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Old 03-11-2013, 09:39 PM   #1
jshouse
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Default "the pasture"....long read and pic heavy

here is my go at it....this is a place that has been in my family for about 50 years, we have +/-110 acres total, but due to houses and part of it being open pasture i only hunt about 45-50 of it. i hunted it a little through middle school and high school in the early to late 90's, always seeing sign everywhere but never seeing a deer. i gave up on it as i got into college and careers and moved away. i did find this skull around 1994, along with his skeleton, next to the road and some road rash on the main beam makes me think he was hit by a car:



fast forward to november of 2011, after several years of east texas hunting i decided to give the pasture another go at it. my family still lives close to the pasture and after spending two weekends out there and seeing some young bucks and does, nothing to get me real excited although it was more than i had seen in rusk county in almost 5 years, my hunting career was re-ignited after a talk with my uncle.

after an uneventful sunday morning hunt i see my uncle and he asks if i saw the game cam pics he had from the summer out at the pasture. he doesnt hunt out there, just had an extra camera and feeder and put it out there to see what was there. well, these are the pics he shows me and after years of never seeing a mature buck or anything over 120" in person, this buck became my obsession, and made me a bowhunter (in training lol):

(these are cell phone pics of his polariod game cam pics)




so i hunted for this buck the rest of the season without another sighting or cam pic. around mid-december my mom told me she saw a man cutting horns off of a buck in the ditch and i was sure it was him. i was still getting tons of pics of young bucks and does so i was happy to just be seeing deer.

after the season ended i started feeing protein, watching my little bucks with hopes that they would hang around through the summer and put on some inches, then it happened. i would load up the family every sunday and run out there to check the camera and fill the feeder then make my wife drive home while i went through the pics. exactly one year ago yesterday, he returned.

going through the pics i see the deer at the feeder scatter and see some antlers coming through the trees that i didnt recognize, it was him, and i lost control like a teenage girl at a beiber concert, enough to scare my two boys and make them cry...








i could not stop thinking about this buck and watched him all summer, fed him all summer, he even picked a few more points, from a slick 10 to a 12. i also had a few more good ones show up, i was really anticipating bow season:







i literally had pics of these guys 2-3 times a day up through august, but, as bow season neared he began getting more and more nocturnal and sporadic, and i hadnt had a daylight pic of him in several weeks leading up to the bow opener. the first few days went by without a sighting or pic, and as luck would have it, due to some bad wind i sat in my secondary stand, a pop up about 50 yards away from my main set, and he was there from 7a to 730a, and that is the last i have seen of him. as a matter of fact, my top 3 bucks completely disappeared in early october and still havent shown back up. i saw deer pretty much every sit, bucks and does but nothing over 3.5 years old.

up to now, these are my two best bucks, and they just started running together this past week:

nice wide 9, with some pics of him from last year:






and nice 10, busted up a bit now, with a front leg injury, and him last year:




age has been hard to tell on them, but i am going with a beast of a 3.5 on the 9 and 4.5 on the 10, meaning the 10 will probably be my target buck next season, unless one of the big ones from above show back up (HOPE!!)

i estimate that up to 20 different deer feed on my place on any given day, they are going through 25-30lbs of pellets already, so i have decided to put in a spring plot, hoping to save some money on protein and give them something to eat year round to try to keep them from leaving my place.

i put out 1000lbs of lime 2 weeks ago and am going to try to get another 10000lbs out in the next couple of weeks. big thanks to unclefish answering all of the PM's i have sent him. i have found almost 1.5 acres right in the middle of the property that i am going to plot, and depending on how much use it gets i can increase it next year if needed. i want to get about 1/3 of it going in perennial clover, with cowpeas/soybeans in the spring and oats/peas/wheat in the winter.

the plot is kind of in a horseshoe shape allowing me to have 3-4 stand sites and sits right next to a seasonal creek that i have made into the boundary for my sanctuary. the creek splits the property from north to south, almost perfectly in half, leaving about 20 acres of sanctuary that after some hinge cutting and tree falling, will be left totally alone. there are an additional 60-75 acres around my sanctuary that arent hunted, which will hopefully be the difference i need to hold the big boys.

