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Old 07-12-2014, 10:20 AM   #251
elgato
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Drying out on the farm so we have started working the roads. Was a wet winter spring and as expected roads are showing the effects with ruts and such.Since we don't have a grader we are discing the roads where needed to kill grass and loosen dirt to work with. Then we will take an articulating blade and pull dirt up to try and crown. Once grass is good and dead we will try leveling out with box blade.

Part of the never-ending maintenance.
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:41 AM   #252
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There is always something to do!!!
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Old 07-13-2014, 12:21 PM   #253
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Name:  photo.jpg
Views: 1976
Size:  55.3 KBI suppose pics of disced dirt roads aren't very exciting. Just the boring detail of farm maintenance. So here is a couple of pics of a buck we call lopsided. Believe to be 6 yr old. Can be found regularly in vetch field.
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Old 07-13-2014, 12:22 PM   #254
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another view
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:08 PM   #255
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Now that's mass!
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:37 PM   #256
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Quote:
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Attachment 634115I suppose pics of disced dirt roads aren't very exciting. Just the boring detail of farm maintenance. So here is a couple of pics of a buck we call lopsided. Believe to be 6 yr old. Can be found regularly in vetch field.
Actually, you would be wrong...

I'm enjoying the farm pics just fine without the deer. I really like seeing all that you have going on.
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:06 PM   #257
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Actually, you would be wrong...



I'm enjoying the farm pics just fine without the deer. I really like seeing all that you have going on.

Hush! Lol more deer!
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:32 AM   #258
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Quote:
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Attachment 634115I suppose pics of disced dirt roads aren't very exciting. Just the boring detail of farm maintenance. So here is a couple of pics of a buck we call lopsided. Believe to be 6 yr old. Can be found regularly in vetch field.
Man he is big this yr. Ne don't even need the Trash
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:50 PM   #259
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I thought I might ask you about some of your food plots, if you please?
Crop Rotation
Fall planting of Winter Rye, Winter oats, Winter peas and Scarlet clover. Fertilize with 13-13-13 and again fert in late Nov and Late January using something like 60-0-0.
Disk in June and plant Soybeans fertilize with 13-13-13 and when needed add 0-46-0 and or 0-0-60, if needed. Plant Soy Beans behind E fence till Mid July, open fence and replant fall planting in Aug where irrigation allows.
Is this crop rotation sufficient ??
And what about Clover? if you can keep a clover plot for lets say 4 yrs, is it then necessary to do a crop rotation on that food plot? Changing it to lets say fall mix?
I am not a commercial farmer as u can tell but I do want to furnish the best with the most for the deer.
I just thought u might be a good guy to ask.
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Old 07-20-2014, 02:47 PM   #260
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Greetings from Jackson Hole. Up here for couple weeks ostensibly to escape La. summer heat. Of course weather has been unseasonably mild at home and we got a 5" rain last week.

To your question, lots of options and my approach has always been extensive experimentation. Broadly speaking I have 2 kind of fields. Summer annuals/winter small grains which are 2 crop fields. Then I have clover fields which I try to manage for perennial longevity.

For the fields where I plant summer annual/fall small grains the rotation follows this general pattern. First of Sept I mow the field very low give it a week or two then spray with gly. When moisture is adequate I then drill small grains ( elbon rye, and wheat mostly)with whatever mix I'm playing with. Could include radishes, lupines, crimson clover, brassicas etc. This sprouts quickly with moisture, very attractive and good for developing soil.

Then around late April to first of May I plant these fields in summer annuals which include some combination of peas beans sunflowers millet sorghum etc. I try to create a jungle. These fields are a minimum of 5 acres with most larger. Our deer have learned that good things grow here and wipe out smaller fields before value realized. I drill directly into the fall crop which is now dying. Other options are to mow, plow etc. That is an equipment question.

Our clover fields are smaller including road right of ways ,smaller openings, borders to larger fields etc. clover can handle heavy grazing and is the backbone of our program. The goal is to manage it to last as many years as possible. To start a clover field we plant mid sept- mid October moisture considered. I generally add 35-50 lbs small grains per acre to mix. Also I like to add chicory to all clover fields as they compliment very nicely. Radishes are another good addition. Again I drill this mixture but broadcasting on a disced and cultipacked field works well. Then cultipack a second time after planting.

