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looking for advice
So... Ive got this great little 80 acre piece of hunting heaven sandwiched in between a couple working farms. The front 50 are working fields and often we grow beans, corn or wheat on it ( not me but the farmer I let farm it). The back 30 border a river, which is a bit swampy, alder choked, bedding and travel corridor for deer between the open fields of the next door farms.
I think if I had a little food plot in the middle of the 30 acre river bottom land....I would see some great action of the deer travelling to or from the crop fields .
Any recommendations for such a spot. Because I have to travel thru a swmp to get to this spot I hacked out....getting a machine in there is highly unlikely. Most work will have to be by hand...or at best an ATV.
As Im sure you are aware...those alder and sucker shoots grow back almost as fast as grass haha.
To save me asking 50 dumb questions....what would you do to establish a hidden food plot about 200 yards from the actual agri fields? Its not huge....and Im not looking for it to be a main food source....more or less just a spot the deer may hit before entering the main fields.....
Thanks in advance
If you can get in there and mow I’d consider planting a clover plot. It can last a long time with minimal equipment needed.
If it was my land I wouldn’t plant any plots in the 30 acres. You have lots of food with the front 50 so I would keep the 30 acres as a sanctuary as much as possible.
Some kind of no-plow would work with minimal equipment. Grubby suggested clover, and if it’s wet natured ground that should work, but clover goes dormant with the onset of cooler weather so I don’t know if that would be viable later in the season.
Sounds like a perfect spot for a poor mans plot. Spray it, burn it, fertilizer it, seed it and take a hand rack to it.
Why does this remind me of the question about whether to stay and hunt or quit based on what the Wind app says?
Why not just enjoy hunting the travel corridor as-is?
Well GF, Bea sounds like a predator. Predators are always looking for or creating situations to get an advantage on their prey. Also sounds like a guy who enjoys hunting. Sounds like a guy who wants to make his hunting more enjoyable by increasing his opportunities, which also in turn circle back to point #1 where he has more opportunity to capitalize on prey while at the same time enjoying more animals sightings. Yes, why would anyone want that?
Some people like to extend their hunting season into the offseason.
Then there are those that just like to criticize anything anybody else does. GF, Which one are you ?
Bea, plant some red oaks, they have large acorns, or beech trees if none are there already. Blackberry bushes attract deer. Millet is a good crop for feed. Scatter some of these in that area if its open enough, or clear it some. Fun to experiment. Try anything that you know they target, like just about any garden vegetable. Fun stuff to see what works. Takes minimal effort.
Before you do anything, will it be able to get any sunlight at all? If so, how many hours a day?
You have a food source all around you. You also have a sanctuary/bedding area at the back. Why would you ever want to encroach the sanctuary? That is the most important aspect to holding deer on your property....safety and cover.
All you have to do is hunt between the cover and food.....sounds like the perfect scenario. Don`t buy into the "food plot" craze, your property isn`t set up for it. IMO you HAVE the perfect setup.
Create the best bedding possible and fix it up to hunt.
I would do what GF suggested. He seems to be an friggen expert on everything.
But, since your question was food plot related, I’d suggest the same thing as what grubby stated, plus what foodPlots4ever pointed out. Sounds like your plot, most likely, won’t be very big. IMO, clover would probably stand up to grazing/browsing pressure better and longer than most anything else you could plant there. Plus, it is relatively easy to maintain, given your situation.
thanks for all the replies.....I guess to answer the most common question....Out in the big fields....the mature bucks often enter minutes after dark ( other than the magic of the rut at times) . There;s no doubt in my mind they hang back until darkness. Have seen it soo many times it aint even funny. And correct or not, my thinking was they may be slightly more comfortable coming into a more hidden plot thosew precious few moments before legal shooting time comes.
Personally, I’d put chestnut trees in there if the soil allowed it.
Pretty sure I saw a Midwest Whitetail or Chasing Nov episode about this a couple years back. He put in a small plot that the deer would pass through to graze briefly or just check out prior to heading out to the larger ag fields.
I'm with WV Mountaineer. Chestnuts, apples, pears, persimmons if conditions allow. They already have access to dinner. Give them dessert!
I agree with the few that say don't abandon sanctuary for more food. Sounds like there is already tons of food, and putting even a small plot it may do more harm then good. That's now intrusion in their domain.
The bucks many not enter field until dark, but I bet they are out of bed before dark. They are likely staging somewhere before thy enter the field. Find out where that is, and you'll get on them.
let me know what you do and how it works I may follow suit.