here are some pics from today..

this is the entrance to the main hunting area, where things get serious, and a pond that i wish was about 300 yards further to the east:



the road dissects the place right down the middle from east to west, the treeline in the back is the creek and the begining of my sanctuary, on either side will be my new plot:


this is where i plan on having my #1 tree stand, on the SW corner of the plot:


these are pics of the new plot site, from that tree in the sw corner, around the horseshoe to the nw corner where i will have a stand as well:





on the other side of the creek it gets pretty thick in some areas, but there are also several open meadows that i overseeded with alamo switchgrass 3-4 weeks ago, with hopes of creating some bedding areas. i also plan on some hinge cutting around these openings, which i started doing a bit last week, mainly just figuring out how to do it lol:








there are two ponds on adjoining properties that arent hunted that butt up to my sanctuary as well. i am really hoping that i can get them to stay on my place, since there are hunters in every direction around me.

i still have hope that my big boy will show back up, my family pretty much knows everyone around us and nobody knows anything of a big 12 getting taken this season. i have a meeting scheduled next month with the hunty county wildlife biologist to get some management/habitat improvement opinions from him.

this is all new to me and i am addicted to it, i talked myself out of buying persimmon and chestnut trees this spring so i could focus on my plots.

if anyone that sees any of this has any recommendations on anything, which trees to hinge cut, i would love to hear them, and if u stuck through to the end, thanks, i wanted to set the scene before i started updating with (hopefully) some food plot pics over the next few months.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:43 PM   #2
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i forgot to add that this place is mostly oaks and there are acorns EVERYWHERE, so much that my feeders were hardly visited from october through most of december, making me adjust and improve my tactics.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:43 PM   #3
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Looking forward to following along!
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:50 PM   #4
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Man, I didn't read though all of it but looks like you've got a pretty nice place with some really nice deer. Plenty of corn bandits too.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:50 PM   #5
jshouse
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this buck quickly became my target when he showed up, but he was only around for a few days and only on hand corn at the very back of the property which is now the sanctuary, hasnt been seen since. i had pics from him last year as well and this buck never eats from a feeder, is always in the back ground, which is why i prefer multiple feed sites and hand corning during the season...fwiw. maybe these plots will draw him into range.





him last year:


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Old 03-11-2013, 09:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BBReezen View Post
Man, I didn't read though all of it but looks like you've got a pretty nice place with some really nice deer. Plenty of corn bandits too.
lol, once i started i couldnt stop, good thing my wife went out to eat with her mom tonight..i dont expect many to read it. i have pics with 12 of the bandits in it at once, i hate them.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:00 PM   #7
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You got a great little piece of heaven man! I hope those big boys show up again for you!
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:08 PM   #8
unclefish
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Looking good!

Man you've got some studs on your place....big bodied, muscled up bucks. I look forward to following along your thread!

Is this in Hunt county?
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:11 PM   #9
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Great looking deer and a really nice looking pasture.

Where about are you? Looks like "post oak region".

Congrats on a great find and enjoy.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:11 PM   #10
SurroundedbyAGs
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nice place
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:13 PM   #11
jshouse
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sorry, it is hunt county.

thanks guys, cant wait to get back out there and do work.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:00 AM   #12
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Need some help managing it? I'd be glad to help
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:15 AM   #13
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Keep the pressure to a minimum and don't worry about culling. Acorns are going to hurt you some when you have a good crop. Looks like a great "Sanctuary" so keep it that way. Bucks ( and does) are animals of habit. If they are there during season they may be looking to escape pressure from a surrounding place. Good luck.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:19 AM   #14
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cool place
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:49 AM   #15
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Looks AWESOME. All of your hard work will pay off. Good Luck.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:13 PM   #16
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We see the same behaviour on our lease on the other side of the state. What we see on cam in the offseason at the feeding spots is not what we see during the fall. The numbers drop and mainly the young one's stay, but the older/bigger bucks "disappear." Seasonal feeding like acorns, rut, pressure, etc play into that.

