Contributors to this thread:
Intro and Quesion
Hello Everyone and Merry Christmas. I recently purchased 110 acres of all wooded property in southern OH. The property is quite thick with a few small openings and maybe 25 acres of mature woods. There is great deer sign with a lot of large rubs and scrapes, There is one small corn field about 500 yds from the property other than that there is no agg in the area. The woods is being browsed quite heavily. I am sure a food plot/plots would be beneficial but do you think I should hunt it for a year before I decide where to put the food plots? Any help would be much appreciated.
BTW for some reason my periods stopped working on the keyboard.
Your periods work on the post.
I don't know that I would wait to plant. I'd start this spring, but first, and this is hindsight for me, I'd study an aerial map of the place, then really look at it hard from the ground, and map out my plans. Then I would study it some more, and make corrections if I felt they were needed. Try to find where your deer are traveling and figure out why. Place some cameras if necessary, but determine bedding, water, etc. and above all, how you will enter and exit the places you intend to hunt. Without good ingress and egress, you are rolling the dice ! You're still probably gonna see some things you would change later, but not nearly as many. Good luck ! There is nothing like owning your own hunting ground !
Oh, and welcome to the site !
Welcome aboard and congrats on your property!
What drycreek said. In addition, study wind patterns.
I would think a lot about prevailing wind direction. Plus look at specific trees before you put in a plot- you need reasonable options for stands.
Thanks for the responses. I am from Michigan and always have hunted flat land, my land is in SE ohio and it is very hilly. I have studied the aerials and spent about 10 hrs scouting the land, much more to come. The hills are a bit intimidating but I will learn. I am excited to start the work but I am apprehensive to make a mistake, I am probably over thinking it.
I wouldn't be in a big hurry to do anything right now. I would spend a couple of years learning what the deer do when they're on the property. Are they feeding on it? Are they bedding on it? Are they just traveling thru? Learn where the travel corridors are. Figure out how to get in and out with minimal disturbance. Maybe make a couple of trails after you figure things out.
Sounds like a nice piece of property, congratulations.
I agree. Learn that property inside out. Take some time this winter and learn what the snow reveals. All advise above is solid.... Bowsite is awesome.
No rush on food plots... we were all killing deer before the food plot craze began.
But there is a lot of pleasure in planting and working the land is as much a pleasure as hunting. Unless you are of unlimited resources , 2018 is a stretch for even one plot anyway, being in Michigan and the land in Ohio. Best wishes on a fun project
If you hunt flat land, it's gonna be different when you start dealing with the way wind reacts with terrain. Creek bottoms are places I love to hunt, but it's really hard to deal with the wind in a narrow creek bottom. I have finally given up on hunting them without an enclosed stand and Ozonics. I tried every de-scenting method to hunt out of tripods (my favorite), but no dice. When your wind checker shows the wind drifting through all points of the compass, you're just educating deer. They're smart enough without that !
I would wait at least one hunting season to do anything that is really permanent......if you have an opening plant something in it to add to the food overall but I would avoid getting into tree plantings and cutting for bedding until you have a little better grasp movement on the property.
It can be challenging to force deer to do what you want sometimes......better to improve on existing patterns that force unnatural ones.
Wow! Thanks for all the great responses. My plan as of now is to get better access into the land, at least a walking path. There are two openings in the woods, 1/4 acre, I was thinking maybe a fall planting in those spots just to get my feet wet and see how the deer reacted. Hunt for a year and learn the property a little better, and food plot from there. I also am going to start with a mineral site or two as well as a water hole or two. Does anyone have an opinion on corn feeders? I would use it to feed deer and not hunt over.
Well, I'll go the other way. I probably would not plant any food plots the first year. You say you have great deer sign. I'd wait and see if you need a food plot. But then, I am pretty old fashioned and don't like them anyway.
Still trying to figure out how to post multiple pics at one time.
That first rub takes a pretty large deer and a gnarly rack to make that rub.
No problem hunting over a feeder if legal. A lot easier to set one up than a food plot. I would use one to find out the quality of deer on the property
I would find where the deer are bedding and then plant a few food plots within a 150 yards or so of bedding and take advantage of the prevailing winds. Why wait? You can always adjust as you go from year to year. I would think anytime you can do something to keep the deer on your property is an advantage. I would also identify a section of property(bedding area) as a sanctuary and stay away from it at all costs. Shawn
Thanks for the replies. I know where a lot of them bed. I will have to clear trees to make room for a plot. I have a lot to consider but the good news is that its all a labor of love.
