Starting Iowa Deer Habitat

Your place to discuss ways the habitats for deer can be improved!
albiatim
 
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Starting Iowa Deer Habitat

Postby albiatim » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:16 pm

Hello all and thanks for looking.

I'm looking to create an ideal habitat for deer hunting. What I have to start with is about 50 acres of mixed timber and tillable ground with about a 3/4 acre pond and a natural spring. What I'm looking to find out is how close should I have the 3 needs of deer. (food, water, shelter) I could potentially locate all three very close together and maybe even have the pond and food inside a shelter of some type of evergreen trees. (thinking Norway Spruce's maybe?) But I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not. I have only been into hunting since I was about 18 and deer hunting I didn't start till I was about 20. (I'm 26 now) My father died when I was 3 and my grandfather was more into cattle than deer hunting. So I have little to no personal knowledge as what to the best set up might be. I attempted to put in a food plot this year that was an epic fail. (over seeding I think and then the neighbors cows broke in and ate if off) I will attach an aerial of my farm for all to see so I can get some truly honest, detailed responses. As you look at the picture, up is north, down is south, left is west, and right is east. For the last 10+ years this farm has been cattle pasture with a 1 year exception it was in winter wheat. Next year the guy that rents it for pasture will be putting it into soy beans. To my east and south there will also be a mixture of beans or corn year after year. To my north east is an excellent thick timber that harbors many deer and turkey. North is more beans/corn. And west is hay field. So I really need to do something to set my place apart and get the deer to love my place. I have two other guys that I partner with so I have the manpower to accomplish almost anything. Thank you very much in advance for your input!

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kellory
 
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Re: Starting Iowa Deer Habitat

Postby kellory » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:11 pm

i'll leave it to the experts as to what to plant where, but you need to ask yourself how you will hunt it. If you have everything a deer could want within a few strides, why would they ever move around? You would have to hunt just the edges. If you space things a bit, you can get between the draws and hunt them in passing. How and where depend upon what time of day and what you expect the deer to do at that time, and the wind of course.

All of it looks good of course, but three spots jump out at me, and feel free to disagree, but without boots on the ground, These are where i would start hunting. Do you have a prevailing wind direction? If you do, keep that in mind when you place stands and food plots. (don't put a food plot down wind from the best stand location to hunt it, or the best route to get to it.)
You could also do secondary crops after the first harvest (there is a discussion on that subject on this site somewheres) I think it was beets suggested, because it would not hurt the cropland, and could be tilled back in to enrich for the next crop, unlike corn which would draw nutrients out of the soil. Anyways, good luck, take pics as you build it, and let us know how it goes.
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The only real difference between a good tracker and a bad tracker is observation. All the same data is present for both. The rest is understanding what you are seeing.

albiatim
 
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Re: Starting Iowa Deer Habitat

Postby albiatim » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:54 am

I guess one thing I should clarify when I say that there are deer and turkey to the north east, that's on another property. Not on mine. So I'm looking to attract them to my property.

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JPH
 
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Re: Starting Iowa Deer Habitat

Postby JPH » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:55 am

First of all, a specific answer to your question on how close the food, water and shelter should be. I'd say that 50 acres is close enough to tie all three together nicely. You do not need them right on top of each other.

Now, as to attract game onto your property? I don't know what region of the state you are in, but most of Iowa is heavily altered by farming. If you look closely, you'll see that the areas of the state with the best reputation for hunting are the regions where areas of natural/native habitat have been left behind, i.e the Loess Hills in the west, the bands of oak forest in the south and the Mississippi bluffs in the northeast. Obviously, these areas were spared the plow because they were impossible to penetrate and not because anyone was trying to protect wildlife, but it did.

Iowa is already a giant food plot. In normal years, there is plenty of water via creeks, ponds and succulent plant life. What is sometimes lacking is cover. Again, look for areas where prairie grasses or oak forests grow and you'll see deer that live to maturity. I really think this is the key to drawing deer around here. Few things will destroy natural cover faster than cattle but if you can get them off you may see things spring back quickly. I would suggest you pick a few 1-2 acre plots in the timber and on the edges and fence the cattle out. If you have any native life left in your property (and I bet you do) you may see a return of grasses and acorn production for forage and a tangle of escape/bedding cover within the first year or two.

