Summit Treestands
Micro Habitat Project, Cont.
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
t-roy 23-Apr-19
Bowfreak 07-May-19
t-roy 07-May-19
Mark Watkins 07-May-19
BullBuster 12-May-19
Mark Watkins 16-May-19
t-roy 17-May-19
BullBuster 17-May-19
BullBuster 28-May-19
t-roy 28-May-19
Catscratch 05-Jun-19
Ambush 06-Jun-19
BIG BEAR 12-Jun-19
23-Apr-19

Habitat for Wildlife's Link
I attached the link to the original thread on this. Recently received a PM asking for pictures of my results having broadcasted rye grain into standing beans, but unfortunately after posting the picture somewhere here I deleted it.

This Micro Project is going through some big changes, one of which will be broadcasting rye into standing beans at the end of summer. I thought documenting it here might be informative or useful.

This micro project is located on our 3.1 acre home lot in a rural development. Our property backs up to a creek drainage which is a natural travel corridor. I took advantage of this and planted a little over 1 acre of native grasses after a couple of years of food plot varieties to encourage wildlife to use the property.

Robin always had flower beds around and adjacent to the NG, which attracted birds, butterflies, deer and turkey. The last two years I have taken out all of the beds, upon her request, due to her knees not being able to perform all of the needed maintenance and upkeep.

The drop off in wildlife frequency has been noticeable. So, the project goes on! Here is the story as it unfolds throughout the summer into Fall.

23-Apr-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
In March I burned the NG as I do every year. The only portion, on the northern side nearest the drainage, is the portion that will be kept. This NG consists mostly of Eastern Gamma with a little Indian, Switch and Big Blue Stem.

Two thirds of the NG which was mostly Big Blue, Little Blue, Switch , Indian, Side Oats and forbs was tilled once after burning, and then a second time last week.

Here is the dramatic burn. When I lit this the wind was 5mph, but increased to 12 almost immediately. The NG was completely surrounded by green fescue and so the fire remained contained.

23-Apr-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
The drainage is on the right, our pole barn and home are on the left, up the hill.

This is the aftermath of the burn, which was hot enough to eliminate all of the "trash".

23-Apr-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Eastern Gamma on the right.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Eastern Gamma on the right.
800 lbs. of lime and 500 lbs. of triple 13 fertilizer were spread on the a little over .75 acres before the second tilling.

23-Apr-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo

23-Apr-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
The plan is to till this again right before planting RR soybeans in May. When the bean leaves start to turn I will broadcast rye grain and a white/red clover mix into the standing beans, trying to time this right before a rain. I will frost seed more white clover in February, weather permitting, next year.

The intent is to have this be a clover plot which should help attract some deer and birds back to our property. Bees should also like it since most of the flowers are now gone. I am planting RR soybeans so I can spray a couple of times this year. This should eliminate most of the weed competition helping the clover get a better start. Fall plantings of clover have worked better for me than Spring plantings, the clover roots need as much time as possible before the above ground grows vigorously.

I will try and keep this updated with pictures so you can see the results first hand. This is a small bean patch, but the deer only really use this property when moving along the creek drainage. At one end of the drainage is a nursery surrounded by agriculture, and all agriculture with cover at the other end. I planted beans once before and they were not over-browsed.

I will also take a deer or two this fall if the results show that is possible. We have been doing this micro-habitat management in our yard since 2002 when we first purchased it. I hunted once in 2007 and harvested a doe. I hung a stand last year and harvested two does. Other than that the property has not been hunted, but it is very enjoyable walking out our back door and settling in to a pre-hung stand, especially as I have aged:)

But, the main purpose besides helping the wildlife is being able to sit on our screened-in porch and watch the wildlife. So, if the hunting causes only nocturnal use, I will pass on hunting.

From: t-roy
23-Apr-19
Looking forward to following along on your progress, Frank. Not many things much more enjoyable than getting your own dirt under your fingernails!