I would start with liming and fertilizing your oaks, possibly cut a maple tree for browse for next 3 months.
I read that fertilization of oaks had minimal effect on acorn production. Better to spend that money in other areas
Curious......what county is the property in
X2 on the hingecutting of soft maples. Give em some good browse, bedding and let more light hit the ground. Nothing wrong with waiting a year or so to see what the deer do naturally. Then u can add to what they like to do, in your advantage. You cant uncut a tree down and where you clear out is going to be clear. Time is valuable, spend more time your first year learning the deer on your piece, then once you have the feel, get your hands dirty.
If I were going to use corn to take inventory, I'd put it out on the ground. Mature bucks don't like feeders. If you have a Tractor Supply near you, buy some trace mineral cattle blocks, American Stockman brand, and put them out near trails. You will get plenty of deer pics through the spring/summer.
In "Hilly" country that is unbroken without development or agriculture, deer tend to bed where they want. And, it it almost always higher up on the ridge versus the bottom. All the talk about what they are doing etc... Here's the truth of it. If you have proper cover, you'll have browse for deer. In hilly country, you'll have water too. So, all you are doing with food plots is improving their options. That's fine once you find what you need to do.
If you have really good cover and feed, with not to many deer for the environment, you'll probably find food plots irrelevant in the cost versus return debate. The deer simply will not key on them like they will in unbalanced or poorer areas. I'm by no means saying not to plant something. I'm simply saying that you need to determine what kind of cover you have, what they are eating on the property, etc... Then plan what to do next.
Remember, water is a given in your area. And, that Good quality, thick cover that provides security and browse are paramount. Get that right and focus on smaller plots of winter feed like brassica's, turnips, corn, etc.... Because fall browse and mast will be their preference during early season through November. No sense in planting something that they'll not key on until it out weighs the natural food they have on your land.
That most certainly won't be the most poplar advice you are going to get. But, it's been my experience. God Bless and Good luck.
I would advise you to sell it and get out while you still can. If you don’t, you will become addicted and will spend every waking hour planning, strategizing your next move, project, etc, etc. It is more addictive than cocaine (from what I’ve heard)!
Seriously, welcome to bowsite and congratulations on your new property. Nothing like owning your own dirt! One question I have is do you have access to equipment to put in plots where you want them, or are you going to be somewhat limited to existing openings? That may be a big limiting factor in your decisions. I would disagree a little bit with some guys on here, in that if you do put in some plots, it potentially can change the deer’s travel patterns some. Also, I hunt fairly heavy timber with deep ravines quite a bit, and I rarely, if ever, hunt in the bottoms any more. Like dry creek stated, the winds are terribly fickle in those areas. I’ve had the most success hunting up on top on the downwind edges of bedding flats. You can control where your scent goes better there than anywhere else, IMO.
Congrats on your investment. I would hunt it a year first and "get a feel" for what is happening around you're new place. Find out what your neighbors are doing. Are they bow hunters, gun hunters, tree huggers? Do they shoot anything that moves or are they looking more for mature deer? 110 acres, depending on terrain and cover might not "hold" a lot of deer on it. Find out where they're coming from and how to keep them close or moving though with improvements. A food plot on the edge of your place might bring deer in right at dark (pressure) but one more "centralized" might pull them across your property in daylight "plus, a neighbor might key in on YOUR food plot if its close to their property". A good gravity type corn feeder (that holds a lot since your a distance away) and a game camera will reveal a lot of what's in the area. They don't seem to spook the larger deer as much as the "spinner" type feeders in our experience.
Put up a pictures from Google Earth too and a larger USGS map that shows access; just open it in MS paint and color in any names that will give identifying data as to where it's at. You'll have a lot of eyes on what you've got and get a lot of good opinions.
First, welcome to BS. A great place to meet some great people and bowhunters.
I agree with all that has been said. But, I would collect about 3 or 4 soil samples and have Ph level professionally analyzed by an ag school, extension service, etc. to find out what soil needs, if anything.
Get your land set up to take advantage of all tax breaks and any assistsance programs. These measure can help reduce cost and take advantage of tax breaks.
+1 for what Troy said. I also hunt extremely hilly terrain. Hunt the tops of the ridges regardless of what you see for sign in the bottoms. It took me many years longer to figure this out than it should have!
