Setting up a finger in the timber to maximize hunting

DRG3

5 year old buck +
I have this finder pictured below in orange on my land and it seems to be an area the deer and turkey like to travel across, but they use it differently.

The draw area immediately to the east is a little bit thicker and the one immediately to the west is open just like the finger. There are mast trees all around and some mid-story growth. The area to the north is very thick and off my property.

about middle of the finger is very easy to access and I have a stand there. I am looking for ideas for practices or set ups I can implement- either in the draws, and or on the finger that will create more consistent movement. Prefeably by improving the habiatat, but am certainly open to funneling ideas. The white areas to the south and southwest are ag field and on my property.

Let me know if other info is needed- and I sure appreciate the input. This is a small section of the property and I'm also working on the overall landscape, but this is a key area for me so just wanting to look at it on a micro level.

Thanks in advance!

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yoderjac

5 year old buck +
You're probably not going to want to hear this, but your best bet may be to do nothing. We have done lots of habitat improvement; everything from timbering, TSI, to food plots. It has all affected deer movement, but none has been highly predictable. If you have a wide open are between two blocks of cover and put a strip of cover between the blocks, deer will usually use that cover to move between them. Beyond that kind of simplistic thing, I find deer are a lot more unpredictable than I thought. All of our habitat improvements have been a great benefit to deer, but after each one, we have had to re-learn new travel patterns and they have been different than the "experts" would suggest.

If hunting, verses QDM, were my primary concern, I would be very selective about making changes. I would figure out what I want to do, make the changes as fast as I could, and then let things resolve for a year or two before selecting stand sites.

Thanks,

Jack
 

DRG3

5 year old buck +
You're probably not going to want to hear this, but your best bet may be to do nothing. We have done lots of habitat improvement; everything from timbering, TSI, to food plots. It has all affected deer movement, but none has been highly predictable. If you have a wide open are between two blocks of cover and put a strip of cover between the blocks, deer will usually use that cover to move between them. Beyond that kind of simplistic thing, I find deer are a lot more unpredictable than I thought. All of our habitat improvements have been a great benefit to deer, but after each one, we have had to re-learn new travel patterns and they have been different than the "experts" would suggest.

If hunting, verses QDM, were my primary concern, I would be very selective about making changes. I would figure out what I want to do, make the changes as fast as I could, and then let things resolve for a year or two before selecting stand sites.

Thanks,

Jack
Thank you. that makes a lot of sense.
I had considered thickening up parts of the draws and the slopes down through them via some thinning. Any thoughts on whether or not I can get deer or turkey to use those areas for cover/travel and browsing, or would they tend to use them less because they are draws? I'm not sure I've figured out yet, in general, not just on this area, how deer will relate to long draws or creeks in terms of use for browse or covere. I understand how they use them as travel corridors, but not if I can make them more than that
 

Bill

Administrator
how wide is that finger? I don't know if you can make them use the finger more but you can certainly steer them when they do. I cut trees to funnel deer by stands all the time.
fat lazy deer will walk around a dead fall rather then crawling through it most of the time. My small plots have trees caved in and piled up so they can enter and leave only where I tell them to.

I even use short lengths of fence to steer them. They will normally walk around 50 foot run of fence rather then jumping it.
 

DRG3

5 year old buck +
how wide is that finger? I don't know if you can make them use the finger more but you can certainly steer them when they do. I cut trees to funnel deer by stands all the time.
fat lazy deer will walk around a dead fall rather then crawling through it most of the time. My small plots have trees caved in and piled up so they can enter and leave only where I tell them to.

I even use short lengths of fence to steer them. They will normally walk around 50 foot run of fence rather then jumping it.
at it's narrowest, its around 40 yds wide. I currently have a stand at that spot.
 

b116757

5 year old buck +
I would crown release the mast trees in the area they will definitely use that area of crown released trees more than they do now.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
Hard to say from the internet but assuming your access is from the south, you may have a scenario where clean access/egress is the most important to address first. If deer are in your ag fields during low light periods and doe family groups are bedding on the edge of it, you may struggle to get to the stand clean in the morning or out in the evenings without a good access strategy.

The obvious improvements as mentioned are crown release of mast trees and in the process hinge/fall trees in a manner that will help direct travel patterns to you and also screen your access. You should have more consistent wind on the high spots than in the bottoms so I'd focus stand sites there first.

Disclaimer: the above advice is based largely on reading and not years of real life experience. Jim Brauker's book Extreme Deer Habitat is the most thorough resource I've read to date when it comes to manipulating timber for habitat/hunting.
 
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Spike_Horn_Shooter

5 year old buck +
How steep is that ravine to the east of where your red circle is? Is there a preferred crossing - probably close to the top? My experience in country similar to this (Ohio) is deer will use the tops because the ditch is pretty steep after 25% from the top. You could drop some trees and make a god aweful mess everywhere they are crossing where you don’t want them too.

It’s a North facing slope - I don’t think they are going to use it much for bedding after November. Unless maybe on a warm south east wind. 7F77B719-1330-48FE-83BA-807BBBF8869A.jpeg

I’d sneak in from the east early in the morning - coming from the bottom down in that creek, and post up midway on the other side of the wind.
 
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