Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Discuss Quality Deer Management issues here!
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Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby Demoderby4 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:24 pm

Hey guys, i know this is probably somewhere on here so i don't mean to re-post if that's what i'm doing :/ but i was fortunate enough to have a fellow bow hunter get hired into my workplace in early sept. and we have had an immediate bond thanks to hunting. We are both extremely passionate about it. He was nice enough to barely know me and let me hunt on his dad's friend's private 400+ Acre farm with him this year. The land is basically abandoned farming fields with over grown weeds in em with some great spots of hardwood all over.

Now i am a piss poor college student and can't really afford to transfer a bunch of tree's and rent out some tractors to do work for me (the guy has some tractors so i know he will help out a little at least) but i really cant afford to put a lot of money into managing this land quite yet. But i want to start managing this land right now without taking a big hit in the wallet if possible. I know its going to take a lot of time and effort to put this all together and me and my buddy or more than willing to do the work it takes.

I know I am going to put in some man made water holes this upcoming spring, i have read about how to do that and i want to make some of those, and i want to make a few food plots, not very big, maybe just some small ones equalling a few acres if that. Im not going to make it all in just one spot though, im going to spread it out.

Now my question is what to use? I know i need to talk to some farmers or like a dnr or state wildlife official to see what kind of plant grows best in the soil and all that good stuff. But what would you guys suggest i do to get this project going? What types of mgt plots have you used that you really like?

Im going to pick up the deer mgt issue of D&DH asap, i wish i would of got it when i saw it but i was low on cash :/ But just any tips and or advice you guys can give me would be great! I really have a passion for deer and i want to make this my main priority after everything gets set in motion, this is the first step i am taking since the guy told us we could do what we want as long as we put the work into it. Im going to study and scout this land all winter/spring and summer and get the terrain down and try to pattern the deer as best as i can, i really don't know the area that well yet. But anyways, sorry this was so long :/ thanks for any help you guys can provide me with!

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RE: Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby DeerCamp » Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:39 pm

Humm... Well first off, I WOULD NOT go putting a lot of money into this if I were you.. Who's to say down the road you get in an argument with the guy and he says you cant hunt there anymore. Then your time and money is wasted.
But if you really want to anyway.....
I know there is soil kits out there that tell you what to plant and how the soil is..I would pry try to plant something thats going to get the deer year around. EXE: Summer food plot, fall and winter food plot.  I would want some clover out there, but thats just me. As for water holes.. D&DH had an issue that was on water holes not to long ago.. Id take a good look at that before you do any digging. I was susprized at what I learned in that.
Good Luck
"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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RE: Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby Demoderby4 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:27 pm

Thats what i mean, digging a few holes and planting a plot or two right now wont be too expensive and if we come across a disagreement, i dont have much into it. And even if i end up not hunting that land in 5 years, no big deal, i have some experience with mgt and will know what to do when i have my own land to manage one day and can make my next experience that much better. Thanks for the info though, i really appreciate it! i'll have to get a hold of one of those soil kits. Yeah i was thinking some sort of clover as well.

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RE: Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby shaman » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:05 am

If you're strapped for cash, the best thing I can tell you to do is stay away from the things that require major outlays of money. I got my little 200 acres of heaven back in 2001.  In the beginning, I could not find anyone to do my food plots for me.  As a result, I used those methods that required little or no expense. 

Here is the website the wildlife biologist showed me:

Habitat How-To's

As a for instance, he showed me some spots in the hardwoods where the understory was being choked from cedars. He recommended pushing over the cedars or cutting them part way to create more light on the forest floor and also provide cover for deer.  Shortly after his visit, we had a series of ice storms and wind storms and a bunch of the cedars in one part of the property were knocked over.  This became THE deer bedding area on the place.  Another thing he suggested was "edge feathering"-- basically letting the fence lines grow up.   Where I have done this, the deer and turkey have benefited greatly.