Thanks so much for the comments, great forum! I am in Scioto County, OH. So much to think about, I will try to figure out google earth and post a larger pic. I would hire an excavator to clear a spot for a plot in the woods and I have friends with planting equipment.
My advise, "HUNT THEM" Don't change their environment !!
IF you have 25 acres of woods on a 110 acre plot why would you cut any trees to put in a food plot ?
Having hunted Scioto County, in years past I'm guessing the chances are high your food plots are going to be hillside plots unless your woods are in the bottom of a hollow ?
In this type of terrain food plots are way over rated (IMHO) and bigger bucks do appear to be established on your property. (rub photo's)
Your first year, my suggestion is to wait for a good snowfall to do some grouse hunting really walk and learn the property, the bedding areas, the travel routes crossing your property. Looking on the ridge's , benches', saddles, thickets, Oak tree's etc. focusing on where you may want to put a stand (s) for next season.
Congratulations on your purchase. Scioto County, offers some fine hunting. Rugged terrain but a great opportunity for a big buck.
Welcome to Bowsite, Lots of good info and good folks on this site.
sounds like Ohio whitetail heaven - and welcome to the site. I have experienced absolutely phenomenal Ohio whitetail hunting with no real Ag around to speak of. I think your property sounds about perfect the way it is. Study the wind patterns, identify your mast crop, identify best bedding areas to afford some sanctuary, and just enjoy hunting it for a few years before you change anything. IMHO - you are really jumping the gun and any thought of clear-cutting and putting in AG crops could end up worse than what you have. Deer can grow very huge bodies and huge racks in Ohio without any Ag whatsoever. If you were to change anything - hinge-cutting could end up being your best answer... I highly recommend you do nothing except low-impact scouting and hunt it a few years first.
Welcome to Bowsite.
Before you plant anything decide on "how you will enter and exit the places you intend to hunt" without being detected. Mature deer generally don't do well once they sense human intrusion if it is not consistent. I used to have a small piece of property (12 acres) that had a lot of human intrusion but the deer were used to it, and a couple good bucks were killed in the area that used that piece for bedding. On another piece in KS I hunted (254 acres) as soon as the deer sensed human presence they went nocturnal and left the property.
Good luck with your new property. Enjoy it.
Thanks to all for the great responses. Just to clarify buc I 313 response, the 110 acres is all woods it has about 25 acres of mature forest and the rest has heavy/thick cover. I think I am going to start slow. Determine access in and out of the property, cut some small trails, put in a mineral site or two and maybe a water hole, hunt it for at least this year and figure out what I will do next year. I'm just excited to get working but I think a more patient approach may be best. Although my mind changes weekly,lol.
Thanks for clearing the description of the property. Your property sounds like an ideal haven for deer.
Consider the grouse hunting as it will allow you to get into the thick cover to better understand your herd. In my experience deer pay little to no attention to grouse hunters.
Grouse Hunting it is, thanks everyone!
Me and 2 buddies rented a cabin in se ohio several years ago,archery,all public land ,diy. As I recall????? We saw like 15 different bucks,,,many doe,,as brotsky said we were keying on ridge tops,several good ones were seen,,so imo good numbers of deer,the crazy darn thing is ,I think it was 4 different mornings driving to our areas we saw big shooters off of the road,,,like 5 am. The older more mature deer were moving just before sunup,,,I know I'm not much help but I would definitely buy property there,,,,congrats andgood luck next season!
Thank you, I was actually looking to lease when I found this property. I walked the land for about 6 hrs and decided I had to have it.
Good luck with the new place. What county are you in?
For your consideration: 1. Hunting, thermals on ridges. 2. Trails to where?
If possible, visit the property now to monitor deer travel in the snow.
I have tracks all over my property. How to concentrate movement? No one has mentioned cameras. I do not think that would hurt, even if it is out of season. The least you would know who made it through the season.
You mentioned cutting trees, for a plot, so I guess that your openings are not in a desirable area.
If you do plan on doing the work, I would not wait, At least take a soil test for your planned site and put down the necessary lime, because it takes 6 months to work. My opinion only, wait a year, lose a year.
I don't see how buckwheat after the last frost and cereal rye would hurt anything. If you do not plant for the fall, at least you have started on the soil.
A camera on that plot would give you info.
I know that you will enjoy your property, because that is how it works.
