My spot, with plots current, planned, and open to suggestions.


5 year old buck +
Well I posted a similar thread last year, but seemed like folks were afraid to suggest things that might upset others, so here it goes again, for this season. I will link the image direct, and the link to the pic in the album so you can select it, and view larger. Property in general is about 300 acres, top right corner is dominated by a 26 acre field that the farmer does corn in, year in, and year out, leaving nothing but stubble through the winter. To the N is mega houses, on big lots, with some open space/ woods between. E is a wildlife sanctuary of about 1600 acres. W is older homes and some farmland. S is bordered by an interstate, with a 1000 acre corporate headquarters campus, of which 10 % is disturbed, 20% farmed, 70% wooded/ on its way to becoming woods. Soil is a red clay based, with good organic matter as the property years ago was all farmed, dairy and crop. As I hope you can see, these are true food plots, not just kill plots, totaling 13 acres right now, perimeter pruning and adding plot 15 will get me real close to 14. Goal is to draw deer in, give them a great food source for multiple seasons, and keep deer on the property when it comes time to harvest them. I do have a few fruit trees I have planted around, apples and pears I have released, dunstans, saw tooth added, and plan to add more as I see a local source for some more nice wildlife trees. Perennial clover plots are highlighted in lime green yellow and will remain clover through maintenance. I like trying different things, that could have great results.

List of plots, and their current/ planned plantings

1 perennial clover

2 per. clover

3 per. clover

4 winter wheat .....................spring planted winter rye/ crimson clover mix

5 ptt ghr ................................sun hemp

6 winter wheat ......................spring planted winter rye

7 winter wheat ......................spring planted winter rye

8 perennial clover

9 perennial clover ..................may add pumpkins/ gourds

10 ptt ghr crimson clover......ptt,yellow mangels, crimson clover

11 perennial clover

12 sainfoin

13 ptt ghr ...............................undecided

14 winter wheat ....................spring planted winter rye

15 fallow ................................Iron clay peas, feed corn, sunflowers

How do you hunt the property (bow/gun) and where are your deer stands? It looks like you have little competition to draw deer from your property, do you have any competition that draws deer from your property? What do you see as the most lacking food source (nutrition) on your property (Spring, summer, fall winter)?

Sorry for the questions but trying to understand your circumstances.

Property is hunted by the club I am in, total of about 20 members, don't get scared, only about 6 are active hunters. I bow and gun hunt, seasons here run continuously from first week in September, through second week in February. Biggest lack is a drawing food source in the winter months. The clover plots are browsed on as soon as the snow lets it grow in the spring, right till it is shut down for the winter. There is more than ample coverage, thick with cedars, mfr, Russian olive, and osage. My primary stands are in the bottom left corner, by plots 1&2, and between 10 and 12. Other guys are scattered. There isn't a should for miles that does food plots, the only other draw away from the property are other ag crops to the south across the highway, and the security they feel believe it or not in the surrounding neighbor hood. I did forget to mention that after the farmer cuts his corn off the big field, we do try to get in a few plots of winter wheat that act as kill plots at the west end of the field, and another where the point comes out into the center bottom of the field. I am tempted to try to increase this use in the botom right section of the field, using about 4 acres of it along the bottom right. It doesn't have a lot of growing time after the harvest, but could have a drawing power. Biggest goals are trying to get the deer to come down, and stay down along the bottom of the property instead of retreating back to the houses to the north.

btw, no need to apologize, thanks for the reply.
Why are the deer wanting to stay near the homes to the north? Is there better cover near the homes?

Based on your list of foodplots it appears you have allot of summer attraction and less fall attraction. Particularly over the plots you are hunting over (1,2,10,12). It appears you have plenty of "Food Plots" you might want to disc over a portion of the clover plots you hunt and plant a fall attractant creating a partial Kill plot. You could try a mix of Oats, AWP and GHR planted in late summer to see if you could draw deer to the plots you hunt.

