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Thread: Managing 56 acres for Whitetails

  1. #1
    Four Pointer Acorn1956's Avatar
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    Default Managing 56 acres for Whitetails

    I would like to thank everyone for all the advise you have given me so far in managing my land and helping me decide on equipment. Your comments are very helpful.

    I do understand that managing a small farm of 56 acres is not going to provide me with monster bucks behind every tree, but I want to try and get the best hunting experience I can from the property. The property has 100 acres to the west of mine that the owner does not allow hunting. There is another 80 or so acres to the east of me that are 50% Ag fields that are planted in corn. North of me is unknown and south of me are additional Ag fields of unknown size that I think get planted in corn and soybeans.

    My property of 56 acres consists of approx 12 acres of Ag fields, 20 acres of mixed hardwoods and pines consisting of yellow poplar, white oak, hemlock, red maple, Virginia pine, chestnut oak, scarlet oak, sourwood, white pine and 24 acres is a loblolly plantation with a large number of Virginia pines and a few pitch pines mixed together. In addition to the pines the understory consists of American holly, mountain laurel, switch cane and is dense with greenbrier. I got this information from a management plan from the forestry service that was given to the previous owner.

    My plan is to lease out approximately 10 acres of the Ag fields. I currently have it listed in WNC Farmlink. I will plant 1-2 acres of food plots that include the fields and the power lines.

    My question is how do I figure out the best way to manage this land? How do I determine what food plots to plant? Fruit trees? Should I be putting out minerals in a few weeks? Thinning or removing trees? Everything I find online is a bit confusing and sometimes contradicting to say the least.

    I'm looking to maintain a small herd and in a perfect world harvest 1-2 bucks and a few does each year. The property will be hunted by me and my son. Any ideas? Can you point me to some info online? I really do not know where to start. As always, thanks again for any input or advise.


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  2. #2
    Old Mossy Horns Buxndiverdux's Avatar
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    Your 56 acres will hunt big. You will be at the mercy of your neighbors when it comes to letting bucks get older if that is your objective. I would strive to make as many improvements to your property as possible while considering optimal situations for hunting. You can strategically plants hard and soft mast, spring and winter forage in areas that the seasonal winds will help you hunting. Just make that 56 acres deer paradise and good hunting will be had. The best way to keep deer on your property is food. Keep plenty of food around, and you will be able to protect some deer. If you are in dog country, you are SOL.
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  3. #3
    Old Mossy Horns
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    i will let others weigh in on the correct food plots, lotsa knowledge here on that.

    What i will offer is that you should make your property a haven for does. never kill one and do your best to keep them on your property year round. supplemental feeding will get that started.

    here is your blueprint for small acreages like you have:

    http://video.deeranddeerhunting.com/...your-property/

    i think he is dead on and have used his ideas for a long time before i ever heard of him or saw his videos.

    it's just commons sense really but not practiced as much as you would think.

    Good Luck, it is fun playing around on your own stuff.

  4. #4
    Four Pointer Acorn1956's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldest school View Post
    i will let others weigh in on the correct food plots, lotsa knowledge here on that.

    What i will offer is that you should make your property a haven for does. never kill one and do your best to keep them on your property year round. supplemental feeding will get that started.

    here is your blueprint for small acreages like you have:

    http://video.deeranddeerhunting.com/...your-property/

    i think he is dead on and have used his ideas for a long time before i ever heard of him or saw his videos.

    it's just commons sense really but not practiced as much as you would think.

    Good Luck, it is fun playing around on your own stuff.
    Thanks, that was a good video. My current plan is for two food plots one in the Ag field and one on the power line. I can also put one in the back of the property but until I find out if someone is hunting the back adjoining property, I think I'll hold off.


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  5. #5
    Four Pointer Acorn1956's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buxndiverdux View Post
    Your 56 acres will hunt big. You will be at the mercy of your neighbors when it comes to letting bucks get older if that is your objective. I would strive to make as many improvements to your property as possible while considering optimal situations for hunting. You can strategically plants hard and soft mast, spring and winter forage in areas that the seasonal winds will help you hunting. Just make that 56 acres deer paradise and good hunting will be had. The best way to keep deer on your property is food. Keep plenty of food around, and you will be able to protect some deer. If you are in dog country, you are SOL.
    Thanks, I'm not to concerned about the 100 acres to my east. They don't allow hunting on there property. The other adjoining properties I'm not so sure. I do have hard mast on the property but it could use more so I will work on that. Soft mast is nonexistent so I will have to give that priority as well as food plots.



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  6. #6
    Old Mossy Horns Eric Revo's Avatar
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    Once you remove the trees that aren't beneficial to give the mast trees the needed sunlight the soft mast will fill in. Native plants are always best since they have already been proven in the area. A few bags of fertilizer and a honeysuckle patch becomes a goldmine for bedding and browse, as does a patch of greenbriar.

  7. #7
    Old Mossy Horns sky hawk's Avatar
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    There is a lot of info out there. Some conflicting as you say. Some ideas work in certain areas of the country but not in others. Some plots are better in certain areas than others.

    There are no truly right or wrong answers. The fun part about this is you can/will experiment, and will continue to change things up for the next 20 years. The most forethought needs to go into the long term initiatives like tree planting/harvesting. Food plots can be changed/rotated from year to year, and you can experiment as much or as little as you like. And everyone you talk to will have a different opinion. Just have fun with it and don't worry about what is absolutely the "BEST".

  8. #8
    Twelve Pointer lasttombstone's Avatar
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    I will throw a couple of things out to you that I have found through experience. #1..... create some bedding area of your own. This will do as much as anything to keep deer on your property. Find the biggest concentration of Virginia pine and get rid of them. Just let the area grow back. I have started too late but maybe someone will benefit from what I am doing. Just slow go at old age with a chainsaw and a small tractor. Virginia pine isn't good for much of anything. Cut it down, saw it up and use it around your farm. Oh, yeah, #2 would be to get rid of the Virginia pine. I have no idea what farm land is leasing for these days. I have 17 ac. of open ground on my place and just gave it to a local farmer to plant. He usually plants corn followed by wheat. If I want corn for the deer, I just go pick it up. If I have needs that require something heavier than my little tractor he will usually take care of it when he is in the area. Just be sure to keep who ever you let farm the place a good distance away from the edges of the woods. Edge is one of the most important factors for rabbits, quail and little turkeys. I feel I get a lot more benefit from the association with my farmer than I would benefit from the money someone may pay for the land use. Good luck with your adventure.

  9. #9

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    Don't forget to manage for cover. This is a critical piece of the equation for bedding, security and fawning cover. Switchgrass and early successional habitat fill the bill

  10. #10
    Ten Pointer
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    Another very important factor to holding deer is water. Do you have a creek running thru it ?? If not create you a water hole in the lowest part, between power line and AG field. I put out the bio rock and minerals Feb.- Aug. Soy beans in summer and fall Durano/Ladino clover section and oats and winter greens next to it. Lime it good, keep that PH 6.5 up for best growing along with fertilizer. Turkey love clover too. I would put a couple stand sites on the eastern side that is off limits, 1st Sep. put some corn bait and camera and see what you got? and tag 8 point up. If you do take a doe take on west side. Your power line will give you some fast action in November during the chase/rut phase. Keep food plots, bait sites at least 50 yards away property boundries. Good luck, looks very promising.

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