25-Apr-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Troy,

Thanks. The only thing better for me would be getting some of that rich Iowa dirt under my fingers!

Last year I had a hen nest in this small patch of NG. It wasn't that long ago that biologists believed turkeys needed large expanses of timber to thrive, so either they were mistaken or turkey are learning to adapt. I wonder if this hen is the same one as last year's? She will be disappointed to learn most of the NG is gone.

From this picture you can see some of the homes on our cul-de-sac. We are on 3-12 acre lots, but they look closer here due to the cul-de-sac. It is amazing to me what a little habitat management can do, bringing wildlife in this close.

I just put my cameras out as I started this project. Deer are 100% nocturnal right now on this property, but I suspect that will change after plants start to grow. For nearly a decade I have had a doe drop one of her two fawns along the creek on my property. Hope I did not harvest her last year, LOL.

This should be fun, I hope!

Thanks again.

07-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Sitting on our patio last evening and a big doe came on to our property and used the mineral licks. At least three different prints at the lick site.

You can see that the tilled area had some growth, and so I sprayed yesterday with a two percent solution of gly.

I used this "home built" sprayer that I pieced together with a 4.1gpm sprayer. It works great for small jobs.

07-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo

From: Bowfreak
07-May-19
I'll be following HFW. I always enjoy your habitat improvement work.

From: t-roy
07-May-19
“The only thing better for me would be getting some of that rich Iowa dirt under my fingernails!”

Come on up, Frank! I’ll put you to work on some of my projects. I wouldn’t even charge ya anything! ;-)

From: Mark Watkins
07-May-19
Great stuff!

Keep us updated!

Mark

07-May-19
Thanks Troy. I know I would learn from you as well!

Thanks guys.

08-May-19
It appears that at least 3 bucks and 4 does are using the property, some during the daylight now. At least one doe is pregnant,

08-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
This is the doe that came out while we were sitting on the patio.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
This is the doe that came out while we were sitting on the patio.

08-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo

08-May-19

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Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
And the predators show up as well.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
And the predators show up as well.

12-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Thought I would share some of Robin's pictures of what the gardens used to look like. These have all been removed! It is a, you know what, to get old.

The amount of hummingbirds, butterflies and other wildlife these flower beds enticed into using our yard was phenomenal. Hopefully a clover plot will bring some of them back. I have several deer tracks cutting through the tilled area, no doubt scavenging the yard for what used to be!

12-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo

12-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
What do you think? 150 class by hunting season:)

From: BullBuster
12-May-19
In the 100-200 class for sure.

14-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
LOL Bull!

I started this thread because someone asked me about broadcasting rye into standing beans. I posted this picture on another thread and realized this monster was standing in that field. You can see the standing beans. By November, the beans looked like they were planted in green carpet because the rye was thick.

16-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
The Eastern Gamma grass is doing great with this wet weather. The potential for high seed production looks promising.

Deer are really visiting right now. If the rain holds off, I will try and till one more time and plant the beans tomorrow.

From: Mark Watkins
16-May-19
Winter rye broadcast into standing beans is nothing short of phenomenal:

-The rye is about the last plant to stay green in the fall and the first to green up in the spring

-Rye is very good for weed suppression as well

Mark

16-May-19
Mark,

Thanks, great point about the weed suppression! Rye also builds the soil pulling nutrients from down below to a depth your next season's plants can take advantage of. I like it much better than wheat as a cereal cover grain, and I have noticed no difference in whitetail preference really.

Thanks again.

17-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Ok, tilled once again, broadcasted 100lbs. Of soybeans and then used my 8'X4' drag harrow to cover them.

Went heavy on the seed for a number of reasons...

Broadcasting requires more seed as the planting depth is not consistent, it is a small plot so some will be lost to deer and rabbits, because of weather I am the first soybeans planted in the area so they will be targeted, and the 4 does/3 bucks are visiting nightly. This is more than we have had in the past.

