How would you approach this land?

ArmyMutt

Eight Pointer
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Trying to figure out where to clear for food plots, travel corridors, bedding areas, etc. The area in red is my property. My house is in the north west corner. The green outlines are the areas I thought about setting up food plots. The most south western one is already clear, but it also is the lowest spot on the land, so it catches all the drainage from the area to the south. There's an intermittent stream that's been more constant the past year. On the eastern side, it is cleared completely, about 20-30 yards wide for my range. The land generally falls downhill, with the house being the highest point, though on that western side, the lowest point is about 2/3 of the way down the range. The area was logged and is densely packed with skinny pines. Down by the stream, there's a lot of thick undergrowth - natural barbed wire, I call it. I haven't been in there ever. The buildings to the south are a chicken farm. The other side of the road to the north is crops that vary between tobacco, soy beans, and fallow. This year it was fallow. Directly east is land about like mine. To the west is a regrowing cutover, managed about like mine was before I bought it, but the area southwest is swampy. My land was tobacco fields years ago and there are a couple of manmade ridges that run for various lengths. My neighbor said they were dikes for preventing erosion. Thoughts?
 
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nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Those “dykes” are most likely old terraces. They were commonplace in the 60s and 70s. Govt paid to put them in place.
 

ArmyMutt

Eight Pointer
You think they would work to channel the deer? They have trees growing out the tops and water on the uphill side. If it's worth my while, I'll go clear a path down them - just not sure if the deer would prefer to walk along the tops of them or to the side.
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Well for the most part deer will walk the path of least resistance. You could moderately open the area you want the deer to walk and do some hinge cutting where you want to divert them, and possibly watch market place for some used field fencing. String it along there also. You don’t want to do anything too drastic at once and make them complete shy away but gradually change and it may work.
 

para4514

Eight Pointer
Contributor
Compared to the adjacent poultry houses looks like this tract is about 20 acres. Everyone will have a different view on how to approach this tract, but there is only so much you can do on a tract of this size to consistently impact deer usage. Food plots well serve as an attractant, but the adjacent cover type will impact how and when the deer visit them. Soft and hard mast are beneficial, but even planting a variety of species will still take several years to start producing, and even then the time period they produce fruit will be limited each year. To consistently have deer visit the property it seems you need to focus on browse and bedding. This would mean resetting the growth on as much of the property as you are willing to. Clear cut, or drum chop the existing forest to promote sprouting, briers and vines. Leave any mast producing tree that is near old enough to produce fruit.

Plan on keeping the vegetation low and thick using fire, herbicide or mechanical means every 3 to 5 years. Install 30 foot lanes to divide the bedding area in half or quarters, I envision a "cross" of lanes that break the property in quarters. Plant these lanes as your food plots, plant a couple pockets of soft mass trees along these lanes and put a big feeder at the center of the cross. This is extreme, and will impact the look of the property, but will ensure you have a consistent attractant, browse and bedding, no matter what happens on the surrounding parcels.
 

Aaron H

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
My main thought is I would not put any food plot right on the edge of my land. Hunters on adjoining land would be able to hunt deer approaching the food plots and might be tempted to shoot even into your openings. Of course where ever you put a food plot adjoining land hunters can learn the travel paths to and from it and take deer well off of your land but having a food plot on the edge is poor planning IMO. Now, on 20 acres +/- one food plot is sufficient. I would think about planting persimmon trees in another nearby opening and maybe a few pear trees for soft mast. Cut back some pines now and plant some oaks- they will be years away from producing but if you are young enough you might see some benefit from them as well. I'd plant white oaks at least partly but sawtooth oaks will mature quickly and could be part of your enhancement efforts. Having a new place to make like you want it is exciting stuff..... ENJOY!
 

ArmyMutt

Eight Pointer
Thanks guys. As far as adjacent hunting, to the south and west, there is none. To the east, my neighbor might get out there with his bow once in a while, but not frequently. Across the street, there's some hunting going on, and certainly a ways away, as I hear gun shots now and then. I hope to buy the land to the west. An 84 year old widow owns it. Haven't seen anyone near it for the past 3 years. Problem is, it's going to get too thick for me to do anything with my backhoe and little MF135. Already going to have a struggle with my current land.
 
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