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Old 01-03-2023, 05:04 PM   #1
KactusKiller
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Default Management thread for sub 500ac land

Now that I’m not on big leases anymore and primarily hunting two tracks of land I own that are considered smaller parcels so I thought I’d start a management thread directed primarily on smaller parcels. I watch several deer manager “gurus” on you tube trying to gather new ideas. One parcel is in Navarro co TX 108ac and the other is in Seminole Co OK 320ac. At either property the deer aren’t overly dependent on feeders like corn or protein. They can take it or leave it. This makes it tougher to hunt than a lot of the west/south Texas lands I’ve hunted in the past where you simply set up a feeder and the deer come running. This was our first yr in Oklahoma and even tho it was a decent yr overall I feel it can be a lot better both in mature buck numbers and quality. But I’m still in the learning side of that property so I’ll start with my Navarro property.

It’s 108 acre of over grown pasture and thick hardwood drainage type creek bottoms. I purchased the first of it in 2017 so I think I have a pretty good feel for the deer in my immediate area. I have spent countless hrs and $$ improving the land and still only about 1/2 way to my goals. We have not shot a single deer during this time. Our doe/fawn numbers have increased and we always have a decent amount of spikes and yearling bucks. I also have bucks that make it 3-4 yrs of history to say 5-6yrs old. The problem is that you may only catch a couple pics of them a yr. Consistent sightings are few and far between. My plan up till now has been grow the overall herd as much as possible and the bucks will come. My resident doe herd has grow by 200-300% in the last 3-4 yrs but my resent buck numbers have not. I thought by increasing the doe numbers and having the best yr round food sources in the area we would attract more “trophy” bucks. This just hasn’t happened. So this yr I’m going to just concentrate on improving the land more by clearing more brush to open the land scape more and continue to make the land more user friendly for the deer. I’m going to resist the urge to feed and plant food plots during the spring/summer. According to the “you tube pros” you don’t want to keep high populations of doe on your property yr round as bucks do not like to be crowded all yr. So according to them I have been making my place a doe haven which has had the opposite effect on my desired buck population. I’ll wait to provide the high end feed opportunities until the fall when it’s time to hunt.

I’m not sure how this will go but we will see. I like to feed yr round as I just enjoy seeing deee on camera yr round but my desire is steered more toward harvesting a decent buck on my place and that just hasn’t happened yet.

I plan to feed my Oklahoma place this off season to see how they react then adjust depending on my results after a full season in the books.

Last edited by KactusKiller; 01-03-2023 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 01-03-2023, 09:35 PM   #2
J&M Hamilton10
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My biggest regret on my dads place is not planting an orchard. I planted two Bradford pears that have done great. But I wish 10-15 years ago that I planted some sawtooth and chinquapin, persimmon. They grow fast and produce fast. Well I did plant a few but the drought got them 10 years ago.

Also regret not making bigger plots. This year it wasn’t really needed. His fertilized hay fields are loaded in vetch and clover with all this rain. Lots of deer being seen the past two weeks in the fields. I didn’t put a camera out until the day after Christmas…

