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Old 08-26-2013, 01:18 PM   #1
Sneaky
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Default 24 acre ranch build - raw land to paradise!

I'm starting this thread to document what will be the long, costly, and exhausting process of turning the 24 acres of raw, undeveloped land I bought in Milam county into the perfect recreational/hunting property and game animal sanctuary.

Some of the first projects will be clearing out tons of yaupon thickets from around the big oaks, building a 1500' fence to close the one open side of the property, making the front one acre that touches the county road an ideal place for my Dad to set up his RV when he comes to camp/hunt, get a good gate put up to keep neerdowells out etc.

The larger projects will be bringing in the electricity, drilling the well (sweet jesus, it looks like I might need to go 700 feet or so here), and building the cabin.

Stay tuned for pictures of the progress as it unfolds, and feel free to chip in with some nuggets of wisdom - I could sure use them!
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:19 PM   #2
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Excellent. Following along and taking notes.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:23 PM   #3
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Good Luck! Ambitious project but sounds like you have it well thought out.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:24 PM   #4
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http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwate...at_management/
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:25 PM   #5
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A logical starting point to this photodocumentary, the entrance to the ranch!

I'm planning to build a better front fence, and have a decent gate installed soon.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:29 PM   #6
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Almost every big tree has a ring of those daggum yaupons growing around it - a condition which will undoubtedly need to be remedied. It took two hours to free up one big oak, and after doing so, it made the idea place to hang a bucket feeder and put up a trail camera.

The first pic is an example of what surrounds every big tree, and the second pic shows what it's like when it's cleared out, and with the feeder being set up.

I'm going to either have some ginormous burn piles from all this yaupon, or I'm going to rent/buy a chipper, so that I can turn a pest plant into mulch to help fortify my extremely sandy soil with a layer of organic matter to hold in moisture and nourish the ground.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:29 PM   #7
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Solar power? Lets see some more pics.

I was under the impression youpon was good. Provides lots of cover for the critters.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:40 PM   #8
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Good Luck! Ambitious project but sounds like you have it well thought out.
Thanks! Part of the romance for me in this is that I'm going to be heavily involved personally, and not just farm out all the work to contractors. I'm also heavily emphasizing accomplishing all of the property goals with as frugal of a budget as possible, so there will be lots of craigslisting for fencing supplies, taking on big tasks with friends and beer, and living up the DIY ethic.

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Thanks!

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Solar power? Lets see some more pics.

I was under the impression youpon was good. Provides lots of cover for the critters.
I do want solar power panels to power LED lights for the cabin, along with skylights.

I don't mind keeping certain choice specimens, as they do provide great animal cover. It's just that 2/3 of my property is literally a nearly impenetrable thicket. There's huge, gorgeous trees in there, and I want to reduce the yaupons by *at least* 75% so that I can walk the whole property, and the heavily wooded area will be come a shaded forest refuge for the animals I want to hunt such as hog and deer, and the native grasses and flowers can regrow there (along with any food plots I plant) to make this the most heavenly 24 acres possible for both the animals and the large trees.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:45 PM   #9
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I have plans to do this as well. Looking forward to heairng how you go about it.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:47 PM   #10
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The property consists of three main areas:

1. A one acre square that touches the county road, which is the ingress point onto the property. I intend to mow this all down, keep the large trees, and have it serve as a parking location for visitors, and a place for my Dad to park his RV when he comes to camp/hunt. All it needs is a shredder to chew up all the weeds, and a few yaupon's to be sawed out. It will also have RV hookups for electricity, and some gravel laid down to form a logical parking area for the RV.

2. A 30' strip that connects the one acre box to the remaining acreage. This driveway had yaupons crowding it, and I scratched the hell out of my Tundra driving through it the first time, much to my chagrin (I will have that all buffed out soon). ALL vegetation is going to be cleared out from this part, aside from the large trees which flank either side of the driveway.

3. The remaining acreage - a large rectangle, fenced on three sides, 1/3 pasture, 2/3 heavy woods that need to have most of the thicket cleared out.

