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Hey guys. My parents have owned a piece of land 110 Acres for years and I always wanted to develop it into a prime piece of whitetail hunting heaven. Unfortunately the property is just a few miles outside of an archery only zone so we do get a fair bit of pressure surrounding us. having said that the big bucks seem to go nocturnal and not many get harvested. Growing up as a bowhunter I really only focused on hunting the property from age 12 to 16. Once I had my drivers license I was hunting the bow only zone on lands I had permission to hunt, more deer less pressure. I will post a couple of photos with explanations of the area. Looking to hear some feed back from others as to where they would implement food plots and what food sources would work best. This is in Manitoba our archery season runs from late august to the end of November with Muzzleloader starting around the second week of November transitioning to rifle for the remainder of the month. Our prevailing wind is North west.
Black is our property, most deer movement is east to west, Red is Neighbours who shoot anything that steps foot on that field. Blue is where the majority of the deer bed lots of north south movement through that funnel. green is a thick over grown willow type field where I think bucks like to take does in November
White lines are the property line as well as ATV trails
Purple lines are narrow walking trails or old over grown ATV trails that deer love to travel specifically the one to the east
Brown is the highest point of elevation which isn't high at all its a sandy gravel ridge with lots of mature oak trees that drop lots of Acorns which we all know deer love
Blue dots are stand locations
Red again is an area we don't want deer to step foot unfortunately with the creek being there quite a few does and young bucks will cross that open field its a grown in grass type field. no crops within 3 miles of here.
I hunt populated areas of the east and Midwest. I get good deer movement throughout the year from bucks. Albeit, less at certain times but it is the expected norm. I cannot fathom why in Manitoba you would have so much pressure to for bucks to go that nocturnal. Maybe to much activity on all the four wheeler trails.
I see you have couple openings so maybe some type of food plot in more secure areas would increase daylight activity.
Plant the openings into food plots. Both year around like clover, and fall hunting plots. If those ATV are used year around that will turn the deer into night time routine. Be me I would close the ATV trails 60-90 days before deer season comes in to give the deer time to tame down.
Are the three fingers extending to the road your access to the property or are there more options?
WE get good deer movement throughout the year but mostly does and young bucks up to 3 yr olds. The big guys don't seem to hang out here much most likely due to the use of the property. Parents walk daily and ATV a few times per week to check fences as we have horses there. so the property is used a fair bit but by us only. Big bucks tend to show up on Cams during the rut but almost always night pictures over s span of a week or 2 then they are gone. even with feeding post season the big bucks don't hang around. I guess due to our activity I guess I just figured that with activity and several homes in the area I didnt think that our activity would have that big of an effect on the mature bucks. I think food plots in the small opening would be good but I'm afraid a food plot in the bigger field on the north east would only better the hunting for the neighbours that shoot any deer thats in sight.
Deer Obsession yes the 3 fingers are the only access to the property Im sure I could gain permission from neighbours that hold 5 acres lots surrounding us to approach from different ways
Where are the horses pastured? With the heavy human use as you say the big deer sightings are going to be few. The big bucks will be passing through during the rut looking for does then off to more quite areas.
I recommend buying the book by Lee & Tiffany Lakosky from Amazon for $13 and free shipping. Hunting Mature Whitetails and Quality Deer Management.
But be fore warned they recommend light human hunting and no one goes into the bedding areas except in the winter to look for sheds.
It is shocking how pressured areas get in Manitoba considering our population. Problem most likely stems from having an area the size of the combined Dakotas where deer live and having approx 3 CO's on duty on any given day. Enforcement is next to zero and road hunting, hunting off ATV's runs rampant, and then there is the old kicker than anyone with a shred of indiginous ancestry is given cart blanche to kill as much as they want, how they want, when they want. Out of vehicles, at night, in the lights, no seasons, you name it. So suddenly 1 person can essentially put the same visual pressure on whitetails as 30 "normal hunters." Oh yes, they can also shoot rifles in bow only zones. They frequently trespass, and argue with our government that all land is their land, regardless of who has "bought" it.
