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Critique my management plan


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Ok so I'm meeting with our forester in the next couple weeks to discuss logging our 35 block. Attached is a detailed map and a somewhat detailed management plan ill be reviewing with him on site. Its a rough version and will be fine tuning over the next couple weeks & I wanted any opinions you have to help plan this out.

Attached is map along with my written description below,

 

Stand 1: Makeup of stand one is mostly pole pines, some red oaks & some ash.

Orange lines on map = mostly clear cut

Pitfalls: Pine blocks are mature providing little to no bedding cover (0-4ft)

Goals: Harvest most from pine stand 1&2. Chemically treat early beech and birch from tsi work years ago in block 1. Leave small clumps of pines to complement the early succession growth that will regenerate and in a few years providing strong 0-4ft cover & additional food browse while still providing some thermal cover for bedding.

Pine stand 3 will have less harvested and also focusing on leaving clumps together to complement early regeneration while still providing some thermal cover for bedding.

 

Stand 2:

Yellow Lines = select harvest (leaving tops)

Orange Lines = mostly clear cut (leaving tops)

Green Lines = full clear cut for food plot, est 2-3 acres

Pitfalls: Large sections of beech and little 0-4ft cover can see long distances.

Goals: Middle section with yellow lines is made up of mostly red oak with some maple, hickory & hemlocks. Other section where food plot and orange lines is made up of large dense small diameter beech stands with some mature beech. Some red oaks, maples and hemlocks make up the rest. Food plot would be full clear cut leaving little tree pockets and eastern section would be mostly clear cut to provide new early succession cover and future bedding. Chemically treat beech. Leave all hemlock trees for thermal cover.

 

Stand 3:

Yellow lines = select harvest (leaving tops)

Orange lines = mostly clear cut (leaving tops)

Pitfalls: middle to western section is very open and can see long distances. Middle to eastern has heavy small diameter beech stands.

Goals: Middle to western section is made up of mostly red oaks with scattered white oaks, hickory, maple & hemlocks. There are dense pockets of small diameter beech and some stripped maple that needs to be chemically treated. Select harvest to increase sun to soil contact. Leave all hemlocks for thermal cover.

Middle to eastern section is dominated by small dense beech stands with some mature beech, oaks, maples and hemlocks. Middle to eastern section is mostly clear cut to provide new early succession growth and 0-4ft cover to complement hemlock trees and provide new bedding cover.

 

Summary:

Overall goal is to provide much more bedding cover than it currently provides.

Provide a consistent food source (f plot) with strong focus on winter months. Having strong bedding and food should help make this deer’s core area and hopefully change seeing pass thru bucks to core bucks .

Eliminate stripped maple and small beech stands and replace with new desired tree species.

Provide strong sun to soil contact and increase the 0-4ft cover.

Have forester review logged areas 1-2yrs after to ensure undesired trees (beech and birch) are gone.

 

land2.jpg

Edited by zag
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Its hard to establish a core area for  mature or even young  bucks as they can roam miles during the rut and their core area can be spread over several hundred to a thousand or so acres. What you can do is focus on providing food for the local herd to atract and keep several does happy.  I see plans for bedding,  but dont see any acreage set aside for creating a sanctuary?  That is key for smaller parcels.

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Yeah you gotta have the sanctuary.  It is the one thing about your property that could set it apart from several others around you.  With only 35 acres, it is probably guaranteed that every deer you see on your property has probably spent as much time on someone else's property in the previous 24 hours.  Don't feel bad.  I only have 45 acres.   But if you have sanctuary then they know where they can go and not smell folks.  And it does become a preferred bedding area for a couple/few doe groups and every once in a while you will have a buck using it on a consistent basis.

Edited by LetEmGrow
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6 minutes ago, NYBowhunter said:

Its hard to establish a core area for  mature or even young  bucks as they can roam miles during the rut and their core area can be spread over several hundred to a thousand or so acres. What you can do is focus on providing food for the local herd to atract and keep several does happy.  I see plans for bedding,  but dont see any acreage set aside for creating a sanctuary?  That is key for smaller parcels.

