Small Property Strategy

Bill Loser

5 year old buck +
I am with Atom here, if it were me I would try to establish some unique food sources that aren't already in your area like Chestnuts and maybe Pears.
I planter 2 pears and 8 Apple trees so far, starting 6 years ago. The pears have yet to produce 1 single piece of fruit! I don't understand it! The older apples are starting to produce now, but I planted them in the wrong spot.
My first year here I planted 100 white pine, 100 swamp white oak, and 100 quaking aspen. I have about 5 of each left. No matter what I cage with the deer push the cages over and eat the trees. Ive got a couple pines yet that are 6 or 7 years old but only 12" tall because of the constant browse. I tried Douglas Fir, I might as well have tried to cage piles of corn LOL, then I went to red pine, I get a little better success with them but still not 100% survival.
 

356

5 year old buck +
My first property was 13 acres of timber in SW Missouri, which I still enjoy. While we have harvested some nice deer from the property, there is no way I can hold deer on the property--although it sure seems as some doe's have adopted the place as their "go to" property. Here are some reflections of the work I have done that may be helpful to this thread:

Hinge Cutting: That was all the rage ten years ago, and I hinge cut several smaller maples, oaks and elms to create funnels from the neighboring pasture land. Several died in two years, and all but one are dead today. However, the cuttings did create the desired funnel that is used to this day. Would I do this again? No.
Timber Management: This was key--getting more light to the ground--plus it's provided some great firewood for the cabin. I continue to engage in timber management using girdling.
Mineral site: In placed a trophy rock by a desired "pause point" in a 1/3 acre hidey hole that has become THE messaging center for bucks and does for the past decade. The scrape is 5' wide and I have not added any minerals for a couple of years.
Mineral stumps: Some of my stumps have produced for five years and are still being hit hard. This provides the added benefit of timber management. I will continue this practice.
Hidey Hole plot: A 1/3 acre plot has performed "as advertised," meaning that the deer stop and browse. I used the brush from cleaning the plot to create cover. It is not unusual to have six or seven deer behind the cover and then water into the plot, check out the mineral site and go back into the cover. Over the decade, I have expanded the plot from 1/4 acre to 1/3 acre.

Reflections: Since the 13 acre "cabin" property is not one I frequent, I do not want to engage in improvements that require much equipment or time. I do want quality habitat and periodic hunting opportunities. Small properties can provide big opportunities, and my most memorable hunt was the year I harvested a "textbook buck" that I would have never harvested had it not been for the above improvements.

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Telemark

5 year old buck +
How big of an area do you think a guy would need to make hinge cutting beneficial? I have a couple acres of box elder and willow that I tried to hinge cut a couple years ago and never really saw any difference. Maybe I didn't do it right?

I think box elder and willow are among the best candidates for hinge cutting. But I don't think hinge cutting has such a profound effect. In my experience deer will nibble them a little in early summer and in winter, but they won't really go out of their way for them. I think your main focus should be on the structure and cover they provide. Make sure the hinge cut area isn't too messy, and coppice instead if you need to. I also don't think much about the area, but I wouldn't make too large of an area or it becomes a bit of a food desert.
 
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bwoods11

5 year old buck +
How big of an area do you think a guy would need to make hinge cutting beneficial? I have a couple acres of box elder and willow that I tried to hinge cut a couple years ago and never really saw any difference. Maybe I didn't do it right?

As small as 1/4 acre will help . Boxelder is the best to hinge cut in my opinion!
 
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bigboreblr

5 year old buck +
Another smaller acreage guy here. I own 2.5, but share a total of 8 with inlaws next door. zero bedding all wide open, but have neghboring bedding areas luckily.

Small pacrel with food as the attraction. Design a way to get in and out without being seen much. Box blind with 15-20ft of brush on each side. Sometimes paths backfire as travel routes. Definitely multiple spots to work the wind. Best bet is late season luck... Make a winter food source. When folks are done putting corn out, you got a attractive neighborhood spot.

You should talk about what equipment you have to work with, how much time you have to work with, and what kind of budget you got.

Small parcel vs the big guys on here. No-till may be ok, but the use of fertilizer will be a big plus. Deer will hammer stuff, make sure it grwos fast in your small spots. Always have a plan B food plot seed. Like some winter rye, extra turnips, and clover seed. Dont be afraid to split that food spot into thrds for rotation. In GA you can easily put 2 or 3 crops in a year.

Georgia, water is a must. Even if it's a water trough closer to the house and garden hose. Talk to local well driller, see if the will sell you used well pump piping. This way yu can call you mom and ask her to hook up the hose and run it for 15 minute to fill back up a 150 gallon bucket. Added plus if you need to water fruit trees. Even planting a fruit tree where the overflow of the trough goes.

