Food Plots, Man-made trails and deer bedding

Since we acquired our 50 acres, we’ve spent a lot of time watching videos, reading books, and making changes to our land.  I’m arguably one of the worst hunters and fisherman around – but I love to be in the woods and on the lake.  Our property was about 5 acres of ignored apple trees and 45 acres of cedar swamp.  We brought in a crew to clear cut based on specific goals.  First, we wanted to liberate our now 30 apple trees from the suffocation of cedar trees.  Mission accomplished.  Next we wanted to open up the interior of our property in sections to allow for ground growth.  This went great until the loggers were up to their 5 foot tires in muck and swamp.  They were able to open about 3 acres near and around our home.

They plan to come back in January/February when the ground freezes.  Mission started.  Next I planted the new large field with a variety of food sources.  Oats, red clover, white clover, rape, turnips, radishes and chicory.  My thought was to determine what our deer like and don’t like this year.  Further, because we have a mix of limestone/rock and swamp, I wanted to see what would grow and not grow.  Last night was epic as we had 7 deer in our main field including at least two young bucks.  This may not seem like much to most; but, to us this was incredible as it marked the first time we’ve seen deer in the big food plots before dark.  Even better, this morning three does were in our field and spent most of the morning at our all you could eat buffet.

The highlight was when they had filled their bellies, they exited along the new path in the woods we made last week!  That path goes directly to a micro-plot that grows in front of one of our blinds!!!  Success.  We invested hours of sweat, chainsaw time, tilling, fertilizing and seeding and nothing was sweeter than seeing those three does head that way!

When you look at the Google Earth photos of our property, we are surrounded by cedar swamp for a several mile area – absent of any major food source.  As a result, we hope the loggers can come back after deer season to further open up our property for new browse to come up.  Our strategy is to create 3 or 4 “zones” in the behind our house that have corridors on the perimeter and connecting each side of our property to our neighbors on the west and east.  Our West neighbor also clear cut as he wants to open it up for his business expansion and for future baseball fields for children.  This works for us a baseball goes from about April through July.  This is a long term project for him and until then – more browse will come up with our property being the primary bedding/cover area.  Next year we plan to take advantage of that as part of Phase II doe/buck bedding and hinge-cutting.

Stay tuned for more info and pictures!