Sitka Gear
Turning point on your land?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
wisconsinteacher 30-Oct-22
WI Shedhead 30-Oct-22
Grey Ghost 30-Oct-22
Hilltop 30-Oct-22
WV Mountaineer 30-Oct-22
Bearman 30-Oct-22
Shiloh 30-Oct-22
drycreek 30-Oct-22
Rocky D 31-Oct-22
Missouribreaks 31-Oct-22
Catscratch 31-Oct-22
fuzzy 31-Oct-22
Buskill 31-Oct-22
Buskill 31-Oct-22
KHNC 31-Oct-22
Grey Ghost 31-Oct-22
fuzzy 31-Oct-22
SteveB 31-Oct-22
KHNC 31-Oct-22
Highlife 31-Oct-22
WV Mountaineer 31-Oct-22
Thornton 01-Nov-22
goyt 02-Nov-22
petedrummond 02-Nov-22
Glunker 02-Nov-22
Smtn10PT 02-Nov-22
fuzzy 02-Nov-22
Lawboytom 02-Nov-22
South Farm 04-Nov-22
30-Oct-22
I have been blessed to buy land with my wife. We are in the middle of our 2nd year hunting it and so far I have seen a deer on every hunt. Last year, we shot a doe, 3.5 year old 8 point and a 1.5 year old buck. I have done some improvements by adding a 1 acre food plot that has the daily group of 3-6 deer feeding on it. My travel ways have had some nice bucks on them and the water tank has had every kind of animal in the area using it since May. Feeling blessed is an understatement at this point, but yesterday while hunting, I was wondering. What is one thing that others have done to their land that turned it from a good to great??? Is it years of learning the land, letting bucks walk, or adding something to increase mature deer movement to the area?

My other concern is my food plot. Why am I not seeing the food plot being used by more bucks? I’m seeing bucks walking through it during dark hours but there’s not even small bucks using it on a daily basis like the does and fawns in the area. What can be done to increase use of plots by bucks?

Two things that I have learned in this 2 year experience is that I'm always thinking of new ways to make the 80 acres better for deer and other wildlife and I really enjoy doing the projects. I’m actually excited for December to start the saw up and get to work again.

From: WI Shedhead
30-Oct-22
Designating a large area as security/sanctuary and getting a couple generations of deer as that being thier core security will turn the page. Only hunt when winds are perfect at stand sights. Year round food sources are a must as well.

From: Grey Ghost
30-Oct-22
Not over hunting my property when the big boys haven’t shown up yet has been my most productive learning experience.

Matt

From: Hilltop
30-Oct-22
Let the little bucks walk, create thick sanctuary for them (2 - 5 acre clearcuts), x2 on not over hunting when big ones aren’t moving during daylight, and likely the most impactful on small tracts for keeping bucks alive to the next year, don’t get out of your stand during shooting hours the first two days of gun season.

30-Oct-22
If natural food is abundant I’ve never witnessed deer on plots in any numbers until winter. Then only if brassicas or green wheat if the climate allows it.

Long term, if you lack cover, increase it. Plant some soft mast trees. Chestnuts.

Soft mast will hold deer here until mid October. They start slamming hard mast if available, around the first of October.

Diversify your food offerings to give deer a reason to be there throughout the season. Increase as much cover as you can to hold them there during day hours. That’s about all you can do.

From: Bearman
30-Oct-22
Congrats on living the dream. That being said, 80 acres ain't much. It is,but not really. If your goal is good hunting, you Need a a secure undisturbed bedding area. So much will depend on the neighbors and what they do/shoot. Best of luck.

From: Shiloh
30-Oct-22
Diversity and fire

From: drycreek
30-Oct-22
Impossible to give advice on a place unseen. We don’t know how it lays, what’s next to it, how thick it is, how often you’re on it, etc. So many variables.

From: Rocky D
31-Oct-22
Hmm, not shooting 3.5 year old eight points…

I knew really successful land owner who said he used is land like a dining room. Hopefully you get the idea.

I met him by knocking on his door about recovering a doe that ran into his so called sanctuary. He gave me permission but not with out strict guidance on the entrance and exit! Luckily the deer was on about fifty yards on the property.