Come spring the wheat or rye will ultimately seed and the deer will devour all seed heads. Mow as growth indicates and moisture supports. In a hot dry summer the clover may go dormant for a while but will bounce back with cooler temps and water. Come fall I will drill small grains and radishes or such back into the clover. Repeat this pattern for years and add a little new clover occasionally as required.

There are many clover combinations all of which have unique growth characteristics and soil preferences. Some can last most of the year and others like arrow leaf or berseem have vigorous growth thruearly summer then die. Again managed correctly though they will come back for many years. In our country we have found Durana to be outstanding though I have lots of other clovers growing here and there. In the long run clover fields with fall small grains are are probably the easiest most effective combo going. Summer annuals are more challenging requiring more experience equipment and luck with weather and grazing pressure.

I strongly encourage soil tests before fertilizer. Ph is important and lime can do more good than anything in certain circumstances. Easy to waste a lot of money on inappropriate and untimely fertilizer application. I use very little fertilizer utilizing cultivars for nutrient management.

Hope this helps

Last edited by elgato; 07-20-2014 at 02:57 PM..
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:27 PM   #261
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Great write up!

Its nice to escape the heat! This week will be the hottest so far this year.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:15 AM   #262
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Jackson hole is a cool place to be in late July. But we have missed the extreme heat this past week here. it's been nice. I'm headed to Alaska in Aug to do the same.(get out of Dodge) so to speak.
So I am doing along the same lines for crop rotation as you, but I was not sure I could continue along those lines. And since I do not have the larger food plots but what I do have seems to last through first of July through late Aug. I am able to put Beans behind E fence and let them grow thick, thick and about 3 to 4' tall before I open it up for the lactating does and the Bucks that are developing Antlers at this time. Smaller plots total to about 6 acres now and will be 13 acres by this fall. U are way ahead of me on experience and knowledge and it a good deal to have someone with your knowledge to bounce things off of. After all, your pictures say it all. Oh! enjoy the Cool
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:16 PM   #263
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Ttt
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:32 PM   #264
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Just back from a mountain holiday Here is what happened on the farm while I was gone.

We got 2 rains. One was 5" followed a few days later by another 1". The grass has exploded on the farm!. Unfortunately our bush hog is in the shop so things are a bit rangy. Once returned we will mow the clover fields and wait a couple weeks then spray with Select to kill the grass. It is also time to start mowing a few of the openings which are in native grasses while it is dry.

The durana is still going strong. With the heat it is showing stress in some places but for this time of year looks great. Even the red clover is hanging around though it has mostly played out. The vetch and Alyce is doing fantastic with all the moisture.

The deer are still hammering the feeders. Does are really hungry with rapidly growing fawns and we always see a lot of buck activity at the feeders this time of year. I will do a total feed count in Sept and report how much protein we have fed. Starting to see a lot of the fawns venturing out with the moms exploring their new world.

The sorghum has started to head out. Deer will eat the seed heads both in the dough stage as well as hard seed. Poor mans corn....easier to grow requiring less fertility but still a great plant. Also the pearl millet has started heading out. Seed heads are great for doves and the plants make wonderful ladders for cow peas.

Bucks are putting on the last few inches of growth. Seems like they sprout out last minute kickers and 'trash' now. I can see the difference in size from when I left for Wy.

We brought a bull dozer in and enlarged a food plot for my neighbor. Added a couple of acres to a clover field. If you figure 1 acre of clover can support 3 or 4 deer then every acre adds value. We then used the dozer to work some of my roads crowning them and filling in ruts and such.

Starting tomorrow we will spray down the sunflower field with gly. Time to start getting it ready for the dove opener. After the chemical burn we will burn with fire leaving a clean field of sunflowers and brown top millet. Then let the games begin!

Planned my fall planting schedule on trip home. I will report that as time draws nearer. Good to be home!
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:36 PM   #265
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Here is the pearl millet. I planted quite a bit of it this year in the pea and bean fields. Great for birds, great for the soil and easy to grow.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:39 PM   #266
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Here is the sorghum going to seed. Once again an easy plant to grow, has many values and creates a jungle in pea and bean fields.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:45 PM   #267
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And just for chuckles I got this picture last night. Watched him at a feeder this evening at dark. Something nice to come home to!!!
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:58 PM   #268
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That deer is a toad!

