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PatinPA

5 year old buck +
I've been wanting to do one of these since I joined. I bought my property in 2017. It is just shy of 12 acres in Juniata County, PA, about 40 minutes north of Harrisburg. It was a hunting camp owned by a family in southern PA that had owned/part owned it since the 70's. They left the camp as it was and it came with a sweet jeep that I eventually want to try and get to run again. I believe they did more drinking than hunting as the owner's son said his father never killed a buck in all the time they owned it and I've found quite a few beer cans littered throughout the woods and camp. We had plans to build a house there but it just wasn't to be at this point in time.

The property starts on top of a ridge and slopes north into a small bottom. There is a creek located to the north west. It was primarily hemlock (about 75%) and the other 25% white oak, chestnut oak, poplar, beech, and black birch. I had a forester friend look over everything after I bought it and he explained to me the wooly adelgid and explained that is why none of the hemlocks have branches on the bottom 30 feet. He had a connection with a local paper mill and set myself and my neighbor to the west to remove the hemlock before they all died and became a tangled mess. My only regret to this was they used one of those machines that strips the branches right at the tree. It left piles of branches that covered the ground. There are still a lot of areas the deer avoid because of this. I thought about prescribed fire but I don't want to tackle it with no experience and I don't know anyone that has experience with it.

Luckily it's nestled up against about 100 acres to the north/east and 100 acres to the south that are owned by a doctor and his wife that don't hunt or allow hunting. My neighbor to the west doesn't hunt but allows a guy and his daughter to hunt and allows my dad to slide over onto his property in rifle season so we can spread out. My dad killed the biggest buck he's ever gotten there in 2018. There is a farm to the northwest. I've never met them but have pictures of them trespassing. They are what I call lazy hunters. Drive a car to the field edge and sit in it overlooking the field. They own the bottom and up the other side from me and from what I have seen that is probably the best stand location in the area. In 4 years I've seen a guy sit there for about a total of 30 minutes in rifle season one year. The best part is it was while there was a big buck laying with a doe on their property that I could see but he couldn't. I later missed that buck when he finally got up and came up on my property but I'd rather not talk about that part.

For a small property and especially in the area I'm in, I get a lot of large buck on camera and have seen in person. The largest buck seem to mostly be pass throughs at night but usually one of the nicer ones stick around. As far as I know I've never been able to hold the same buck from year to year. I'm hoping with my improvements that will someday be a possibility. In the past few years, I've gotten quite a few different buck every year. I'd say 10-15 different buck every year. I thought that's pretty good for a small area like mine. Now most are small but usually anywhere from 3-5 of what I would consider shooters every year. A shooter for me is 100". I know I can't be too picky. But in 4 year I killed/opportunity to kill one that big every year. Unfortunately I can't shoot straight with a rifle and I have yet to get a shooter in bow range.

Large Overview.png
Light green is existing food plot. Darker green is future food plot. Orange oval at the camp is a future plot. Orange squares are stand locations stand locations. Red lined areas are the non hunting neighbored owned properties.

Bedding.png
Red is known/suspected bedding. yellow circles are places I've seen big bucks bed.

My biggest problem is access. It's a really tough place to hunt. The deer bed everywhere and there are crops on all four sides of me. My only access is really from the south. I could access through my neighbors to the west but then I run the risk of kicking out the deer there that may come my direction. The best wind direction is out of the north but it seems when the wind is out of the north the deer get up and head north. My small plot is just not enough to attract them into coming my way. So I try to hunt the wind the best I can but sometimes I just have to dive in. I try to limit hunting to 2 days a week or less so as to not burn it up. I have a few other places to go so it's not too bad.
Jeep.JPG
My jeep. From what I could gather it's a 73 CJ-5 V8. Couldn't tell you the last time it ran. A few homemade modifications include steel plating sides and roof complete with bullet dents.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
The buck we've taken.
My buck.jpg
My 2017 buck. My biggest ever.

Dad buck 1.jpg
My dad's 2018 buck. 21 1/2" inside. Only scored 117 because of the short points.

Dad buck 2.jpg
He was an old warrior. Wish I would've sent a tooth to get aged. Had a hole in his neck either from a tine or a projectile and was blind in his left eye.

I should've killed progressively bigger buck every year I've owned the property. Back to not shooting straight.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
Some of the buck I've gotten on camera since 2017.

11 pt.JPG
Biggest buck I've ever personally seen. On a Sunday in archery season going in to check cameras. (We can't hunt Sundays) He was bedded right off the road. Also my first attempt at a food plot. Had no idea what I was doing. Never killed off the grass, just tilled it and the grass came back and choked it all out. I gave up on this location but I have plans to bring it back this coming year.

bigger buck.jpg
Big non typical, hung around a few weeks.