You could also try and develop some small pockets of bedding (TSI/Hinge Cuts) with some planted evergreens or NWSG in the center of your property where you can hold deer. 300 acres is a nice size property, it provides allot of opportunities.

Never could figure out why the deer want to hang near the houses, maybe they like the taste of landscape shrubs? Few needles, irrigated bushes, fertilized? I swear one of these years I'm gonna put landscape shrubs in around my stand areas and do a partial cage system, cage will protect the core of the shrub, but the new growth that pokes through will be there for food. AWP's get hammered hard, deer see em as candy and get them before they get much chance to grow. I did exactly what you suggested in plot 2 last fall, light disc, brasica blend, and the deer enjoyed the green, it is the bulb portion they just don't understand yet. Once the cold sets in they stop feeding on those plots, hardly a print in them when the snow cover arrives, tons of turnips and GHR just setting there un eaten.
Try Miloganite on your AWP so they survive until you are ready to hunt your plot. Funny they didn't like radish as I have much better luck with radish then Brassicas but then deer are different everywhere. Based on what you are describing you need to work on bedding and less on Foodplots. You could try hinge cutting or building a bedding area stacking down trees.
I was thinking that bedding might be the problem.

could you post some pictures of the cover?

where do the deer go in the winter? To the areas of the housing?

How about waterholes? do I see a creek bottom that crosses under the freeway? Does the freeway have a fence and if so is there a deer crossing under the freeway at the creek?

Sorry about all of the questions.
Questions are great. i'll have to get some pics of cover next time down. Late season, just as hunting finishes up, the deer are actually herding up and heading into the property from the sanctuary side, by that time of year they have eaten every twig within reach. They also start coming in from the houses. As for water holes, there is a lot of available water on the property, I added the creeks and streams to the pic. Yes the deer cross under the highway, and yest there is a chain link along the interstate, but there are holes.

biggest flow is left to center, never dries up, other fingers get slower but never go dry.

Those large yards are doe magnets. I know a guy who lives in an outlaying urban area, similiar to what you have. The lots are a couple acres. Does have no problem bedding right by the homes. You can walk within 50 yards of these does and they stay bedded down. Sometime the does can get aggresive when they just have their fawns. Come the rut, this guy has mega bucks dogging does right of his deck.

Can you give us one or 2 zooms out? Is it all devolped property north of the interstate? The bucks aren't living around those houses, they are bedding on your property, or that large commercial property. Just to confirm, that large commercial property is that block south of the interstate? You could dang near consider that interstate as a wall.

It sounds like you are in a unique position when it comes to this hunt club. How is the hunting managed? Do each of you guys have your own areas? If I was you, I would cut down on your food plots. They are spread out all over the place. I would guess the hunters are all over the place come fall, and it doesn't take those bucks living on your properry long, to figure out it is hunting season.

I have some experience hunting the same general semi-urban area, I speak of. The deer know the difference between the hunters and the nonhunters. I'm not sure how much control you have over this spot, but I see a buck bedding hotspot. I would personally cut down on those food plots, and really find where those bucks are bedding. In a urban area like this any decent sized chunk of land is going to be great. There doesn't need to be such a focus on quality cover, like us country folk need. The does are bedding by the houses, the bucks want the peace an quite away from that. Those bucks just don't want to be bothered. Nothing ruins a great spot more than putting pressure on a buck used to peace and quite.