Any guesses on score? Easily 195"+ IMO.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:04 PM   #269
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I hate scoring in velvet. I can tell you we found one of his sheds last yr and knowing he was very symmetrical he scored ~ 195 as a 10 pt with 8 kickers. He has the kickers again this year plus an extra 10"isn tine and I'm calling the fork on his rt side ~ 5" . I also think his overall frame is bigger. All that said best guess...205-215.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:09 PM   #270
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225-230 my guess! Can't wait to find out!
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:20 AM   #271
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Incredible deer. You are doing something special in LA.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:25 AM   #272
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So how are you going to put together your hit list. Are you looking more at age, or combination of overall score and age? And do you name them? I know you have explained some about managing your herd, but how many deer per acre do you think you have, and how many is carrying capacity. Just curious how all this works, sorry for the 20 questions, love the thread, it's amazing.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:12 AM   #273
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you need to just change the title to "the life of a farm," no way we are going to let this end next summer buddy
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:30 PM   #274
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So how are you going to put together your hit list. Are you looking more at age, or combination of overall score and age? And do you name them? I know you have explained some about managing your herd, but how many deer per acre do you think you have, and how many is carrying capacity. Just curious how all this works, sorry for the 20 questions, love the thread, it's amazing.

All good questions; important things to know.It is very challenging to census deer in the type habitat we have here. Mostly very thick woods with interspersed fields and right of ways. Unless the deer come into openings you don't see them.I'm on the farm practically every day and a lot of my management decisions are made simply from what I observe both from actual deer sightings and pressure on crops and habitat.

If I had to guess my estimate would be there are between 150-200 adult deer on my farm. My neighbor has roughly the same thus you can see what we have on the total property. I don't consider fawns as mortality has such an unpredictable effect on them. One thing for sure is that our numbers have predictably been growing since the fence went up.

More important than actual numbers is the correlation between population and habitat. I watch pressure on our crops closely. I also watch pressure on habitat closely. Browse lines along fields, pressure on native plants such as green briar, honey suckle etc all tell a story. My good friend Dr. Harry Jacobson showed me a neat trick. In the pictures below both trees are in openings ripe for deer pressure. Notice in the first photo the vegetation goes all the way to the ground. You see green briar, virginia creeper, some haw, and dew berry. Almost no grazing pressure. In the second photo you can see where the deer have created a browse line on the tree. This is the kind of indicator to look for to assess pressure on the habitat and help make harvest decisions.

Regarding harvest decisions it's kind of a swag. We always take more does than bucks. We have the privilege of being very light on buck pressure. We take extensive trail cam pics and I select which bucks can be removed based on history with the buck and age. Almost nothing gets shot before 4 and most are older. As it gets closer to the season I'll post pics of bucks we are removing and why.

About that buck in the last photo I posted.....while he is only 5 I think [ younger than I like to remove top end trophies ] he will be hunted hard by my neighbor and me. My neighbor teases saying the buck can hear him talking in his garden and it may be true. he lives right on our border. But he is so magnificent we will chase him regardless of age . That said the buck has been seen only once ever in hard antler.
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:13 PM   #275
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This has been a phenomenal read. You sir, are the envy of many. Such wisdom and knowledge when it comes to property and herd management. I'm grateful you have decided to share this with us. Please keep us updated on these projects, and let us know if you ever decide you need an extra hand or two for a big work weekend. I know I'd drop most things just to come lend a helping hand and see this awesome property!
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:49 PM   #276
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I understand browsing pressure, but I really like the example. I will have to pay more attention. I have noticed that I see browse pressure on their favorite plants, but I find places that they don't touch, meaning they are getting their fill on preferred natural browse. I love your approach and hope to learn more. Thanks for entertaining my questions. I look forward to you checking off your hit list and seeing some LDP's
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:04 PM   #277
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This post has nothing to do with game or habitat mgt. but I thought I'd show my broiler set up. I have 25 broilers in each of the pens { they hold up to 50 } They are in a Durana clover field and are moved everyday to fresh clover. I keep all the ...organic, GMO free....free choice feed they can eat plus they love the clover and any bugs, worms etc. they may find as the coops are moved. They have plenty of room to walk and loaf along with ample shade.