PH and fertility are good. My cultipacker is at the farm but we are expecting heavy rains and if they develop that should do the trick.

17-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Meant to add, Robin and I were sitting on the patio Wednesday evening and a bobcat came out of the woods near the NG.

This reptile reminded me of the encounter. This was headed into the NG by our sign.

17-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo

17-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
The picture of the plot above was taken from the West side, this is from the East side.

From: t-roy
17-May-19
Robin’s flower garden was gorgeous! Too bad her knees won’t allow her to continue maintaining it. She obviously has a green thumb!

Can you elaborate a little on your Gamma grass? Looks like it is doing great. How was it established? Reason for planting it? Etc.

What’s the game plan if the big rascal in the trail cam shows up in your beans/rye field this fall?!?

17-May-19
Thanks Troy. Yes she does have a green thumb. She will need at least one knee replacement down the road.

EG does better in moist soil, and being a low area near the creek it is thriving. I established it by broadcast method also. It is not a chaffy seed, so it is planted about .25-.50" depth. It took three years of stratification before I had enough plants to know it was going to work.

The big boy above was harvested in 2017. But, I had a ten pointer, 150 class, using this plot last year. He made it through rifle season and I had him on camera in January. I will be more excited to catch my first fawn picture of the year.

From: BullBuster
17-May-19
What's the point of the Gamma grass? erosion control?

17-May-19
Yes Bull, but also cover for some birds, rabbits and obviously reptiles. I like the looks of it as it greens up much quicker than the other NG. And last year as it first started to emerge, the deer were really consuming it. Not so much this year, they must of had other food available.

18-May-19
It is raining nicely right now!

18-May-19

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Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
I believe this is the same doe, and over the last 6 days she really is showing. With any luck I should have some fawn pictures within a few weeks.

18-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
I think this guy came all the way up to our back patio from the plot area just to say "thanks". LOL.

20-May-19

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Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
We planted numerous oaks, most white with a few reds on our property soon after purchasing it in 2001. Of the 400 acres our development consists of, only two oaks were found originally. We have over 25 left on our property. It appears mast production may be good this year given the small acorns already starting to show.

About 10 years ago I collected a five gallon pail of acorns from our farm. I hand tossed them along the 5 miles of walking trails in our development. It worked enough to make it worthwhile.

Habitat management, some things a person won't live long enough down here to see the fruits of their labor.

21-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
I dumped the rain gauge yesterday at 1 1/8". We are over 3" since last night and it is still raining hard. The beans will probably be wash out, pun intended.

Pray for our farmers. Huge acreages that had anhydrous spread for corn planting will not be in corn, maybe not even Milo or soybeans in the low areas. Hopefully nature will provide enough bounty.

23-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Over 6" since planting. This could be a banner year for antler development in this area. The bucks are hitting the mineral daily. The does still look pregnant.

24-May-19

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Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
One week to the day, the beans are coming up. We are expecting even more rain, so we will have to wait and see what happens.

The EG could not be doing better. The seed production looks to be outstanding!

I put 100 lbs of corn seed in a feeder. Hopeful that this will take pressure off of the beans. No beans have been planted in the AG fields to our east and west. We still have at least 4 deer visiting nightly, the pregnant doe and the three bucks. They could easily wipe out the beans before they get started.

I did not use inoculate on the beans as I had beans in there 11 years ago. Hopefully enough of the proper bacteria is still present, the corn works to take some pressure off, the weather cooperates etc. LOL, plots can break your heart.

28-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Just arrived back from a bear hunt in Canada with Sleeve Lake Outfitters. Second year in a row of an outstanding experience!

Beans have made it in spite of 8" of rain since planting. A bigger problem, deer tracks every where. Hopefully the heavy seeding will help enough survive. Broadcasting beans works, you do not need an expensive seeder.

From: BullBuster
28-May-19
You should place a utilization cage on that plot

28-May-19

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Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
That's a good idea. Thanks.

