perimeter trails

bueller

Moderator
My new place has perimeter access trails in place, huge plus IMO. The trails are 10-12 feet wide and according to google earth the total length is about 3/4 of a mile. The previous owners maintained the trails by cutting them a couple times a year. That's alot of cutting with my small riding mower. We do ride ATV's in the spring and summer so the traffic will cut down on the amount of mowing needed. For those with perimeter trails how do you maintain them. I've thought about seeding clover throughout the system but I'm not so sure I want to scatter food sources around. The property is only 23 acres and will likely have only one centralized food plot.

What would you do?

Leave it as is and mow it a couple times a year?

Spray gly and leave as is? ....this is flat sand ground so muddy ruts or holes are not a concern

Spray gly and plant clover?

Other suggestions????
 
D

dipper

Guest
Nothing? If and when they need an occasional brush hog so be it. I brush hog multiple trails for paying customers. Some want it done every year, but if you are barely using them, there is no need to be constantly cutting them. It takes many decades for a logging road type of trail to become overgrown.
If you want to use them more, walking, riding, maintain them more.
 

Jim Timber

5 year old buck +
I try to keep my trails 20 yards or more inside my perimeter. I don't want to encourage deer movement any closer to neighbors property, and if you can use it, you better believe deer will use it too.
 

huntall

5 year old buck +
I cut mine probably once a year. If I had a centrally located food plot on a track of land that size then I would not like to have clover on all the perimeter trails.
 

kabic

5 year old buck +
perimeter trails would be nice for fence maintenance, stand access... but I think 10-12 feet is about twice as wide as I would want.
 

bueller

Moderator
I cut mine probably once a year. If I had a centrally located food plot on a track of land that size then I would not like to have clover on all the perimeter trails.
That's my thought on the clover. One of the nice things about having a clean slate to work on is making sure each improvement makes hunting easier not more difficult. I can't see how clover on the trails would make this property any easier to hunt. IMO it would make hunting more difficult.

And as Jim Timber mentioned I really don't want the deer feeding on these trails as portions of them are in clear view from the neighbors.
 

bueller

Moderator
perimeter trails would be nice for fence maintenance, stand access... but I think 10-12 feet is about twice as wide as I would want.
I agree. You could drive a car around most if not all of the system.
 

PRK

5 year old buck +
When I bought my 80 acres there were perimeter trails plus trails cutting through the property. I'm putting clover on the internal trails but leaving the perimeter trail to grow in. I figure I'll use the perimeter trails for my access only and try not to bump deer from feeding areas. I still bump deer on the perimeter but I think it would be more often if they had clover on them.
 

bueller

Moderator
Nothing? If and when they need an occasional brush hog so be it. I brush hog multiple trails for paying customers. Some want it done every year, but if you are barely using them, there is no need to be constantly cutting them. It takes many decades for a logging road type of trail to become overgrown.
If you want to use them more, walking, riding, maintain them more.
That's the thing. I'd like to keep them at a reasonable height throughout the year so we can use them for hiking, etc. with the kids. But I don't want to be spend hour after hour cutting during the growing season.
 

bueller

Moderator
Make a single pass with your riding mower twice a year and you'd be good to go IMHO. Stuff doesn't grow that quickly on that sand. Allow the rest of the width of the trail to be reclaimed by nature...or hit it every other year with a rented brushhog to keep the brush from moving in.

I'd leave the outside edge of the existing trail to revert to whatever it becomes, and keep a 3-5' path open by mowing a couple times a year.

I think this is the best approach for my situation.
 

JackTerp

5 year old buck +
I have the same issue except my trail goes right through the center of my 25 acres. I use it to haul out fire wood I cut for my own use. To keep the trail nice and open, I drag the entire trail with my ATV disc right after most of the leaves have fallen. Deer use the trail all the time and so I have four ladder stands along the trail. I harvest at least two doe every year from them. The discing keeps the trail very soft and quiet so walking it is a joy. The deer really seem to be attracted to the disced soil.
 

kskid

5 year old buck +
Make a single pass with your riding mower twice a year and you'd be good to go IMHO. Stuff doesn't grow that quickly on that sand. Allow the rest of the width of the trail to be reclaimed by nature...or hit it every other year with a rented brushhog to keep the brush from moving in.

I'd leave the outside edge of the existing trail to revert to whatever it becomes, and keep a 3-5' path open by mowing a couple times a year.

X2
 

wiscwhip

5 year old buck +
I would actually consider planting the edge toward the neighbors with conifers or shrubs or a combination of something just to discourage the looky-loos across the fence. Just keep it mowed, you mow it once in early June and again in late July and the limited moisture will keep it down pretty well in the dead of summer. Go fast, the deer flies will get ya!:eek::eek: Pay attention to whether or not some areas are lower or wetter when considering those plots and tree planting. Much of that area up there can have the top 5' be dry as a bone, but the normal water table is only down 6' or so.
 

bueller

Moderator
I would actually consider planting the edge toward the neighbors with conifers or shrubs or a combination of something just to discourage the looky-loos across the fence. Just keep it mowed, you mow it once in early June and again in late July and the limited moisture will keep it down pretty well in the dead of summer. Go fast, the deer flies will get ya!:eek::eek: Pay attention to whether or not some areas are lower or wetter when considering those plots and tree planting. Much of that area up there can have the top 5' be dry as a bone, but the normal water table is only down 6' or so.
I've thought about planting the neighbors edge but most of the trail has such a thick canopy overhead that I don't think I'd get much growth. There is only one border that I have a concern with anyways. And that concern may turn out to be unwarranted.