When I get them from the breeder they spend the first 3 weeks in a brooder then about 5-6 weeks on the clover then we process them . Fantastic eating birds! Free fertilizer for the clover.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:27 PM   #278
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Sweet!
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:50 AM   #279
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I like it, very good fertilize. I wish there were some chicken houses near me!
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:59 PM   #280
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I like it, very good fertilize. I wish there were some chicken houses near me!
Some of the best stuff out there and it stays in the soil.
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:59 PM   #281
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I love the mobile chicken coops
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:06 PM   #282
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Joel Salatin gets the credit for coop design. I 'borrowed' from him. You can see attached dolly. Just drop it then one person can easily move. Chickens walk along underneath. Easy system.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:46 PM   #283
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It's chicken processing time. The broilers are now 9 weeks old , fully grown and ready for the freezer. Here is a pictorial of the process. First we transfer the first batch from the clover field to the processing area. Then they are placed upside down in the bleed out cone where they go to sleep then cut the neck artery. from there transfer to the boiler where the feathers are loosened for plucking. They are dipped several times till the wing feathers remove easily. Next the plucker...also handy for winter ducks....where all feathers are removed. Then the cleaning table where entrails, feet, head etc. are removed. Lastly washed and into the ice bath.

When we are selling them, this is when folks pick them up bagged after coming out of the ice. This 50 birds is for us and friends.

The only thing this has to do with game mgt. is that the birds fertilize my clover field
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:53 PM   #284
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sweeeeeeet
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:35 PM   #285
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I need to check this out! I wonder if I could do the same for my quail?
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:01 PM   #286
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Looks great, you have a nice set up, and lots of help. My dad has been raising Pilgrims Pride chickens, but it's just 4 or 5 chickens here and there, nothing to the scale of 50. They taste SO much better than the store bought.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:06 PM   #287
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Way cool. This is definitely post worthy, as I am realizing your deer farm is truly a way of life for you and your family, and raising broilers is just another fascinating part of it.

Really enjoying your thread. I think most if not all of us have enjoyed every picture and activity, whether it directly relates to deer or not.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:12 PM   #288
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Thanks
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:32 PM   #289
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Made a mistake and let my wife go with me to the feed store yesterday. Now we have a flock of guineas in the brooder. While I begrudgingly supported that I put my foot down when she started looking at the peacocks!

Enough about birds. Planting season is around the corner and I promise to get back to food plots , feeders, deer and stuff like that.
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:38 PM   #290
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Interesting stuff! Do you also hunt ducks at your place?
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:43 PM   #291
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Been a curious summer this year. We have been spared many of the mega hot humid days. It has rained much more than recent years and in fact our ditches have standing water in August. Untypical.

Our clover and vetch/Alyce fields have been remarkable with solid growth all summer. Interestingly by far and away most of our deer sightings have been in the clover or vetch/Alyce. While the bean and pea fields did Ok there has been very little pressure on them. Granted the pea/bean fields are head high with the sunflowers, pearl millet and sorghum. But still, few deer run out. That is much different from past years when they live in the big bean fields. Learn something new every year.

Even with all the growing things we had extremely heavy pellet use every month until recently. It was hard to keep pellets in the feeders in July requiring them to be filled weekly. Only in the last week or so has it started slowing down. yet we filled one 300 lb feeder Wednesday and by Saturday it was empty.

There is no doubt in my mind that our pellet program adds several extra inches of antler growth to our deer even with unlimited year round agriculture. I can't explain that scientifically but believe it true.
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:45 PM   #292
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Those are awesome guard birds for the house, but my mother's started herding us at one point too. Lol
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:51 PM   #293
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Interesting stuff! Do you also hunt ducks at your place?
Love to duck hunt. the best duck hunting is on my neighbors land. He has a beautiful bayou running thru his place that is about 3 miles long and 50- 75 yds wide. Oak trees line the entirety of the bank and the wood ducks pour in.

