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Best land management for deer

11/14/19 @ 5:15 PM
ORIGNAL POST
outfishin
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!!

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1/6/20 @ 9:59 PM
outfishin
MEMBER since 1/14/13

Wanted to add an update. I closed on the property last week so I officially own a little slice of heaven here on earth. 

Even though it’s the dead of winter up here, pretty much all I can think about is the property. Ive been watching tons of Jeff Sturgis on YouTube and learning a lot.

I’ve been up to the property a few times with the snowmobile trying to get a game plan together for spring and just learning the land. And of course getting the sled buried when one of the old logging roads suddenly ends at a popple thicket with no good turnaround. My sled is taking a beating! 

Pretty void of wildlife right now except for some snowshoes. Most of the deer in the area moved out to their wintering yard areas which is about 15 miles to the west of my property according to the dnr guys in the area. A few of the deer are collared and they track them to study seasonal movements. They will slowly move back into my area in April and May. 

I will be doing some hinge cutting and logging for food plots this winter and it’s great to just be out in the woods. It’s tough getting around with 2 feet of snow on the ground but it’s still enjoyable and I got another chainsaw for Christmas so I might as well break it in right away. Sorry for the long post but this is exciting stuff and just thought I’d share as I move forward with some of the improvements I make to the land. 

11/22/19 @ 1:48 PM
Analog man
Analog man
User since 12/10/18

All you need is a chain saw, a  number of does permits and of course no trespassing signs.

11/22/19 @ 11:51 AM
Musky Ben
User since 3/13/02

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3SRi79QoVA&t=545s 

Watch this video from Jeff Sturgis...

Musky Ben

11/19/19 @ 10:28 AM
BigHorn
User since 10/24/11

Congrats on your purchase!  Land management is very addicting and rewarding.  Lots of good info from all that have commented.  Again as far as food plots, put them in.  I purchased my land 4 years ago and the number of deer seen using the plots has gone up each year as well as more daylight sightings.  They're in the plot as soon as I leave from tilling and planting.  Make sure you plant things that feed them throughout the year.  Give them some food in early spring when they really need it to recover (especially the does carrying fawns).  I really like winter rye planted in late August.  That's just one thing and I don't want to make this a food plot discussion.  You can PM me for a good food plot rotation.

Look into hinge-cutting those 6-8' poplar/aspen.  Once they get above browsing size, they aren't much good until they're pulping size.  Hinge cut them and they'll add alot of browse.  You can also use hinge cutting to funnel deer if there aren't any natural funnels.  You can also use hinge cutting as blocking cover to gain better access to your stands.  There are a ton of good ideas out there.  But get a good chainsaw.  :)

11/18/19 @ 12:55 PM
Mr.Bass1984
Mr.Bass1984
User since 6/12/10

Our property was clear cut other than a few select mature oaks when my dad and uncle purchased the property 20 years ago. Year number two and the property transformed into very thick cover of locust, briars, thorns, etc.  Very great bedding and cover for deer, but not great for access in most areas.  The best thing we did to our property was cut roads around and through the entire property right from the start.  It's nice being able to drive a truck or tractor all the way to the back corner of the property to work on stands or pick up a deer that you shot.  We just run a drag over the roads a few times a year to knock down weeds and grass so maintenance is easy.  It also makes for a very silent approach when accessing stands.


11/16/19 @ 10:25 AM
frenchbrit
frenchbrit
User since 7/24/01

Jzzzz- You get paid for the tree's that are logged off your property. That is unless there is no market for them. That would be unusual but can happen. An example would be if you owned wooded property that was used as pastureland for years. Not always the case but generally the tree's in those area's are junk and unusable for anything other than pulp or firewood. They still may have some small value depending on how many years it was used as pastureland. Cows destroy wood lots in general. In most circumstances your wooded property will have a variety of tree species on it. Hard to believe but every tree essentially has a different value. It just depends on the individual tree. Generally value is in this order. Hard maple, then red oak, white oat, soft maple and then aspen is the least valuable but still can be ok if they are big enough. White pine has a poor market and red pine can be pretty profitable depending. You can throw basswood in there someplace but again not the best value. If your just doing a thinning and not taking out saw logs you will likely get just pulp price for what they take out. Pulp price can be all over the board but its a few hundred dollars for each semi load. I had individual red oaks that were worth 700-to a thousand dollars for that 1 tree. BUT then the logger gets his cut, the semi drivers gets their cut for hauling to the mill. Maybe the forester takes a cut depending if they are involved or not. Every tree is graded differently. If you have a red oak that they can get 4 -102" logs out of it and there are no branch's, no seams, no "bumps" (old branch marks) no frost cracks straight and tall and no hollowing at the base that would be considered prime sometime and worth big dollars. Hope this helps. Any other questions feel free to ask. Logging is a whole different world and I took some lumps through the years but did fine at other times. Who you hire makes all the difference.

11/16/19 @ 10:12 AM
Musky Ben
User since 3/13/02

Jzzz: and outfishin:

The first thing I would do is to contact and consult with your county forester.  They are supposed to be free and mostly they still want to understand what you are doing with your land.  After that I would watch the ton of videos that Jeff Sturgis (JS)has on his Whitetail Habitat Solutions.  Strategies beyond strategies!!!  Then if you think you want or need to hire him or another land consultant, go for it.

The other thing I would do is to get a topo map and walk the property with some kind of tracking device that you can maybe download to google earth to see what your deer are doing.  In ag country, I would not do any food plots to start until you get an idea of what's going on with your deer.  Watch JS's vids on how to draw bucks to property including small water holes and licking branhes/mock scrapes.  Enough for now, but we have 85 acres in central WI ag country and believe our entire property is sanctuary and then we set aside internal sanctuary as well.

Jzzz:  As for timber harvest, we use the county forester (CF) to find a forester to do the harvest and understand what he/she thinks may be bestfor your land per your desires.  Then interview the forester to understand his practices, what they cut and how you want it cut, then once you have the bids in hand, make a decision and go for it.  IMHO, you should get paid, not handsomely, but enough to pay taxes and other incidentals.

Musky Ben


11/16/19 @ 8:17 AM
Jzzzzz
User since 1/19/02

how does the logging or timber harvesting work?   Do they pay  or do I pay them to log?  dum question, but I am interested in doing this by me.


thanks

11/15/19 @ 6:14 PM
frenchbrit
frenchbrit
User since 7/24/01

Outfishin- I have a ton of information on ponds and timber. Habitat is key to so much and what you decide will make all the difference in the world. Please PM me with any questions. I am more than happy to help and now that I'm retired I have plenty of time as well.

11/15/19 @ 3:08 PM
outfishin
MEMBER since 1/14/13

Frenchbrit, 

That is incredible!! It is an investment for me as well and hopefully someday my kids or my grandkids can benefit from the purchase. I always said that I kinda wished my dad or grandpa would’ve bought land when it was 100 bucks an acre or whatever it was back in the day. I don’t want my kids wishing the same thing about me if that makes sense to anyone. 

Tons of good info here folks and it’s much appreciated!

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