If you can establish an area with tall grasses for bedding and cover that might hold some older bucks.
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Old 01-04-2023, 11:00 AM   #3
EastTexun
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It will be interesting and insightful to follow along as you create various improvements. I have working to improve my place (251 acres in East Texas) since 2004, but began spending significantly more time/effort/$$$ during the last 10 years or so. The payoff can be very rewarding, the days can get very long, and the returns sometime make you wonder if the juice is worth the squeeze. If I could tell myself a few things 10-15 years ago that I have learned the hard way, I would remind myself the following concepts: 1. Take time to make a plan for the entire property and stick to said plan. 2. Break up goals into manageable "chunks" so that you can celebrate victories, no matter how small. 3. Plan on things not working at all, equipment breaking down at the most inopportune times, and costs to rise even more than anticipated. 4. Remind yourself to have fun sometime..its doesn't always have to be work, work and more work. 5. Make notes, take pictures, and document what you have done. 6. Last, step back and take stock of all the progress that you have made.
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Old 01-04-2023, 01:05 PM   #4
KactusKiller
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I’ve been doing a lot of work since the day I bought the first piece. My intention of this thread is to share some ideas about manicuring small tracts to attract bucks other than just put corn in a feeder and hope they come in when you’re there. I have cleared multiple acre as of unusable brush land and I do believe it has helped. One of my neighbors did the same even tho his was for grassland improvement for cattle. If anyone here has any special insight as far as stand locations and how they setup that would be interesting. Most of the online videos for small parcel improvements are based in the the northern and Midwest states like Missouri, Iowa, Ohio etc. would be great to get more shared info for eastern tx and Oklahoma.
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Old 01-05-2023, 08:47 AM   #5
Tex1986
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Originally Posted by EastTexun View Post
It will be interesting and insightful to follow along as you create various improvements. I have working to improve my place (251 acres in East Texas) since 2004, but began spending significantly more time/effort/$$$ during the last 10 years or so. The payoff can be very rewarding, the days can get very long, and the returns sometime make you wonder if the juice is worth the squeeze. If I could tell myself a few things 10-15 years ago that I have learned the hard way, I would remind myself the following concepts: 1. Take time to make a plan for the entire property and stick to said plan. 2. Break up goals into manageable "chunks" so that you can celebrate victories, no matter how small. 3. Plan on things not working at all, equipment breaking down at the most inopportune times, and costs to rise even more than anticipated. 4. Remind yourself to have fun sometime..its doesn't always have to be work, work and more work. 5. Make notes, take pictures, and document what you have done. 6. Last, step back and take stock of all the progress that you have made.
Point #4 hits home with me. Our time is limited to work on our place so when we go, we try to get as much done as possible. Accomplishing those task are rewarding but, it seems our time to really enjoy is minimal.
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Old 01-05-2023, 09:40 AM   #6
J&M Hamilton10
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Can you post a pic of your property with where blinds are now? I use a dry creek bed to enter most of my sets. Or have my dad drop me off and drive away. When we started doing this the sightings increased.
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Old 01-05-2023, 09:48 AM   #7
EastTexun
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Originally Posted by KactusKiller View Post
I’ve been doing a lot of work since the day I bought the first piece. My intention of this thread is to share some ideas about manicuring small tracts to attract bucks other than just put corn in a feeder and hope they come in when you’re there. I have cleared multiple acre as of unusable brush land and I do believe it has helped. One of my neighbors did the same even tho his was for grassland improvement for cattle. If anyone here has any special insight as far as stand locations and how they setup that would be interesting. Most of the online videos for small parcel improvements are based in the the northern and Midwest states like Missouri, Iowa, Ohio etc. would be great to get more shared info for eastern tx and Oklahoma.
I have a lot of thoughts on this, but will try to be concise. I look at it in terms of food, water, cover and pressure (or lack thereof) The property is managed for timber production, but I have tried to make it a dual purpose between timber and wildlife. I have spread out my timber replanting timelines so that I had various aged stands instead of one large stand to provide more edges and diversity instead of a monoculture. Additionally, when I have cleared for additional timber planting, I made the replant area very fluid on the edges instead of square or rectangular. More specifically, I tried to use existing brush/timber and slash to funnel deer to food plots and internal areas at the expense of knowing I was not maximizing my planted acreage. I feel like this has been a tremendous help to seeing more deer in the early years and providing a highway of sorts for them to move freely. To date I have not yet done any burns, but it will occur in the next 24 months as soon as I can get one thinning in.
Food/Water- I feed protein year around, minimum 1K pound feeders in a feeder pen alongside corn feeders. To see results from the protein took about 5 years +/- but they were and continue to be impressive. Right now I have 4 protein feeders on 250 acres and I am satisfied that I am getting feed to all the deer in a decent amount. Combined with the protein I also plant extensively, oats, cereal rye, arrowleaf, crimson and white clover for the fall and spring (October-early June if lucky) then soybeans, cowpeays, sunn hemp, alyceclover, vetch and some other varieties in the summer, depending on time, weather and seed availability. Lime is key, fertilizer is very helpful but getting to be awfully expensive. I have 2 large creeks and a small lake, so water is not a limiting factor on my place, but if it was, I would make sure that I had as many water stations as I had protein feeders if not more. Lastly, as far as food goes, I do fertilize native plants such as greenbriar in select areas and I have seen increased deer utilization in those areas. On the food plots, I have experimented with various methods of edge feathering to make the plots less square or boxy with mixed results. The bucks seem to utilize the edges more, but it also makes it a lot harder to see them because they can lurk at the edges instead of having to come out in the open.
Cover/Pressure- Because I grow timber, I do have certain areas that receive no intrusion nearly 365 days a year. I also do my best to not enter bedding areas except maybe one or two times right after season to do a quick survey. Its tempting to go in and hunt around them, but my experience is that if you push the deer on a small property, they may be gone for the season or your neighbor just got a freebee. If possible, I try to create or set aside these areas well inside of my property lines instead of right along side. I do have one area that is definitely a bedding/loafing area that borders a neighbor, and I am certain that it has increased the deer traffic on his side of the fence dramatically. One thing I do is study the neighboring properties on Google Maps and other aerial photo sources. Take a step back and look at the area holistically and see if you can see larger funnel areas or features that dictate animal movement. Look for stands and feeders, roads and houses and anything else that could negatively impact deer movement and plan accordingly.
As a one off- run a lot of cameras, and I mean a lot. For example, I have between -10 and 20 cameras going nearly all year long. Some stay in the same spot 365 days a year and others get moved around frequently. I have found it very useful to better understand deer movement on small parcels, how they react to my intrusion and neighbors, hunting pressure and other stressors. Over time these cameras have really helped me understand where I should be putting stands, feeders or staying out of completely.
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Old 01-05-2023, 09:50 AM   #8
EastTexun
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Originally Posted by Tex1986 View Post
Point #4 hits home with me. Our time is limited to work on our place so when we go, we try to get as much done as possible. Accomplishing those task are rewarding but, it seems our time to really enjoy is minimal.
This is really tough for me and has negatively affected my family at times. I don't have a good solution quite yet, but making a decision before I leave if I am working or if I am going to enjoy myself and sticking with it when I get there has shown progress.
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Old 01-05-2023, 02:15 PM   #9
txbowman12
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Might want to read this and take it into consideration when managing deer herd. Sounds like you are already coming to this realization.