Camp buck.jpg
8 pt.JPG
9 pt I missed.JPG
Fun fact. This is the buck I missed in my earlier story. Well technically I hit him. Found a small pile of white hair and one drop of blood. Must've just grazed his belly.

2020 8 pt.JPG
2020 monster.JPG
Spring monster.JPG
Don't typically see deer all summer. Would've loved to see what he became.

Horse.jpg
And since I'm next to a glorified petting zoo, the random pony.
 

Chainsaw

5 year old buck +
Looks like a good neighborhood you are in. Having some nonhunted land like that is really a help if it is truly not hunted. Getting that food plot operating will definitely help some.
 

crowskee

A good 3 year old buck
I bet the random pony could really put a hurt'n on a food plot!
 

Bill

Administrator
That’s a great spot between two non hunting properties. I’d experiment with giving them a travel corridor between the two. Just to see if they would use it.

check the oil in the Jeep dump some gas in the carb tow it in third gear and pop the clutch.. I bet it starts ;)
 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
Looks like a good area, my Little Woods property is about the same size as your place. I have the same issue of trying to ghost in quiet and have to really play the wind when hunting it.
It will be fun for you to develop and improve on it your way, there are a lot of fun projects you can do if you decide to with planting that new food plot and fruit trees/shrubs/mast trees/grass plantings.
A place doesn't have to be huge to enjoy.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
I had to download some new pictures for the improvements I've made so far. I started out pretty haphazard just planting whatever, where ever. Since it's been timbered it's coming back pretty thick in greenbriar and black birch. There are a few oak but they're growing really slowly. I planted some random conifer throughout and a row of spruce down the driveway for eventual cover. Everything grows so slowly here being on the north side of the ridge, in 2-3 years I'm not sure any have grown more than an inch or two. My soil is very sparse and poor. I'm going to post a video of how I plant trees. I carry 5 gallon bucket with potting soil with me. Once I get through the top 1-3 inches of topsoil, I just hand pick rocks out of the way until I have a hole big enough for the tree, then I fill in the hole with potting soil.

My first attempt at a food plot was mostly a failure. As I said earlier I had no idea what I was doing. There is an existing spring house that I had been told was dried up. Well it was a pretty wet spring and the spring and surrounding area where I had wanted to plant was very wet. I rented a tiller and went to work. That ended in a spectacular muddy mess. I planted two BOB mixes and as I said before it just got swallowed by the grass that I never killed off.

My second and current food plot I moved up to a bench about the mid point of the property. There was an existing trail that moved across that bench and the logger had left somewhat of a skidder trail there. It started out as about 5 small circles about 15-20 ft. in diameter. Last year I expanded it to what it is now.
food plot 1.jpg

It's about 60 yds long and 10-20 yds wide. Throw and mow is the only option for the most part. I couldn't imagine the rocky mess I'd have if I tried to till or turn it over. Every time I go there I make it a point to pick 10 rocks out and toss them. I think they're multiplying though because its never ending.

food plot5.jpg
Here is a pic when I was finally done moving branches and raking it up. The green was the spring green up of the former small circles food plot. The planted tree is a big box store pear of some sort. There are two planted there and soon to be a third. Not a fan of big box store fruit trees but I do love going there in November and picking them up for about $7-10 a piece.

I have two more plots planned for this year. One is going to be in the north east corner of the property. I'm not sure if it'll be huntable in archery season. They like to travel right along there in gun season going back into the non hunted property. I'm hoping this pulls them out enough for a shot.

I'm also going to put a plot back in the yard of the camp. The majority of my trees have been planted in and around this location. There is actually soil and it gets the most sunlight. Currently have persimmons, allegheny chinkapin, box store plums, an american plum, a mystery tree that I think is a pecan. I planted some crab apples that I got from the conservation district but they never showed any signs of life. I don't have high hopes for them.

food plot 2.jpgfood plot 3 b.jpg
Left is future food plot 2. Not looking forward to tackling this. In the foreground you can see the piles of branches that are left over from the timbering. Right is where my first attempt at a food plot is and future food plot 3. It's ringed with chinkapin and a few persimmons. I want to find a good brushy shrub to plant along this too. My property ends here and it can easily be overlooked by the farm property. The spring house in the pic to the right is falling down and I'm thinking about ripping it out and putting in a water hole. I'm not sure if it's worth it since there is a creek 100 yards away but I thought why not. It's just one more reason for them to visit.