Not familiar with georgia hunting season dates. I know some places have small window. I live in NY. You can litterally hunt for months n months here.
 

Bill Loser

5 year old buck +
Another smaller acreage guy here. I own 2.5, but share a total of 8 with inlaws next door. zero bedding all wide open, but have neghboring bedding areas luckily.

Small pacrel with food as the attraction. Design a way to get in and out without being seen much. Box blind with 15-20ft of brush on each side. Sometimes paths backfire as travel routes. Definitely multiple spots to work the wind. Best bet is late season luck... Make a winter food source. When folks are done putting corn out, you got a attractive neighborhood spot.

You should talk about what equipment you have to work with, how much time you have to work with, and what kind of budget you got.

Small parcel vs the big guys on here. No-till may be ok, but the use of fertilizer will be a big plus. Deer will hammer stuff, make sure it grwos fast in your small spots. Always have a plan B food plot seed. Like some winter rye, extra turnips, and clover seed. Dont be afraid to split that food spot into thrds for rotation. In GA you can easily put 2 or 3 crops in a year.

Georgia, water is a must. Even if it's a water trough closer to the house and garden hose. Talk to local well driller, see if the will sell you used well pump piping. This way yu can call you mom and ask her to hook up the hose and run it for 15 minute to fill back up a 150 gallon bucket. Added plus if you need to water fruit trees. Even planting a fruit tree where the overflow of the trough goes.

Not familiar with georgia hunting season dates. I know some places have small window. I live in NY. You can litterally hunt for months n months here.
My problem is access. All west access and all pretty much open, a 6 acre ag field in alfalfa right now and another 6 or 7 of early regrowth. Bottom 3 or 4 acres is a old pasture with rod box elder and willows. No cover for access at all and i have no idea how to put any in.
 

Mortenson

5 year old buck +
My problem is access. All west access and all pretty much open, a 6 acre ag field in alfalfa right now and another 6 or 7 of early regrowth. Bottom 3 or 4 acres is a old pasture with rod box elder and willows. No cover for access at all and i have no idea how to put any in.
Just curious, but do you get a lot of opportunities on your 6 acre alfalfa field? Being far north seems you'd have a huge draw there.

And are there no varieties of switch that can grow in your climate?
 
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Bill Loser

5 year old buck +
Just curious, but do you get a lot of opportunities on your 6 acre alfalfa field? Being far north seems you'd have a huge draw there.

And are there no varieties of switch that can grow in your climate?
Alfalfa is a draw. Not huge but it does draw. Beans, corn, clover/ alfalfa in that order around here. They will go there before my sunflower,winter rye and rape plots.
I have thought about switch, problem is my access is in the alfalfa field at present. I am going to move that stand, as soon as i get a tractor and some forks.
 

bigboreblr

5 year old buck +
One thing you can do is a staging blind. A spot you can to and sit until light before you need to cross a field.

You have some woods on the sides, can always drag over brush and make a brushplie fence.

A coworker does alot of work in rye on his father 200 acres. He intentionally stages rye for hunts. Plants some every 2 weeks.
 

Sportsman94

Yearling... With promise
Another smaller acreage guy here. I own 2.5, but share a total of 8 with inlaws next door. zero bedding all wide open, but have neghboring bedding areas luckily.

Small pacrel with food as the attraction. Design a way to get in and out without being seen much. Box blind with 15-20ft of brush on each side. Sometimes paths backfire as travel routes. Definitely multiple spots to work the wind. Best bet is late season luck... Make a winter food source. When folks are done putting corn out, you got a attractive neighborhood spot.

You should talk about what equipment you have to work with, how much time you have to work with, and what kind of budget you got.

Small parcel vs the big guys on here. No-till may be ok, but the use of fertilizer will be a big plus. Deer will hammer stuff, make sure it grwos fast in your small spots. Always have a plan B food plot seed. Like some winter rye, extra turnips, and clover seed. Dont be afraid to split that food spot into thrds for rotation. In GA you can easily put 2 or 3 crops in a year.

Georgia, water is a must. Even if it's a water trough closer to the house and garden hose. Talk to local well driller, see if the will sell you used well pump piping. This way yu can call you mom and ask her to hook up the hose and run it for 15 minute to fill back up a 150 gallon bucket. Added plus if you need to water fruit trees. Even planting a fruit tree where the overflow of the trough goes.

Not familiar with georgia hunting season dates. I know some places have small window. I live in NY. You can litterally hunt for months n months here.