The attached pictures depict what part #2 is of the property, some of the efforts to clear out the yaupon, some firewood I cut up from a dead oak branch, and what the pasture looks like. The pasture presents an approximate maximum shot distance of 200 yards.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:49 PM   #11
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following. Best of luck to you. It's good to have goals
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:52 PM   #12
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guna be sweet!...
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:57 PM   #13
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Since Im in Lexington, I bet I can assist in some of the work/beer drinking on your place. Ive got the same kinda place in Lexington and have some of the same plans. We need to sit and have a beer and send some arrows down range one weekend.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:09 PM   #14
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following. Best of luck to you. It's good to have goals
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guna be sweet!...
Thanks! It's going to take time, but I intend to prove that raw land can be beautifully improved with the right recipe of hard work, patience, good deals on craigslist, and getting to know your neighbors and figuring out all the best helpers and folks to work with.

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Since Im in Lexington, I bet I can assist in some of the work/beer drinking on your place. Ive got the same kinda place in Lexington and have some of the same plans. We need to sit and have a beer and send some arrows down range one weekend.
Absolutely! But remember, beer drinking is no endeavor for the novice. There are a lot of important steps such as finding the ideal shady spot to sit, perfecting the opening of the bottle or can, and fine tuning elbow/wrist movement in order to maximize effeciency of beer consumption. If you've got the resume for it, there's always a shade tree that I could use helpers at.

I plan to set up 3D targets on the front acre, so we'll have a place to shoot the proverbial excrement while honing our archery and beer drinking skills.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:11 PM   #15
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These two pictures show one of the bulldozed property lines that separate the two tracts that I bought (and the need for a shredder to mow it all down again), and one of the corners of the property, showing how there needs to be perimeter clearing work done there.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:13 PM   #16
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I like your style. As for the Yaupon, have you given any thought to putting a few goats on it once you get the fencing taken care of? Sure would save you a lot of time on the saw - then you can eat the goats once they are done.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:16 PM   #17
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subscribed...living the deam
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:21 PM   #18
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I like your style. As for the Yaupon, have you given any thought to putting a few goats on it once you get the fencing taken care of? Sure would save you a lot of time on the saw - then you can eat the goats once they are done.
I have thought about it, and here's my predicament. If I do goats, I need goat fencing, or else the little rascals will just escape and be coyote/bobcat/people food. If I install goat fencing, it will cost a fortune, and it will make it more difficult for hogs to enter the property, and hogs will be comprising the majority of my hunting kills on the property when deer are out of season.

It is for this reason that I believe putting a few head of cattle on the property once I finish the fencing will be the better idea. My neighbor says the land can support about 1 head of cattle per 1-2 acres, so I'm considering putting one bull and three cows on the property. That way I can have calfs be produced, periodically sell off excess cattle for money to put back into the ranch, and also have occasional treats for my family and friends like a whole side of beef to use for parties.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:35 PM   #19
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find ya a 9n tractor...and a brush hog....this will save lots of work....If you have been to a Bownanza, then you would know most ALL of the TBHers know how to handle a beer or 3......if you haven't been...well why the heck not! Been working my place for 4 years...getting close to a build...
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:42 PM   #20
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I have thought about it, and here's my predicament. If I do goats, I need goat fencing, or else the little rascals will just escape and be coyote/bobcat/people food. If I install goat fencing, it will cost a fortune, and it will make it more difficult for hogs to enter the property, and hogs will be comprising the majority of my hunting kills on the property when deer are out of season.

It is for this reason that I believe putting a few head of cattle on the property once I finish the fencing will be the better idea. My neighbor says the land can support about 1 head of cattle per 1-2 acres, so I'm considering putting one bull and three cows on the property. That way I can have calfs be produced, periodically sell off excess cattle for money to put back into the ranch, and also have occasional treats for my family and friends like a whole side of beef to use for parties.

Thoughts?
You make a good point in regards to fencing. That being said, cows are not "browse" animals and most likely will not touch the Yaupon.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:44 PM   #21
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find ya a 9n tractor...and a brush hog....this will save lots of work....If you have been to a Bownanza, then you would know most ALL of the TBHers know how to handle a beer or 3......if you haven't been...well why the heck not! Been working my place for 4 years...getting close to a build...
1. Thank you so much for enlightening me as to the existence of a tractor that doesn't cost a fortune!! However, my soil is very sandy, and a 2WD truck can easily get stuck. Do you think a tractor like this can do it's job in such soil, or would I need a 4WD tractor?

