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Old 02-18-2018, 08:27 AM   #1
30-30
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Default How to hunt a property that is 100% wooded?

My folks bought a 106 acre hunting property in northeast Texas back in 2007 that is entirely wooded. The place was selective-cut in 2000, so picture this property as a monoculture of young, brushy woods without much of a canopy. Our biggest trees are only a few feet in diameter. A mix of oak, elm, and ash. Plenty of briars, dewberry vines, and poison ivy. Nearly the whole property looks the same with no edge habitat or pinch points that I have found. Itís a tough place to hunt.

Though we have harvested a couple of deer (a small 8 pointer and a doe) and a bunch of hogs since 07, most of our hunts yield no deer sightings. Iím sure that a lot of the problem is not an absence of deer but our inability to see much past 20 yards anywhere on the property due to the brush. Dad and I have cleared a couple of walking trails and several tree stand locations along them. We have two feeders set up but have only ever seen hogs at those. Deer sightings have been random, seldom, and very close. Most deer bust us the second they step out into the trail. Hogs are easy. Cut a 10-20 yard shooting lane anywhere, add corn, and wait.

Iím thinking that we need to clear a 1+ acre opening near the center of the property to serve as a food plot/rifle blind site. An opening like this would allow us to see past 20 yards and hopefully allow the deer an alternative food source and edge habitat. Iím hoping noticeable deer trails would develop and give us a better idea of deer movement on the property. Perhaps a protein feeder and/or a fenced corn feeder inaccessible to hogs would help.

What says TBH? Is my thinking flawed or spot on? Who has dealt with a property like this before? Iím open to any ideas of how to better manage and hunt this property.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:42 AM   #2
texasdeerhunter
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A one acre food plot could work. Cut some additional shooting lanes around it to. Have you thought about having a controlled burn done? That could open up some areas and clear underbrush
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:02 AM   #3
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As a guy who bought 217 acres of mixed pine and hardwood 10 years ago, I have some thoughts.

First, don't do anything without some forethought. I own a dozer, backhoe, tractor etc. so I went to work without thinking it through. I now have two foodplot openings that I no longer hunt. One I still plant in the spring, not the fall, and the other not at all. I have since planted some fruit trees in one to salvage that work, and believe me, it takes lots of work to make a decent food plot out of a thicket.

Study the terrain, and the prevalent wind direction, and figure out how you will access the stands BEFORE you start clearing for a plot. Personally, I prefer long lanes to square plots for rifle hunting. It's much easier to slip into a stand at the end of a 50' wide x 200 yd. long plot than it is a 200'x200' plot. My stands are mostly at the edges of my place and all my lanes look inward. That way, my back is to my neighbor and there is zero chance of my bullet going onto his property and very little chance he complains about me hunting "too close to him". You can still plant these lanes if you lay them out to where they get plenty of sunshine. A 50' x 600' lane is 3/4 ac. A couple of these would give you an acre and a half of plots or you could do four lanes half the size and get the same area.

There are more ideas, but you get the drift. Good luck !
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:18 AM   #4
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Sounds like your property may be used as a bedding area. Because it is a small property IMO I would leave half of it alone as a sanctuary let them live back there and let them feel safe. The other half provide food and water. Build a acre food plot with a rifle blind and on one end have a feeder with hog panel around it and the other have one without (To kill hogs) once the deer start using feeders and food plot find travel corridors from bedding areas to food source. Get as close to the bedding area without getting too close if that makes sense. That is my opinion and good luck!!
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:20 AM   #5
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It is a long video, but worth the watch, especially if you hunt woods/East Texas.


https://youtu.be/gEjY7nAaZj4
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepy View Post
It is a long video, but worth the watch, especially if you hunt woods/East Texas.


https://youtu.be/gEjY7nAaZj4
Are you an insurance salesman
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:26 AM   #7
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Are you an insurance salesman
Crap!! Lol


Try this one!


https://youtu.be/u8iEOuZhsRc
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:57 AM   #8
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Personally, I would cut 3-4 1 acre plot areas. Then clear 15-20í wide trails connecting all of the plots and create your own travel routes/pinch points that way.

As you know, deer like edges. Long narrow clearings are better than wide open.


- I donít chase dreams, I HUNT goals
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30-30 View Post
My folks bought a 106 acre hunting property in northeast Texas back in 2007 that is entirely wooded. The place was selective-cut in 2000, so picture this property as a monoculture of young, brushy woods without much of a canopy. Our biggest trees are only a few feet in diameter. A mix of oak, elm, and ash. Plenty of briars, dewberry vines, and poison ivy. Nearly the whole property looks the same with no edge habitat or pinch points that I have found. Itís a tough place to hunt.

