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#3606672 - 03/04/14 09:29 AM Corn
DeerSanta
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I was thinking about putting out some corn but read some articles where it can actually kill deer this time of year. I am fairly new to this as I have always just hunted and not managed in any way. What is everyone's experience with this?
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#3606694 - 03/04/14 09:49 AM Re: Corn [Re: DeerSanta]
BSK
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What are you trying to accomplish? Small amounts of corn--what is typically used to run a photo-census--in late winter shouldn't be a problem, but large-scale feeding of corn can be a problem for a variety of reasons.
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#3606699 - 03/04/14 09:54 AM Re: Corn [Re: BSK]
pressfit
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Registered: 12/28/09
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I counted 25-30 deer in one of my corn fields not long ago.. I doubt it will hurt them much..
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#3606726 - 03/04/14 10:21 AM Re: Corn [Re: pressfit]
A.Hall
Formerly "Spoon"
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If I was putting out corn, would broad cast thru a spreader. I would never pour in a pile
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#3606760 - 03/04/14 10:46 AM Re: Corn [Re: A.Hall]
DeerSanta
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What's the issue with putting it in a pile? I was planning to use a drain pipe type feeder.
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#3606773 - 03/04/14 11:03 AM Re: Corn [Re: DeerSanta]
BSK
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I don't think feeding small amounts of corn in winter is a problem, no matter how you provide it. But large amounts--bags and bags poured into trough feeders--can become a serious problem, as deer focus most of their feeding on the corn. Often this can cause serious if not lethal digestive consequences for deer not used to eating corn year 'round. Deer digest through bacterial action, and ingesting foods they do not have the proper bacteria to break down can be lethal.
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#3606822 - 03/04/14 11:47 AM Re: Corn [Re: BSK]
Football Hunter
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What are you trying to accomplish?Help them thru the winter?Im sure it will help a little,but putting out 50 or 100 lbs of corn every so often doesn't really do much,assuming you have a decent deer population.Plus,corn is so dang high now!
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#3606897 - 03/04/14 12:56 PM Re: Corn [Re: Football Hunter]
DeerSanta
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What are some better option with higher protein and where can it be purchased locally?

My primary reasoning is getting photos and would like to help grow the deer if it's feasible.

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#3606907 - 03/04/14 01:07 PM Re: Corn [Re: DeerSanta]
DeerSanta
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I've also been kicking around the idea of renting a tiller and throwing out some seed. I don't want to make a science project out of it. What would be my best bet if I just want to till up the soil, throw down some seed and walk away?
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#3606925 - 03/04/14 01:28 PM Re: Corn [Re: DeerSanta]
deerhunter10
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Registered: 08/21/12
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to get some pictures this time of the year corn will work. and if you are only looking for pictures a mineral sites are great places in the summer to get pictures. and there is a lot more things that go into a food plot then tilling and throwing out the seed.
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#3607093 - 03/04/14 04:13 PM Re: Corn [Re: DeerSanta]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: DeerSanta
What are some better option with higher protein and where can it be purchased locally?

My primary reasoning is getting photos and would like to help grow the deer if it's feasible.


Unless you're prepared to spend thousands, if not tens of thousands, you can't feed deer enough to "help them grow." In fact, you aren't going to be doing much with feeding a free-ranging deer herd. It would take a contained herd (high-fence) to produce much of a measurable result on the deer you have to hunt.

If you just want to get pictures, at this time of year, a PVC pipe gravity feeder will draw deer to the camera. For getting pictures in late spring and summer, I would recommend salt licks over any type of feed.
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#3628693 - 03/28/14 08:46 AM Re: Corn [Re: deerhunter10]
danny1975
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Registered: 03/22/10
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I use minerals mix and mix it with corn , pour it in small piles this time of year . great way to start a mineral site

.

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#3628737 - 03/28/14 09:35 AM Re: Corn [Re: BSK]
doubledownranch
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Registered: 08/09/11
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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: DeerSanta
What are some better option with higher protein and where can it be purchased locally?

My primary reasoning is getting photos and would like to help grow the deer if it's feasible.


