BLB land tour topic; what we have to work with, and what to do going forward

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
I shall warn that this topic will be heavy on the pictures. :)

This is 120 acres thats been in the family for over 100 years now. The land is located west of Parkers Prarie, north of Urbank, east of Clitherall, south of Henning. :)
Not sure if I really care if someone figures out where it is, but ya never know what can happen I guess.

Here are a series of aerial photos.
Very high up so you can see the general area.


Semi high up so you can see better detail on adjoining properties


Detailed aerial of the property


And me on the tractor plowing furrows for our 2013 tree planting. What are the odds Google took the image that day. Kinda funny.
 

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
Here are the food plots
Area 1 this year was corn
Area 2 this year was clover
Area 3 this year was corn
Area 4 this year was half clover/half winter rye
Area 5 this year was corn
Area 6 this year was soybeans
Area 7 this year was clover
The yellow area is alfalfa a local farmer cuts and bales

 

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
Here are what we call sanctuaries. I use sanctuary lightly. We try not to go into these areas at all during the year. There are some trails and I do run a mower on them at least once during the summer, but for the most part we just do not go into these areas.
However, we do have 2 rifle stands in one of the blocks. Map coming to show all stand locations.

 

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
Here are all the stand locations.
Orange dots are rifle box stands.
Red dots are ladder stands.

 

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
Here are the maintained trails

 

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
Here are the areas we have planted trees since 2007.
Yellow areas are where we have planted several thousand trees. Mostly conifers. Sadly 2 of the years we planted we had nearly complete loss due to heat and drought, so replants have gone in a couple times.

The green areas are native grasses. The box in the SE corner of the property is actually a native grass area that has never ever been plowed up. Its all natural.
The triangle to the north we seeded in about 3 years ago.

 

BuckSutherland

5 year old buck +
Ever think of planting a couple rows of trees on the west and south side so nobody can look in??
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
That looks like a great property.

You have a large sanctuary in the SE, but have trails on it. Do trespassers use these trails? if the trails are used more than on ce, it is ot really a sanctuary.

What is the woods in there? all mature hardwoods?
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
The spot that jumps out to me is the SE shore of the lake. That looks like a natural funnel to me if there is something to the northeast for them to travel to and fro.

Maybe get a couple of rows of spruce along that edge.
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
BLB,

Can you describe or do you have any photos of the following:
  • The yellow areas where you planted trees. They look pretty open, what type of grass/cover is there?
  • What is the topography of the property? Any hillsides?
  • Do you have bedding on your property where there are always deer?
  • Do you have any natural lines of movement that you can lengthen into ambush areas?
A couple observations:
  • Roads bordering your property are tuff to deal with, I would plant a few rows of the thickest hybrid tree I could find and then plan 6 rows of evergreens after that.
  • Food plots near activity including roads means deer will be nocturnal.
  • Do you have neighbors who are active on your borders? Do they hunt your border during the season?
The discussion will flush out allot of ideas but I would focus on improving your most remote areas and then creating areas where deer will not be pressured bedding and feeding. At first glance your place looks like there would be allot of activity from the roads and then from neighbors during the hunting season.

FB
 
M

MoBuckChaser

Guest
Cool Piece of ground, is it more of a recreational property?, someone live there? or is it strictly deer hunting?
 

LessRice

5 year old buck +
Do you have neighbors who are active on your borders? Do they hunt your border during the season?

If I remember correct from your past posts is you do have a lot of hunting pressure from your neighbors, and the one thing I noticed is that your sanctuaries are all on the outside edges of your property. If the deer feel "safe" in there what stops them from wandering directly out of your sanctuary on to your neighbors property? Seems like they might be the ones benefiting from this.

One last thing is how thick are the sanctuaries?
 