Probably the biggest improvement I can tell you to make is simply get down and scout the property and become intimate with it.  I won't kid you, ponds and food plots and all that are great ideas.  However, on 400 acres you probably already have everything already in place to keep and hold a good herd including a few monsters.  The trick is just scouting it out and finding where the best places are to hunt the deer. It took me over a year to really acquire enough of a feel for the place to accurately predict where to find a decent deer on Opening Day, and another year to stop second-guessing myself and settle down into a rhythm.

By the way, I used to be big on water sources as a key to deer hunting. Of course, a lot of the books I'd read were written by guys in Texas, where it is semi-arid.  I found out that in our part of the world, deer can usually get their water from puddles and off vegetation and spend very little time in the Fall around water.  Even last year, with a severe drought, there were hardly any tracks around my stock ponds.
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RE: Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby JPH » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:00 am

Man this is an awesome topic! While I am in a different stage in life, I too find it hard to pay for major projects. Given the payment for my land, out of state tags, and gas, my fun budget is pretty tight.
First of all, I disagree that you should avoid putting as much into this as possible. Who cares if you loose the place? Being a steward of the land is its own reward.
IMO the most cost effective QDM tool you can buy is a chainsaw. Everyone wants to start with food plots. But nature will grow its own plots if you give it a chance. Learn how to identify mast trees, then open the area up around them so that they can grow. Take the tops of the trees you bring down and make brush piles. Take edge trees and hunge-cut them so that the browse is at eye level.
As a young guy, you should be up for some hard work. That's free.

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RE: Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby HiddenHornsRanch » Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:14 am

I know where your coming from, because for college students which I am one to, deer hunting is an expensive sport especially when it comes to management...there are however cheaper ways to manage without burning a hole in your wallet, and JPH makes a good point, if you loose the place at least you were able to manage and help out the present deer herd. But as he said to a chainsaw does go a long way, just have to know where to look and know what trees are in the area..I planted a food plot this year and it wasnt that expensive at all, I blended a couple of bags of Biologic and then threw in some simple oats and that really goes a long way...I would go ahead with the water holes, but the problem with that is keeping them from going dry depending on your area and how much rain you get, but this is Texas and well the the weather changes about every 5 minutes around here but the deer find a ways to get water, but overall look at what you have around and you may not have to plant a food plot but scout it out and see whats there before you go 100% into the full management technique...

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RE: Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby Demoderby4 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:59 am

Thanks a lot guys! Really great advice, no i really don't mine putting the work in at all, i am looking forward to it! And like you guys say even if i don't end up hunting the land the deer will be benefited and my buddy will still be able to hunt it. OK a lot of you guys are saying tocut down a some trees, my dad has a chainsaw so that shoudn't be a problem, i understand what you guys mean by making some thick cover with the trees, sounds like it will be fun too lol, ill have to take a look at that habitat how to's book as well, Yeah i am really going to study the land hard this offseason and try to figure out where they are and when, i know thats going to be a main proiority in locatig the deer all season. thanks a lot guys this helps a bunch! 

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RE: Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby burnnurse1 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:48 pm

You made mention in your original post that the area was old farm land. What did THEY grow? That might be a good start, especially if it's growing big bucks. The soil oughta be good and fertile. Sounds to me like you've walked into a gold mine. Keep us posted on your progress.

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RE: Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby northernVT » Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:36 am

Sounds like you have a great oppurtunity there. Like already mentioned, the chainsaw is the best management tool you can ever use. Whe you are scouting the land to see where the deer are traveling, just keep in mind that when you create thick browse and hinge-cut trees, you will probably chage the deer's travel patterns. This is not a bad thing, just keep in mind as to where you want your stands when you cut. Use this to your advantage.
As far as food plots, the last D&DH issue had a great article on plants for food plots. Give it a read. Clover is your base for any food plot system. Start with that and you will do great.
Good luck and let us know how things go.

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RE: Cheap Mgt. (long post, sorry)

Postby Demoderby4 » Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:19 pm

OK cool sounds good, i was wondering about how it would effect their patterns when i cut everything down. That makes me feel better about it. Yeah i want to pick that issue up, that i definitely will do. And im not sure what the previous owners were growing there before the current owner took over, there is a old corn field that is still standing so im pretty sure they grew a little bit of corn for sure.


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