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Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
That's where I've been using selective thickening

I like that choice of words. I am going to steal that!
Feel free, MO. For a writer, I'm generally really bad at naming things. I name bucks stuff like, G2s, because they have really long G2s, or Left hook, because their left beam hooks hard.....You know, real creative stuff like that. "selective thickening" is one of my better names.
 

Terrific_tom

5 year old buck +
Steve as Sandbur said, in most of my woods I am lucky if I can see 50 feet so can having to thick of woods be detrimental for hunting Mature bucks?
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
Steve as Sandbur said, in most of my woods I am lucky if I can see 50 feet so can having to thick of woods be detrimental for hunting Mature bucks?

Only if it's so thick that they can't walk through it.

I know others talk about bucks liking a lower stem count and that if you make your woods too thick and offer too much food that you risk turning your ground into "doe factories." I just have never seen either be the case, but am not arrogant/foolish enough to believe that means it can't happen. My GUESS is that the reason it doesn't happen to me, yet seems to happen to some others, is because of the complete package I'm trying to offer bucks.

I used this analogy with a client that asked this during the phone review process just yesterday. Ever use a loud, white flash cam before? If so, did you notice any difference setting up on trails and food sources than when setting it on a small water hole, mineral site or bait pile? In my and my buddies' experiences, on the trails and food sources, you get a percent of bucks that get caught in the headlights once, get the look of shock on their face and bolt, rarely to be captured on that cam in that specific location again. Shift the cam and the process repeats itself.

Now, take that same buck and cam and play that out over bait, minerals or small water source. You get the "caught in the headlights" pic once, and there is typically a span of several days to a couple weeks before you get him again, but you typically do. the time span tends to be less and less between freak outs until he finally pays no attention. Why the difference between the trails and food sources, where you never again get the skittish buck (not all bucks care about flash or cam noise, including a decent % of mature bucks, but the "skittish" ones do) and the bait, minerals &/or water hole, where he eventually blows it off as harmless? He can feed in different areas of the food source and walk through different areas, while still getting all he really wants. On the flip side, he can't hit the mineral/bait pile or water in the small water hole without getting the CLICK/FLASH. He wants the minerals/bait/water more than he wants to avoid the CLICK/FLASH.

I believe it's the same with stem count and doe numbers. I do believe, all else being equal, that many mature bucks would rather be off by themselves. I'm not convinced either way that they have a preference on stem count. Still, I manage/have managed some properties with stupid high doe numbers and very high stem counts, higher on both than in the surrounding areas, but still consistently have more bucks than the surrounding areas. Why don't I have these problems that others report to have in similar situations? I think that, just like the cams over bait/minerals/small water, it's worth it to the bucks to remain there, as that property offers them everything they want/need better than they can get anywhere else. so, they take that trade.

It's just like a human male/female relationship in a weird way. Regardless of whether you're the male or female, relationships are often work and can be a real pain. The reality is that life is a lot easier in many ways being single than having a wife/GF or husband/BF. So, why do we put ourselves through it? Because, in a healthy relationship, the good outweighs the pain portions.

I see it as the same with bucks. Sure, many of the mature bucks would "rather" be left alone and MAY not like high stem count, but give them everything else they want and need better than they can get anywhere else and they're still very likely to take that trade.
 
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M

MoLandOwner

Guest
Very important to know what your area of work holds currently for dpsm.........before hinging away that is, and it still may not matter! I can show you farm after farm we have bought set up and sold that the deer did not follow the plan we put in place for them. Why?.......to dam many deer! They will follow our plan to a certain degree, but many times we do not have enough ground to work on these smaller properties to keep the deer spread out. Then our goal is to make the bucks take the past of least resistance for a month in the fall. I have never seen a hinging the deer can not get into no matter how thick it is, if it is a tree they want to eat. In many of our areas we have no choice in the matter, so every hinging can and will be a bedding spot from time to time. They want the tops of those trees, and will crawl under or over to get them, that's if they continue to grow parallel with the ground. Then they will get lazy and just lay down next to the tree. We still do tornado style hinging to keep most deer from traveling certain areas. We also do cattle chute hinging to direct deer in a certain direction past a stand location. Then we do a lot of what Steve calls Selective Thickening, that is part of our 5 year hinging rotation we do. On the 4th and 5th years we go back into an area that was previously hinged years earlier and thicken it back up with some more hinging. But my main reason for hinging is so nobody can see the deer at ground level and the deer can't see you. But most important, not letting the bucks visually check an area. Make them walk past you to check your ground out!
 

phil@thesidehill

5 year old buck +
I used this analogy with a client that asked this during the phone review process just yesterday. Ever use a loud, white flash cam before? If so, did you notice any difference setting up on trails and food sources than when setting it on a small water hole, mineral site or bait pile? In my and my buddies' experiences, on the trails and food sources, you get a percent of bucks that get caught in the headlights once, get the look of shock on their face and bolt, rarely to be captured on that cam in that specific location again. Shift the cam and the process repeats itself.

