I really wish this guy would take his pig farming and. . . oh, nevermind. He'll be gone in a little bit anyway.
ghosthunter31: The standard limit I've heard for effective QDM is 300 acres. That doesn't mean you can't do squat. It just means you will be limited in how much effect you can have on your herd. It also doesn't mean you should not try to improve your habitat. If you're not the landowner, you may have even more limitations. That does not mean you should not try to do what you can.
I have 200 acres, and I am amazed at how much I was able to accomplish, and most of it was at little or no cost. When I started out, I was in the same quandary. I chose to do the easy, free things and started seeing results in a couple of seasons. As things have progressed, I've added a few food plots, and these really helped.
The advice you have gotten so far is good. Let me just add to it by offering some priorities:
1) Limit access to the land. The fewer hunters on the property the better.
2) Promote edge habitat. Deer do not live in deep forest or open pasture. They live on the margin between the two. I was able to do this by simply getting lazy with the mowing. Technically this is called "edge-feathering." I don't know your property. For you it might mean getting jiggy with the chain saw or bringing in a bulldozer to open things up. The point is if you have edge, you'll have deer.
3) Encourage natural forbes. Before you sink money into food plots, look at plowing, discing, or spraying a few patches and letting the natural weeds take over. This provides a lot of food and a lot of cover for almost no cost.
There has been several mentions of sanctuaries here. I agree with this, at least up to a point. On a small plot, it is hard to get the idea across to the deer that this spot or that is just for them. As a for-instance, we had a monster buck take up residence on our place a few years ago. He stayed for 2 years. However, it seemed he liked a particular bunch of cedars right by our major N/S access road. He had a "sanctuary" area about 400 yards away, but NO! He liked to come out to the road and count cars.
My point is that you should try and make the whole place as much of a sanctuary as possible. Limiting hunting access is the first and foremost part of this. I have 200 acres and have no more than a few hunters on it at any given time. The next guy over has 100 acres and has 8 hunters hunting the Opener. Guess where the deer go.
My advice so far is from the standpoint of a landowner/hunter. If you're not the landowner, this may be a huge limiting factor. However, what I've said can be adapted. Go to this site and read the documents therein:
This will give you some good ideas. If the landowner is actively farming the place, the last thing he may want is the land being improved for deer. In fact the only reason he may be giving you permission to hunt is to keep down the deer population. However, there may be some ideas in that site that can be used anyway.
For instance: If the farmer would chisel-plow a half-acre for you and just let it go, you'll get years of use out of that field as a deer magnet. It might concentrate the deer into a small area and make them easier to hunt. Another idea might be using clover and wheat as a cover crop for a fallow field. If you bought him the seed, why not?
Another idea I can give you is to do research into programs the farmer might want to try. I know of one program in my state that pays the owner money to plant trees along creek bottoms. They'll even help with the planting. There is another program to help re-establish native grasses. Your state will probably have similar programs. See if you can get the landowner to agree to have the state wildlife biologist come by for a visit. It'll be free. The result won't necessarily be a full-fledged QDM program, but possibly you'll both get something satisfying out of the experience.