That was the first week of November in Ohio and he said that he had not started hunting yet because he didn’t start until the big ones were on there feet At that time I walked away shaking my head wondering about wasting the first week of November.

31-Oct-22
That becomes a personal objective. I would rather kill any deer on my land than a larger deer on property I do not own. There is something about personal pride, rather than begging, or relying on others, for permission and guidelines. My land, my rules.

From: Catscratch
31-Oct-22
The biggest difference I made to my place wasn't a thing but a change in how I hunt. Of course I've planted foot plots, cover, and fruit trees (I enjoy this as much as hunting) but I can't say they've made a huge effect on the deer. My goal is 12 months a year nutrition so that deer have the best opportunity to grow to their potential. I don't hunt over my plots or orchards though.

What made hunting better: LOW pressure! I don't hunt early season. Stay out until the rut is in motion. Only hunt stands that I can access without bumping deer. Also only access stands when I can glass and assure myself I'm not bumping deer. I don't hunt stands that would leave a scent trail in deer areas when I'm not there. Basically I attempt to hunt in a way that the deer never know I'm there. Give them their space, comfort, sanctuary, etc. My older buck sightings have gone way up and my expectations/confidence have gone way up too since I see way more older bucks per season than I used to.

From: fuzzy
31-Oct-22
I was lucky enough to be able to manage 400 acres of SW Virginia hardwood timber mountain side for game from 1989 through 2002. You're doing many of the right things. You'll start to see small game results in about Two Years, deer results in 5 . Keep a journal and note what you do and what you see. Start thinking long term once you get the soil right and food plots established. Chestnut, apple and honeysuckle are good perennials for deer and other game.

From: Buskill
31-Oct-22
We let one of our larger fields get real brushy with a few small paths mowed thru in a curvy manner. Previous to this we would mostly see does and small bucks only unless the rut was kicking. After, we routinely see better bucks all season. I think that bigger field was just too open for them to feel comfortable.

From: Buskill
31-Oct-22
We let one of our larger fields get real brushy with a few small paths mowed thru in a curvy manner. Previous to this we would mostly see does and small bucks only unless the rut was kicking. After, we routinely see better bucks all season. I think that bigger field was just too open for them to feel comfortable.

From: KHNC
31-Oct-22
So what are yalls opinions on doe groups? Ive heard Jeff Sturgis go on and on about NOT supplying year round plots and discouraging Large groups of does living on your property all summer. He says they keep the bucks away. Then I listen to Steve Bartylla say the exact opposite, that he manages his properties for does all year long. As a result, he says he sees many more bucks than he used to. Last year , my first year owning 70 acres, I had buck pics all summer on mineral sites, not many does. That continued til the end of september and most all my bucks vanished. Then I didnt see many deer at all during the season. This year I have two really nice plots and durana clover did great all summer. I have a bunch of does and see deer most sits, just not any bucks. We have a mid october to mid november rut in South Carolina. Pretty spread out. Not sure what to make of it. Should does stay or should they go?

From: Grey Ghost
31-Oct-22
On my place, the more does the better for seeing mature bucks during the rut.

Matt

From: fuzzy
31-Oct-22
KHNC when you are/were single and "feeling the urge", do/did you look for places where there were lots of adult females or???

From: SteveB
31-Oct-22
We have owned our just over 100+ acres in Ohio for 18 years. We consistently now take big deer, but only after being willing to pass on smaller deer and also being willing to go many years without killing a buck at all. We passed bucks that most people would shoot in a heartbeat while knowing that a neighbor probably wouldn't pass and that it may not live. Now we only take bucks over 150 and everything else walks. Shoot multiple does each year too to keep herd in balance. Last year killed a 210 3/8 after passing a 180 (I know that's hard to believe but true) . We do have a 5 acre food plot but not sure it makes that much difference in the big picture. Sound management is her key. It's not for everyone that's for sure. Only smaller deer that get shot would be if we took a young person out for their first deer or if we determine a buck has inferior genetics.

From: KHNC
31-Oct-22
"KHNC when you are/were single and "feeling the urge", do/did you look for places where there were lots of adult females or???"

Of course this is sound logic. But we have a 4 month season in SC. The best part of the rut is 2-3 weeks max. If I dont see or kill a mature buck in that span, then what? Do the does keep the bucks off the place after the rut? Conflicting info out there. However, I prefer to see deer when i hunt, even if its just does. So , for now, I plan to manage for does for the next few years anyway.