Unless you're prepared to spend thousands, if not tens of thousands, you can't feed deer enough to "help them grow." In fact, you aren't going to be doing much with feeding a free-ranging deer herd. It would take a contained herd (high-fence) to produce much of a measurable result on the deer you have to hunt.

If you just want to get pictures, at this time of year, a PVC pipe gravity feeder will draw deer to the camera. For getting pictures in late spring and summer, I would recommend salt licks over any type of feed.


Man if I had 1 dollar for every time I've argued with my family over this, I'd be able to buy a high fence ranch and the feed to go with it.
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#3628748 - 03/28/14 09:44 AM Re: Corn [Re: doubledownranch]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: doubledownranch
 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: DeerSanta
What are some better option with higher protein and where can it be purchased locally?

My primary reasoning is getting photos and would like to help grow the deer if it's feasible.


Unless you're prepared to spend thousands, if not tens of thousands, you can't feed deer enough to "help them grow." In fact, you aren't going to be doing much with feeding a free-ranging deer herd. It would take a contained herd (high-fence) to produce much of a measurable result on the deer you have to hunt.

If you just want to get pictures, at this time of year, a PVC pipe gravity feeder will draw deer to the camera. For getting pictures in late spring and summer, I would recommend salt licks over any type of feed.


Man if I had 1 dollar for every time I've argued with my family over this, I'd be able to buy a high fence ranch and the feed to go with it.


HA!

I can't tell you how many times I've had to sit down with a client and work out the economics of supplemental feeding for them before they understand what a losing proposition it is.

I realize we humans are always looking for the "shortcut" to what we want, and that desire/ability is one of the things that has made us such a successful species, but supplemental feeding is not the quick or accurate route to large-antlered bucks.
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#3628781 - 03/28/14 10:13 AM Re: Corn [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
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Registered: 06/12/02
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 Originally Posted By: BSK
I can't tell you how many times I've had to sit down with a client and work out the economics of supplemental feeding for them before they understand what a losing proposition it is.

Your statement can go well beyond your "clients", i.e., most hunters who "think" we or they should start some supplemental feeding program AS SEEN ON TV!

Most hunters don't even know where to begin in analyzing the cost vs. the benefits vs. the detriments, or how extensive the feeding program would have to be to have much effect. Nature has selected deer to be browsers which feed on the move, just something to keep in mind.

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#3629334 - 03/28/14 08:08 PM Re: Corn [Re: Wes Parrish]
MickThompson
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If anyone bothered to analyze cost vs benefits for wildlife, all we would talk about on this forum would be timber harvest, TSI, and burning.
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#3630088 - 03/29/14 05:38 PM Re: Corn [Re: MickThompson]
Football Hunter
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 Originally Posted By: MickThompson
If anyone bothered to analyze cost vs benefits for wildlife, all we would talk about on this forum would be timber harvest, TSI, and burning.
Probably right,but doing plots is fun,at least for me.
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#3630677 - 03/30/14 09:55 AM Re: Corn [Re: Football Hunter]
MickThompson
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I like turning dirt myself, but I think we as hunters and managers think deer and turkeys need our agriculture much more than they actually do, and often neglect the rest of the farm for the sake of a few manicured clover lawns. Food plots are important, just not the most important.
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#3630768 - 03/30/14 12:37 PM Re: Corn [Re: MickThompson]
scn
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At some point as the costs of planting continue to rise, hunters are going to take a step back and realize a chainsaw is much more important to their deer herd than a tractor and plow.

But, it won't look as "pretty".
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#3631214 - 03/30/14 09:19 PM Re: Corn [Re: scn]
BigGameGuy
TWRA Biologist
12 Point


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Food plots for wildlife are a marketing product that just arose during the last twenty to thirty years and it has been a tremendously successful campaign. Look how big the food plot seed companies have grown many of which have become multimillion dollar industries. Wildlife don't "need" food plots but most hunters have been sold on the idea that they do.
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#3631232 - 03/30/14 09:34 PM Re: Corn [Re: BigGameGuy]
pass-thru
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Registered: 10/10/04
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 Originally Posted By: BigGameGuy
Food plots for wildlife are a marketing product that just arose during the last twenty to thirty years and it has been a tremendously successful campaign. Look how big the food plot seed companies have grown many of which have become multimillion dollar industries. Wildlife don't "need" food plots but most hunters have been sold on the idea that they do.