Good point, I didn't mark out on the map the bedding areas but I'd consider those as sanctuaries. On the back 45 acres there is a 8 acre sanctuary.

Ideally I want more multiple doe families. As far as bucks it's seems like I can rarely get the same buck on cam in the same season let alone multiple seasons. I feel I'm only getting pass thru bucks during late October early Nov then dries up.

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Another key consideration is, I have roughly 10 acres of my 41 set as a sanctuary and i absolutely do not go in there, only to reteive a deer. Another key to smaller parcels  outside of absuluetly leaving your sanctuary undisturbed, is to know when you have pressured your property too much and to give it a break. Usually if i give my property a break, deer will begin to ease back in. 

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39 minutes ago, maddie said:

you might want to reconsider eliminating striped maple as it is the preferred food source when your plots are buried with 2ft. of snow

Ok I'll double check with my Forester but I'm confident he said they are not preferred by deer.

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7 minutes ago, zag said:

Good point, I didn't mark out on the map the bedding areas but I'd consider those as sanctuaries. On the back 45 acres there is a 8 acre sanctuary.

Ideally I want more multiple doe families. As far as bucks it's seems like I can rarely get the same buck on cam in the same season let alone multiple seasons. I feel I'm only getting pass thru bucks during late October early Nov then dries up.

Ok good, just if you consider those bedding areas sanctuaries ensure not to venture into them at all. I think i only ventured into my sanctaury a handful of times in the last 7yeard. I get several mature bucks in the same season multiple times  on my cams thats only because i keep several does on my property happy (sanctuary/food plots/apple trees/oak). But i would foolish to think that i would be able to keep any mature buck on my property...i make my property the best it could be but it doesnt mean my neighbor wont benefit from my labor intensive land mgt. tactics. Me and my neighbor compare notes at times and 9 times out of 10 he gets the same mature bucks on his cams that i get on mine, those big boys love to roam. Sounds like you have a solid plan. I dont see any water sources?

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6 minutes ago, NYBowhunter said:

 I dont see any water sources?

Blue line between stand 2&3 is a stream that always holds water.

I just want the bucks to spend more time on my property than they are currently, thanks for your suggestions.

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That's great you have a stream, i have one as well. Sometimes people want plots and bedding but sometimes overlook establishing a water source. Im confident that if you establish sanctuaries and create plots , over a  period of time you will benefit greatly. Enjoy, good luck and be sure to keep us posted (with pics.)  of ypur progress.

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38 minutes ago, NYBowhunter said:

Another key to smaller parcels  outside of absuluetly leaving your sanctuary undisturbed, is to know when you have pressured your property too much and to give it a break. Usually if i give my property a break, deer will begin to ease back in. 

I try to do the same on my 13 acres. How long of a break do you normally give and how long until you see deer activity easing back into the area?

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7 minutes ago, NYBowhunter said:

That's great you have a stream, i have one as well. Sometimes people want plots and bedding but sometimes overlook establishing a water source. Im confident that if you establish sanctuaries and create plots , over a  period of time you will benefit greatly. Enjoy, good luck and be sure to keep us posted (with pics.)  of ypur progress.

And I think the food plot will be huge. The whole surrounding area on our hill is mostly all timber. Other than someone else's small food plot or some crp fields there isn't any ag for miles and I would think giving them consistent food should really help. 

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5 minutes ago, zag said:

And I think the food plot will be huge. The whole surrounding area on our hill is mostly all timber. Other than someone else's small food plot or some crp fields there isn't any ag for miles and I would think giving them consistent food should really help. 

If thats the case, cant go wrong with a good clover plot, white ladino clover. Provides food all year round, deer will dig threw snow to get to it. Just keep it mowed down to 6 or 8 inches and your set. 

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12 minutes ago, JALA RUT said:

I try to do the same on my 13 acres. How long of a break do you normally give and how long until you see deer activity easing back into the area?