From: Highlife
31-Oct-22
As soon as I found trespassers hunting on it. :(

31-Oct-22
More does equal more bucks. Does are theoried to run off their buck fawns. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. But, I’ve never seen any for push around a horned buck. Velvet or not.

From: Thornton
01-Nov-22
I have an 80 I bought about 12 years ago. Creek bottom with 52 acres of tillable surrounded by hedge rows. Not many deer stay on it, but I converted the 50 acres into a corn/soybean rotation that attracts deer from a mile away. Not uncommon to have over 30 deer on it every evening in late season and sometimes over a dozen bucks on the early season beans in the evenings. My advice is to stay off til you think the time is right because they learn your patterns before you ever learn theirs on those small properties. I've shot 5 bucks off the place, a 130, a 140", and a 150", and 2, 147"'s. The neighbor and I now let those 4 year old bucks walk, but we often never see them again and we've never figured out why. I assume they've found greener pastures at a big ranch on the river a mile and a half away. In the 12 years I've owned it, I think only 2 bucks that visited would have went 170". I don't kill does, and I feel they are added bait to bring in the bucks. Despite this, the buck doe ratio has been about 1:1 until 4 years ago when more does appeared. This could possibly be due to several EHD outbreaks since 2012.

From: goyt
02-Nov-22
Different properties may need different approaches. Jeff Sturgis seems to hunt property with lots of Ag. He does not need to provide year around nutrient. I believe that if there are too many deer on a piece of property the alpha does will not let the yearling bucks stay and mature bucks will not want to move there. If mature bucks are not bedding on your property, it is very hard to kill one. Daytime movement of mature bucks will be little and sporadic. Also, any mature buck looking for a doe will probably find one with very little movement. I want does on my property and I want them spread out. However, I do not want so many does that I cannot grow anything and the does drive away the bucks. We kill about 5 does for every buck. It is hard to kill to many does if the habitat is good.

From: petedrummond
02-Nov-22
The most likely guests to abuse a chance to hunt are relatives. I felt bad but I fixed the problem.

From: Glunker
02-Nov-22
Creating cover, then food, then not spooking deer by hunting the wrong wind or unnecessarily disturbing them.

From: Smtn10PT
02-Nov-22
Ill let ya know, owned 45 acres since 2018..still waiting on my first picture of a 130" deer.

From: fuzzy
02-Nov-22
You're not gonna be able to "build" 130 inch bucks on 45 acres

From: Lawboytom
02-Nov-22
I have 51 acres in Wisconsin. When we bought the property, it was a foreclosure in 2015 and I didn’t even look at the land and figured it would be a place to shoot some does and let my wife have some horses. Then I saw a few of the bucks around. Unfortunately, the bucks didn’t stick around and there was only a few does using ours. The first year I only had a chance at one buck, he was mature but I blew it and couldn’t connect. I started doing hinge cuts, planting better foodplots for the deer, leased out a field to a farmer that had crappy equipment (he planted corn and the field looked like someone spread shelled corn across the 20 acres after he harvested it), and now I took over planting the ag field. Probably one of the biggest things was getting does to stay on my property and use it year around. 2019 was the big turn around year and we had a ton of shooters. I ended up taking a buck I probably shouldn’t have, a 3 1/2 year old 14 point. 2020 was a crapshoot with covid and I got sick during prime time rut. 2021 I connected during late season with a 162” 8 pt and this year I connected with a 175” 11pt. Lots of history with both deer. Just finally learned what parts of the property to leave alone. One of the biggest things was having good year around food especially during the winter. It’s gone for me where deer move into my area and stay because of good winter food and it’s worked against me where deer leave and stay somewhere else because of better food. The buck this year was in a bean field 3/4 mile away all summer and would move onto mine at night. That continued until just before bow season started and then he moved onto mine full time in the hinge cuts for bedding and then feeding on mine almost exclusively. Every situation is different but if all you do is pass small bucks and think the big ones will come, you’ll be waiting a long time. You need to make your property the preferred place to be either with food, cover, or does and the more you have of all of them, the better the hunt will be.

From: South Farm
04-Nov-22

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