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Dufus1964 10-13-2005 10:27 AM

Small acreage mgmt
I have recently purchased 113 acres in prime whitetail area of Mobile County Alabama. The topo is rolling hills. I have 3 ditches with hardwoods in them and 26 acres of hardwood bottoms, mostly around the edges. The property is shaped like a backwards L when facing north from the south property line. A trust owns the 42 acres in the NW corner. I have thick bottoms on 2 sides, a highway on one side and a neighbor who leases the 200 acres on the east side. I have contacted a state wildlife biologist and he is helping me put together a long range plan for deer mgmt and timber production.He is as green asa two leaf clover that justemerged.I plan to bowhunt only. I have hunting clubs and/or individual hunters on all sides. I would like to take some does for meat and letyoung bucks grow old. The entire property, minus the hardwoods mentioned earlier, was a pine plantation that was clear cut in 2002, it has not been replanted, therefore, I have a lot of natural browse. I have cleared 16 acres total. I planted two five acre plots, one of which is by the hwy and will be used for horses planted in winter rye grass and crimson clover with bahia grass that will sprout in spring 2006. I also planted4 small hunting plots about 1 acre each and cleared some roadside mgmt zones. The prevailing wind is perfect to hunt any part of the property. I have seen many, many, tracks and the plots are immature as yet. I would like to use this forum to get ideas, and keep a discussion ongoing in the mgmt of this property. My goal is to have a trophy in 4 to 5 years and at the same time provide meat and bowhunting excitement for my family. Any ideas?

Bowhunting since Oct. 2002

Critr-Gitr 10-13-2005 01:36 PM

RE: Small acreage mgmt
Wow- you're covering alot of territory with that post.:D My first thought would be to try and get the hunters/landowners around you to try and hold off on those young bucks. You may have to go slow, mentalities are hard to change. Stick with it and be polite. On a property your size it will be hard to significantly alter the herd population structure without some help.

Think of it this way- You have to plug the lowest hole in the bucket before you can start filling it. The lowest hole is age. Simply put, even with excellent nutrition and genetics, a buck has to grow up to produce good antlers. It is only after you begin to get some age on your bucks that you will start to see the benefits of all the hard work you are putting into your food plots and increasing the production of your native vegetation. Genetics is a far distant third place, and something that very few property owners even have the ability to change. What we are talking about it is the law of diminishing returns. The big deal is age and population structure. Attack that with a vengance. The next step is nutrition and habitat, and you seem to be well on your way with that. I probably haven't said enough about population structure either but that is a different discussion... The easy answer is whack some does. Nearly anywhere you want to talk about could stand to have the doe population reduced at least somewhat. By the way I am a Wildlife Biologist. :) Good Luck.

Criggster 10-14-2005 09:37 PM

RE: Small acreage mgmt
If you plan to bowhunt only, and the neighbors are hunting during all of the seasons. You should have a good unpressured area for the deer during firearms season. Be sure to include some sanctuaries for the deer. After the firearms season you should have plenty of deer vacationing there.

TomFromTheShade 10-26-2005 02:22 AM

RE: Small acreage mgmt
It sounds like you have the food management covered. Deer only need two other elements to thrive. A good place to hole up where they can't be bothered too much, and a good water source.

timbercruiser 10-26-2005 06:41 AM

RE: Small acreage mgmt
Not a lot to add to the information already given. On the edges of the fields I would go ahead and plant a bunch of Sawtooth Oaks. They will probably be the first acorns to drop and the deer like them a bunch. Once they are on your property you may be able to entice them with good food plots to stick around.The cutover area will have a lot of preferred foods for the deer and should be excellent, safebedding. Get a few cameras and put them out and you will get a good idea of the type of deer you have on your property. One last thing,you will probably be pleasantly surprised to find that you already have trophy deer on the property and you won't have to wait 5 years. Unless the contiguous land hunters have a management of some type you won't have a lot of success. Deer have a lot bigger range than 113 acres as you probably know.

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