Food plots were used by wildlife professionals...for deer and turkey.... long before they became a fad with hunters. If they are not a valuable tool, then why were so many state biologists using them before the marketing fad?

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#3631336 - 03/31/14 07:03 AM Re: Corn [Re: MickThompson]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: MickThompson
If anyone bothered to analyze cost vs benefits for wildlife, all we would talk about on this forum would be timber harvest, TSI, and burning.


And that's why those are the habitat management processes I push so hard--they produce the most bang for the buck!
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#3631345 - 03/31/14 07:20 AM Re: Corn [Re: pass-thru]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: pass-thru
 Originally Posted By: BigGameGuy
Food plots for wildlife are a marketing product that just arose during the last twenty to thirty years and it has been a tremendously successful campaign. Look how big the food plot seed companies have grown many of which have become multimillion dollar industries. Wildlife don't "need" food plots but most hunters have been sold on the idea that they do.


Food plots were used by wildlife professionals...for deer and turkey.... long before they became a fad with hunters. If they are not a valuable tool, then why were so many state biologists using them before the marketing fad?


Agricultural plantings on public lands are often more a factor of making hunters happy than to improve/maintain the health of wildlife. Agricultural plantings provide more predictable wildlife concentration points, which increase hunters' opportunities to see and harvest wildlife.
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#3631368 - 03/31/14 07:39 AM Re: Corn [Re: BSK]
BSK
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I, for one, am not going to say food plots have no value. They do have some wildlife management value. If they didn't, I wouldn't go to the trouble of planting them on my own property. But the value of food plots has been highly over-rated by many in the hunting industry. What I'm getting at is the idea that by planting food plots, you are going to grow and kill bigger bucks. The scientific problems with that statement are so numerous I hesitate to begin listing them all. But the two most obvious problems are A) the amount of agriculture you would have to plant to see noticeable improvements in buck antler growth per age-class (meaning a huge investment in money); and B) the percent of the bucks on a managed property during hunting season that actually are a product of those plantings. That can be lower than many would expect.
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"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3631578 - 03/31/14 10:37 AM Re: Corn [Re: BSK]
buckaroo
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Registered: 06/18/09
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I think food plots are not much more than another reason for deer to stay in an area
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#3632014 - 03/31/14 07:19 PM Re: Corn [Re: buckaroo]
BigGameGuy
TWRA Biologist
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Food plots are more of a tool for harvest management. They put hunters and animals on a collision course, so they do have some value. Where hunters are often misled is that they have been led to believe that the food plots help produce higher-quality animals in terms of body mass or antler production. Unless food intake is highly controlled you probably will not see significant gains in either category. This is especially true in a free ranging deer herd where most of the food consumption is done opportunistically as the deer moves about the landscape.
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#3632272 - 03/31/14 11:23 PM Re: Corn [Re: BigGameGuy]
pass-thru
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I guess you can distinguish ag crops of clover and alfalfa from food plots of the same that are planted just for wildlife. There is no doubt in my mind that large 10-20 acre fields of high protein alfalfa and clover have a significant impact on body weight and antlers. The farm I lived on in KY for several years had just such crops and large bachelor groups of bucks would hit the alfalfa every night all through anter growing season. Huge deer, huge antlers.

I have not fooled much with food plots on my place until the past year because I haven't felt the need to. The complete mast failure last year has changed my view a bit. First it made for a terrible bow season, so there is an attraction component. But equally important, I have never seen deer so hard pressed as to what they're eating. Stuff I have never seen deer fool with before. Like all the needles off of loblolly saplings I planted last spring.

A few acres of plots in what would otherwise be fallow hay fields may not grow trophy bucks but would certainly be a help to bucks recovering from the rut and does trying to grow fawns. I will be expanding my food plots. I'm also eager to see how the deer progress through spring in summer coming out the toughest winter we've seen in many years.