These two bucks might end up with some interesting racks.

From: t-roy
28-May-19
It’s been a challenging spring, weather wise here as well, Frank.

Congrats on your successful bear hunt as well!

29-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Thank you Troy. I took my bear as soon as possible as Buddy 3 was waiting to be picked up.

Hope the weather improves for every one!

29-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
The EG has loads of seed pods!

The beans were not hit last night. I think our deer observations increased recently because we have been dogless since November 6th. It will be interesting to see if the pictures slow down since we have a new dog.

31-May-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
I think one of the does may have dropped her fawn(s). She is skinny, and this picture captured her going into the EG grass. This morning when I took a walk around the plot with my new pup, Buddy, a doe was standing there and kept an eye on me and did not want to move away.

This buck will be interesting to keep an eye on if he continues to keep coming back. So far no new tracks in the beans, which is good!

04-Jun-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
They are using the beans.

05-Jun-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
If you look closely you can see the intense browsing. We need some rain now.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
If you look closely you can see the intense browsing. We need some rain now.
This snapper was in the beans this morning.

05-Jun-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
The EG has podded better than I have ever witnessed on our plot.

From: Catscratch
05-Jun-19
Beautiful! Do you see a lot of deer use in your EG grass? I've always viewed it as a good cattle plant but didn't give it much thought for deer (I've worked aggressively to spread it on the place, just for different reasons).

05-Jun-19
Thank you.

I believe a fawn is in the EG right now, but deer do not really consume much grass. (EG is related to corn.)

I really appreciate your efforts as a rancher to increase NG use. I know this is a goal nationwide, but there is a big learning curve.

06-Jun-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
The beans today after .5" of rain last night.

From: Ambush
06-Jun-19
You can always see the result in the work if the person takes pride in it and joy from it. Definitely a labor of love!

Tomorrow I'm going to roundup a small piece that never grows anything but weeds, no matter what I throw in it. My plan is to kill it, till it and kill it again then put in rye and hope for better results next year. I wish I had your commitment and knowledge.

07-Jun-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Doe that has the fawn down there.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Doe that has the fawn down there.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
One of the two yotes that has been searching the last 2 nights.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
One of the two yotes that has been searching the last 2 nights.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Guess the final score>
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Guess the final score>
Thanks Ambush. Good luck with your plot. If you can't grow rye grain there I don't know what to say. Have you done a soil sample?

Just last night 4 different deer are using the beans. The crops close by have not been planted yet. But, they are also using the corn so that is taking some pressure off of the beans.

I definitely have a fawn down there. She goes from the timber to the EG, and now I have 2 coyotes down there looking for that fawn. They are smelling where she walked. The buck is probably going to be a decent one.

One doe is still carrying, she has some girth to her now.

09-Jun-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Beans are doing good, so far.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Beans are doing good, so far.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo

12-Jun-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
This doe is going to her fawn bedded under the large cedar on the left side of the picture.

The yote is doing his business in the mineral lick. Is he sending a message?

12-Jun-19
2:07 PM I am sitting down on the bench near my food plot with Buddy my new puppy at my feet. He barks twice, and standing less than 25 yards away is the doe coming to feed her fawn. How cool is that!

From: BIG BEAR
12-Jun-19
Very cool Frank !!!!! Keep up the good work !!!

15-Jun-19

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Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Chris, thank you.

Buddy and I returned from our morning walk on the trails around our community. We came back onto our property and a doe is standing in my beans. I just kept walking to the house, pausing only long enough to snap this picture, and she went to her fawn in the EG. I still have not got a picture of the fawn, but love that the doe is comfortable enough to keep using our small property.

15-Jun-19

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
The feeder seems to be working at keeping the pressure off of the beans so far. Most of the deer pictures are at the feeder and not with the cameras on the beans.

This is the same doe as above. I think those are some huge ticks on her ears.

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