Small Property Improvement Project Advice Wanted

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by bgusty, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. bgusty

    bgusty Weekend Warrior

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    Alright, here is your chance to chime in on some habitat improvement ideas. I figure this year is starting to wind down, want to hit next year running.

    So for the basics. Property is about 75 acres in total, southern MN (generally mixed ag area - see zoomed out pic). Of that, probably 30 acres is in pasture or hayfield for horses and can't really be touched. In probably 10 years or so we won't have horses anymore and I can start improving those spots as well, but for now they are just left as is. The remaining 45 ish is river bottom woods and one 13 acre field. The field used to be in CRP and that's since expired. The lower area (including the field) floods probably every other year and has standing water for the early part of spring.

    I've put together a crude map of my ideas. Property is outlined in yellow, and the green circles are where I would like to make bedding areas (the green area in the field is all small caliper maples and scrub trees right now that they are using as bedding quite a bit already. The two circles in the woods I was thinking I would hinge cut to create buck bedding areas.) The gold dashed lines are where I would like to put a food plot around the perimeter of the field. The black dashed line is where I would plant a screen so that I could use the brown line to access stands. The central part of the field I want to put into like switchgrass with pockets of woody browse (I've been watching plenty of Whitetail Habitat Solutions). Currently the plan is to do a controlled burn of the field in the spring to knock back some of the trees growing in and the weed cover.

    The dots are where I currently have stands, will be moving some for next season for sure.

    Overall my goal is to put in a few really good bedding spots, and some low maintenance late season food plots that create a travel corridor/ pattern. I think if I can really make it a good spot for late season food and bedding, I'll massively enhance my odds at getting a buck. There are good deer in the area, I just can't keep them around or pattern them.

    I'd like to add some diversity and just general visual appeal where I have the red or tan dotted lines. Those are areas where I was thinking I could plant fruit trees or oak trees (the property doesn't have any oak trees on it right now. The woods are all maple, boxelder, poplar). Even though I can't touch the hayfield or pasture, I can enhance the perimeter. Would some crabapple or apple trees do OK where it floods occasionally or do they not tolerate flooding well?

    Limitations/ Equipment: I've got a tractor, bush hog, disc, hand seeder, chainsaw, and a small drum sprayer. Property is my parents, and they aren't hunters, so I don't have full say or an unlimited budget. Also they have followed too much of the monsanto crap and a neighbor is organic, so generally spraying roundup is not an option.

    What do y'all think of my layout/ plans. Open to suggestions on other improvements, layouts, food plot recommendations, etc. Farm Layout Habitat Plan.jpg Zoomed out Farm Habitat.jpg
     
  2. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    IF you can use river to access this property could be dynamite, it sets up awesome even without amendments due to pinch between river and roadway/houses. However, lot could be done. Spent very little time, just touching the tip of my thoughts and such.

    Nothing you do will work if you don't thoroughly think through access and only hunt wisely.
     

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  3. Hotrod9

    Hotrod9 Weekend Warrior

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    100% Agree on access, also what does the topo look like? Do you have natural pinch points, funnels or saddles?
     
  4. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    I operated under the assumption of a river bottom with no aggressive topography changes....the map didn't appear to have any hinted by map characteristics or such - could change or shift plans for sure though.
     
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  5. Hotrod9

    Hotrod9 Weekend Warrior

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    Gotcha, reasonable assumption. In MN many counties have pretty decent GIS websites that 2 foot contour maps can be obtained pretty easily. Just another tool in the toolbox.
     
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  6. bgusty

    bgusty Weekend Warrior

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    Awesome! Just the guy I was hoping would chime in on these too!

    River access is tough. Neighbor also hunts so can’t access through his woods, and nearest public launch is about a mile down river. Up river is quite a ways away.

    No major topography changes. The main river bottom area is mostly flat, with a couple old/ overflow river beds running through the woods. I use those as my access routes for stands 1 and 2. Can stay mostly below the line of sight.

    The patch of woods by the south pasture does go up a small incline, maybe 20-30 feet in elevation change.

    The North side is even less, a very slight rise maybe 15 feet, but much more gradual. Most of the actual incline is where the house yard and horse pasture start.

    Not sure how much logging I can do. I talked to a buddy with a forestry degree and he said there isn’t much value in the timber - mostly maple, boxelder, and a few poplars scattered.
    I do plan to do some hinge cutting for sure! That’s something I can do.

    Thanks for the input!


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  7. bgusty

    bgusty Weekend Warrior

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    Pretty much flat in the hunting area. South part of the woods goes up a slight hill - maybe 20-30 feet of elevation change to the horse pasture, which is totally flat. The N side by the field is flat, and again goes up gradually by the horse pasture.

    No real other natural topo changes.


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  8. Hotrod9

    Hotrod9 Weekend Warrior

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    20 feet is pretty significant, you will have topo advantage and disadvantage if a buck chooses to bed there. I remember being on Jake Ehlingers farm in Michigan and he was talking about elevation changes is if we were in 40-50 foot rolling hills but in reality it’s was more like 4-5 foot changes over most of his property. Keep us updated.
     

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