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#3632295 - 04/01/14 04:57 AM Re: Corn [Re: pass-thru]
EastTNHunter
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This is a very good and informative thread
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#3632365 - 04/01/14 07:56 AM Re: Corn [Re: pass-thru]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: pass-thru
I guess you can distinguish ag crops of clover and alfalfa from food plots of the same that are planted just for wildlife. There is no doubt in my mind that large 10-20 acre fields of high protein alfalfa and clover have a significant impact on body weight and antlers. The farm I lived on in KY for several years had just such crops and large bachelor groups of bucks would hit the alfalfa every night all through anter growing season. Huge deer, huge antlers.


The question is, how much of the "Huge deer, huge antlers" is due to the food plots? Some deer travel great distances over a year's time, often using very different locations through the seasons. What else are they eating? Did the deer suddenly produce huge bodies and antlers only after the food plots were established? Assuming something and being able to prove it are two different things. Many things we assume to be true end up being not true once they are put to scientific testing.


 Quote:
A few acres of plots in what would otherwise be fallow hay fields may not grow trophy bucks but would certainly be a help to bucks recovering from the rut and does trying to grow fawns.


Maybe. But how much growth is there in the food plots during the critical time: late-winter. If the food plots are down to dirt by mid-December, what exactly are they doing for deer in February?

Everything comes down to what and how much food is being provided during the lowest food resource time of year. In addition, how much money is poured into food plots that will be large enough to feed a local deer population through winter? That can be a shocking number once fertilization and herbicide applications are added up over time. What else could have been done with that money that would also benefit deer?

It's an interesting cost-benefit analysis.
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"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3632401 - 04/01/14 08:16 AM Re: Corn [Re: scn]
landman
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Registered: 11/15/09
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 Originally Posted By: scn
At some point as the costs of planting continue to rise, hunters are going to take a step back and realize a chainsaw is much more important to their deer herd than a tractor and plow.

But, it won't look as "pretty".


That Stewart Co ground many lease hold tremendous deer, but it's ugly as
Sin.....but you know that
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#3632441 - 04/01/14 08:43 AM Re: Corn [Re: landman]
MickThompson
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Registered: 08/09/06
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A deer's summer diet is 70% weeds and browse-This is while bucks are growing antlers and does are dropping fawns.

Is it responsible for a wildlife agency to spend 75% of its budget to manage 10% or less of their land to produce a product that is 30% or less of a deer's summer diet...

OR

Use a far smaller % to manage the 90% for 70% of a deer's summer diet, fawning cover, brood cover for turkeys and quail, and sow a liitle clover and wheat in some firebreaks and log landings when they get a chance?

Which provides more benefits throughout the year for more species? Which strategy can effect wildlife at a landscape level?

I ask the same question to anyone one here managing their own land as well.

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#3632523 - 04/01/14 10:09 AM Re: Corn [Re: MickThompson]
MickThompson
4 Point


Registered: 08/09/06
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BGG is right-
Food plots are the most over-hyped aspect of habitat management because of marketing. Can you bag up and sell prescribed fire? Timber harvest? Disking? Timber Stand Improvement? No.

You can, however, make a killing selling little bags of overpriced seed with a picture of a big buck on the front.

Don't get me wrong, food plotting is a great gateway into complete habitat management, but it isn't a stand alone practice.

I ask everyone this question when they start asking me about food plots- What are you doing on the other 95% of your property?

Hash that out and then worry about that 5%.

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#3632561 - 04/01/14 10:52 AM Re: Corn [Re: MickThompson]
diamond hunter
6 Point


Registered: 09/16/12
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I understand all of this completely,cut undesirable trees as often as possible where you want thickets like the amazon jungle,leaving the most desirable mast and timber trees.I have no problem with this.What I have a problem with is IDENTIFYING the most desirable mast and timber trees. I would easily pay someone,for half or a full days work,to walk over 100 acres and help me mark those cull trees,OR,to mark the trees that are mast producing with timber quality.I like to squirrel hunt so I would want to keep good squirrel trees as well. I can name a few to get rid of...sasafrass,ironwood,elm,beech,tree of heaven,cottonwood,locust,sycamore,busted up maples,cedars to name a few. Who out there will take this job?? I would use a list and spraypaint trees to cull.
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#3632609 - 04/01/14 12:01 PM Re: Corn [Re: diamond hunter]
MickThompson
4 Point