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sandbur

5 year old buck +
BLB,

Can you describe or do you have any photos of the following:
  • The yellow areas where you planted trees. They look pretty open, what type of grass/cover is there?
  • What is the topography of the property? Any hillsides?
  • Do you have bedding on your property where there are always deer?
  • Do you have any natural lines of movement that you can lengthen into ambush areas?
A couple observations:
  • Roads bordering your property are tuff to deal with, I would plant a few rows of the thickest hybrid tree I could find and then plan 6 rows of evergreens after that.
  • Food plots near activity including roads means deer will be nocturnal.
  • Do you have neighbors who are active on your borders? Do they hunt your border during the season?
The discussion will flush out allot of ideas but I would focus on improving your most remote areas and then creating areas where deer will not be pressured bedding and feeding. At first glance your place looks like there would be allot of activity from the roads and then from neighbors during the hunting season.

FB
I like FB ideas. Could you make that central area a sanctuary-the angle part of the L. Spend one year planting conifers, and hinging to thicken it up and give up the foodplots in there.

What is the makeup of that west sanctuary? Got a picture?
 

Greta&Gus

5 year old buck +
2014farmboundaryaerial_zps8fab5b91.png
I did this quickly in paint so excuse the 4th grade drawing ability but here are some thoughts. As both Freeborn and Sandbur suggested, turn the center portion into the sanctuary and hunt the areas around it. I would also discontinue some of your food plots and look to convert them into trees or grasses as well. I left the food plots up that I thought would be best (even though I have next stepped foot on your place) and I would only plan clover/grains/brassicas. Discontinue any and all of the corn and bean planting.
 

bwoods11

5 year old buck +
Looks like a great property in a great area!!

I'm not sure I can grasp why you are not seeing more deer??

Personally I would plant soybeans and keep adding cedars/spruce/pine.

This will help keep the deer off the borders.
 

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
Ever think of planting a couple rows of trees on the west and south side so nobody can look in??
We have considered it, but we also already have thousands of trees planted not far off the road as you can see by one of the maps I posted. If those would speed up in growth, there would be a nice wall in several locations.

You have a large sanctuary in the SE, but have trails on it. Do trespassers use these trails? if the trails are used more than on ce, it is ot really a sanctuary.
What is the woods in there? all mature hardwoods?
We have NEVER had tresspassers and I am very confident in saying that. I have had trail cameras for 10 years now. All the land around us has been in families for nearly as long as ours has. Extremely long history all around us.
The SE sanctuary I mowed the trails one time last year and the clover plot on the east border. that was the only time I went in there.
The natural forested areas are mature trees that are 90+% oaks. Some aspen, and extremely low populations of elm, box elder, etc.
From aerials you can see the pines we planted in 1988 in our first series of filling in old farm fields.

The spot that jumps out to me is the SE shore of the lake. That looks like a natural funnel to me if there is something to the northeast for them to travel to and fro.
Maybe get a couple of rows of spruce along that edge.
Along the SE slough is a mix of willows and hazel with cattails along the slough edge. Actually quite thick stuff. Absolutely a corridor already. Hard to tell from the aerial, but there is a ridge about 12 ft high along the slough edge, that drops straight down to the slough. Very secluded corridor actually.

 