https://www.whitetailhabitatsolution...bitat-problems

It seems to me that a lot of guys approach habitat and herd management from a perspective of more deer = more bucks. That's true to a point, but only to a point. Mature deer easily pressured, that comes from habitat pressure from other deer, and hunting pressure from humans.

To that end, what have you done to create a sanctuary area that has cover (taking into account prevailing winds) and access to food sources? When I say sanctuary I mean human access no more than 1-2 times a year, none if possible, and never from August - January.

The other thing I have started working on and has paid off for me already is working on access, creating ways to access stands that keeps me covered, plus ways to stands that I rarely use except for that "right" hunt where the wind is on my side. Deer 100% know where you are accessing stands, shake it up some.

I'd work on thinning out your local doe population some, and maintain the habitat improvement work. I'm happy to be proven wrong, but I think especially in east texas that you can buck hunt, or you can try and see a lot of deer. Where I've had some success, I don't see a lot of deer, but I'm only seeing bucks.
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Old 01-05-2023, 11:39 PM   #10
KactusKiller
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WHS is one of the channels I watch even tho I can’t hardly listen to that guy, he thinks a lot of him self. I’d love for him to address some southern US habitats.

I have always herd him stay tough to his guns on the “doe factory” and I hit most of the qualifications.

Last edited by KactusKiller; 01-06-2023 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 01-06-2023, 12:25 PM   #11
txbowman12
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Originally Posted by KactusKiller View Post
WHS is one of the channels I watch even tho I canít hardly listen to that guy, he thinks a lot of him self. Iíd love for him to address some southern US habitats.

I have always herd him stay tough to his guns on the ďdoe factoryĒ and I hit most of the qualifications.
Agree on being hard to listen to, but it matches my observations in the field, at least with respect to social pressure and doe home ranges being tight.

I'm also watching it unfold real time on one of my leases. Have not been successful convincing my lease mates that we need to work down our doe population, and that combined with heavy overgrazing of browse by the cows during the drought has caused bucks that used to live on our property 24/7 to disappear. Don't know how much is from the cows or the doe counts, but I know we went from 50/50 buck to doe on cams, with balanced age groups, to all does, some young bucks, and virtually no mature bucks.

