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#3364808 - 09/18/13 05:07 PM How much is enough
theburn
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Registered: 08/29/10
Posts: 12
Loc: Giles Co.

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Recently acquired a new farm, and have been working on getting in some fall plots for the first year. I was looking at an aerial photo last night and realized there is no Ag. food source anywhere in sight, which made me wonder if I had enough food. I'm looking to hunt over one of these plots, but the main purpose will be the benefit/ feed the deer thought the year. The farm is approx. 78 acres all together, and is surrounded on all 4 sides by cattle/ hay farms. Our farm in particular is very hilly. The red areas are plots I have established so far. I plan on rotating the two larger ones into spring plots this spring. The green area is a cleared hillside that was two steep to work the ground, so we will be slowly establishing a orchard. There are already several native persimmon and crab apple trees here. Of course the blue is a small spring fed pond. I'm guessing that approx.. 5-7% of my land is in food plots now. IS this enough without Ag. crops to supplement? We do have a good bit of native forage. We are covered up with blackberries and the like, and are going to have a good stand of mixed hardwoods.

Hope the pictures load right.



Edited by theburn (09/18/13 05:09 PM)

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#3365498 - 09/19/13 07:41 AM Re: How much is enough [Re: theburn]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65683
Loc: Nashville, TN

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theburn,

Considering the potential range of an individual deer, and the fact that many deer shift their range areas throughout the year and between years, as well as the size of your property, I would not be focusing as much on food production as I would sanctuary cover production. It may literally be the case that the deer you are feeding with your plots in the winter, spring, and summer are not the deer you are hunting in the fall. Although feeding the local deer is a laudable goal and/or accomplishment, most landowners who hunt want to do something with their property that will benefit their hunting results. With your sized property surrounded by the habitat that it is, the habitat management options that would benefit you the most as a hunter would be to create as much sanctuary cover as you can while still providing ample hunting set-ups. Drawing hunter-wary deer to your property during daylight, during the hunting season is what would benefit you the most as a hunter, and the way to do that is not with food but with sanctuary cover.

Just my opinion though...
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3366042 - 09/19/13 02:26 PM Re: How much is enough [Re: BSK]
fairchaser
8 Point


Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 1271
Loc: TN, USA

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
theburn,

Drawing hunter-wary deer to your property during daylight, during the hunting season is what would benefit you the most as a hunter, and the way to do that is not with food but with sanctuary cover.

Just my opinion though...


Pretty astute BSK. On all the leases we have had, the first thing we did was to make food plots with little thought to sanctuary cover. We did leave certain areas alone designatiing them as sanctuaries. This does little good if the deer don't see it as sanctuary. Of course, we were limited on what we could accomplish on somebody elses property. Good advice for someone who owns their own land. What would you suggest otherwise?
_________________________
"I always wanted to do something that was unequivocal" Charles Morris played by Anthony Hopkins in the movie the Edge.

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#3366067 - 09/19/13 02:46 PM Re: How much is enough [Re: fairchaser]
Pine Ridge
4 Point


Registered: 09/19/11
Posts: 164
Loc: Homestead, Fl/Lewis Co. Tn.

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A wise man once told me " cover is king"
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#3366073 - 09/19/13 02:52 PM Re: How much is enough [Re: Pine Ridge]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65683
Loc: Nashville, TN

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At first, I thought some of the things I was seeing in annual buck photo-census inventories was just specific to my own property. But as I've collected photo-census data on more and more properties over time, I know believe what I was seeing on my place is somewhat universal to expansive hardwood environments. And that is, the number of unique bucks that will use a property (again, in an expansive hardwood environment) is not driven by food resources (food plots, etc.) but is driven by the amount of thick cover habitat set aside as sanctuary from hunting property. I have now even seen properties where food production was increasing yet sanctuary cover declining, and they were seeing a decline in the number of bucks using their property. This trend was not reversed--they did not see an increase in the number of bucks using the property during the hunting season--until the landowner increase sanctuary cover again.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3366289 - 09/19/13 05:15 PM Re: How much is enough [Re: BSK]
JCDEERMAN
14 Point


Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 8437
Loc: NASHVILLE, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
At first, I thought some of the things I was seeing in annual buck photo-census inventories was just specific to my own property. But as I've collected photo-census data on more and more properties over time, I know believe what I was seeing on my place is somewhat universal to expansive hardwood environments. And that is, the number of unique bucks that will use a property (again, in an expansive hardwood environment) is not driven by food resources (food plots, etc.) but is driven by the amount of thick cover habitat set aside as sanctuary from hunting property. I have now even seen properties where food production was increasing yet sanctuary cover declining, and they were seeing a decline in the number of bucks using their property. This trend was not reversed--they did not see an increase in the number of bucks using the property during the hunting season--until the landowner increase sanctuary cover again.