Now, take that same buck and cam and play that out over bait, minerals or small water source. You get the "caught in the headlights" pic once, and there is typically a span of several days to a couple weeks before you get him again, but you typically do. the time span tends to be less and less between freak outs until he finally pays no attention. Why the difference between the trails and food sources, where you never again get the skittish buck (not all bucks care about flash or cam noise, including a decent % of mature bucks, but the "skittish" ones do) and the bait, minerals &/or water hole, where he eventually blows it off as harmless? He can feed in different areas of the food source and walk through different areas, while still getting all he really wants. On the flip side, he can't hit the mineral/bait pile or water in the small water hole without getting the CLICK/FLASH. He wants the minerals/bait/water more than he wants to avoid the CLICK/FLASH.

I was just talking about this same exact thing the other day. Back in the day of white flash and film cameras I had one buck...happened to be the biggest/oldest buck in the area that I would get one pic of on trail setups and then never get a pic of him again at the same set up. He had an injured front left leg and it caused his hoof on that leg to point inward...his tracks were easily ID'd. I would find his tracks on trails other than the ones with the cam set ups. He was camera shy for sure.

I also have a two IR cams that have an audible click, and I have seen bucks react to them and then avoid that area with the cam, but yet i have pics of the same buck hanging around in front of another cam that doesnt make the noise. But then again i have pics of bucks that dont seem to care about the cam at all....flash or otherwise.
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
Phil, IME, cam noise is actually considerably worse than a white flash. A % of deer are very turned off by white flash. A lot higher % are turned off by cam noise, particularly when in multishot mode....CLICK, CLICK, CLICK

A good trick on loud or white flash cams is to set them to single shot mode and either place them further away, out of the deer's line of sight, or 8-10' up, angled down. So long as one can do either, a single flash/click isn't anywhere near as bad as a 3 shot burst.

MO, I completely agree that deer don't always follow the rules. It helps soooooooooooo much to try to get them to bed, feed and travel where they already are. So, why do these things in those cases? Simply to get them to do so even more. One's success at any of this will always be better the more deer naturally want to do what you are encouraging them to do. As much as practically possible, I put sidewalks where deer are already walking and bedding areas in places they're already bedding. If they aren't already traveling or bedding there, I do my darnedest to put them in locations they'd naturally want to do those things anyways and then do my best to give them more good reasons to.

Far too often, "we" paint the picture that all you have to do is build it and they'll use it the way we want. I'm as guilty of that as anyone. The truth is that you will have a heck of a time trying to get deer to do things in areas/topography that they naturally wouldn't want to anyway. All I'm ultimately trying to do is discourage them from doing those things in areas that don't work out well for me and put their desire to do what they want to do in locations that do work well for me on steroids. I'm not saying that you can't essentially force deer to go against their preferences, but that's generally a real tough hill to climb, and odds are often against you ever getting to the top of that one..
 
M

MoLandOwner

Guest
Phil, IME, cam noise is actually considerably worse than a white flash. A % of deer are very turned off by white flash. A lot higher % are turned off by cam noise, particularly when in multishot mode....CLICK, CLICK, CLICK

A good trick on loud or white flash cams is to set them to single shot mode and either place them further away, out of the deer's line of sight, or 8-10' up, angled down. So long as one can do either, a single flash/click isn't anywhere near as bad as a 3 shot burst.

MO, I completely agree that deer don't always follow the rules. It helps soooooooooooo much to try to get them to bed, feed and travel where they already are. So, why do these things in those cases? Simply to get them to do so even more. One's success at any of this will always be better the more deer naturally want to do what you are encouraging them to do. As much as practically possible, I put sidewalks where deer are already walking and bedding areas in places they're already bedding. If they aren't already traveling or bedding there, I do my darnedest to put them in locations they'd naturally want to do those things anyways and then do my best to give them more good reasons to.

