over to the area I hinged a week and a half ago...they stopped using the old runs I made thicker and complicated, and it looks like all the traffic is flowing right through the area I wanted it to!! I counted 6 beds in the snow, and a single separate one that reaked like musky buck urine!! I tried to take some pics,,,but of course all it looks like is snow!! it's extremely satisfying to see that it really does work, and it WILL keep them on my property now!!! im a true believer!! hinge cut/make bedding first....then food plot!! huge thanks to all those who have contributed! I will continue to update and post photos
     

Share This Page