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Best land management for deer

11/14/19 @ 5:15 PM
MEMBER since 1/14/13

I’m in the process of buying 120 acres of land strictly for deer hunting. The land is basically a 1/4 mile x 3/4 mile rectangle and it was logged recently so it consists of mostly new 6-8’ tall popple thickets, dogwood brush thickets, and a few areas of mature hardwoods and mature white pine.

The parcel I’m buying has AG land on 2 sides but I think it’s mostly just hay fields right now... 

 The only thing that I know for sure is the fact that I’m leaving about half of the property alone and never or very rarely setting foot on that piece. 

I’m looking for suggestions on how to best improve the other 60 acres. I’m thinking lots of apple trees in different varieties that drop at different times. I’ve also experimented with food plots in the past but I really don’t want all that activity on the property every year. Would it be worth it to dig a small pond? The closest water source on a dry year is about a mile away. I have a skid steer so the pond could be done relatively cheap but would it be beneficial? I’m just looking for some ideas and thoughts. Thanks!!

1/7/20 @ 6:15 PM
MEMBER since 1/14/13

Analog man,

Nope, definitely not wrong! If that’s what works for you, that’s wonderful! No wrong way so long as it’s legal. Hunters need to stick together and embrace the fact that everyone does things differently. 

1/7/20 @ 6:02 PM
Analog man
Analog man
User since 12/10/18

I use a chain saw and doe permits, but that's just me I could be wrong.

1/7/20 @ 2:57 PM
.Long Barrels
User since 12/9/14

bait piles and food plots aren't the same.  both attract deer I agree.  Many food plotters do not plant to kill.  They plant to help the deer and have a sustainable food sources all season.  I spend $500 in beans a year that never get harvested,  strictly for the deer right now in winter.  Standing corn,  radish,  clover plots.  Don't compare food plots to a bait pile cause most of your baiters aren't laying piles down right now.  I'd bet huge money on that.

As for the comment about redosier dogwood,  look into cuttings and replanting in many areas.  I have a ton of it,  I take cuttings each year and grow it in pots,  then replant in spring.  Free and easy...For me I have about 30-40% success rate.  Not bad for free.  you can do that with box elder and willow as well,  they are pretty relentless. 


1/7/20 @ 2:14 PM
phishin phool
MEMBER since 4/5/08

Seriously, I was NOT trying to start a war! Just putting out a smart aleck-y question.

I enjoy my hunts and no, I do not bait either. 

1/7/20 @ 2:04 PM
MEMBER since 1/14/13

Thanks fishdaily! 

I like hearing success stories! I agree on planting each plot with different kinds of crops. Less chances of complete plot failures and gives the wildlife a smorgasbord so to speak. I’ve been reading and hearing great things about winter rye mixed with other crops.

I do have a ton of red-osier dogwood on the property and have been reading that’s extremely beneficial to wildlife so I lucked out there! 

1/7/20 @ 1:48 PM
User since 4/3/03

I bought a much smaller 25 acre parcel about 5 yrs ago.  The first year we did nothing ( Bought it in November)and saw a few deer, but nothing worth shooting. 

The next year I did a 4 acre food plot and was very happy with the results..  I didnt do any weed control and my crop seeds were a bit stunted, but it still drew in deer, turkeys and even some pheasants. 

The next two years  I looked into dividing my food plot up into different sections by using different seed and having various height plants.. that is when I saw the biggest bang for my buck..  I had deer jump out of the sunflowers and run through a little patch of sorghum and literally think it was hiding in 10  to 12 rows of corn.   Began to see more bucks because the does were now living in and around the plot.  Got a nice 10 pointer so far, should have had another one, but I couldn't find him.  

This past gun season I watched 2 doe in my food plot for an entire day..  They bedded down in the corn and every hour or so they would get up stretch and move a few feet and bed back down..  Never saw a buck come check either out, but it was fun to watch the efforts pay off.  

Their are lots and lots of places to look for advice, but I like growing deer tv  On Youtube. He is very consistant and has lots of helpful hints, especially for you big woods type of land. 

Enjoy and good luck. 

1/7/20 @ 10:40 AM
MEMBER since 1/14/13

Big difference between deer browsing over 1-3 acres as compared to a 4 sq. Ft. Area that’s common with piles. Piles is something I dislike. Spread the stuff out in a huge area and make them work for it. 

Regardless, These plots  i speak of are not in vilas county.  And baiting is allowed in the area I’m doing food plots. I’m not against anything as long as it’s legal. Who am I to tell someone else how to hunt so long as it’s legal?! If the dnr starts putting regs on food plots, there’s gonna be tons of issues with gardens, people planting mast trees, normal AG practices, etc. In the meantime, they’re legal and I enjoy the hard work that goes into food plots. I love time in the woods and building food plots will extend that time! 

1/7/20 @ 10:32 AM
User since 12/19/10

On the baiting vs food plot comment I would say yes and no. Yes ur still essentially “baiting” deer but if they’re in a food plot eating that’s different then all of the deer eating from a single corn pile. 

1/7/20 @ 10:01 AM
phishin phool
MEMBER since 4/5/08

Maybe this should go on the "ask a stupid question" thread...

Vilas County, and others are in a "no baiting" area. What is the difference baiting/feeding deer and putting in a food plot??? Seems to me to have the same affect/effect!!!

1/7/20 @ 8:14 AM
User since 1/24/02

Congrats on the new property. I didn't read through all the posts so forgive any redundancy. Yes, you should put water in if possible. In that size parcel I'd be inclined to put in a couple. 

Every property can be different in terms of topography, lay out, stand access and how the deer use it. What seed rotations work for some may not work for you. Deer by me will not touch oats for example. I'd suggest you carefully consider what your goals are and how you want to set it up. There's a ton of info out there for consideration.

I'd also suggest you just observe for a season to get an idea how the wildlife use the land in all four. That may give you an idea of what you want to enhance or change. Also consider what you have for tools to get to your goals. 

Good Luck. Enjoy!

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