That's an aside, I am interested if Tyler is able to improve the property. He does live in an area with enough cover that we do have deer grow old out there, but they are hard to pin down.
Bow Crazy's Link
Tyler here are my thoughts based off my experiences in a "similar" area :).
We bought a 160a parcel about 5 years ago now and I've hunted it for 7. Two years out of the 5 I wasn't as strict with leaving it alone. I would snowmobile through the bush maybe once a week, couple times went and walked for chickens, leisurely shed hunting over a bigger period of time, nothing crazy but non intentional pressure. Does seemed to adapt, even younger bucks too, but it's been my experience on my piece that mature bucks just won't take it and go find another spot that is less riskier for them. When I have been very diligent on making sure it is absolutely peaceful in there I seem to find better deer. Even checking trail cams MORE than "every 3 weeks only in rainy weather" type of deal, I've noticed negative effects with big bucks just up and leaving. Where my property differs from yours, is I had Ag about a mile away so plentiful food was there. It was a reasonable distance for them to travel to bedding and "hang out" areas if we can call that. I've noticed off trail cams that in an undisturbed bush they will mill around quite a bit during the day, usually mid day to get up off their feet which is why I said "hang out". Now I have started farming my piece so I have 40 acres of crops which is more than enough. My approach to my piece has been typically to leave it alone with maybe 2-3 hunts mixed in from aug to oct 31, and then I'll hunt it through the rut. I try and go to other spots from aug-oct 31 so that my piece can be completely or almost completely unpressured and then I'll hunt the big boys if they're around and getting silly.
Being in your situation I would be tempted to get in one plot somewhere 5-10 acres in size, but I would want it situated so that farming it put zero pressure on the remainder of the property. Traveling through the property to get to the plot would be a bad idea IMO. Sure the deer get used to it, and it may not seem like they're negatively affected but I think mature deer just might up and leave. Then I would pick one short window to hunt it, not even necessarily the rut. I think mid oct is awesome for this type of situation, or has been for me in the past.
... And I know I totally ignored the fact that your parents walk and ATV there as well as the horses, as theres no easy solution to that besides, buy it, kick em off and put an end to all of that LOL
Some great suggestions above, a lot to think about. I think you have great access to the property which a lot of properties don't. I would design a plan that keeps accessing your stands a top priority. I'd create cover/bedding, give them water, provide them food sources (food plots and natural forage), rub trees/licking branches, access your stands from the outside, anything you can do to keep the deer staying on your property as long as possible. If you can't control the use of your family, forget about it. Focus on what you can control.
Have you thought of talking to your neighbors about a QDM Cooperative? Don't say it won't work until you try. It took me 19 years to talk to my neighbors and it's the best thing I ever did. I listened to all the naysayers for that long until I woke up one day and said to myself, "Stop blaming your neighbors!". It is truly the best thing I've ever done for the deer and deer hunting on our property.
QDMA has a bunch of great info for you regarding habitat improvement, deer hunting, QDM Cooperative, etc. Join up, the magazine is worth the price alone. The link above will take you to a cooperative article, more info at the links at the bottom of the page.
Enjoy this experience! BC
MK thanks for the book suggestion! My parents property gets very little if any hunting pressure. More just human activity which I can see as being the major issue to not consistently seeing mature bucks here. Adam is spot on with his statement, its sad but true. Matt thats all great and relative info do you think planting the field in the north east of my property would work good if I could access it from the neighbouring property to the north. My only fear with a food plot there would be the fact that it borders the property known to hammer the deer. however maybe I could convince them to work with me as Bow Crazy suggested to create better hunting in our area, as you know we do have really good deer here.
If you can get them on board and you can access it there with little disturbance that seems like a real good plan. What’s on the field where they shoot everything? Does someone farm it?
It’s also far enough away that you might be able to convince your family to leave that area alone. You essentially have a kill plot, but for the prevailing winds I think it should lend itself well to that.