To me, it appears your crutch isn't lack of cover or food. It is bothering the bucks, by accessing and hunting that spread out food plot system.
Small freaking world, by sister in law grew up in Labanon. The funny thing is they know I'm a deer nut, and they would tell me all about the deer living in their neighborhood. Her parents live in Easton, PA now. I've been through your area, it is pretty, even with all those dang people.
It was pretty easy to spot your land. I would bet that shapefil place holds a good amount of deer. You have more habitat in the surrounding area than I originally assumed. I'll scale back my original thoughts on the importance of quality cover a little, because there appears to be plenty of buck bedding potiental outside your property. That makes pressure even more important because the bucks can leave your property, and move east where they aren't hunted. Bet you have some old bucks running around, with the limited hunting? I'm sure I 78 takes a few though.
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I tried to instill qdm values, it works with 90% of the club, there is one old timer that is still stuck on a not of lot of deer mentality and will not shoot a doe, but has no problem firing, and harvesting yearling bucks. He is retiring this year, so this should be his last year of that. As far as management, we each have our own picked out spots, that others tend to respect. We only have to worry about more than 4 people on the property at a time during the 6 day shotgun season, then we all chat and know where each other are going to be. A couple of us run feeders/ bait stations as they are legal and help us at the very least see/ harvest does. Along with the does come the bucks later on as the rut comes on. Honestly the deer will walk right past the corn under the feeder and hit the clover or whatever else the plots have to offer. As for the interstate being a wall, I wish, plenty a good buck has met its maker when trying to cross, lost a giant to a UPS freight truck last year, 170 class buck. There are a few, maybe 5 people that hunt the corp site, employees, but not out often. The bucks that do hang around do get good sized, we tend to harvest a few here and there that seem to be genetically different, almost a subspecies of giants. Once the older guy retires and clears out we should be much better suited to sticking to a game plan of let em go, let em grow. Our overall deer density is high, but not near its peak in the late 80's when they opened up the season to almost unlimited doe harvest. Shapefill is a gis term, that is the wildlife sanctuary, adjoining that is a quarry with limited pressure, and there is a park also......

I must admit I was kind of stunned when you said I should scale back food plot work, and work on cover. First I had ever heard of scaling back food plots. As for cover, they have tons, in under cedars, in under stickers, in under some hinge cuts I have done. I know you figured out where my property is, but I grabbed a zoom out for others to see as well.

When these guys talk about a central food source, you are trying to get the deer coming to one place, and going from there. For seeing and killing deer the spread out portion will work, and that is kinda what you have to deal with. But if I owned that land and wanted to get the best chance at the biggest buck around, I would only want one place for him to go eat, and try to kill him that way. With the spread out food plots, he could be anywhere.
Make sense?
yeah I hear ya, I was kinda going with the draw as many deer to the property, and take my chances at where he shows up. I* do tend to stack the deck in my favor by spending more time there hunting than any of the other guys, by a good margin. With the layout of the property we have banned all deer drives, no need to push them off to somewhere quiet from which they might not return, or go nocturnal on us. As far as spread out, you got me there, but trying to maximize acreage so the plots stand a chance to be there consistently for the ever hungry herds. Selection of plot locations on my part are two fold, amount of work to wrestle the area from its current fallow occupants, its proximity to cover, and quite importantly its distance away from the edges along the houses. The last being critical in my eyes so that the deer "want to" bed in the cover on the property, not around the houses adjoining it. Quite frankly it is tough to get along that property line and harvest an animal without them running back into the houses and ending up dead under a nice bay window of a 6k square foot house. I really appreciate your advice Dipper, I'm sure others agree with what you have said, but would like to hear from others as well. pretty cool that you know the area. we used to hunt a lot more of the property before the corporate building went in, at one time we had almost 2 thousand acres, ah the gory days.
i used to live and hunt on the far east end of Long Island, NY. It was a very similar scenario to what you have going on. The East End is wine country and has big vineyards. It also has lots of produce farms, sod farms, and the like. Lots of smallish wood lots, subdivisions, golf courses, swamps, marshes, and my favorite dune swales! Some of the biggest bucks i have ever laid eyes on come from out there....been quite a few 200"+ deer killed out there. It is amazing how those deer can pick up on predatory human behavior versus non-threatening human behavior. If they catch you sneaking its a wrap...but if the neighbor kid's baseball ends up in the wood lot and he and his buddies come crashing in looking for it they just freeze and wait for them to leave and go back to normal!

I would agree that it seems like food may not be the limiting factor. I would also think that centralizing the location of food would be beneficial and would open up more available, unintruded bedding opportunities for the big boys.