Your reasoning is sound, but I suck at food plots, so no help there. One thing that does work is cutting a few trails to a hub where the deer can stage before entering the fields.
all good advice....thanks
There is something very satisfying that you can’t explain to a person that has no interest in doing the habitat work.
When you aid an create an environment where you harvest an animal within literally a 2’ area (width of a trail) that you set up to shoot it and you have practiced that exact shot over and over...
For me there is no greater sense of pride or stewardship to have taken the time to harvest an animal in such a way.
To each their own...
Get out there and make what you want and what you will in joy. Your pic says it all....
You guys crack me up. Just because some people would rather be Hunters than Farmers....
If I wanted to be able to kill a deer in an exact, 2-foot wide space, I’d just put a fence across the whole damn thing and funnel them through a cattle chute like they do at slaughterhouse.
JMO, there’s a continuum between doing things on Our terms vs on Their terms, and some things are just over the line for me. It’s one thing if you have access to a few acres (meaning literally a FEW, like fewer than maybe 5?) and unless you do some habitat creation there is basically zero reason for the deer to go through there more than a couple times a week at whatever odd hour, but BEA has a great situation to figure out what those deer are up to every day and pick the lock on those 30 acres.
And a thinking person might even expect that a guy who shoots cedar arrows might just want a little more out of a hunt then knowing that if he sits in a particular tree, he’ll have a guaranteed shot.
I may be crazy but I did what many suggested and planted 20 apple trees 5 years ago. what I learned, is bucks love to rub on apple trees so if they are not protected then doom. Also they love to browse on them as well and they broke through fencing to destroy them. Also, the ones that are still left are only making 2 or so apples a year, by the time I am dead they will maybe have 20 apples. Just my 2 cents. I id do the same thing but have been converting it to FP over last 5 years and it draws lots of deer. Could have good points and bad. only time will tell. Maybe trie Rye grass which will grown pretty much anywhere or wheat, both should put some nitrogen in soil and can take heavy browse.
Trees are the long-term play for sure!
I get a lot of satisfaction in figuring out exactly which tree I need to sit in to get a guaranteed shot.
I'm with craigmcalvey......leave it all sanctuary and hunt the fringes (into maybe 10-30 yards of where they naturally want to enter the field.
If anything I may establish a little (1/4 acre) kill plot of clover (about all I think youd be able to grow) just inside (10-30 yards) inside the timber.
good luck and report what you do and how it works!
Having about the same setup here at home I vote sanctuary also. We do have a feeder set up with various minerals along with a cell cam. It's a special spot, and we don't hunt it very often. Really only when there an exceptional deer. I don't hunt whitetails much anymore, but it's sure fun watching my two boys debate on when to hunt it.
Bea, There are several comments about sanctuary AND foodplots, so another opinion isn't going to add much. Therefore, instead, I'd be interested in learning more about property specifics. For example, What is your primary wind direction? What is the shape and orientation of your property? What are the shape and orientation of the 50 farmed acres, and the 30 wooded acres? Just how big (and how deep) is this river that borders your 80 acres? Is it upwind or downwind of the 80 acres, most of the time? If you believe that the water acts more as a barrier (for deer to cross) than as just as a water source, it might offer a way to gain access to the trails (and what ever food sources) you (or your neighbor farmer) have located, without putting down a lot of human scent. If the water is really deep, and steep sided, I'd consider a canoe before an ATV. If it isn't very big, and deer cross it regularly, then hopefully, you can get real close to your blind/stand by simply walking the creek. I'd also be interested in knowing whether the wooded portion is mature hardwoods (i.e. oak - acorn - foodsource), or if it is mostly scrubby brush that might not be conducive to a treestand (if that is your preference). Ground blinds offer you more flexibility as far as placement, but it is at the cost of keeping more of your scent on the ground. The next couple of months are a GREAT time of year to really learn about the deer on your property. Assuming you get quite a bit of snow, walking your land and learning where the heavily traveled trails are, will help you to determine stand/blind placement, as well as giving you some ideas about the best way to get to them next hunting season WITHOUT leaving too much of a human footprint. As you gain more understanding about your property, it will also give you one additional key piece of information....and that will be what days you probably should NOT hunt it.
I like most of the advice, seems all advice are good.
Why don’t you have your farmer leave up three acres of crops for you? At most it would cost $700 for soybeans or corn and now you have a great draw to hunt over or near
Turnips and beets are super easy to do and add some brassicas also throw some clover around the perimeter. Than buy 6 or 8 early baring apple trees. Protect them them for the first several years but they bare fruit real quick. Shawn