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Cows grazing on deer land
My buddy owns 160 acres in Kansas. We hunt deer on it. But he also lets a farmer graze cows on the land. How will that affect the hunting?
here is some data: I think about 1/4 to 1/2 of the land is "graze-able". The rest is wooded creek bottoms and overgrown sand plum thickets. I think the farmer has about 30 cows on the land. They are there from about Memorial Day to Labor Day.
I just spent the weekend walking nearly the entire properties. The grass looked extremely short. We saw a zillion cow tracks. We saw very few deer tracks.
We walked a neighbor's adjacent land (with permission). We immediately saw a lot of deer tracks.
Will the deer return if the cows leave around September 1?
The short answer is "maybe". The property I hunt here in SD is almost exclusively like you just described. It is heavily grazed pasture land with mixed hardwoods, etc. The deer will be in the areas that the cattle can't or won't get to. Once the cattle are moved to winter range the deer do come back quickly. However if it is overgrazed or the cattle have significantly changed the cover on the property they may not return at all. I will say that during the rut these areas become prime cruising corridors between properties, etc. A buck could literally show up at any time.
Some will say "yes" others will say "no". Ever situation is different. In Oklahoma, I have watched a mature buck walk with cows to cross open areas. I have also shot a deer years ago with a cow under the tree i was hunting.
Deer on bordering property is hopeful. Check to see if there are any oak trees that could drop acorns or as they say in the south akerns. Getting the cows out by labor day is helpful too. You mention having hunted it in the past? How has it been?
In the past, we have seen a lot of deer. Typically have several deer within bow range on nearly every sit.
Last year, we saw far fewer deer. You go an entire sit without even seeing a deer. And only getting deer within bow range every 2-4 sits.
We were wondering if he started putting more cows in there last year.
Never a problem in VA to my knowledge. I've hunted many farms with cattle and never noticed any issues with deer using the same territory .
You can have cows and deer on the same property but typically theres more deer when there aren't cows for the reasons others listed above. Not a game changer but hopefully they move them in time for some of the grass and clovers to recharge a little by the time deer hunting gets good
I have been hunting the same river bottom for years and it has not been an issue. I get motion cam pics of cows and deer in the same pic. Now when the ranchers gather the cows that's a whole different story. Deer don't think too kindly about cattle drives. Ha!
I have seen it depend on the cows,I have seen some cows that would chase deer and start mooing and bawling just raising a ruckus.Other times neither seems bothered by the other.If there are areas the cattle can't get to they should come back and if the farmer doesn't have the creek areas fenced off there are some CRP programs that will pay him to leave riparian habitat ungrazed
I had a lease for 18 years that had cows on it. The deer did not like the cows at all. I've had more than one sit ruined by a herd of cows grazing through. But the rancher loved his cows, and only tolerated the deer, so it is what it is. He was a great guy BTW, and we became friends. He died of a heart attack pulling a calf about our fifth year there.
I have about 70 head year round + calves in spring (usually another 30+ till sold). Just under 400 acres with 1/3 timber. These cows seem to have favorite places & I keep my stands out of those areas for the most part. I do see mixing of cows/deer but not much. I have cam pics of Cows & deer coming down the same trails minutes apart but rarely bucks, only Does. I had one stand I definitely had to move as the cows made that a daily lounging area. 2 years ago I had a Dz. Cows feeding all around my stand for an hour & when they got 50-60 yds away leaving I had a 160+ walk out from behind me into the same field & because I thought it was another cow & didn't look was not ready when he passed at 20 & missed him at 30..
Deer and elk like to feed on reasonably grazed land starting a few weeks after if there is adequate moisture to allow new growth.
What was your moisture pattern last fall????
Where I hunt in Kansas if there are cows on the property the deer avoid the area. This is not too say they leave the property but they do not seem to travel where the cows happen to be. As soon as a day or two after the cows are moved off or head to a different part of the property the deer return. I hunt some WIHA's that can be very good unless the owners put the cattle in them along the creek bottoms. Shawn
Cows do not totally ruin hunting habitat, but they are never a positive.