Registered: 08/09/06
Posts: 247
Loc: Cookeville, Tennessee

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You have a TWRA private lands biologist and a TDF forester at your disposal, free of charge, that cover every county in the state. You may get slightly different answers from each (wildlife vs. production forestry backgrounds) but the general idea should be the same. These guys know what they are talking about and do exactly what you are asking on a regular basis.

There are private foresters and contractors that will mark and treat the stands for you, and you can even receive cost-share assistance to do it.

Maybe the contact info could be a good sticky at the top of this forum???

Here is the contact info for your biologists, foresters, etc. Click on your region, then your county
http://www.tn.gov/twra/habitatmgmt.html

Here is a cheatsheet for TN tree ID
http://www.tn.gov/twra/pdfs/treeidguide.pdf

Here is an article by Dr Craig Harper on releasing trees
http://fwf.ag.utk.edu/personnel/charper/...fe%20Trends.pdf

Here is a site with some really good info on forest management/TSI
http://www.crawfordconservation.com/for-mgmt.html

Call or email these guys, set up an appointment, build a habitat plan, and execute it. Get the forester and the biologist out there on the same day to see both of their perspectives. Your license dollars and tax dollars are putting these guys to work. Get your money's worth out of them!

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#3632661 - 04/01/14 12:53 PM Re: Corn [Re: MickThompson]
Quailman
8 Point


Registered: 08/04/03
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Loc: Winchester, TN

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 Originally Posted By: MickThompson
You have a TWRA private lands biologist and a TDF forester at your disposal, free of charge, that cover every county in the state. You may get slightly different answers from each (wildlife vs. production forestry backgrounds) but the general idea should be the same. These guys know what they are talking about and do exactly what you are asking on a regular basis.


Good advice. We have 4 NRCS Area Biologists, 4 TWRA Private Lands Biologists, and 2 Quail Forever Private Lands Biologists that either work out of or are tied to an NRCS Area Office location. We cover the entire state, will help develop a management plan based on your goals as well as the available resources, and there is absolutely no charge for our services.

Food plots are fine if you want to attract wildlife to your property for hunting purposes, and I plant them on my own farms as well. However, the key to successfully managing for wildlife on your land is to improve the quantity and quality of early successional native plant communities. Food plots are just a small part of the equation.
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#3632737 - 04/01/14 03:13 PM Re: Corn [Re: landman]
scn
14 Point


Registered: 02/05/03
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 Originally Posted By: landman
 Originally Posted By: scn
At some point as the costs of planting continue to rise, hunters are going to take a step back and realize a chainsaw is much more important to their deer herd than a tractor and plow.

But, it won't look as "pretty".


That Stewart Co ground many lease hold tremendous deer, but it's ugly as
Sin.....but you know that


You are totally correct. It is ugly. When I was on a lease over there I used to shake my head at the money the lease threw down a black hole trying to get something green to grow in some little ridgetop fields. We would have been much better off killing the fescue they came back to and having some weed fields we bushhogged every 3-4 years. But, that wouldn't have been as pretty.


Edited by scn (04/01/14 03:26 PM)
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#3632761 - 04/01/14 03:43 PM Re: Corn [Re: Quailman]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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 Originally Posted By: Quailman
Food plots are fine if you want to attract wildlife to your property for hunting purposes, and I plant them on my own farms as well. However, the key to successfully managing for wildlife on your land is to improve the quantity and quality of early successional native plant communities. Food plots are just a small part of the equation.


This. A thousand times over!