My plan is to have a box blind on the field for my daughter and I to hunt by next season. It won’t satisfy my desire to bow hunt, but will hopefully allow a less intrusive hunt. You are spot on with creating a late season food source. I often have 10+ does feeding in the fields in late December.

I have a kubota l2501 with a firminator for planting. I also have a bush hog and 3pt spreader. Generally, this field has been my miniature dove field in the summer and then planted with a grain/clover/brassica mix in the fall. Getting a mixture of millet and sorghum, with various degrees of buckwheat, sunflowers, Alyce clover, etc mixed in. My plan for this coming season will be to plant the whole thing in sorghum. Depending on how it does, I may broadcast grains and clover over the top in the fall.


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Sportsman94

Yearling... With promise
Just to add, Georgia has an extremely long season. Bow season starts in September, rifle comes in October and lasts until January


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Bill Loser

5 year old buck +
My plan is to have a box blind on the field for my daughter and I to hunt by next season. It won’t satisfy my desire to bow hunt, but will hopefully allow a less intrusive hunt. You are spot on with creating a late season food source. I often have 10+ does feeding in the fields in late December.

I have a kubota l2501 with a firminator for planting. I also have a bush hog and 3pt spreader. Generally, this field has been my miniature dove field in the summer and then planted with a grain/clover/brassica mix in the fall. Getting a mixture of millet and sorghum, with various degrees of buckwheat, sunflowers, Alyce clover, etc mixed in. My plan for this coming season will be to plant the whole thing in sorghum. Depending on how it does, I may broadcast grains and clover over the top in the fall.


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What do you plant for late season food sources? I have not found anything yet that the deer actually will travel to eat and will be available to them in late winter. Tried everything from turnips to WR so far and have had little to know luck with any of it.
 

356

5 year old buck +
Just to add, Georgia has an extremely long season. Bow season starts in September, rifle comes in October and lasts until January


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I second BBB's recommendation for a staging area...if you use a food plot, don't hunt over it (as most good deer will use it only after shooting light) but rather, consider how they get to the plot. A blind in the right location with the right wind will serve you well. Many of the "well known" hunters focus on small areas of 2 to 20 acres for their set ups, and you can do the same as long as your goals are appropriate and you are patient. Having a long season provides opportunity for early, rut and winter set ups.
 

Bill Loser

5 year old buck +
I second BBB's recommendation for a staging area...if you use a food plot, don't hunt over it (as most good deer will use it only after shooting light) but rather, consider how they get to the plot. A blind in the right location with the right wind will serve you well. Many of the "well known" hunters focus on small areas of 2 to 20 acres for their set ups, and you can do the same as long as your goals are appropriate and you are patient. Having a long season provides opportunity for early, rut and winter set ups.

With only small acreage its hard to have a food plot or 2 and not be hunting over them. I have 3 small plots currently but next year in the one section im going to try to plant 1 bigger plot in the middle of the field and plant corn/sunflowers, maybe sorghum around the perimeter for cover and /or staging. We still would be 50 yards off the plot max. Not sure that makes sense, but we have to try something.
 

Sportsman94

Yearling... With promise
Late season food source planting here is just an average fall mix. Wheat, rye, crimson clover, Apache arrowleaf clover, sometimes some radishes or Austrian winter peas. I can generally count on two hands the amount of nights that are below freezing so that mix stays green all winter.

356, the layout of the property prevents me from hunting like I would need to in order to not hunt the actual plots. There’s a road on the east side I could sit on to catch them coming to the big plot, but the predominant wind blows down the road. If I went to the south end of it I would be shooting back towards houses. If I sit the west side of the property I can get away with more wind directions, but will be directly on the big plot. Lastly, I could sit the west side of the woods road that is right on the southern border. My only exit would be to walk back through the plot full of deer at dark or walk all the way down the woods road and around the perimeter of 3/4 of the property. That may not be a horrible approach, but I would be adding pressure to the bottom .5 acre plot every time which I believe would limit my daylight deer movement based on past experience. I generally choose to encourage daylight movement by limiting the pressure. They seem to be comfortable using the whole place in daylight as long as I’m not in there too often. All of these approaches limit the bow hunting ability that I prefer, but that may just be the nature of the beast in this case.

I appreciate all of the conversation and suggestions everyone has added to this


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Foggy47

5 year old buck +
Looking for a good place to put this video.....not 100% sure this is it(?). But the video has a good representation of hinge cutting and letting light in to make some cover.
Take a look:

I got to watching this guy's channel as a result of a piece he did on tear river drills. He has joined this site....but not sure how active he is. I think he does a nice job of presenting these things.
 
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