I have cattle on my place year round, need the extra income as I am retired. There is always deer on our place and especially along our creek bottoms. I see deer and cattle in the same field all the time. I don't feel cows effect the deer hunting at all, maybe since it has been this way for 30+ years. I also have permission on two neighbors both upstream and down stream from our farm and don't see any additional action on them than ours.
The cattle won't bother deer unless they are close to each other then with the cattle making so much noise as they walk and graze it kind of keeps the deer on alert and they will move off eventually. I have sat in a tree stand many times and had deer coming in only to move off because of the cattle. I have watched this every year until the cattle get moved to a different pasture the first of November. I have seen cows see the deer and walk towards them and the deer will walk off. For the most part they don't bother each other but if your sitting in a stand you don't want cattle under you !!
Not necessarily what you are asking, but I've had tree stands where I've sat and the deer and elk never pick me out, but every cow that comes by will see me and stand around and stare.
If there's cattle on the ground you hunt make a point to step in the poop piles as a scent mask on your boots. The place I hunt doesn't have cattle but they do have horses. I will walk out of my way to get some of that "rare earth" on my boots.
My experience is Brotsky X 2....to the "T"
I think as long as the cattle have not significantly overgrazed and they are gone by Labor Day you will be just fine. If there is no grass or forage left from overgrazing it might be a different story. Best of luck
If you baiting forget it. The cows will eat all the corn. Generally, I hate hunting properties with cows. I know the deer will coexist but it never fails that every time the deer I want is coming in those stupid cows will appear and ruin everything. If there's no other option then you'll have to adapt to them - but if given a choice I will avoid them as much as possible.
Pat. No matter what, the cows will be gone by mid September at the latest.
Whitetails adapt to change so quickly that if you are hunting typical late Oct - Nov they will be using the property.
I would rather have no cattle on a place, but a place with cattle is better than no place. Reminds me of a story where a guy finally got permission to hunt a place from an owner that was super protective of his cattle. The rules were no matter what, the cows come first. No chasing them off and no getting them excited. He had his young son along with a toy bow and rubber blunt. Sure enough the cows descended on the water hole they were watching and wouldn't leave. He decided to break the rules and let his son shoot one in the rump to try and get them to move off. What harm could really come of it?
The kids aim was true and the blunt arrived just as the cow was relieving itself. Yep, the blunt got hung up inside a tender area. Now there is a cow with his kids arrow hanging out of it. The excited cow wanted it gone and so did the guy. The cow wanted no help and they chased her around for a bit before it finally extracted itself.
Like LKH said I've had deer and elk feed close to cows and used the cows to get in bow range. if there's moisture there's new growth tender grass. But the cows are the dominate feeder.
Cattle are loud and clumsy animals when compared to deer. They trample down cover and can really mess up hunts in my opinion. I can tell you from game cameras that once cattle are moved on to a property, the deer will pretty much vacate. No interest in hunting ground with cattle UNLESS the cattle are contained by wire fence to specific areas and not allowed to wander at will.
My neighbor grades his pasture to the dirt and I under graze mine. I hunt both properties and there has always been more deer activity on his place.
FWIW I have had cattle on the property I was hunting but three times, and every time I witnessed it have a detrimental affect on my deer hunting, which greatly surprised me because I have seen cows and deer occupy the same field many times when not hunting and never once did I see the cattle make any attempt to interact with the deer at all. The cows couldn't have cared less about the deer and as far as I could determined didn't even acknowledged the deer presence. I will add the three times the cows ended up in my hunting area was because a section of fence had been knocked down by a fallen tree and the cows were now in an area the normally would not ever be in, so it is possible that could have been why the deer got spooked.
Notice the day time on this cam I checked today
A Wrist Rocket and a bag of marbles will make the cows move on.
They're a welcome sight when you've got a cow tag in your pocket!
Whitetail hunter is correct. I own a lot of cattle and they deter deer and elk, as well as eat their groceries. Yes they coexist, but only if necessary. Kind of like the Dems and I coexist, I avoid them whenever possible.