I think the thing to realize is you can't do it all on small tracts, you have to be specialized. You can have a lot of doe and be able to watch a lot of deer each hunt and that is a lot of fun don't get me wrong, but if you want to hold mature deer you need to offer them something they crave more than just about anything else. That is safety and lack of pressure.
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Old 01-08-2023, 09:14 PM   #12
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I'm going to state the obvious but feed, feed, feed however and whatever you can year-round, make sure you have water sources and keep the does fat, happy and present . Third year owning and it's made a world of difference.
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Old 01-09-2023, 10:55 PM   #13
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I'm going to state the obvious but feed, feed, feed however and whatever you can year-round, make sure you have water sources and keep the does fat, happy and present . Third year owning and it's made a world of difference.
Thatís what Iíve been doing on my Texas prop and only animals I have consistently on the property are fat happy doe and yearlings. Even during the rut. In my Navarro co tx property and my Seminole Oklahoma property bucks arenít overly dependent on feed. The does and yearlings are really consistent on feeders buck the bucks are not. I need to do something besides keep constant yr round feed on the property.
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Old 01-10-2023, 08:42 AM   #14
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Gonna look into a logging crew to wipe out what woods I got left at dairy. Probably be tough due to size. If not I’ll go in and hack and squirt. My woods have become too mature and open. All my mature oaks would be left due to no timber value. But I don’t care to see a cedar, gum, birch on my property. They can probably salvage a few loads of pine. Need some new growth…. That ain’t privet
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Old 01-10-2023, 11:54 AM   #15
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Gonna look into a logging crew to wipe out what woods I got left at dairy. Probably be tough due to size. If not Iíll go in and hack and squirt. My woods have become too mature and open. All my mature oaks would be left due to no timber value. But I donít care to see a cedar, gum, birch on my property. They can probably salvage a few loads of pine. Need some new growthÖ. That ainít privet
That's a big part of what I'm going to continue to work on. Thinning the saplings in all species to open the land up more. I've been working on it a couple yrs now and going to try and complete most of it in Texas this winter and spring.

In Oklahoma my problem is they logged it back 2-3 yrs ago which opened alot of areas but now all the stumps are sprouting back which is gonna make it thicker and there is a tone of dead fall left piled in rows. There is alot of growth now but alot of it is completely accessible for the deer because its too thick. I could really use some controlled burns the next two yrs to kill off the stump sprouts and clear some of the dead fall from the logging.
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Old 01-11-2023, 02:56 PM   #16
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Subscribed.
Moved on our place in southern OK a little over a year ago. We've finally completed remodeling the house so now it's time to switch focus to the land. It's sad to say but I've still yet to walk the entire place out like I'd really like to, so hoping to get some serious roaming done as soon as season concludes.
Started protein this fall and plan on running it through march. Gonna hit the chainsaw hard this winter to open a few areas and increase the bedding in others. Also, planning on planting several spots this spring, then following up with fall plots later in the year.

We've already got a ton of enjoyment out of the place, but I truly feel like it is a diamond in the rough that needs polishing out.
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Old 01-11-2023, 04:07 PM   #17
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On any property the components of wildlife habitat are food, cover, and water. Those things are even more important on smaller properties. I would add a 4th on smaller properties that component would be traffic from people. In my experience holding wildlife especially deer and turkey, that aren't used to a suburb life style, on a smaller property can be helped by reducing traffic as much as possible especially during fawning/hatching seasons and hunting season. If you crowd them or push them by ripping and romping through those smaller tracts on ATVs and what not to where they don't feel safe they won't hang around.
I spent 5 years on a 250ac place, supplementing feed after season was over to increase body condition until first green up then again if summer turned out really dry, kept water and mineral out year round, of course feed during season, and keeping traffic down. I placed water, mineral, and feed locations to split the property into thirds (roughly 1 per 80ac). I found the designated bedding areas and main travel corridors and stayed out of them and tried to make the mineral/water/feed location easy to hit up based on bedding and travel corridors. Numbers and quality by the last year were great. Then the landowner’s son got out of prison and started terrorizing the place and within 3 weeks animals on camera were none existent through the rest of the year. I picked up all my stuff and never went back.
Doing land improvements, I would definitely try to correlate what you are doing and where to bedding areas and travel corridors and leave them alone. You can sculpt brush to work to your advantage for stand/feeder placement and taking advantage of the bedding/travel areas, elevation changes and topography for predominant winds etc... Google earth is a heck of a scouting tool especially if you have a version to look back at prior year imagery. When you clear areas consider reseeding with grass/forb mix a few native grasses make sure some are tall grasses for bedding. Stay heavy on the forbs say 30-40 of the mix for deer browse. Google web soil survey and map out the property it will give you soil types historical plant composition and what not for creating seed mixes.
Try hitting up your local NRCS office and ask them about EQIP and EQIP-CIC programs. You can possibly get some help paying for brush clearing, fence, water systems, reseeding for wildlife, etc…
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Old 01-15-2023, 10:59 PM   #18
KactusKiller
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Got out in the skid steer today and starting clearing brush again, prob got 2-3 acres done in about 5 hr . Got a long way to go.
Started with areas like this

