thinking about a food plot

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nateberly
 
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thinking about a food plot

Postby nateberly » Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:02 am

OK- I have been wanting to put in a food plot on our property and had an idea.
We only can spend about ten days total scouting and maintaining the property right now, 6 days in the last week of sept/first week in oct. and a four day weekend on the third weekend of october. plus one guy goes up and mows in august for a half day.
We currently only rifle hunt.
We are in N central MN, and have 200 acres, 5 40s
I will attach a snapshot of our property.
We have a "field" that we have to mow every year that is about .7 acres, and we could probably expand it a little bit. But with about the same amount of work to mow it I think we could kill the weeds and plant some forage instead. One of our guys brings his big ford tractor with a mower up every year in the end of august and mows.
So my question is, would it be practical to do this? the green placemarks are portable stands and the reds are permanent. You can see our cabin and the "field" I was talking about, which abuts it. Would it be counteractive to do this, because inevitably we would spook the deer every morning while going to our stands? We usually get out an hour before sunrise and stay out ALL day, but if deer are feeding in the plot in the early AM, what to do???
MN rifle usually is around the time of the rut, first or second week of Nov.
Has anyone else had this type of predicament? any other suggestions?
Thanks,
Nathan




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DeerCamp
 
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RE: thinking about a food plot

Postby DeerCamp » Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:24 am

Well I believe a food plot is never a bad idea.I would plant perennials, so they come back every year, given the time you have to work with. I know your time is limited and your more than likely going to need more time, but its worth a shot anyway. I dont know what your drive is to camp but maybe youll be able to hit it up for a weekend or so to do some more work .So let me get this straight..The blue area is where the food plot is going to be right? Almost in front of the cabin. It doesnt seem as if there is a stand in the area that would be over looking it. I would have a stand over looking a food plot if I were you. Yes I believe you may scare deer out of the plot on your way into the woods, however they should come back. Especially if you have stands behind and if there is pressure the deer will be moving around a little more. I would go along with this, but remember food plots are no easy task. I would get some soil tests, and talk to an food plot expert. I believe one of the webniers that we just had was on food plots.It might be worth trying to get a copy on it to learn a little more. 
 
I like the Idea of the "Box" you got going on with the 4 stands there. You could be able to catch one moving from teh big woods over to the food plot.

Good luck with everything and I hope it goes well for you. Just be sure if your are hunting the food plot, to make sure that you know where all hunters are at all times with a cabin so close, and with you guys only hunting gun. Saftey first!
"If I pull the hammer and shoot this young buck, he's dead. But if I pass on him, the next hunter might not shoot so straight."

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buckhunter21
 
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RE: thinking about a food plot

Postby buckhunter21 » Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:03 am

I like DeerCamp's idea, but I would go a step further with this as well.  Since this will only be used for gun season, I'd divide the plot up in half.  Put the half that's closest towards the cabin in a clover perennial, and the other half you could work every fall when you go up there into a late season annual, brassica for instance.  This way the deer have something to munch on year round, plus you could have a shooting plot in that back annual plot during the gun season when it gets hard after the first frost.  Course, it may be too small an area and may be wiped out before you get up there for gun season, but it's worth a shot! 
 
Remember to take soil samples of various parts of the plot, mix them all up in a bucket and send a small sample in for testing to see what your soil is at.  That's IMO the best small investment you can make before putting in a food plot, then you're not going to be wasting money on fertilizer, etc, since you'll know exactly what to put down. 
 
Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!
QDM!

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Goose
 
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RE: thinking about a food plot

Postby Goose » Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:18 pm

So many things to plant......Both good advice above and I will leave them alone.
 
You might not shoot a deer on the plot and you might even spook them on your way out but it will keep the deer there and give them a reason to occupy your land more often. If you have the equipment and time I would go for it. You are not going to lose anything.
Jake

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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shaman
 
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RE: thinking about a food plot

Postby shaman » Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:30 am

I'm not quite sure how your season is situated in relation to your seasonal cycles, but there is no guarantee the deer will actually be in the food plot eating when season comes in.  Take my food plots as an example:  normally the food plots are fairly empty come Oct/Nov, because the deer are all chowing down on acorns.  On the other hand, they are into the plots in a big way at various other times of the year.  Last year, however, the acorn crop was a bust, so the deer ravaged the clover plot instead.