I'm personally taking the approach that the older/bigger deer are there, but I need to take the hunt more to them. Meaning, that I really need to shift focus away from hunting the permanent food source (feeder) directly. This to me means paying attention to tracks and where they travel, guessing where they bed and staying off of that as well. Sure, they might "slip" and show up, but at this point, after looking at lots of footage, I think my odds are just as good hunting off the food plot/feeder.

Since you say you have some good deer eating off of hand corn, I would suggest utilizing that in your strategy. Don't go all the way into thier bedding area, but meet them in the middle with temporary stands setup off of hand corn.

That is at least what I am "gearing" up for this season. Keep the feeder, feed the herd, take the hunt closer to them and use hand corning to slow them down and get thier attention.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:39 PM   #17
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get it my friend good luck
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:55 PM   #18
jshouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampRabbit View Post
We see the same behaviour on our lease on the other side of the state. What we see on cam in the offseason at the feeding spots is not what we see during the fall. The numbers drop and mainly the young one's stay, but the older/bigger bucks "disappear." Seasonal feeding like acorns, rut, pressure, etc play into that.

I'm personally taking the approach that the older/bigger deer are there, but I need to take the hunt more to them. Meaning, that I really need to shift focus away from hunting the permanent food source (feeder) directly. This to me means paying attention to tracks and where they travel, guessing where they bed and staying off of that as well. Sure, they might "slip" and show up, but at this point, after looking at lots of footage, I think my odds are just as good hunting off the food plot/feeder.

Since you say you have some good deer eating off of hand corn, I would suggest utilizing that in your strategy. Don't go all the way into thier bedding area, but meet them in the middle with temporary stands setup off of hand corn.

That is at least what I am "gearing" up for this season. Keep the feeder, feed the herd, take the hunt closer to them and use hand corning to slow them down and get thier attention.
this is exactly what i have come to as well, i am really hoping my plots work out and looking forward to the challenge of next season.

thanks guys
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:13 PM   #19
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i think i am going to go with the spring deer mix from turner seed:

COWPEAS (RED RIPPER) 15%
COWPEAS (IRON & CLAY) 15%
SOYBEANS (LAREDO) 15%
BLACK-EYED PEAS (CALIFORNIA) 15%
SUNN HEMP 12%
LAB LAB (RIO VERDE) 10%
BUCKWHEAT 6%
OKRA (SPINELESS) 5%
MUNGBEANS 5%
CHICORY 2%
COST PER ACRE $40.00 100%
COST PER LB. $2.00
POUNDS PER ACRE 20

i am hoping that the diversity will keep the deer from mowing everything down as soon as i t comes up and this should leave me with about 1/4 to 1/3 of an acre to plant in alyce clover as i try to get a year round stand of it going.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:40 PM   #20
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Looks like you got it going your way, good luck with one of the big bucks.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:57 PM   #21
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How did you apply the lime?
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:06 PM   #22
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i did it the easy but expensive way, pelletized lime from tractor supply broadcast in a spreader on my atv. i think i paid 3.75 per 40lb bag. the next time i do it, which should be in 2-3 years, i will try to rent a buggy from the co-op and use ag lime, should cut the cost in more than half.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:09 PM   #23
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Great write up! I didn't want to miss any of the story. I will be following!
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:01 PM   #24
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following
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:12 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jshouse View Post
i think i am going to go with the spring deer mix from turner seed:

COWPEAS (RED RIPPER) 15%
COWPEAS (IRON & CLAY) 15%
SOYBEANS (LAREDO) 15%
BLACK-EYED PEAS (CALIFORNIA) 15%
SUNN HEMP 12%
LAB LAB (RIO VERDE) 10%
BUCKWHEAT 6%
OKRA (SPINELESS) 5%
MUNGBEANS 5%
CHICORY 2%
COST PER ACRE $40.00 100%
COST PER LB. $2.00
POUNDS PER ACRE 20

i am hoping that the diversity will keep the deer from mowing everything down as soon as i t comes up and this should leave me with about 1/4 to 1/3 of an acre to plant in alyce clover as i try to get a year round stand of it going.
If you have a little extra money, you can use an electrical fence to keep the deer out of the food plot to allow it to grow up enough so it doesn't get scorched-earth by the deer. It sounds crazy--and I did not believe until I saw it--but it works. We used it for our spring/summer plots and the vegetation inside the fence was ten times taller than the food plot outside of the fence. It's pretty easy to maintain and easy to take down--you can even leave the fence posts.

Here is an article showing different diagrams of fences. We used the two-dimensional fence and it worked great!
http://www.wvdnr.gov/Hunting/DeerConHomGar.shtm
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:52 PM   #26
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thanks man, i am going to look into the fence, i am hoping my grandpa has some old stuff laying around i can use.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:30 PM   #27
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little slice of heaven right there!!!
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:59 PM   #28
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Nice place!
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:09 PM   #29
jshouse
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just got my order in with turner seed, easy to work with and helpful. since this is my first run at a food plot i am going to go with their spring mix which will hopefully give me a good idea what the deer prefer and what performs best on my place, if i want to narrow it down next year.

also ordered a mix of alyce clover and chicory that i am going to use for about .5 an acre, hoping that both will reseed and begin my attempt at a year round plot. i should have the ability to water this summer to keep things going but of course would love some timely rain.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:12 PM   #30
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Good luck to you, we need rain bad out here. I cant even plow because it is so dry.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:28 PM   #31
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Well if you need some help you know where I am. Not far from you.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:41 PM   #32
jshouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sippy View Post
Good luck to you, we need rain bad out here. I cant even plow because it is so dry.

yeah i saw the pics, that sucks man, my place is pretty sandy so it doesnt really get that bad in the spring.

thanks terry, i will try to stop out and meet you when i get a chance.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:50 PM   #33
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Staying tuned into this one! Those are some solid bucks

Got a nice spread in Georgetown, but can't seem to find a good spot to start a small first timer plot, lots of rock. I have a nice spring fed creek running right through the property. I was thinking of planting down near he river bottoms. Is there a good informative website you used?

Good luck to you sir, keep the pics rolling!
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:58 PM   #34
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TBH of course, the THF, the forums on qdma.com and www.growingdeer.tv among others. i have a lease with better bucks on it but enjoy the time/effort/money spent on my family place a lot more and would really rather put an arrow in one of those from above too, especially that 12pt! if he will ever come back...

good luck with your place, it gets addicting once you start...lol
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:07 PM   #35
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Thanks for the info,I hope mr. 12 sticks his nose out for you this season
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:11 PM   #36
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Beautiful place!
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:42 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCTrapper View Post
Keep the pressure to a minimum and don't worry about culling. Acorns are going to hurt you some when you have a good crop. Looks like a great "Sanctuary" so keep it that way. Bucks ( and does) are animals of habit. If they are there during season they may be looking to escape pressure from a surrounding place. Good luck.
Agreed. Just don't over do it. Set your food plot and hunt the travel routes in the edge of the thick stuff.

Not sure that you are doing this...... But one of my good friends is new to deer hunting and he is excited just as much as you about his new place. The biggest mistake I see him do is check the camera TOO much. He gets frustrated at the big bucks not able to pattern them when it gets closer to bow season. Trouble is, he (my buddy) doesn't understand that he is the one being patterned.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:15 PM   #38
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Good luck getting one of those big boys. Hunt county hunting can be awesome.
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:04 AM   #39
jshouse
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Agreed. Just don't over do it. Set your food plot and hunt the travel routes in the edge of the thick stuff.