I never really think they dont continue to use the property, but they begin to use it much less and daytime activity dies down.  I can usually tell when they feel too much pressure. I usually like to give them a two week break, by then they seem to be more active in and around my property. But there are some deer that just know where there are safe havens and wont venture back. Thats just the unfortunate part we have to deal with when dealing with small parcels. Got this old doe this past weekend after giving the property a 2 week break, there were six does that came in together.

20171209_162939.jpg

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I am no forestry expert, actually far from it. But if i were to plan this out. I would first focus on entry and exit routes to stand locations. Then from there, focus on making several smaller bedding locations for multiple doe groups to hold up in. Or a good sized sanctuary directly in the middle of the property. With your food plot on  the side that best suits your primary wind direction. OR Another smaller plot on the opposite side for other winds. Use the downed tops to build edges on your plots to funnel them in and out of only certain spots.

Bigger the plot is good, but not always for daytime activity, unless maybe screening off sections. And if human pressure is very low in the area.. But a sanctuary, food and water, kept as close together as possible and all human pressure away is KEY. Never step foot anywhere besides on your way in and out of stands or tracking wounded game. 

If I was to have food or a sanctuary and could only choose one, It would be a sanctuary. I have the food (fall/winter) including soft mast on my 13 acres(that I own) but not the cover, As long as hunting pressure is minimal the property is pretty decent to hunt, but soon as hunting pressure picks up, like in gun season my property is a flop. They only come through after dark at that point. Im trying to build up bedding areas but the way mine is laid out, its near impossible. very low pressure and cover is key, and then food would be a plus! 

Looking forward to your decision and progress, i love this stuff! Wish i had more room to do such work on..

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14 hours ago, JALA RUT said:

I try to do the same on my 13 acres. How long of a break do you normally give and how long until you see deer activity easing back into the area?

I make it a point to only hunt the right days, when my cameras show that it should be a good sit or when the neighbors haven't been around. For 2 years now we have not stayed in our cabin on the property and the daylight activity has been awesome. The big bucks and does will basically walk right to the back door(some apples fall off the tress and roll down). I also like to park far away as possible, It makes for longer walks in but they pay off is worth it.

Typically after Thanksgiving or the weekend following, I stay out of the woods.. until the last weekend of gun season then start to hunt it again as the deer shift to mainly food sources, that time off gives them time to calm down some. IT has paid off in years prior, and i don't even have any cover to offer the deer yet...   

Here is what Ive done on my piece to try and better my chances, or promote daylight activity.. As you can see, its tought promoting any bedding, im hoping that cutting unwatned trees down and tops mixed in with new growth may promote bedding. My woods are open, and the deer have nearly every advantage on my piece. The hill between the new orchard and my big plot has a couple small saddles(dead end ridges) on it, going to try and make them bedding benches if possible.. 

2017 Camp.png

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17 hours ago, zag said:

Blue line between stand 2&3 is a stream that always holds water.

I just want the bucks to spend more time on my property than they are currently, thanks for your suggestions.

You need to be able to hold the doe if you want that. Deer wild animals they won't go down the street if they can get it across the hall. On my property we have a sanctuary of 1/3 acres next to my house there are tons of beds in there when I first scouted the area in March when we bought our property. I have "local" doe and some that venture in from other areas but I have my locals that don't leave my property or venture far from it.

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Some good points on here. Before I set a plan I would look at prevailing wind and how you are coming into the property.  Then you can set aside the sanctuary area so not even your scent disturbs them. If I were putting in one large plot I would stay away from large square type shapes. many fingers and points and short lines of sight. Deer tend to want to see what is around a corner and I believe it promotes movement even when they are in the plot. 

Edited by Culvercreek hunt club
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3 hours ago, Culvercreek hunt club said:

Some good points on here. Before I set a plan I would look at prevailing wind and how you are coming into the property.  Then you can set aside the sanctuary area so not even your scent disturbs them. If I were putting in one large plot I would stay away from large square type shapes. many fingers and points and short lines of sight. Deer tend to want to see what is around a corner and I believe it promotes movement even when they are in the plot. 

Thanks Bob, yeah this was all built around it for the most part while trying to work with all the different contours and different habitat types through out.