Finished it looking like this

Trying to open up the thick overgrown areas and get more sunlight to the ground.


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Old 01-15-2023, 11:35 PM   #19
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I’m just south of you in Leon county and part of my plan is also opening up areas and getting rid of yaupons. Also have cattle on the place, but starting around October 1st, they are moved to another pasture. Probably, the best decision I have made is to have a government trapper come in for coyotes. Last year, he got in a little late but we got some. This year, I will get him back in within a month from now. Friend of mine had him come in on a place equal in size of mine about 400 acres and he got 37 and said there were a lot more. He will also take out hogs also.
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Old 01-16-2023, 12:43 AM   #20
toledo
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My opinion, be careful what you clear. Mature bucks dont like to travel across open spaces any more than they have to. Lots of edge is good but try to keep the wide open view down below 50 yards in all areas.

You can always cut more next year. Putting it back can take decades.

How positive are you that the bucks arent there? I have a 32 acre property that Ive been hunting for 3 years. Normally see a few bucks at the feeder around rut but that was it. Swapped to hand corn out of the feed pen this season and there were 5 bucks on it in the first night. I bet I saw 25 bucks over the season where they didnt exist before.

Last edited by toledo; 01-16-2023 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 01-16-2023, 11:37 AM   #21
EastTexun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuramaxDude View Post
On any property the components of wildlife habitat are food, cover, and water. Those things are even more important on smaller properties. I would add a 4th on smaller properties that component would be traffic from people. In my experience holding wildlife especially deer and turkey, that aren't used to a suburb life style, on a smaller property can be helped by reducing traffic as much as possible especially during fawning/hatching seasons and hunting season. If you crowd them or push them by ripping and romping through those smaller tracts on ATVs and what not to where they don't feel safe they won't hang around.
I spent 5 years on a 250ac place, supplementing feed after season was over to increase body condition until first green up then again if summer turned out really dry, kept water and mineral out year round, of course feed during season, and keeping traffic down. I placed water, mineral, and feed locations to split the property into thirds (roughly 1 per 80ac). I found the designated bedding areas and main travel corridors and stayed out of them and tried to make the mineral/water/feed location easy to hit up based on bedding and travel corridors. Numbers and quality by the last year were great. Then the landownerís son got out of prison and started terrorizing the place and within 3 weeks animals on camera were none existent through the rest of the year. I picked up all my stuff and never went back.
Doing land improvements, I would definitely try to correlate what you are doing and where to bedding areas and travel corridors and leave them alone. You can sculpt brush to work to your advantage for stand/feeder placement and taking advantage of the bedding/travel areas, elevation changes and topography for predominant winds etc... Google earth is a heck of a scouting tool especially if you have a version to look back at prior year imagery. When you clear areas consider reseeding with grass/forb mix a few native grasses make sure some are tall grasses for bedding. Stay heavy on the forbs say 30-40 of the mix for deer browse. Google web soil survey and map out the property it will give you soil types historical plant composition and what not for creating seed mixes.
Try hitting up your local NRCS office and ask them about EQIP and EQIP-CIC programs. You can possibly get some help paying for brush clearing, fence, water systems, reseeding for wildlife, etcÖ
Google Earth on your desktop is the ticket to look at historic imagery. I use it for management activities but also for looking at lakes when they were low.
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Old 01-16-2023, 11:38 AM   #22
EastTexun
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Originally Posted by KactusKiller View Post
Got out in the skid steer today and starting clearing brush again, prob got 2-3 acres done in about 5 hr . Got a long way to go.
What attachment were you using? Looks like a mulcher, but wasn't sure.
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Old 01-16-2023, 12:32 PM   #23
KactusKiller
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Originally Posted by pure lefty View Post
Iím just south of you in Leon county and part of my plan is also opening up areas and getting rid of yaupons. Also have cattle on the place, but starting around October 1st, they are moved to another pasture. Probably, the best decision I have made is to have a government trapper come in for coyotes. Last year, he got in a little late but we got some. This year, I will get him back in within a month from now. Friend of mine had him come in on a place equal in size of mine about 400 acres and he got 37 and said there were a lot more. He will also take out hogs also.
Wonder if he gets stray dogs as well? I need that in Oklahoma along with coyotes
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Old 01-16-2023, 02:01 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by toledo View Post
My opinion, be careful what you clear. Mature bucks dont like to travel across open spaces any more than they have to. Lots of edge is good but try to keep the wide open view down below 50 yards in all areas.