Also, I can give you contact information for my natural habitat restoration guy, Travis Strable. He does excellent work and he is very affordable. I promise a day of work by him will be comparable in price to food plot establishment or digging a pond.

albiatim
 
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Re: Starting Iowa Deer Habitat

Postby albiatim » Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:52 am

As of now the cattle are off all 50 acres. I do have some multiflower rose growing around the timber which I think I will leave in place as I have heard tale of the deer loving to bed down in them. Next year just about all the open field is going to be in beans. So there will be plenty of food for them. I guess what I will need to do is make a good location for them to feel safe. There isn't a ton of hunting pressure in the area. The neighbors and I and I did see one group during second shotgun this year. But nothing like some areas get with 500 people pushing through. I'm located in South East Iowa. Down in the lower two tears where they allow high powers during January. Thanks for the replies guys. And if you want, message me or post that guys contact information and I may give him a call to set something up in the spring.

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JPH
 
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Re: Starting Iowa Deer Habitat

Postby JPH » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:33 am

I'd get rid of the multi-flora rose at all costs. It is not native, it does not provide forage and it chokes out plants that will actually help your situation. But don't take my word for it, let Travis give you his take. I'm sure he would not mind the plug.

Adaptive Wildlife Management, (515) 419-9718. Tell him Joe Hogan sent you.

1-GTOHunter
 
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Re: Starting Iowa Deer Habitat

Postby 1-GTOHunter » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:40 pm

If the Guy that Farms the Property plants Soybeans and Wheat You pretty have a good food source right there,if he harvest wheat in say June/July and the Soybeans in Sept/Oct You don't have anything to draw the Deer in into Nov and Dec?I would go along the edges and brush hog any tall grass,then run a light disc over the ground and plant some White Clover and also on any roads that cut thru the woods that get any sunlight.We also Frost-seed Clover in Feb or early March by just walking or using a ATV Seed Spreader and broadcast Clover on the cold frozen ground and let the freezing and thawing draw the Clover Seed into the ground for an early start or You could wait and go with a disc and break up the ground later in March or April ?


If You get to designate a certain amount of ground for Food Plots,in the Spring time You can either go with strictly Clover which will usually grow back for several years before it needs re-planting,plant Foraging Oats or what we do in late Aug or early Sept is plant a mixture of Brassicas,Rape,Turnips and Groundhog Raddishes,sometimes we throw in a few Sugar Beets and some Winter Wheat in the Fall.I have also used the Whitetail Institutes Tall Tine Tubers which is a mixture of 3 different types of hardy Turnips or use the hardy "Winter Greens" that last into the cold Winter months!


If You can plant Your Food Plots away from a main road they will do much better,Deer will feel much safer coming out during daylight hours if the Food Plot is tucked away in a corner or with woods surrounding it where they can feel safer coming out in the open where they are more vulnerable!Even smaller food plots in small openings will produce You some Deer that will use it more often in daylight shooting hours and with that in mind during the Rut the Bucks will be looking for the Doe's eating in those plots! ;)

albiatim
 
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Re: Starting Iowa Deer Habitat

Postby albiatim » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:45 pm

Thanks for the reply!

I do know that I'm going to require some beans be left when he harvests them. Most likely some in the north draw and some closer to the pond on the south west side of the creek. The TSI improvements should help as well. I will be planning on getting the non native multiflora rose brush cut and sprayed to prevent it from coming back. That along with the fields being turned over should eliminate all non native vegetation. Once I can get the timber thinned out a bit I can start to plant in some clover in there along with some more native grasses and other natural plants. I do have a couple apple trees planted already to. They should start to produce in the next couple years. I'm going to plant some more of them as well next spring. Both for the deer and for my enjoyment as well. With all that, hopefully my team and I can have enjoyable hunting fun getting some big deer every year and making some great jerky. :D


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