Wildlife Management / Food Plots This forum is about all wildlife management including deer, food plots, land management, predators etc.

Am I wasting my time?

Old 12-21-2004, 10:20 AM
  #1  
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Default Am I wasting my time?

I hunt a friend's farm that consists of 220 acres. 70% is unused pastures 30% hardwoods with a creek going through the middle and 3/4 acre pond . Because of trespassing and vandalizing I have posted the property. I also limit the numbers of hunters on the propoerty at one time. Opening day has the biggest crowd with maybe 12 hunters.
I have been reading a lot about deer management and have started to implement some improvements. Salt blocks in the spring/ summer. Rejuvenating some old apple trees on the property.
Here is the problem. Three sides of the property are surrounded by PA State Game Lands. (hence the trespassing and vandalism). The fourth side is another private property.
I know that I can't provide proper deer management because of the property size but I was hoping that I could make the property a "core" site for deer to come in and out of. With the tremendous pressure the deer get from the PA Game lands and the lower pressure on the farm I am hoping to make the hunting better.
I have been thinking of planting 4 - 1 acre food plots in the spring and fall. Increasing the cover by downing scrubs trees, fertilizing the crab apple trees, fertilizing the white oak trees and contining with the salt blocks and the rejuvenating of the apple tress.
The question is ... A I wasting my time and money because of the PA State Game Lands situation??
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Old 12-21-2004, 03:58 PM
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Nontypical Buck
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Ontario Canada
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Default RE: Am I wasting my time?

duckwacker; what you're suggesting sounds good for improvement. Deer will make use and be healthier will anything that you do. After reading your circumstances it sounds like you may be overusing parts of the property if all of the hunters are using the hardwoods on opening day. Also; if you want the deer to use a good size section (10+ acres) as a refuge you'll need to keep it out of bounds even during opening day. Based on the fact that 70% is old pastures you may want to make fewer but larger food plots as 4 acres is minimal for the kind of hunting pressure that you're describing.

Dan O.
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Old 12-21-2004, 04:05 PM
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Location: Northern Arizona
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Default RE: Am I wasting my time?

The old pasture is basically worthless for what you are attempting to do-you could over plant with clover or brohm grass and enhance the feeding qualities. As stated by Dan O. if you want to improve the quality you will need to reduce the hunt pressure and leave a complete safe zone no matter how much you want to do in and do hunting there. Also sounds like you need more sillohette covering. Not trees but shrubs
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Old 12-21-2004, 08:31 PM
  #4  
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Default RE: Am I wasting my time?

Shurbs and smaller trees are excellent sources of cover and possibly forage as well, though I'm not familiar with many eastern shrub species. If you provide superior cover with forage and water available nearby, deer will retreat to your property at the first sign of pressure from the other land. However, if you allow that many hunters on your property per day they will quickly be killed or run off so I would further limit the pressure if you truly want to provide a "core" area for them.
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Old 12-21-2004, 09:29 PM
  #5  
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Default RE: Am I wasting my time?

I agree - the food plots won't hurt - and will help draw some deer. But - having a thick sanctuary of 20 acres - not bordered by the game lands would be the best way to hold-over more and healthier deer.

There is no quick fix - but the ARs in PA should help some - compared to none.

12 people is alot on 220 acres. I'm not saying it cannot be done - so long as everone understands its not realistic that all will get a buck - and they hunt leagally.
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Old 12-22-2004, 09:26 AM
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Default RE: Am I wasting my time?

Guys,
Thanks for the replies. I like the idea of a deer sanctuary area but the only area that would accomadate it would be to close to the public lands. I agree that 12 hunters are too many but I have very little control over that because it is not my land. Actually since I have been managing the farm I cut it down from about 20 hunters. You should have seen the problems we had with hunters coming in from the Game lands. My friend had two of his steers shot, electric fences kicked down, hunters too close to the house, farm equipment damaged just to mention a few.
We do get a lot of pressure on the first day. But after that we have maybe 6 hunters on the property. Most of the pressure comes from the state game lands compared to the farm. Sometimes it sounds like a war in the game lands. Especially since PA put in the concurrent buck and doe season. Since then I have noticed less deer overall on the property.
I apprieciate all the advise. I may try a few things including bigger food plots and see what happens. If I don't see a noticeable difference in a couple years I may just call in quits.
Thanks again.
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Old 12-22-2004, 06:53 PM
  #7  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Am I wasting my time?

Duckwhaker; My property is next to a public hunting area also. The few things that I found that helped:

- put up signs, if they rip one down put up 2 in difficult to remove positions.
- show your presence, not just on weekends or during hunting season
- Put up fencing, even if it's only 2 strands of barb wire. It shows ownership
- Have the locals keep an eye on the property.

You may be trying to break 20 years of people being used to hunting on the property. It will get better. If you can't provide a sanctuary you may be better off postioning your plots for the bow season when things quiet down.

Dan O.
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Old 12-23-2004, 11:37 AM
  #8  
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Default RE: Am I wasting my time?

Like Dan O says put up some property dividers like a fence or signs to keep people off, Plant some clover seed in the pasture, try different things, but dont give up .It's fun just to see if your projects work and what kind of results you get. I also think you have too many people on it, if you can control that you should , We dont have that many on 440 acres.
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Old 12-23-2004, 02:03 PM
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Default RE: Am I wasting my time?

Dan O and Ron,
Thanks for the info. Most of this property has an old electric fence around it. Of course that does stop them. What I have did is place the posted signs up real high with the aid of a step ladder. Then I used orange highway marketing paint and painted a parameter of trees with the paint. I am usually on the farm all spring weekends (gobbler season) and in the summer fishing the pond. Then come fall I small game and turkey hunt. This has seemed to keep most of the trepassers out.
I like the idea of the clover fileds in the middle of the property. That is where I usually put the salt blocks in the spring. My friend has collected over 55 lbs of "wildlife cover" the PA Game Commission has given over the years and I may plant some of that also.
Thanks for all your help. And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
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