Far too often, "we" paint the picture that all you have to do is build it and they'll use it the way we want. I'm as guilty of that as anyone. The truth is that you will have a heck of a time trying to get deer to do things in areas/topography that they naturally wouldn't want to anyway. All I'm ultimately trying to do is discourage them from doing those things in areas that don't work out well for me and put their desire to do what they want to do in locations that do work well for me on steroids. I'm not saying that you can't essentially force deer to go against their preferences, but that's generally a real tough hill to climb, and odds are often against you ever getting to the top of that one..

I agree fully!

But not all the deer bed, travel and feed where I need to put stands and access. It is a game I play every year on these small properties, but the deers defenses are so much better than a guy realizes. They ain't going in the places I want them to for a reason!;)
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
I know. To this day, I'm amazed at how stupid high deer numbers survive winter in the farm land areas dominated by open timber like that, particularly when there is often so much fall plowing of fields in some of those areas. In those situations, there are literally 50-150 dpsm surviving winter on the woody browse, left over acorns(when available) and dead grasses and weeds (when not covered in snow). Even most of our "mature" northern timber offers soooooooooooooo much more for food and cover.

I talked to Keith McCaffrey about that a couple years back, trying to pick his brain on how such high deer numbers can survive in a vastly healthier state than one would believe when they so often face winters where they have almost nothing to eat for 4 months (the poor acorn years with significant snow depths). He assured me that the obvious was correct. In the farmland settings (where you have the stupid high deer numbers in these woods virtually void of quality browse), they are gorging themselves so on crops and crop waste up until the fall plowing that their fat levels are obscene (you should see the internal fat on does in those areas shot in Dec...even the bucks have way more internal fat than our northern correct deer at that point, but it's ridiculous with the does) that they are merely running on fat and whatever they can scrounge on through until spring. Luckily, you tend to need to go south to hit these settings, as even the "mature hardwoods" in the Buffalo Counties up here have a heck of a lot more under story than those found in IL, MO, IA and so on, and you don't get nearly the fall plowing, which offers crop wastes to dig for. So, most of the worst browse producing woods that also have stupid high deer numbers are in areas with lesser snow depths and shorter winters, giving them more dead weeds and grasses to feed on. The dead grasses and weeds are negative energy balance foods, but they help slow the fat deletion a little, at least.

Still, it amazes me deer can do so well in those settings.


It sounds like those areas need more late dropping apples if the acorns are gone.

My observations on deer fat are almost the opposite. I am comparing good central Mn./ag habitat to northwoods habitat that is quite good. The northwoods deer have more internal fat and more back fat.
The central Mn. deer seem to have heavier carcass weights, but practically no backfat or internal fat.

Different mechanisms at work here. Shorter growing season in the north and some other biological reason for laying on the backfat.

Central Mn, logner growing season and more ag . Probably more protein for structural growth.
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
Late dropping apples are very beneficial in those settings, Art...From a management standpoint, by far the best choice.
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
Here are some shows that you guys may find useful. I'm just including the eps that are already out that I think you may find beneficial

This is really supposed to be a show to fire people up about thinking before they improve their grounds. That said, at around the 30 second mark, I show a plan that may be of interest
http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/a...-the-best-deer-hunting-plan-for-your-property

The hinge cut bedding area show does a pretty good job of showing how I create these them with the "after" footage
http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/articles/tv-shows/growem-big/grow-em-big-create-deer-bedding-areas

The scrape show reveals how much deer use licking branches during the summers, as well as them being good locations to inventory bucks at (shown with deer pics working licking branches), how to "plant" scrape trees and create mock scrapes (about 20% I use scent, 80% I just bend a branch, scrape some dirt and either pee in it myself or walk away)
http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/a...ig-make-mock-scrape-deer-will-use-summer-fall

There are only 7 of the 26 shows up so far. So, I'll try to remember to keep adding to this as new shows come out that I believe may interest you guys. the other 4 up so far would most likely be considered too basic for this group.
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
Thanks, Steve!

Was it hard to get the guy at the end of the second video to do any work?
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
constant struggle, Art....constant. That video really reveals the reality of working with him. I single handedly created that entire bedding area myself, only to have him swoop in for the pics and video, making it appear that he'd been doing something more than petting his dog the entire time...and that's 100% the truth, no exaggeration.