Not sure that you are doing this...... But one of my good friends is new to deer hunting and he is excited just as much as you about his new place. The biggest mistake I see him do is check the camera TOO much. He gets frustrated at the big bucks not able to pattern them when it gets closer to bow season. Trouble is, he (my buddy) doesn't understand that he is the one being patterned.
As much as i enjoy checking my pics, i wish i could stay away for more than a week at a time but the one protein feeder i have gets emptied in about 7-8 days. Thats another reason for me wanting to get a good plot going, not only to save some money but also not having to worry about keeping a feeder full.

Great info, i have no doubt i put too much pressure on the place last season and hunted in some not so favorable weather conditions. That will all be different this year.

Thanks
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:39 PM   #40
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GAME ON.






one year and 3 days after he returned from his sabbatical last year, crazy.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:53 PM   #41
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Awesome! I bet it makes it hard to think about how far away deer season is. Also makes the thought of keeping the feeder full of protein not as costly. I hope his big rack doesn't keep him from getting his head in there.
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:10 PM   #42
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Awesome! I bet it makes it hard to think about how far away deer season is. Also makes the thought of keeping the feeder full of protein not as costly. I hope his big rack doesn't keep him from getting his head in there.
No kidding, lol. I will gladly keep the feeder full for another shot it him.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:36 PM   #43
Preacher Man
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Amazing how similar your place looks to a spot near Lockhart that I used to hunt. And my place near Hallettsville.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:17 PM   #44
jshouse
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Location: Rockwall
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my seed order from turner seed came in today, i just placed the order on friday. now gonna give it a few weeks and plan on getting it in the ground around in april, hopefully around some good rain. i still have some trees to clear out, 1000lbs of lime to put out, and i want to start my round up spraying next week.

still pumped about my nemesis returning, and i think the tall 8 from one of the pics above (with the rice bran all over his nose) came back too, looks like him in the background of one of my pics from last week.

Last edited by jshouse; 03-19-2013 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:29 PM   #45
unclefish
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I'm ready to plant but the ground isn't....waiting on another rain.

What did you get and how much was shipping?
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:35 PM   #46
jshouse
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i got 20lbs of the spring mix for an acre and then 5lbs of alyce clover and 2lbs of chicory for a border around the perimeter of the plot, for a total of about 1.25 to 1.5 acres. i am really going to try to stay on top of the water situation (i have access to a tank and sprayer) and see if i cant keep the clover/chicory mix going for as long as possible.

$16 to ship to a business.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:03 AM   #47
unclefish
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I bought some chicory the other day but the more I read on it I'm gonna wait until fall to plant it. Like most perennials (clover, alfalfa, chicory, etc...) it does better fall planted because it puts so much energy into putting down roots. Good roots = drought resistance. I'm afraid planting now it would not have enough time to putting down roots before the summer heat/drought arrives.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:56 AM   #48
jshouse
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thats a good idea and makes sense, with as little as i am planting this year i will be able to replant in the fall if needed so i am gonna give it a shot.

like always, i am getting down to the line and havent finished all of my prepwork yet.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:48 AM   #49
unclefish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jshouse View Post
thats a good idea and makes sense, with as little as i am planting this year i will be able to replant in the fall if needed so i am gonna give it a shot.

like always, i am getting down to the line and havent finished all of my prepwork yet.
Good luck! I haven't done my prep work either.....we got an inch of rain last night at the farm....wish I would have planted last weekend.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:56 PM   #50
Daniel75
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Hunt In: Red River County & Atoka Co Oklahoma
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Choot em! Lol, I'm jealous, you've got great genetics out there, you should have studs for years to come. I too am planning on a food plot and I'm also going to plant an apple, pear and persimmon orchard near the middle of my property. Each tree will yield 250 lbs of fruit and you can plant different varieties that drop fruit early (August/Sept) and late (Nov/Dec) so that those trees are dropping all throughout deer season. Those fruits are high energy and help speed up the deer's digestive process. They drop fruit within 3-5 years and will yield fruit for 50 years. I can't wait!
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