You can always cut more next year. Putting it back can take decades.

How positive are you that the bucks aren't there? I have a 32 acre property that Ive been hunting for 3 years. Normally see a few bucks at the feeder around rut but that was it. Swapped to hand corn out of the feed pen this season and there were 5 bucks on it in the first night. I bet I saw 25 bucks over the season where they didn't exist before.
I run feeders, hand corn and food plots. I also have cameras in random areas. I see a pretty good sampling of the deer. Deer are around but keeping them consistently around is tough. Might pass by for a week off and on then gone. My resident does and their fawns are around consistently. Trying to start making it more buck friendly.

As for the brush in our area its super thick, too thick to be utilized by deer or cattle. This will allow some sunlight to hit the ground and create more browse and the deer will be able to actually travel thru it. The creek bottoms will still be super thick. I'll post more pictures as I proceed. I won't be wiping the slate clean. Just thinning some areas so its actually usable.
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Old 01-16-2023, 02:02 PM   #25
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What attachment were you using? Looks like a mulcher, but wasn't sure.
its a Rut mfg Terminator XP, More of a brush hog shredder but has mulching teeth as well.
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Old 01-18-2023, 08:48 AM   #26
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its a Rut mfg Terminator XP, More of a brush hog shredder but has mulching teeth as well.
Interesting design and unit. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-18-2023, 02:20 PM   #27
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Interesting design and unit. Thanks for sharing.
It's as HD as it gets, in my opinion almost too heavy for a 75HP unit like mine but they say it is fine.I think a 90-100 hp unit would be better.
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Old 01-18-2023, 06:59 PM   #28
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Was out at the ranch today and thought Iíd take another picture to show some of the area where I started cleaning, but have not finished. You can see how thick some of these areas are and on the left what Iím doing on the clear out.

This area was thick last year. I cleared it out, plowed it and put a food plot in a feeder area.



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Old 01-19-2023, 09:09 AM   #29
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Looks real good. Hard to gain perspective from pictures, but that looks like a great candidate for some burning. Based on my math for my place, it is much cheaper to burn vs mulch. That is assuming you can get the right weather or have enough to burn.
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Old 01-19-2023, 09:13 AM   #30
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I have plenty to burn but grass is minimal now and those ultra thick patches are spread out. Also I would be worried about killing too many of my hardwoods. I do have an open area about 25ish acres thats just overgrown pasture with plumb thickets, scattered mesquite and native grass but loaded with dewberry and other trash brush. I plan to burn that in sections starting this yr.
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Old 01-19-2023, 09:17 AM   #31
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Iíve been shredding and plowing strips thru it the last few yrs and it has def helped but think Iíll start burning some of it this February.


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Old 01-19-2023, 09:23 AM   #32
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Subscribed.
Moved on our place in southern OK a little over a year ago. We've finally completed remodeling the house so now it's time to switch focus to the land. It's sad to say but I've still yet to walk the entire place out like I'd really like to, so hoping to get some serious roaming done as soon as season concludes.
Started protein this fall and plan on running it through march. Gonna hit the chainsaw hard this winter to open a few areas and increase the bedding in others. Also, planning on planting several spots this spring, then following up with fall plots later in the year.