OK, he was creating sidewalks while I did the bedding area, but let's not let pesky facts get in the way of a good ripping. Magazines don't want pics of me (as if anyone would) in the articles that I write. They tell me that pics of others somehow help the credibility, as it shows that others do what I'm referring to, as well. In reality, I think they're just trying to tell me in a nicer way that I'm too fugly for publication. The irony is that, in an effort to increase credibility, they turn me into a liar by pretending Brooks actually did any of this work, in that particular situation.
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
^^^you must be fugly if Brooks is better lookin' than you are :D
Well the dog was decentt looking....

Now, Steve, how about Mutt and Jeff, I mean Stu and Art. We can sit around and drink beer until you need a few photo shoots.
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
You guys can sit around and drink beer as I work any time you want. That said, Brooks has already set a vey high (or would it be low) bar for doing that, and I doubt others can match it, let alone even think about exceeding his perfection of that art. Frankly, he has sitting around, drinking as I work, all the while offering "constructive criticisms," perfected to the point that it's humbling to even be around...or maybe the humility comes from all the derogatory names he calls me when I don't do something to his high standards. The singularly most impressive part of all of this is that I've never seen him actually do any of this, but he seems to know exactly how each aspect of everything I do should be done...Guess he's just that good at supervising. He keeps telling me that I should be paying him for the way he keeps pushing me to improve. Maybe he's right.
 

scott44

5 year old buck +
Here are some shows that you guys may find useful. I'm just including the eps that are already out that I think you may find beneficial

This is really supposed to be a show to fire people up about thinking before they improve their grounds. That said, at around the 30 second mark, I show a plan that may be of interest
http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/a...-the-best-deer-hunting-plan-for-your-property

The hinge cut bedding area show does a pretty good job of showing how I create these them with the "after" footage
http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/articles/tv-shows/growem-big/grow-em-big-create-deer-bedding-areas

The scrape show reveals how much deer use licking branches during the summers, as well as them being good locations to inventory bucks at (shown with deer pics working licking branches), how to "plant" scrape trees and create mock scrapes (about 20% I use scent, 80% I just bend a branch, scrape some dirt and either pee in it myself or walk away)
http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/a...ig-make-mock-scrape-deer-will-use-summer-fall

There are only 7 of the 26 shows up so far. So, I'll try to remember to keep adding to this as new shows come out that I believe may interest you guys. the other 4 up so far would most likely be considered too basic for this group.
Thanks for sharing these Steve!
 

PassThrew

Yearling... With promise
Wow, that was an amazing thread to read. My father and I have started improving our property (other than small plots) this past late winter/spring hinge cutting around our food plots and creating a tornado zone to narrow travel/screen some of the deer's sight lines. We are over-run with maples on the property so those are all being cut and we are leaving our oaks stand. This would fall under the "selective thickening" you were speaking of. In the big woods areas it is more difficult to predict deer movement, so we are going to wait and see how the natural deer travel changes due to our new improvements before continuing with "sidewalks". Is this an approach you take very often?
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
PassThrew, that's a great approach. I agree that big woods deer tend to have less predictable travels. Much of that has to do with them having soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much more cover than in mixed farm lands.

Sidewalks really serve 3 main purposes for me:

The first and most important on many properties is that they jack browse levels through the roof. I'm all about offering a surplus of quality deer food throughout the entire year. What many fail to realize is that natural browse is a huge player in that, and sidewalks are big time browse producers.

A very close second on many grounds is to cut down how far deer can see. The sidewalks essentially create screens. I believe that helps considerably in reducing social stress (if those doe groups or individual bucks can't see each other, out of sight, out of mind. At the same time, we're reducing social stress by offering way more food/reducing competition for otherwise limited food). Along with that, sidewalks often helps waste bucks' time on your ground when searching for does. They can't see as far because of the screens the sidewalks create. So, they have to do more bird dogging, increasing the amount of time they must invest to find those does on your ground.

A very, very distant 3rd is actually getting deer to follow them. It's nice, but not really required. The biggest tricks to getting them to do that are making sure the sidewalks connect 2 spots they want to go, offering the easiest, seemingly safest travels between them, AND following existing deer trails whenever practically possible. In any and all of this stuff, it's always easier to put existing deer activity on steroids than it is to get them to do something they're not already doing. Taking your approach will give the deer a chance to show you what they want to do. You can then put the parts that work for you on steroids and discourage them from doing what doesn't work in your plan.

Just keep in mind, if the regrowth is thick enough to make it so it's a pain for you to walk through it, merely cutting a 32ish inch wide trail through it will almost always result in deer using your "sidewalk," without having to do any hinging at all.
 
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