You can control that to some degree by what you pick to put in your plot. A plot can do a lot of things besides just feed them during season.  For instance, you may want to plant something that fills their bellies in the summer, or gives them good late winter feed.    Here in KY, faced with that sitation, I might throw in a row of tall switchgrass to block their view of the cabin.

The other thing to think of is this:  I've got a view from the house of pastures that stretch out in some directions over 450 yards.  I've got deer out in the pastures morning and night.  It provides hours of armchair scouting year round.  It also does not seem to affect my hunting.  If you do end up putting in a plot that encourages the deer to come up around the cabin, there really isn't a whole lot of downside.  If they come out and feed while you're out on the porch, you've got serious eye candy.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
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cdn1
 
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RE: thinking about a food plot

Postby cdn1 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 3:37 pm

Hey nate looks good to me. I see you are trying to keep the plot close to the center to the property and close to the cabin for ease of access. I know you have limited time but if you could manage to make a few smaller
plots spread through the property it may promote more deer movement. which in turn could help your hunting efforts. Particularlly during the rut when hopefully the bucks would make rounds to check doe activity in the various plots.  Will Primos once said "you can"t hunt deer where they are you have to hunt them where they are gonna be" Hopefully in one of, or on the way to, or from one of your plots. 
Good luck Cdn1

us311386
 
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RE: thinking about a food plot

Postby us311386 » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:15 am

nateberly - I also am a hunter in north central mn. I agree with one of the other members comments about a soil sample, or at least get a ph test done. With much of this region, more than likely you are going to need to add a fair amount of lime - the soil is pretty acidic in the region. Also, if you can get up in the region around memorial day or so, that is a good time to plant many food plots up there with a low risk of freezing. A clover and chicory blend is an excellent plot to put in at this time - even if you plan on doing an annual later - being clover is a legume it helps out a little bit with nitrogen problems. I do plant that, along with some turnips in the spring - the deer will not eat them until late in the year after a couple hard frosts (then they dig the ground up like you went through with a chisel plow), the advantage of planting at this time of the year is the turnips get ample moisture and grow large. Planting in the fall, rape is an excellent choice, as it will grow fast,produce tonage, and the deer will devour it after a couple of frosts. I will not slam any of the other seed companies by name, but I will say that after trying several big name brands in this climate, I have had my greatest luck with Fridgid Forage brand seed.

Also, looking at your map - are there powerlines or gas lines that are open-looks like long openings or trails? If so these are great area's to plant as well. I also see where your lower portable stand is - to either side there are a couple small openings in the trees - if they could be made a little larger and you can get in with an ATV or something - that stand would be in the middle and it would be like a funnel. Don't count out small openings in the wooded areas - these are some of my greatest honeyholes -the deer feel safer coming to them in the daylight. Many of our big openings - the animals are in there prior to sunrise or after dark - doing no good for hunting , but it is going to give them the nutrients to survive some of the rough winters in the north. That is also one great thing about the clover/chicory - being a perrenial it comes up quick in the spring and really helps the deer get some good "green" food.

Good luck.

nateberly
 
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RE: thinking about a food plot

Postby nateberly » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:46 am

thanks for the tips everyone!

us311386- yes those are powerlines, but I would refrain from doing anything with them, first of all it is very hilly and swampy, not to mention there are huge boulders everywhere. I wouldn't want to plant there anyway, to not tempt other hunters, you can see down them for hundreds of yards and to the west is public hunting and to the east is private property that the road intersects with the highline.

yeah those two openings are old plots, but they were abandoned probably 10 years ago. we do have easy access to them with logging trails and such. maybe it wouldn't be too bad to try and turn those back up. we plan on building a permanent stand inbetween those two eventually, we have a semipermanent stand there now.

nateberly
 
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RE: thinking about a food plot

Postby nateberly » Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:28 am

Well, it looks like we are moving back to MN, so I will be able to do more hopefully! Can't wait for September!

us311386
 
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RE: thinking about a food plot

Postby us311386 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:21 am

Good luck on your move back to God's country - l.o.l!
I understand fully why you would not want by the powerlines - sometimes there are some real "sportsmen" up there that figure if your not around it's ok to stretch the lines.
Hope you can re-juvenate the old plots and maybe you will find a couple other small openings to plant; anything weeds can grow on is a good sign that there would be enough sun to grow good weeds! It's amazing , we try to get rid of clover and other species from our lawns and then go plant that, and other stuff in the woods for animals - talk about irony.


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