As far as the plot shape my goal is to make it look really natural with feathered edges and leaving a few sporadic trees. My son is a couple yrs out from his first youth hunt and I'm really doing this in part to give him a great spot with great opportunities.

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14 hours ago, zag said:

Thanks Bob, yeah this was all built around it for the most part while trying to work with all the different contours and different habitat types through out.

As far as the plot shape my goal is to make it look really natural with feathered edges and leaving a few sporadic trees. My son is a couple yrs out from his first youth hunt and I'm really doing this in part to give him a great spot with great opportunities.

Mine is about 10 years out until he can pick up the bow but I'll be doing the same over the winter. I'm planning on adding a couple plots but plan on making them odd shaped and have multiple access points my property is diamond shaped on a hill with one part much steeper. It seems the deer will come off the top in the afternoon and run parallel to it. In the AM they come up from the bottom and across heading up the hill slightly. With that being said my plots will run more across the hill than up and down to accentuate the deer traffic. This will make them more inviting and keep them on their patterns during the hunting season. Deer won't want to visit the plots if it disrupts their habits especially once hunting pressure is present. That hunting pressure will drive a plot to become vacant just like any AG crop field edge.

It is really important to have multiple escape and entry routes even if it means taking longer to get to your stand. Once the deer know you are there and you keep coming back to the same setup using the same path they will have you patterned and will avoid the area.  This isn't true for all deer but I will tell you it is true for mature deer. I have seen yearlings not care but those 2.5 year olds and older they figure it out quick.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I walked the property a couple weeks ago with our forester and discussed logging and implementing my management plan ideas and we tweaked a few things but for the most part it went well and I think will be moving forward.

In the end they will log it, clear cut a 1-2 acre food plot and not really cost me anything because they will take all the trees in that section. So I'll keep posting as we progress on this.

 

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Looks good but I would increase size of sanctuary and connect it to other. Biggest factor in holding deer..way more than food plots. And a,strict don't go in it.policy. between this 35 and back 45 you mentioned i would have 20 acres sanctuary and make it thick.. too small and your scent drifting across it alone would drive deer out as well as walking around 

It.  Your food plot Will be key to draw game out of it during legal hours and it should be set so your stand takes advantage of wind and entrance..perhaps you need to pile brush down wind side of plot so deer must enter from sides to have proper stand placement as well as entrance exit path. 

Thermal cover!!! Your pines are to big..and brush will over take quickly. Plant small spruce in clumps in your hopefully bedding areas.. ost foresters will not recommend this as their focus will be on timber trees.. the beach brush your eliminating provided it as the leaves are retained for quite some time. You must have this to hold deer late season ... regardless of food.

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i'm not a habitat guru. good advice already given though from what I know.  that large plot is fine. problem being many deer using it at once if you intend to hold multiple doe family groups.  to do so you need to break it up visually with what's planted. also plant both late season and early season food, not just one thing in the whole plot.  best you can do with that size is probably one of each type but split into 4 sections total. the deer should work through it without seeing each other are really close.  it's really hard to critique something without boots on the ground. plot being at the border it's good to have it real thick so neighbors can't scout your plot. however, it's assumed topography isn't concern that would let them see the plot otherwise.  I will say that the more you design your property to hold deer the harder it will be to hunt.  Your pitfalls will be addressed once you remove tree and things thicken up.  problem is with it all thick access into it without getting busted will be tough. also deer movement through your property is more unpredictable to hunt. if you create pockets of cover with more open/travel acreage between you'll have huntable spots without over pressuring thicker cover/bedding or the food plot. so open woods isn't always a bad thing.

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  • 1 month later...

Well our forrester marked the trees and gave us an estimate that was a bit higher than I expected and we're leaving the other block alone. He'll clear the food plot and do some other minor work with the dozer. For our mature block of pines he will have to sub that work out to someone else so we can thin them out quite a bit and get some new regeneration and cover. So far so good.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well the bids came in while I was on vacation last week and they came back a good amount higher then they estimated. So far so good. One question I have is what should I plant on the logging roads when the clean them up.

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