Though we have harvested a couple of deer (a small 8 pointer and a doe) and a bunch of hogs since 07, most of our hunts yield no deer sightings. Iím sure that a lot of the problem is not an absence of deer but our inability to see much past 20 yards anywhere on the property due to the brush. Dad and I have cleared a couple of walking trails and several tree stand locations along them. We have two feeders set up but have only ever seen hogs at those. Deer sightings have been random, seldom, and very close. Most deer bust us the second they step out into the trail. Hogs are easy. Cut a 10-20 yard shooting lane anywhere, add corn, and wait.

Iím thinking that we need to clear a 1+ acre opening near the center of the property to serve as a food plot/rifle blind site. An opening like this would allow us to see past 20 yards and hopefully allow the deer an alternative food source and edge habitat. Iím hoping noticeable deer trails would develop and give us a better idea of deer movement on the property. Perhaps a protein feeder and/or a fenced corn feeder inaccessible to hogs would help.

What says TBH? Is my thinking flawed or spot on? Who has dealt with a property like this before? Iím open to any ideas of how to better manage and hunt this property.
Check out Grant Woods(Growing deer Tv) and the things he does on his property. He has a place in S Missouri that he has turned into a deer haven. A lot of good info and techniques that work very well.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:44 AM   #10
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Tagged. Cool thread
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:01 PM   #11
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Is it fenced? Any water source?
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:34 PM   #12
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Definitely leave a sanctuary area. In the thickest natural bedding area.
I would also agree on longer openings
Maybe at v shaped with one pointed south and one northeast.
I would also encourage an opening of 1-2 acres.
Deer love them at night. Shredded each fall and fertilized.
No rifle or pistol practice in the fall or winter. No cruising on Atv or utv day or night.
Salt and minerals. Maybe water station if none or only one on the place.
Year round corn in two spots inside pig panels.
Put pvc on Feeder legs to eliminate squirrels and coons.
No waste of corn. Less maintenance.

This comes from 45 years of a 60 acre and a 260 acre tract.

BP
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:57 PM   #13
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Another thing is, what is around your place (neighbors-pasture, timber,thick undergrowth, other pressure). Try and figure out where the deer will be coming from and develop your hunting area(s) accordingly. Like mentioned above, it might take a while to fine tune 'the' spot. Deer are like most wild animals in that they need safe places and a food source. If you can provide that you will be on your way.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:10 PM   #14
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Something that some folks overlook. If you only have a small property to hunt, all the deer are not gonna stay on your place. Sanctuaries are fine, but depending on what your neighbor's land looks like, may not be needed. Hence, the advice in my first post to think it through before you start clearing out food plots. I have a neighbor on the east that doesn't hunt and her place is thick, but there is no food except browse. Her deer feed on me lots of the time. Same thing on 200+ acres to the south. They have thicker cover, but I have the groceries. This situation promotes deer movement, and that's what makes deer vulnerable, movement.
Look at an aerial of the whole area, say 500/600 acres with your place being the middle. See what their land looks like compared to yours. Have food available that they don't. Have it available year round. Well drained soil can have spring and fall plots, moisture holding soils can have perennial clovers. Look at creeks, draws, ridges, etc. to figure out generally how deer might use them to access your plots.

If you have cameras, they need to be out now. Trace mineral blocks, (the hard glassy kind, not the kind that melt with a couple rains) will draw deer from now until velvet peel. You can buy them for $15 from a feed store. I guarantee you can inventory your deer with them.

The suggestions above concerning trails cleaned out are good. Deer aren't as lazy as humans maybe, but close. They will wander down cleared trails (that you made) to come to the dinner table. If you bowhunt, pick a place that you can access without blowing deer out, put some corn down on the trail, and sharpen your skinning knife !

Last edited by Drycreek3189; 02-18-2018 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:16 PM   #15
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Deer on a trail that I cleared (barely wide enough to get a tractor through) about an hour after I shot a doe. The camera is about 4 yd in front of my bow blind.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:27 PM   #16
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Inventorying bucks with trace mineral blocks. This doesn't mean you will actually get a shot at 'em
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepy View Post
Crap!! Lol


Try this one!


https://youtu.be/u8iEOuZhsRc
About half way through it. Man, that's some good info
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:58 PM   #18
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Great job DryCreek and Big pig. i would definately cut the food plots long and close to the edge so you can get in and out without spooking deer.. Also, I would build some pens to hand corn in to keep the hogs out.
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Old 02-18-2018, 06:47 PM   #19
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Thanks for the great suggestions, y’all.