plus he has one of those govt. programs where they came in and built a couple hundred acres of shallow water impoundments. Terrific waterfowl environment. Also fun in summer to watch the plethora of shorebirds....roseatta spoon bills, cranes, storks, etc. Of course all manner of ducks arrive during the winter.
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Old 08-10-2014, 03:04 PM   #294
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Been loving this thead and learning a lot. Wouldnt mind putting some of this to use in a corner of our small place. See if it helps draw some deer around or if the cows take it over. Some of this I see helpful for the cattle anyways. New to it and plan on doing some clover for them for the winter. Thanks for sharing. Great read!
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:51 PM   #295
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Always enjoy reading your new post, we raised guineas in Okla where I was raised and we always knew when a copperhead was near as they would all gather up and give the snake H E double L. I saw a recent post where u again recommended the American jointvetch/Alyce clover wildlife food plot. And I tried the jointvetch (2 bags) last yr in a bottom land food plot but it burnt up in the summer heat and I had a little jointvetch seed (8lbs +-) left over and planted it in another spot this yr where I added it to the A. clover, the deer wiped out those at about 4 to 5" tall. So I know the deer love it on my place, and when I first read about the jointvetch, I think it said it could be invasive so I thought it would be great for reseeding and reducing my seed bills. I am not that far from you as the crow fly's but mine burnt up last yr and got ate up this yr, but I guess I will have to give it another go, The reports u give about the deer being in it more than the soybeans has perked my interest again. Thanks for the reports on the farm.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:53 PM   #296
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Hunt In: Cal sones
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Wealth of info, great bucks btw thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:54 AM   #297
Shallowater
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Aledo, Texas
Hunt In: Parker County, New Mexico
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Your bees are going to love your clover and many of the other plantings you have. I wish I had the space and equipment to plant some clover fields on my place. I hear it makes dynamite honey.

I have 6 hives this year and plan on adding 4 more next year. It is a great hobby and a great way to improve your yield in the garden/orchards.
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:07 PM   #298
Mex. Bowhunter
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: La Grange Tx.
Hunt In: Tx. / Mexico
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elgato View Post
Been a curious summer this year. We have been spared many of the mega hot humid days. It has rained much more than recent years and in fact our ditches have standing water in August. Untypical.

Our clover and vetch/Alyce fields have been remarkable with solid growth all summer. Interestingly by far and away most of our deer sightings have been in the clover or vetch/Alyce. While the bean and pea fields did Ok there has been very little pressure on them. Granted the pea/bean fields are head high with the sunflowers, pearl millet and sorghum. But still, few deer run out. That is much different from past years when they live in the big bean fields. Learn something new every year.

Even with all the growing things we had extremely heavy pellet use every month until recently. It was hard to keep pellets in the feeders in July requiring them to be filled weekly. Only in the last week or so has it started slowing down. yet we filled one 300 lb feeder Wednesday and by Saturday it was empty.

There is no doubt in my mind that our pellet program adds several extra inches of antler growth to our deer even with unlimited year round agriculture. I can't explain that scientifically but believe it true.
With your plots it had to believe that you could not cut the feed off during good growing Periods. Do you have any bigger deer that you have never seen at a Protein Feeder?
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:26 PM   #299
Throwin' Darts
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Location: Dallas
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Great thread.
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Old 08-11-2014, 04:04 PM   #300
elgato
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by Mex. Bowhunter View Post
With your plots it had to believe that you could not cut the feed off during good growing Periods. Do you have any bigger deer that you have never seen at a Protein Feeder?
I'm certain we could eliminate feeding protein and deer would still be very healthy. I've had some of the best biologist in the country tell me I don't need to feed pellets.But as mentioned there is no doubt in my mind that our pellets add a few extra inches that we wouldn't get otherwise. I can't prove that of course but believe it true.

I also believe every deer on our farms eats regularly if not daily at the feeders. ALL !!! the biggest bucks can be seen daily at a feeder. Fun to watch a bachelor groups of 8-10 bucks come to the feeders. It takes a while but ultimately they all get a turn. Then drift to the fields.

We use our own blend of feed, nothing commercial. I got the formula from the Fleece's in Wi. who grow some of the biggest deer in the world. Plus we add extra digestives, herbs , and probiotics...all natural . Ridiculously expensive which is why we only feed January -August.
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