We've already got a ton of enjoyment out of the place, but I truly feel like it is a diamond in the rough that needs polishing out.
What county in OK?
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Old 01-19-2023, 12:31 PM   #33
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What county in OK?
Northern part of Murray County.
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Old 01-19-2023, 02:24 PM   #34
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Northern part of Murray County.
Is your avatar buck from there?
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Old 01-19-2023, 02:55 PM   #35
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My opinion, be careful what you clear. Mature bucks dont like to travel across open spaces any more than they have to. Lots of edge is good but try to keep the wide open view down below 50 yards in all areas.

You can always cut more next year. Putting it back can take decades.

How positive are you that the bucks arent there? I have a 32 acre property that Ive been hunting for 3 years. Normally see a few bucks at the feeder around rut but that was it. Swapped to hand corn out of the feed pen this season and there were 5 bucks on it in the first night. I bet I saw 25 bucks over the season where they didnt exist before.
I still need to look at a couple cameras just in case something slipped in but I had at least 13 "forked" bucks this yr on my place. Alot of the mature bucks were in summer time or late in season. Varying age classes and had a few other small spike bucks not included in that 13. The funny thing is that my bigger more mature bucks weren't around much during november in the prime rut times despite having a pretty solid group of doe most of the yr. So gathering more doe on the property did not help at all during the rut this yr. It's totally backward from what I would normally think. The biggest buck I have ever had on the property showed up the first yr before I really got going good on land improvement and more feed. All I had was a bucket feeder in a tree. Had very few deer staying on the property then because it was so thick and unusable. More food and female availability has not equaled more mature trophy bucks in this area.
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Old 01-19-2023, 03:05 PM   #36
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One other note, in an area that doesn't have many turkey and no season we have had a couple hatches the last few yrs. Predators are still an issue I think but I've had a small group around for 3+ yrs now. I think the habitat improvement has def helped them.
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Old 01-19-2023, 04:09 PM   #37
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Is your avatar buck from there?

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Is your avatar buck from there?

My current avatar no. My kiddo shot a buck off the place this year and I shot one last year.

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Old 01-19-2023, 04:09 PM   #38
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Old 01-19-2023, 04:45 PM   #39
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Both good bucks congrats
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Old 01-20-2023, 11:19 AM   #40
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I still need to look at a couple cameras just in case something slipped in but I had at least 13 "forked" bucks this yr on my place. Alot of the mature bucks were in summer time or late in season. Varying age classes and had a few other small spike bucks not included in that 13. The funny thing is that my bigger more mature bucks weren't around much during november in the prime rut times despite having a pretty solid group of doe most of the yr. So gathering more doe on the property did not help at all during the rut this yr. It's totally backward from what I would normally think. The biggest buck I have ever had on the property showed up the first yr before I really got going good on land improvement and more feed. All I had was a bucket feeder in a tree. Had very few deer staying on the property then because it was so thick and unusable. More food and female availability has not equaled more mature trophy bucks in this area.
One thing that I have observed on my place is that the trophy bucks (160+) seem to ebb and flow over the seasons. This year due to a variety of factors we are all familiar with the antler growth was not that great. 2 years back, I had several 150 class bucks that have all but disappeared other than 1. My thought is that due to the smaller nature of my property that I am missing larger environmental influences or neighboring properties have killed dominant bucks and my "locals" moved to new areas.

Another interesting thing that I have documented is that I will have a few bucks every year that spend all spring and summer on my place and then up and leave. One particular buck went a few miles down the creek closer to town for at least 2 years where he was killed. And on the flip side, come late October, I normally have a flush of new bucks that may never leave.
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Old 01-20-2023, 11:21 AM   #41
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Iíve been shredding and plowing strips thru it the last few yrs and it has def helped but think Iíll start burning some of it this February.


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You may be very impressed with some burning there. We had a wildfire burn a corner of our place, and while the fire scared the hell out of me until the forest service got it contained, the new growth and change the landscape was amazing. What was once super thick and unusable for anything other than a rat is now open enough for deer to use. Lots of new browse, and not nearly as much "trash" brush and plants around.
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Old 01-20-2023, 12:06 PM   #42
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One thing that I have observed on my place is that the trophy bucks (160+) seem to ebb and flow over the seasons. This year due to a variety of factors we are all familiar with the antler growth was not that great. 2 years back, I had several 150 class bucks that have all but disappeared other than 1. My thought is that due to the smaller nature of my property that I am missing larger environmental influences or neighboring properties have killed dominant bucks and my "locals" moved to new areas.