To answer some of the questions:

I have thought about burning, but without any fire breaks I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Perhaps if we eventually cut enough trails around the place. Burning out some of the brush would certainly make the property more accessible.

The property is bordered to the east by a creek, the north and west by 5 strand barbed wire in good shape, and the south by 3 strand in poor shape. I believe most of the deer would enter and exit the property along the creek to the east. The neighboring properties to the north and west are primarily brushy cattle pasture, and the south and east sides are wooded.

There are two ~1/8 acre ponds on the property and plenty of puddles that stay wet most of the year. There is water in the creek as well.

Last edited by 30-30; 02-18-2018 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:36 PM   #20
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Great advice from Drycreek!
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Old 02-19-2018, 09:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by 30-30 View Post
Thanks for the great suggestions, yíall.

To answer some of the questions:

I have thought about burning, but without any fire breaks Iím not sure thatís a good idea. Perhaps if we eventually cut enough trails around the place. Burning out some of the brush would certainly make the property more accessible.

The property is bordered to the east by a creek, the north and west by 5 strand barbed wire in good shape, and the south by 3 strand in poor shape. I believe most of the deer would enter and exit the property along the creek to the east. The neighboring properties to the north and west are primarily brushy cattle pasture, and the south and east sides are wooded.

There are two ~1/8 acre ponds on the property and plenty of puddles that stay wet most of the year. There is water in the creek as well.
I wouldnt burn it. Your description of the understory is about as ideal for whitetail deer as you can get in east tx.
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Old 02-19-2018, 02:49 PM   #22
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Watch this video with Mark Drury and a new farm he bought last year. Sounds similar to your setup.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK56vMxyqWI
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:06 PM   #23
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I would keep it all a sanctuary and set up a few spots along the perimeter for hunting. At each perimeter stand location hack you 2-3 clearings about a 100 yards long and 15-20' wide. Set up stand locations so you can access from the outside without disturbing the sanctuary. On a small place like this no atv/utv use ( I usually have 15-20 deer at my location and if my neighbor starts his utv up I will not see a single animal.). Only hand corn and corn big like 100-200 pounds per set up so you don't have to corn as often. If hogs are a problem build a large hog panel pen at each set to hand corn in. If you start clearing inward you could likely blow every deer off of that property. Right now if they are bedding there then they know every time you access your trails due to your scent traveling through.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:09 PM   #24
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I would keep it all a sanctuary and set up a few spots along the perimeter for hunting. At each perimeter stand location hack you 2-3 clearings about a 100 yards long and 15-20' wide. Set up stand locations so you can access from the outside without disturbing the sanctuary. On a small place like this no atv/utv use ( I usually have 15-20 deer at my location and if my neighbor starts his utv up I will not see a single animal.). Only hand corn and corn big like 100-200 pounds per set up so you don't have to corn as often. If hogs are a problem build a large hog panel pen at each set to hand corn in. If you start clearing inward you could likely blow every deer off of that property. Right now if they are bedding there then they know every time you access your trails due to your scent traveling through.

Well said.
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:49 PM   #25
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A good quality chainsaw!
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Old 02-24-2018, 10:07 PM   #26
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I would hire a heavy equipment operator and work with them to form a plan. Something like this. I would divide the property into two zones. Feeding (30acres) and Sanctuary (70acres). I would only plan on hunting portions of the feeding area. I would dig two DEEP ponds. One in Sanctuary and one in Feeding zone. I would clear 15-20 acres in the Feeding Zone, leaving fingers of the wooded sanctuary extending into the feeding area. Leave any creek bottoms and/or ditches wooded for 50 yards on either side. This will help form edges and pinch points. Then I would plant food plots EVERYWHERE and set up 3-4 feed stations with corn and protein available. I would clear travel corridors/wind rows/fire breaks throughout the sanctuary making sure to connect the bedding areas to my feeding areas. Stay out of the sanctuary and limit your movement inside the feeding areas. Try to set up hunting blinds as far from the bedding areas as possible. Only hunt when the wind is right. Only pull cards from cameras and fill feeders at mid day. No UTVs. Limit gun fire. Try to use same truck everytime you access the property. Just my .02. Good luck.
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Old 02-26-2018, 08:04 AM   #27
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i am not able to read all the responses right now so it may have been said, but i wouldnt put my plot and main hunting site in the middle of the property. you are walking through half of your place just to get in there. i would make it as easily accessible as possible while trying to get away from whatever neighbor i want to get away from. placing it about 30-40 yards into the woods along one of the edges would be best so you arent walking too long/far to get in there.

if you are in the middle of the place you are also making it pretty much impossible to play the wind. i hunt NE texas too and the deer come from everywhere so playing the wind is a crap shoot most of the time anyway, but you can help yourself out a bit by not being right in the middle of everything.
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Old 03-04-2018, 01:47 PM   #28
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My 217 acres in Rusk Co. The yellow dots are my property lines.
The red dots are rifle blinds, the white are penned feeders.
The green dots are food plots. The purple dots are bow hunting stands, one blind, one tripod. The brown outline is a 14 acre six year old clearcut.