First, thanks for the response. There are two small openings both on ridges that are in very good stand locations. I am going to the property next weekend, I can't wait.
Living the dream! Congrats on the purchase hoping to do the same one day!
Thanks it's been a dream for a long time. Almost hard to believe it happened. Going to be a load of fun!
Thanks it's been a dream for a long time. Almost hard to believe it happened. Going to be a load of fun!
Welcome to the site and congrats on your land purchase. Just today I was in SW Ohio with my brother as he is looking at buying some hunting land down there. Being there and seeing the area there is almost nothing for the deer to eat there now. Just almost bare forest floor. I would find a good area in the center of the farm and clear cut a large 5-10 area and plant a good spring-summer and a fall-winter food plots. The area deer will come to the food plot and you will have great deer hunting the whole season. If there isn't anything to eat the deer will be somewhere else looking for food. Why not your new food plot?
I am of a different opinion on most comments.
I hunt terrain exactly like yours in Ohio.
I would not set foot on a ridge top especially if this was a bow hunting only parcel.
I would hunt every gun season to keep those hillbillies from trespassing. They are notorious for large drives and are not concerned about permission. Oh by the way, I am a hillbilly from West Virginia.
The attached picture is where I think many of your trails will run and it will become plainly obvious where you need to stand. It will change some from what is occurring on adjacent properties.
I am low to no impact and would us a 4 wheeler to get deer out. A Bowsiter named Kelly Harris has a lease not far from you and it is a family hunted operation who could provide valuable insight based experience in very similar terrain.
I would be greedy and would limit the total deer kill and limit the bucks to very mature Animals. This is not a high population county so do not feel the need for a lot of doe management. These deer are extremely wary and will become ghost of the night since there is quite a bit of poaching in the area. Your mature woods will be a magnet in good mast years.
Read, study and map. From experience, you can set yourself up for disappointment if you rush in and start making "improvements", without letting the deer tell you what they want. After 3 years of a lot of sweat and money and not seeing results, I decided I needed to approach it differently. I contacted a Habitat Manager and we walked the property. My eyes were opened then he turned me on to Jake Ehlingrer (you tube it). Wow, was I approaching it wrong. 1 short year later and we are seeing huge results. Formula - Deer need to feel safe and have food on your ground, in order to stay. That means, undisturbed bedding, concealed travel corridors, and food. Hinge cutting the right way made all of the difference in the world for us. Jake's link attached.
Be in love with it immensely but only love it occasionally.Lack of impact is the single best investment you can make in your whitetail property.
Get the book by Lee and Tiffany Lakosky Hunting Mature Whitwetails The Lakosky Way. Amazon very good used for $9. Their successful way on a new farm is low pressure hunting, protected bedding areas and new food plots. They go in and clear out a area and plant the only winter and spring time food plots there is in the area and the deer show up. I've done the same thing on my farm 6 years ago and it works.
Thanks for the great responses. Pigsticker, when I walked the land in December I marked potential stand sites on the Huntstand AP. Many of them are in the areas that you marked on the map. I am not great at looking at a topo map and knowing where to put a stand, I am pretty good at walking the land and figuring it out. It helps looking at my AP and the marked up map you provided to help put the puzzle together. Thanks again! What is your opinion on Food Plots? Should I hunt it first and then determine or try to do it before I hunt?
In my thoughts if you hunt it 1st you loose a year of results. I would put in spring-summer and fall-winter food plots in the center of the property if the lay of the land permits it. Good year around food results in year around deer.
As stated by others I would wait on the food plots and get a feel for the land. Food plots would primarily for holding doe on your property. Hopefully you have a big greenbrier thicket somewhere on the property. Bucks love to check these for does and the doe love the cover. I am probably the least knowledgeable guy about food plots on Bowsite so others can provide much better input on the subject. Again, I am very low impact guy especially in this very rugged terrain. These are big woods deer when they decide to go cruising the bruiser that you kill may come from a couple miles away.
Read the excellent results on a southern Ohio property posted above with new food plots. Alfalfa clover and chicory mix by Stessless.
Thanks again for all who responded. I have decided to wait for a year to food plot. I have been scouting quite a bit and I think it will take at least this year to start getting a grasp of everything. I think the property will hunt well without the need for immediate plots. I do plan on putting in a couple of mineral sites in the next couple of weeks and I have several stand site's in mind. Thanks Pigsticker for helping me with the topo map/stand locations, it was very helpful.