The ground on this place is really flat and dry. I do have a creek on one of my borders but it's your common manmade Juneau County "ditch" with high banks and really no overspill concern.
 

foggy

5 year old buck +
Lots of thoughts here. I have varied width trails and plant clover on them.....and wider spots become long food plots. I have a couple miles of trails. My plots and trails equal about 8 acres. Two to four swipes with my mower......may take 1/2 day, twice a year. Yep, you do bump a few deer when driving on the trails. My trials are (1) access (2) food plots (3) shooting lanes (4) deer runs. Doe groups or bucks can bed anywhere.....and have nearby access to nutrition for most of the year. With nearby cover...the trails get used during the day. clover.JPGphoto-4.JPG fertilizer.JPG

None of my trails are next to the property line.....but still may be within yards of it. The adjoining property owners cannot see down my trails from any vantage point that I am aware of. Without the lanes.....hunting would be difficult due to thick cover.
 
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wiscwhip

5 year old buck +
You have already got a funnel on the edge with the ditch, find out if and where they cross it onto your place and you have more potential funnels. I would try to improve any areas like this as much as possible via hinging and such. Keep in mind that if there are any likely plot or orchard areas within reasonable distances of that creek a generator, small pump, and a few hundred feet of garden hose could save your plots/trees on that beach! You would only need 6 or 8 feet of lift and with the rest being flat, you could make something like that work very easily. It wouldn't be a bad area to put in plots or trees anyway, given the ditch will help protect that side from trespassers and line sitters looking to capitalize on your efforts. Also a reminder(I know you've most likely dealt with the same on your dad's place) to keep your plots oriented and sized to where the afternoon sun is not pounding them into dust every day in July and August. On that beach, partially to moderately shaded plots are your best friend and full sun is your worst nightmare.
 

bueller

Moderator
foggy, your planted trails look great. Let me ask me this. If your tract of land was only 20 acres and your trails were very near the property lines, would you still plant them with food?
 

bueller

Moderator
You have already got a funnel on the edge with the ditch, find out if and where they cross it onto your place and you have more potential funnels. I would try to improve any areas like this as much as possible via hinging and such. Keep in mind that if there are any likely plot or orchard areas within reasonable distances of that creek a generator, small pump, and a few hundred feet of garden hose could save your plots/trees on that beach! You would only need 6 or 8 feet of lift and with the rest being flat, you could make something like that work very easily. It wouldn't be a bad area to put in plots or trees anyway, given the ditch will help protect that side from trespassers and line sitters looking to capitalize on your efforts. Also a reminder(I know you've most likely dealt with the same on your dad's place) to keep your plots oriented and sized to where the afternoon sun is not pounding them into dust every day in July and August. On that beach, partially to moderately shaded plots are your best friend and full sun is your worst nightmare.
So far I love the ditch. It adds a water hole and natural funnel to my place and acts as a moat to keep the two legged creatures away :D! I need to check the trail that runs near the ditch and if it gets enough light I may go ahead and plant this section. This section also happens to be the furtherest from the house :). I've already located one place the deer cross the ditch and will be searching for additional crossings.
 

foggy

5 year old buck +
^ Bueller, I have one side of my swamp that is roughly that side parcel. It is all fairly narrow trails / food plots. Two areas (where we killed most of our deer) is called "the fingers" as it has about seven trails crossing each other. I don't have real big food plots in the center.....just trails / plots / shooting lanes. The trail will take you near the perimeter....but I do keep some cover between me and the neighbors. The conifers are getting so thick you cannot see 5 feet into them. Not saying what is right or wrong.....just showing what I have.attachment-3897344693.jpeg
 

bueller

Moderator
^ Bueller, I have one side of my swamp that is roughly that side parcel. It is all fairly narrow trails / food plots. Two areas (where we killed most of our deer) is called "the fingers" as it has about seven trails crossing each other. I don't have real big food plots in the center.....just trails / plots / shooting lanes. The trail will take you near the perimeter....but I do keep some cover between me and the neighbors. The conifers are getting so thick you cannot see 5 feet into them. Not saying what is right or wrong.....just showing what I have.View attachment 2750
Thanks foggy. I remember seeing posts you made in the past showing your beautiful trails. To be honest those posts are one of the main reasons I started this thread. At this time I don't intend to hunt over my trails so I'd like to keep my food offerings to areas I will be hunting. Right now I'm leaning towards experimenting and leaving most portions as is, and maybe planting the trail near the moat.
 
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