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
Can you describe or do you have any photos of the following:
  • The yellow areas where you planted trees. They look pretty open, what type of grass/cover is there?
Grass is the typical crappy brome grass. It lacks any winter value whatsoever. We find beds in the stuff in the fall, but once the snow flies, its worthless.
  • What is the topography of the property? Any hillsides?
Hilly and even extreme hills. The very SE corner where the natural native grass area is a lookout that you can see for several miles to the south and west. If you arent in shape, you are going to have a workout climbing it. VERY steep. Lets put it that way. :)
  • Do you have bedding on your property where there are always deer?
Thats been an x factor that has been truly puzzling. We do NOT seem to hold deer on the land. Yes, there are always a few, but I would say with great confidence we have not had these "doe family groups" and multiples of them living on the land.
  • Do you have any natural lines of movement that you can lengthen into ambush areas?
Not sure what this question is referring to.
A couple observations:
  • Roads bordering your property are tuff to deal with, I would plant a few rows of the thickest hybrid tree I could find and then plan 6 rows of evergreens after that.
The roads suck. I will add that the north/south road is asphalt and honestly doesnt carry much traffic. I can hunt a couple hours and if I hear a half dozen cars go by, thats a lot. The one road that is a game killer for us is the dirt road on the south line that splits off and heads NE through the dead center of our SE 40. Its a Minimum Maintenance road that dead ends nearly 2 miles back. All property along the road is all hunting land. There are no houses. I have talked with neighbors about their approval to gate the road where it Y's on our SE corner and all that I have talked with agreed 100% to gate the road. There are 2 hunting shacks up there and they have had issues with break ins. I went to the Township and they said we CANNOT gate the road, because its a liablity that the township owns. So if I put a cattle gate with sirens on top, if some idiot on a snowmobile hits the gate, the township is liable. Gotta love some of the rules in America...
  • Food plots near activity including roads means deer will be nocturnal.
Bingo..... I dont have any options. The plots I have are the only acres I have available to work with.
  • Do you have neighbors who are active on your borders? Do they hunt your border during the season?
Somewhat.. West neighbors show up 2 days a year to rifle hunt. Neighbor to the north lives there and is pretty quiet. However he does duck hunt the large slough we share. He stays on his side though. Neighbor on the NE 40 never visits the land and nobody deer hunts it at all. Neighbor on the SE 40 that borders us has a log cabin and does visit it several times a summer. neighbor that borders the whole south line runs cattle HARD. The pastures are a wasteland for the most part. He does have some larger blocks of woods that are fenced out, so he does have pockets of cover.
There is ZERO archery hunting going on any where adjoining us, or for that matter anywhere even near us. closest archer is 3/4 to our east.
 

bwoods11

5 year old buck +
Any chance you can pick up some land next to you? My guess is that you probably lose some deer to the neighbors near the lake in the NW corner and some to the east?

It's easy to say but a guy has to have the $$$ to do it too....I always say "cmon powerball!"
 

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
Cool Piece of ground, is it more of a recreational property?, someone live there? or is it strictly deer hunting?
Nobody lives there. I would call it semi recreational, but mainly hunting. We do duck hunt the big slough a few times a year. But 95% of hunting is for deer.

If I remember correct from your past posts is you do have a lot of hunting pressure from your neighbors, and the one thing I noticed is that your sanctuaries are all on the outside edges of your property. If the deer feel "safe" in there what stops them from wandering directly out of your sanctuary on to your neighbors property? Seems like they might be the ones benefiting from this.
Gun pressure would be considered very high for the general area. Archery hunting is non existent, and muzzleloader extremely limited. The deer take a major beating for 2 days a year.
Your sanctuary thoughts are spot on. However, if we use the central area for sanctuary, accessing stands on our perimeters becomes an issue. That SE corner, as I mentioned before is one hellacious hill. If we had stands up there, I would need a chairlift to get to them. :)
Seriously though, the reason we chose that SE sanctuary is to tie it with the neighboring properties because of the large contiguous forest in that direction. As I mentioned earlier, there is zero archery pressure around us, so that thought is if we could tread as lightly as possible to get to stands, thats a big benefit. All our stands are super easy access of maintained trails, so slipping in is a very easy task.


[/QUOTE]One last thing is how thick are the sanctuaries?[/QUOTE]
Sanctuaries are decent thick. Some nasty thick, but not much of it. Overall a lot of underbrush and we have hinge cut every single boxelder on the property to get more stuff towards the ground.
 
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MN Slick

5 year old buck +
Very nice farm, great diversity, looks like a lot of cover, lots of food, and a crying shame your hunting isn't better!! How many acres of food? Is a timber harvest in the mature hardwoods a possibility? I'm not sure about MN but prices are good on oak in Missouri right now.

It seems like you have some pretty good bedding potential there. Do the deer bed in your sanctuaries? I think sanctuaries are great IF they are areas deer bed in or are areas that can be enhanced to get deer to bed there. Otherwise why bother having it a sanctuary. That said I like the idea mentioned above of making your sanctuaries more towards the heart of your property and food outside IF you can develop them into areas deer will bed especially with your neighbors.
 
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