2. I have solid faith that my TBH brethren bring multiple centuries of collective beer drinking experience to the table!

3. I have not been yet (I joined the GS at the beginning of the year), but it sounds like a blast! When it the next one?
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:46 PM   #22
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You make a good point in regards to fencing. That being said, cows are not "browse" animals and most likely will not touch the Yaupon.
Yeah, I don't expect the cows to touch the yaupon - those I will need to remove myself. They should serve well to mow down the native grasses though, and generally help keep the pastures/senderos looking tidy.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:50 PM   #23
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My place is sandy..I do have 4x4, but a loader on front...you would be ok, I believe....craigslist has tractors..search tractors in the area you want to look, then put a price range in...several small 4x4, 17 to 18 hp w/ 4x4 can be found..something cheap, you can use till you're ready to step up...I had a 18hp w/ 4' shredder..worked GREAT!
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:16 PM   #24
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My place is sandy..I do have 4x4, but a loader on front...you would be ok, I believe....craigslist has tractors..search tractors in the area you want to look, then put a price range in...several small 4x4, 17 to 18 hp w/ 4x4 can be found..something cheap, you can use till you're ready to step up...I had a 18hp w/ 4' shredder..worked GREAT!
Thank you so much for this info! I had resigned myself to the thought that I'll never own a tractor until I'm ready for another car note, but this gives me hope! I'll be on the lookout for a nice 9n around spring time!
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:48 PM   #25
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We use to have a 72 acre family estate farm in Milam Co. Was just a small amount from the 600+ acres in the original Graham estate. I hunted that property for 30+ years. I remember squirrel hunting it with a pellet gun at 6. I will not go into detail about how we lost out 23 acre inheritance we were to receive, but will say that I will never trust anyone not even family again. Sorry for the rant but was going to say, when my siblings and I (the 4 of us) lost the place we were just starting to get a few good deer on camera. My old friend on here RedArrow, killed his first deer with a bow on that place, if I remember correctly. We were right off hwy 36 on the right about 11 miles north of Caldwell. Good luck with your place and I will be following. Love that area.
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:36 PM   #26
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Missed the post on the tractor. I use to farm our place with a two wheel drive MF 235. That sand will grow some awesome watermelons, cantaloupe and every kinda pea you plant. And Deer love it all. A old 9n will serve you well.
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:41 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sneaky View Post
1. Thank you so much for enlightening me as to the existence of a tractor that doesn't cost a fortune!! However, my soil is very sandy, and a 2WD truck can easily get stuck. Do you think a tractor like this can do it's job in such soil, or would I need a 4WD tractor?

2. I have solid faith that my TBH brethren bring multiple centuries of collective beer drinking experience to the table!

3. I have not been yet (I joined the GS at the beginning of the year), but it sounds like a blast! When it the next one?
March 9th, 2014, Bryan, Texas
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:47 PM   #28
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congrats! good luck
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:00 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firecuss View Post
We use to have a 72 acre family estate farm in Milam Co. Was just a small amount from the 600+ acres in the original Graham estate. I hunted that property for 30+ years. I remember squirrel hunting it with a pellet gun at 6. I will not go into detail about how we lost out 23 acre inheritance we were to receive, but will say that I will never trust anyone not even family again. Sorry for the rant but was going to say, when my siblings and I (the 4 of us) lost the place we were just starting to get a few good deer on camera. My old friend on here RedArrow, killed his first deer with a bow on that place, if I remember correctly. We were right off hwy 36 on the right about 11 miles north of Caldwell. Good luck with your place and I will be following. Love that area.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Firecuss View Post
Missed the post on the tractor. I use to farm our place with a two wheel drive MF 235. That sand will grow some awesome watermelons, cantaloupe and every kinda pea you plant. And Deer love it all. A old 9n will serve you well.
Thanks for all the info!
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March 9th, 2014, Bryan, Texas
I'll be there!
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:02 PM   #30
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Dreams do come true..

I have a little over 28 acres pretty close to Bruce on Madisonville.

I started a thread the day I got our property.

Many on here have experience and will be glad to give you advice.

But remember it is your dream!

Awesome!
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:29 PM   #31
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I just talked to BWSSR "Bruce".

He gave me a 5 ft. pull behind shredder last year. It has brand new tires and tubes. It is old but I think it works pretty good. It could use a front and back guards welded to make it a bit safer. I have lot of steel for this and will help.

You are welcome to come over and get it. It will fit on a 5x8 trailer

Use it as long you want..

It you ever stop using it just play it forward and give it someone else that needs it.

Who know someone close might have a tractor they will bring over

It will make short work of those Yupon.

Bruce and Stan
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:32 PM   #32
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Dreams do come true..

I have a little over 28 acres pretty close to Bruce on Madisonville.

I started a thread the day I got our property.