Only my my friend and I hunt this place. The rifle blind (red dot) just right of the center is almost unhuntable because it's in a creek bottom and the wind is funky. The last two years I've had great luck using an Ozonics in a Dillon 4x6 blind with the wind SE and NEVER more than two windows open. I slide in right to the back of the blind (in cover) with my cart and I'm in the blind with the Ozonics unit running in five minutes or less. It's the only way I can hunt this blind and I save it for perfect wind and the rut. All the other blinds have strict parameters for wind direction and we never push it. This means hunting somewhere you'd rather not sometimes but IMO it's worth it.

I used to run five feeders but that was too many. If I didn't live an hour away, I'd take them all out and just pour corn in the pens, but as I hunt 3 other places it would just be too inconvenient.
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Old 03-04-2018, 07:55 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Drycreek3189 View Post
My 217 acres in Rusk Co. The yellow dots are my property lines.
The red dots are rifle blinds, the white are penned feeders.
The green dots are food plots. The purple dots are bow hunting stands, one blind, one tripod. The brown outline is a 14 acre six year old clearcut.

Only my my friend and I hunt this place. The rifle blind (red dot) just right of the center is almost unhuntable because it's in a creek bottom and the wind is funky. The last two years I've had great luck using an Ozonics in a Dillon 4x6 blind with the wind SE and NEVER more than two windows open. I slide in right to the back of the blind (in cover) with my cart and I'm in the blind with the Ozonics unit running in five minutes or less. It's the only way I can hunt this blind and I save it for perfect wind and the rut. All the other blinds have strict parameters for wind direction and we never push it. This means hunting somewhere you'd rather not sometimes but IMO it's worth it.

I used to run five feeders but that was too many. If I didn't live an hour away, I'd take them all out and just pour corn in the pens, but as I hunt 3 other places it would just be too inconvenient.
An hour away? That is nothing and I'd most defiantly hand corn if I lived that close. I drive that distance to work daily give or take 15 mins.
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Old 03-04-2018, 08:05 PM   #30
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An hour away? That is nothing and I'd most defiantly hand corn if I lived that close. I drive that distance to work daily give or take 15 mins.
Yes, and I use to drive 200/250 miles a day when I was working, but I got paid for it. I'm retired now, and with the other places I hunt, I have neither the desire nor the time to hand corn twice a week during deer season.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:24 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Drycreek3189 View Post
Yes, and I use to drive 200/250 miles a day when I was working, but I got paid for it. I'm retired now, and with the other places I hunt, I have neither the desire nor the time to hand corn twice a week during deer season.
I wish I was close to my place. Id hunt the heck out of it due to me being backed up to the national forrest.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:07 PM   #32
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Your neighbors don't mind your stands on the fence lines.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:35 PM   #33
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Your neighbors don't mind your stands on the fence lines.
I didn't ask them, but they don't hunt anyway. None of my stands have windows to the back and all of them are looking into my place. I occasionally shoot deer that come off my neighbor's places, but I feed them, so when they cross my line, they're "my" deer

I have three or four different owners that surround me, and as far as I'm able to tell, only one of them hunts, he's on the SE corner, and I have no stands there. Our normal winds are SE unless a norther is blowing in, so that works out well. I figure as long as I don't shoot over my line, I'm ok, and would respect his right to do the same.
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:41 AM   #34
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We have right at 100 acres that is majority wooded as well. What we found is that if you cut a trail, even if it's just a walking trail for you, the deer will start using it. If you have a stand set up, cut some trails leading into that spot. Obviously food source is huge for this. If you feed them, they will come. Do the hogs eat up all of the corn before the deer have a chance to get to it? We have a couple of feeders on our place with pens up to keep the hogs out so the deer have their own spot to not be bothered by them. You mentioned a rifle blind site. This is honestly preference in my opinion. If you want a rifle stand site, cut a spot and make one. If you are mainly focusing on bow hunting, having a big opening won't help that much I feel like unless you plant a food plot. Happy hunting!
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:41 PM   #35
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Good information here.
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Old 03-18-2018, 01:02 AM   #36
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Your neighbors don't mind your stands on the fence lines.
he wont know for sure until he sees the high fence.
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