Another interesting thing that I have documented is that I will have a few bucks every year that spend all spring and summer on my place and then up and leave. One particular buck went a few miles down the creek closer to town for at least 2 years where he was killed. And on the flip side, come late October, I normally have a flush of new bucks that may never leave.
Absolutely agree, that happens every yr in all areas. I know just 1-2 miles down the road they have some freak deer. My intentions is trying to find a new key ingredient to get them over to me more. My game plan last couple yr just hasn't been working.
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Old 02-01-2023, 12:25 PM   #43
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Here is another Youtube channel to watch, these guys use alot of marked sattelite maps to show their plans of individual properties to show what they are doing. Alot more in depth and it's not just the same old speech without real life examples. They also sho multiple properties so you get alot of examples.
This is one of the videos I watched but most were pretty good.
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Old 02-01-2023, 07:51 PM   #44
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Great thread. I have 270 acres in SE Oklahoma and 160 in West TX north of Abilene. 2 years ago we started feeding protein from 1000lb ASF timed feeders. My big buck sightings have jumped greatly. On the TX place we have killed 3 mature bucks the last 2 yrs. Only 1 was killed the previous 5 yrs. On my Oklahoma place we have killed 2 nice mature bucks since starting the protein. The one I killed this season was at my feed station all summer. He disappeared mid September but showed back up chasing does Halloween weekend and I stuck him with an arrow. Right now I am feeding a $10 bag of all stock from big v feeds and they are hammering it. Fed double down last spring and summer.
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Old 02-02-2023, 08:17 AM   #45
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Great thread. I have 270 acres in SE Oklahoma and 160 in West TX north of Abilene. 2 years ago we started feeding protein from 1000lb ASF timed feeders. My big buck sightings have jumped greatly. On the TX place we have killed 3 mature bucks the last 2 yrs. Only 1 was killed the previous 5 yrs. On my Oklahoma place we have killed 2 nice mature bucks since starting the protein. The one I killed this season was at my feed station all summer. He disappeared mid September but showed back up chasing does Halloween weekend and I stuck him with an arrow. Right now I am feeding a $10 bag of all stock from big v feeds and they are hammering it. Fed double down last spring and summer.
Where is big v feeds? Mine just havenít taken to the protein like I would like in OK. I originally put the Atwoodís 13% all stock which my Texas deer eat ok. But I doubt these OK deer have ever eaten out of a protein feeder so def took them a long time and still not a ton of action but increasing slowly.
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Old 02-02-2023, 09:34 AM   #46
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I had a place leased for four years in Blanco Oklahoma right on the turnpike. It was for sale the whole time we had it. We fed a mix called "Hatrack" out of Hatco feeds in Kiowa. The deer love that stuff. I killed a 165 with my bow and my son killed a couple of 140s. We had several spots that we would pour out a bag of feed and set up a camera--we saw more deer ( random bucks) at these spots than feeders. We also had a self-imposed sanctuary that we did not even walk in--I think the deer need that. The place sold so we lost it--that was tough. We are looking now to lease in the same area. I enjoy seeing yall get your places going!
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Old 02-03-2023, 07:22 AM   #47
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Where is big v feeds? Mine just havenít taken to the protein like I would like in OK. I originally put the Atwoodís 13% all stock which my Texas deer eat ok. But I doubt these OK deer have ever eaten out of a protein feeder so def took them a long time and still not a ton of action but increasing slowly.
McAlester but they are a big operation so Iím sure they sell around the state
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Old 02-03-2023, 07:55 AM   #48
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McAlester but they are a big operation so Iím sure they sell around the state
If thatís $10 per 50# thatís a great price. Iíll have to check them out.
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Old 02-03-2023, 09:10 AM   #49
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If thatís $10 per 50# thatís a great price. Iíll have to check them out.
Kactus, how much are you putting out at one time and how often?
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Old 02-03-2023, 09:16 AM   #50
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If thatís $10 per 50# thatís a great price. Iíll have to check them out.
It was 10.40 a 50# in December- havenít filled up recent but probably about due
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