Many on here have experience and will be glad to give you advice.

But remember it is your dream!

Awesome!
Your thread is my inspiration, Stan!

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I just talked to BWSSR "Bruce".

He gave me a 5 ft. pull behind shredder last year. It has brand new tires and tubes. It is old but I think it works pretty good. It could use a front and back guards welded to make it a bit safer. I have lot of steel for this and will help.

You are welcome to come over and get it. It will fit on a 5x8 trailer

Use it as long you want..

It you ever stop using it just play it forward and give it someone else that needs it.

Who know someone close might have a tractor they will bring over

It will make short work of those Yupon.

Bruce and Stan
Holy smokes, I'm blown away! I don't even know what to say, other than THANK YOU. I look forward to the day I can pay it forward to another person, and again, thank you! I'll be in touch shortly.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:28 AM   #33
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i love these threads, i should start my own thread, have been wanting to for a bit. good luck on the property.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:56 AM   #34
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Stay tuned, tomorrow I will be posting pictures of having the whole front acre mowed down, along with the 30' strip leading to the main acreage. I will also be installing another trail camera I got from our own TBH brotha "airehead" that I finally got to meet!

Also, I will be posting up numerous "no trespassing signs" around the perimeter of the property, and looking into what it will cost to have a gravel/granite road base laid down in the front acre (for RV parking) and on the 30' strip.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:00 AM   #35
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cool!
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:02 AM   #36
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awesome man good luck
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:06 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan R View Post
I just talked to BWSSR "Bruce".

He gave me a 5 ft. pull behind shredder last year. It has brand new tires and tubes. It is old but I think it works pretty good. It could use a front and back guards welded to make it a bit safer. I have lot of steel for this and will help.

You are welcome to come over and get it. It will fit on a 5x8 trailer

Use it as long you want..

It you ever stop using it just play it forward and give it someone else that needs it.

Who know someone close might have a tractor they will bring over

It will make short work of those Yupon.

Bruce and Stan
GOOD STUFF GUYS
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:33 PM   #38
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Congrats on your land and I'll be following your progress. Hope someday I can do the same!
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:54 PM   #39
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I think these will make my message pretty clear.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:56 PM   #40
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Oh, and I talked to the county 911 coordinator today and got my street address. I feel so bonafide now!
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:00 PM   #41
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on the way now!
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:20 PM   #42
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Location: San Marcos
Hunt In: Hays, Milam, Caldwell, Hamilton, Burnet, Williamson, Bastrop
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I've got a good sized boar on the trail cam already!!

Pics to come later tonight!
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:27 PM   #43
mojorider
Ten Point
 
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Round Rock
Hunt In: Mostly Granger
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Following
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:29 PM   #44
JP Weld
Ten Point
 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Georgetown, TX
Hunt In: Ranch Owner, Lampasas TX
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Congrats on your ownership mi amigo!
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:41 PM   #45
AubreyB28
Nubbin' Buck
 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Lake Travis
Hunt In: Salado
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You're living the dream brother...keep the pics coming. Best of luck...
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:41 PM   #46
Rockjock
Eight Point
 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Louisiana
Hunt In: Public Land
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When I get my own place I will be doing some of these "Permanent Plots". Thought I would share because I would love to see how they work out.

http://www.louisianasportsman.com/pr...ly.php?id=1062
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:45 AM   #47
Sneaky
Pope & Young
 
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: San Marcos
Hunt In: Hays, Milam, Caldwell, Hamilton, Burnet, Williamson, Bastrop
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Well, look who showed up already!

Notice the pattern of his arrival times - he got a whiff of the hog wild powder and corn I threw out, and he's an instant regular.

I'm going to try to make it out there on Sunday evening to pull an all nighter with jkuroski1973 and nail him!
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:53 AM   #48
bwssr
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Madisonville, Texas
Hunt In: Madison county
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take out the coon too!
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:57 AM   #49
Sneaky
Pope & Young
 
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: San Marcos
Hunt In: Hays, Milam, Caldwell, Hamilton, Burnet, Williamson, Bastrop
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I'm also thrilled to report I got my front once acre cleaned up yesterday evening, along with the thin strip that leads back to my main acreage. I will post better pics of the completed work (it was dark out before they finished), but here are a few teasers!
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:12 AM   #50
bwssr
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Madisonville, Texas
Hunt In: Madison county
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a little at a time....seems I like busting butt at my place..but just can't find the same feeling reward at home...hummm....
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