What else other than food plots have you done in terms of habitat improvement?
On a small scale some trees have been cut to allow a tangle to form, hinge cutting almost impossible as the osage that get cut are supported by the trees next to them. But the structure is there and the growth that responds to the sunlight forms quite a nice tangle/ secure cover. 4 mineral sites are done each year as soon as the thaw comes, 50 lbs di cal, and 50 lbs red trace mineral at each site. Where ever apple pear or crab trees grow they are released. The large blocks of hardwoods are logged on about a 5 year basis, selective cut of old growth high value timber, allowing sunlight to get to the ground at a stronger level.
Blow the minerals. . They won't give you squat. Start accessing stNd locations from the perimeter of the property, including getting dropped off from the I intestate. That looks like a big buck heaven, hunt smart, but enjoy being outdoors in the big city.

One of my best hunting spots in in the berbs of Chicago . I'm a country boy that is well rounded, I've got no problem hanging out on michigan ave., and hunting the berbs of Chicago. Some great hunting in the city.
Well after yesterdays deluge of 5.6 inches of rain, nothing is getting done anytime soon. About all I can do is cruise the net searching for good prices on seed. I kinda got bummed out when hancock went out of stock on blue lupine, but then I found it at seed ranch for a lot better price. Thinking of adding that to the brasica plots, creating a PTT GHR crimson clover blue lupine mix. I still hate how much it costs to have seed shipped, finally settle in on a source, and then tack on a big chunk for ups. turns a 400 dollar order to almost 600 in a hurry. I did snag a bag of black oil sunflower seed at walmart, 12 dollars or so, that will go in with the cowpea/ feed corn sunflower blend. feed corn 8 bux for 50 lb, 12 for the sunflower, and 40 for the peas makes an affordable blend of 150 lbs seed for only 60 dollars. Well heading to my place in NY state in a couple hours, jobsite is under water and took off tomorrow. Might be in for a lot of work, well froze up last trip north, hope there is no damage underground, might be a lot of digging if there is.
plots 4, 5 , and 6 are absolutely saturated with all the rain we have been having, don't know if I will be able to flip them for quite a while. Spring planted wr might turn into early summer planted winter rye.

I was able to flip under a portion of the plot 15, it is very rough, had a lot of fallow growth ranging from small cedars, russian olive, mfr, and even some barberry. Quite a bit of big and little bluestem, some mugwort, and various other grasses. The rest of the area is too thick and will choke the pow without cutting, or ripping out vines and larger growing items previously mentioned. All in all I hope the area will support some of the intended plants, and will improve over a few seasons.
Well gout out of work early yesterday and hit the tractor. Got plots 6 and 10 flipped with the two bottom, and worked on flipping the new plot 15 as well. That was rough, and will be this season, thinking of trying to flip it again today as the majority was flipped 2 weeks ago, but still has a lot of vegetation showing. Plots 4 and 5 need to be flipped, but gotta see how the wet spots are, I don't feel like getting stuck. After that its time to get back at the disc repair, then possibly spray plot 13 and let that die before I flip that one under, a fair amount of expansion around the edges and that is growing thick with mugwort. Tomorrow should be an easy day, run around and hit all the clover plots with a nice weed killing dose of gly.
well flipped plot 5, 3/4rts of the way through got stuck, ratchet strapped my way out and finished. Hit plot 5 and flipped all but the last 20 yds of it, just too wet down there. Started flipping plot 15 again and got a flat tire, off the bead tubed tire. Limped off and got next to a tree to strap up the front end and jack it up. Got the valve back through the rim and pumped it back up. and back at it, ten minutes later tire dang near flat again. rats, thought I just hadn't noticed a low tire, but seems I gave it a fast leak somewhere along the line. parked it and will deal with that later. Took a quiet walk to check on clover plots and had deer in all of them, one doe laying down eating what she could from her bed. Tons of clover stems, the deer approve of the jumbo ladino from welters.