Hopefully start getting some fruit pics this year. It'll be year 3 for some of them. I started to get some plums on the box store trees last year but something ate them off and a bear shredded one of them.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
I bet the random pony could really put a hurt'n on a food plot!
Fortunately he didn't find it. haha
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
That’s a great spot between two non hunting properties. I’d experiment with giving them a travel corridor between the two. Just to see if they would use it.

check the oil in the Jeep dump some gas in the carb tow it in third gear and pop the clutch.. I bet it starts ;)
I just put up some food plot pics. It's located on what was an existing trail between the two properties. It doesn't get used as heavily as I'd like as a pass through for cruising bucks though. I think because I made a trail for them that runs all the way through but it ends at neighbors line. His property was timbered with mine so it's a mess of branches as well.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
Looks like a good area, my Little Woods property is about the same size as your place. I have the same issue of trying to ghost in quiet and have to really play the wind when hunting it.
It will be fun for you to develop and improve on it your way, there are a lot of fun projects you can do if you decide to with planting that new food plot and fruit trees/shrubs/mast trees/grass plantings.
A place doesn't have to be huge to enjoy.
Thanks, I sure love it. It's tough now because It's still not quite grown up enough in places to be able to sneak around without getting spotted. I walked up on the neighbors after the season to see what my property looked like from there. I was surprised. A buck could just lay up there and watch me walk in to 2/3 of my property. The wind is always tough. It's never consistent. I need to go in there some evening with a bunch of milkweed and see how it works.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
Huge Buck.JPG
Wanted to put this pic in too. I thought this could maybe be the same buck that I saw in 2017. 2017 buck had 1 forked G2 and 1 forked brow tine. This one has both G2's forked and both brow tines forked. Only picture I ever got of him and the biggest buck I've ever gotten on camera.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
Thanks that was a good article. My biggest problem is access and wind. The majority of the deer don't bed on my property. I'm trying to change that but I know that it won't be 100% possible. The prevailing wind blows from my property into the primary bedding area on the nonhunting neighbors. I am surrounded by ag on all 4 sides with bedding basically on all 4 sides. The best wind access for me is a north wind but when there is a north wind the deer just all travel to the fields to the north. I try to be as wind cautious as possible but eventually I just have to hunt iffy winds or be prepared to possibly blow my scent across other deer trails. If I do that I try to give it a week or so to calm down. The neighbors walk their dogs around their property so the deer are used to people.

My goal has been to provide cover and some food they don't normally get. Primary crops around me are corn and soybeans. Very little other variety. I have apple, persimmon, pear, chinkapin, plum trees are growing but not quite there yet. I have white oak, chestnut oak, and beech for mature timber. The undergrowth is primarily coming up in black birch and greenbriar. The black birch, I'm not really fond of but cover is cover.
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
I think someone mentioned black birch stump sprout well if cut down. That could be a good option.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
They definitely sprout well in a heavily timbered forest. I can attest to that. In some areas they're over my head already. Not too many large enough to cut yet though. I have a sugar maple in my back yard. I get 20-30 volunteers from it every year. I think I'll transfer them this year. Maybe rake up some "helicopters" and plant them around. They make good hinge cuts/stump sprouts too.
 

Troubles Trees

5 year old buck +
I probably sound like a broken record but I strive to grow food sources that are unique to my area. If you are the only one within a deers range that have Persimmon, Pears and Chestnuts that would certainly be a draw to your spot. Some Pears and Persimmon have a pretty long drop time, Blue Hill Nursery is in PA and would be my suggestion there bud. Ryan is awesome, and sells great trees but set your alarm to the start of the sales because they don't last long at all.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
I probably sound like a broken record but I strive to grow food sources that are unique to my area. If you are the only one within a deers range that have Persimmon, Pears and Chestnuts that would certainly be a draw to your spot. Some Pears and Persimmon have a pretty long drop time, Blue Hill Nursery is in PA and would be my suggestion there bud. Ryan is awesome, and sells great trees but set your alarm to the start of the sales because they don't last long at all.
I've seen their ad on craigslist before. Always wanted to check them out. They're only about 25 min. from me. Any idea when their sales are? Everything I see on the website is out of stock.
Snyder County Conservation District has a decent tree sale up that way too. I think they're pick up only though. I've been pretty impressed with what I've gotten from them.

I'm trying for the food diversity. Now all I have to do is wait for them to grow up.
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
Pat -
If you want trees from Blue Hill for next spring (2022) I'd put your order in this August - no later!! Ryan sells out quick. I have 4 trees coming from him this spring in April - I'll pick them up on my way to camp. You can call him to ask when the best time to order is - based on how his stock has grown & what he'll have ready to sell.
 

Troubles Trees

5 year old buck +
I've seen their ad on craigslist before. Always wanted to check them out. They're only about 25 min. from me. Any idea when their sales are? Everything I see on the website is out of stock.
Snyder County Conservation District has a decent tree sale up that way too. I think they're pick up only though. I've been pretty impressed with what I've gotten from them.

I'm trying for the food diversity. Now all I have to do is wait for them to grow up.
Ryan normally sells out of most items on the opening day of sales. I don't know when his spring sales start, I am literally shutting off my work computer and heading home or I would look for you bud. If you haven't found the answer by tomorrow I will find out.
 
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