What you have described is exactly what we have seen on our property over the last 13 years. As soon as we got it, it was getting more and more open from being logged years ago. Saw good bucks first couple years, then it declined big time. Got to where when you saw movement, you were 90% sure it was a doe. So we started logging 5 years ago and the last 2 years have been our best years since we have owned the place. When you see movement now, there is no telling what it is. We are going to continue to do this. I saw just as many bucks last year as I did does, if thats believable
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#3366402 - 09/19/13 06:50 PM Re: How much is enough [Re: JCDEERMAN]
Nealmeally
8 Point


Registered: 12/20/10
Posts: 2391
Loc: TN

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You have to have cover if you gonna have mature bucks IMO... I'd rather have 70 acres of thicket than 70 acres of hardwoods and plots..
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Hard work and patience will be rewarded.....sooner or later

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#3367122 - 09/20/13 09:10 AM Re: How much is enough [Re: Nealmeally]
OHVATN
4 Point


Registered: 10/09/12
Posts: 377
Loc: Middle TN

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theburn -

I don't want to hijack your thread, but one of the concerns I have about getting some land is with trespassers/poaching. It would be a weekend place for me. From the aerial (and your 78 acres looks very nice by the way), it appears that you've got a right of way back into your parcel so you are landlocked so to speak. If my observation is correct, I would think that would help mitigate poaching and trespassing. My thinking is that the tresspassers are more likely to stick to the roads and enter from road frontage than to move into an interior piece of property via a right of way.

For everyone else, what is the best way to create sanctuary? Selective clear cut, use your own chain saw and start hinge-cutting, plant some pines on that cleared hillside? Would you recommend roughly 1/4 be made sanctuary or something less? I'd think you would want the sanctuary to be in the middle of the property not on the edges.
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"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." H. L. Mencken

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#3367384 - 09/20/13 11:56 AM Re: How much is enough [Re: OHVATN]
theburn
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Registered: 08/29/10
Posts: 12
Loc: Giles Co.

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Thanks everyone. New to all of this, and had never really heard of a "sanctuary", but I guess I was ahead of the game. I have two different pockets of woods, one approx. 4 ac. and one 10 acres, that we have not even been in because I know this is the deer's core area. Both of these are fairly steep hillsides that have been logged about 5 years ago. They have quiet a bit of undergrowth and large brush piles still line them against the open area. Guess I will do what I can to manage these for the time being, and hope for the best. As for the land being secluded, that is correct and one of the more appealing things about this farm. You actually enter the farm through the back of a mans barn lot. Haven't seen much sign of hunters around, but we will find out before long.
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#3367623 - 09/20/13 02:29 PM Re: How much is enough [Re: OHVATN]
Football Hunter
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Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 25506
Loc: Wilson Co/Perry Co

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 Originally Posted By: OHVATN
theburn -

I don't want to hijack your thread, but one of the concerns I have about getting some land is with trespassers/poaching. It would be a weekend place for me. From the aerial (and your 78 acres looks very nice by the way), it appears that you've got a right of way back into your parcel so you are landlocked so to speak. If my observation is correct, I would think that would help mitigate poaching and trespassing. My thinking is that the tresspassers are more likely to stick to the roads and enter from road frontage than to move into an interior piece of property via a right of way.

For everyone else, what is the best way to create sanctuary? Selective clear cut, use your own chain saw and start hinge-cutting, plant some pines on that cleared hillside? Would you recommend roughly 1/4 be made sanctuary or something less? I'd think you would want the sanctuary to be in the middle of the property not on the edges.
Chainsaw,no need for planting,just decide on an area and start cutting all the undesirable trees you can,regrowth will create the cover,and FOOD!
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The best day to plant a tree,IS TODAY!

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