Plus, that early successional native plant growth not only provides food, it also makes excellent cover--one of the key ingredients to holding hunter-wary older bucks on your property once the hunters invade the woods in fall.
_________________________
"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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#3632763 - 04/01/14 03:46 PM Re: Corn [Re: scn]
scn
14 Point


Registered: 02/05/03
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BSK, you are 100% on point that assumptions may not prove out to be facts. When I hired on in 1977, it was considered a given that our best habitat in TN for deer and turkey were the most rugged mountains we had. After all, that was the only place (along with some WTN swamps) we had any remnant populations of deer and turkey. Common sense told us that was the best habitat because that is the only place they were living. So, our initial restoration efforts focused on mountain land and a few swamps. The results were fairly disappointing.

It was only after some re-stocking failures (or almost failures) that we rolled the dice and stocked some of the farmlands that hadn't had deer or turkey on them for fifty years. The concept of "edge" came to the forefront, and the results of that are the historical harvests we continue to see.

Sometimes we have to learn from our mistakes and take science a little more into consideration than "what makes common sense".


Edited by scn (04/01/14 03:49 PM)
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#3632786 - 04/01/14 04:26 PM Re: Corn [Re: scn]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: scn
When I hired on in 1977, it was considered a given that our best habitat in TN for deer and turkey were the most rugged mountains we had. After all, that was the only place (along with some WTN swamps) we had any remnant populations of deer and turkey.


That's a key point scn when I talk to landowners about habitat needs for deer. Where were the only remain deer in TN in the late 70s? In the most difficult to get to (for hunters) terrain and habitat. Where will hunter-wary deer go when hunting pressure suddenly explodes in fall? To the most difficult to get to and access terrain and habitat (the thickest areas). Create jungle-thick cover on your property--that is virtually impossible to enter or hunt--and guess where all the deer in the area are going to go to once hunting season starts? And if YOUR property is the only one in the area that has that jungle-thick sanctuary cover, guess where all the pressured bucks will be once the guns start going off? YOUR property.
_________________________
"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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#3633186 - 04/01/14 09:59 PM Re: Corn [Re: BSK]
pass-thru
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Registered: 10/10/04
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I think there is something missing from the conversation: you can otherwise balance habitat while still using food plots. These are not mutually exclusive concepts. I have always managed my place with regard to timber. Will be having a cut in a couple months. In a few years the thinned area will run it's course regarding benefit to deer. Just like a food plot runs it's course.

BSK, a food plot may be eat to the ground by the end of December. But if there is not sufficient mast, the browse the deer forgoe Oct-Dec while munching on the food plot will still be around in January, when without the foodplot it would be all the more depleted at that time.

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#3633359 - 04/02/14 07:54 AM Re: Corn [Re: pass-thru]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65357
Loc: Nashville, TN

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pass-thru,

I'm not saying food plots are useless. They absolutely have value in a management plan. I'm just saying their benefits are overhyped, UNLESS a manager is willing to pour huge amounts of money into them, which automatically places them low on the cost-benefit ratio priority list.

In addition, a big difference exists in how MOST hunters/managers utilize food plots, and how a few maximize plots. In most cases, food plots are small little plots scattered around a property and usually only make up 1-2% of the landscape. In this typical situation, what is planted in those scattered small plots produces very little nutritional improvement for a substantial, seasonally-shifting deer population.

That is a very different situation than the few who have the tillable acreage, equipment, and money to produce production-agriculture quality plots that make up 10+% of a property, with some of those plots being 5 to 10 or more acres in size. THAT type of food plot operation absolutely CAN produce noticeable results. But very few properties have that type of food plot program. And again, for that size operation, when you add up the costs of equipment, man-hours, fertilizer, seed, and herbicide per year... Ouch.
_________________________
"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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#3634740 - 04/03/14 10:32 AM Re: Corn [Re: BSK]
Hunter 257W
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Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3165
Loc: Franklin County

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One point missing from this discussion so far is the idea of enhancing overgrown fields with lime and fertilize. I see this mentioned every now and then in habitat improvement articles but mention it to most deer hunters and they laugh at you thinking you are making a joke. To most, they see spending money to grow weeds for deer as a waste but growing a food plot as ok. Either way, you are only going to benefit from your "crop" when/if the deer eat it. If you can grow something that deer naturally prefer to eat, plus they will bed in it, and it will grow with no effort on your part, other than enhancing it with lime and fertilize, then there are no negatives.


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