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Old 08-12-2009, 08:43 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,408
Default Who knew habitat was so hard.

Being from a farm family, I thought this habitat thing was going to be relatively easy.

I bought a 16-acre former elk farm, meaning I have 11+ acres with 8-ft fences that are great for keeping out the over-populated coyotes that keep game birds from reaching significant populations around here. I started by strategically cutting several sections of fence down to 4 ft to let the deer in; in 2 years, since I have no draw to bring them in, I've only seen 2 jump in.

Last year, I tried to set up a cost-sharing arrangement with the state and get a drill through Pheasants Forever to replant. By the time the weather cooperated and I got through the 4 agencies that got involved (gov't bureacracy at its best), it was too late to plant (I'd already paid $360 to Round-up it). So I stored the seed until this year.

This year, I burned it then I bartered out my barn to a local farmer to winter his cattle in exchange for applying Round-up again. The weather turned cold, and didn't warm up for like 5 weeks. So it did not kill well at all, and I later found out they had a recall on that batch of spray so it wasn't working well anyway. But I'd already gotten the drill and replanted it no-till.

Whether because the fescue wasn't totally dead or the seed was crap after storing a year, germination was TERRIBLE. The legumes came up great, but the warm-season grasses don't appear to have come up well at all. And now my cost-sharing money is stuck up in a budget battle, so I may not get it back anytime soon.

I'm thinking for next year I will barter with the farmer again to spray half of it at double-strength Round-up then plow the sod under completely and replant. Then do the other half the following year (I want to preserve SOME habitat this year). I also got a 2-row planter setup to put in some corn plots to draw the deer in for late season when all food around here is GONE.

The only bright spot is the patch of sunflowers I worked in this year are doing great, so I should be able to salvage dove season.
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