Mowing Trails

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by Prelude8626, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Prelude8626

    Prelude8626 Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Maine
    Hardiness Zone:
    5
    Just curious on how everyone feels about mowing/clearing out deer trails. For example, running a DR Mower from edge of swamp through woods and this connecting to the plot or even an older skidded road. I know deer prefer to take the path of least resistance, but have you found this to be a worth while habitat improvement. I have had decent luck with it in the past, but curious to hear what other experiences have been.
     
  2. Triple C

    Triple C Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,450
    Likes Received:
    1,374
    Location:
    Northeast GA Zone 8a
    Love em. In thinned pines, particularly where a row has been completely removed, the growth exceeds 6 ft tall. This trail leads to and from bedding and destination plot. Many deer enter the field from this mowed trail. And, allows the deer to leisurely meander up the trail browsing on all manner of goodies with cover just 3 ft away.
    Browse.jpg
     
    Chipdasqrrl and Mennoniteman like this.
  3. FL Plotter

    FL Plotter Active Member

    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    149
    Location:
    NW Florida
    Hardiness Zone:
    9
    It's worth it
     
  4. suburbhunter

    suburbhunter Active Member

    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    92
    Location:
    Central Maryland/Farm in Kentucky
    My property was logged about 6 years ago so it is very thick. I had a dozer re-open the old skidder roads primarily so I could maneuver around the place. Deer tracks were in them the next day. Turkey use them too. They are now grown up quite a bit grown up as we have not had a chance to get them mowed and the tractor is having issues. With that said I will still mow the before the Sept. 7 opener.

    I say mow away...;)
     
  5. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,927
    Likes Received:
    3,007
    Location:
    Kentucky (Zone 6B)
    There is definitely a place for trails, and deer will use any trails that you make. Just don't make trails into sanctuary areas, because it will ruin them for that purpose. Every dog and coyote in the country will follow the trails right into the deer bedroom, and mature bucks will move to another spot for their bedding.

    You can kill a mature buck without him bedding on your land, but your chances increase significantly if he is bedding there.
     
  6. Prelude8626

    Prelude8626 Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Maine
    Hardiness Zone:
    5
    Native, brought up a point that I never thought of.
     
    Native Hunter likes this.
  7. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,412
    Likes Received:
    1,575
    Location:
    Decatur county, IN Zone 6a
    I mow trails in an effort to link different habitat features together and the bring the deer past a position I want. I do this mostly with connecting food plots and along different habitat types which deer tend to follow anyway.

    I'll see if I can find some picks of where I use my mower to cut a trail between a weed/switchgrass/CRP area and a wooded area and I have to leading between food plots. I thus have a stand or too along that route as well to take advantage.
     
  8. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,412
    Likes Received:
    1,575
    Location:
    Decatur county, IN Zone 6a
    Ok - so here is the "map" if you will. Green is plots, orange is CRP, yellow is hard woods, red is the trail and blue is a stream. So the thing with my property in this area is that the cover and bedding areas are mostly beyond my property lines. As such I have to lead the deer where I want them to be. So I try to create a path to lead them to various places....just in better places for me to be able to hunt them. I mow the grass weed trails in mid summer and then maintain the wooded area trails in the winter. You literally only need the width of a push mower....but I use a 6' wide rotary mower.
    trail.jpg

    Deer love a good edge, but if they can follow an edge and NOT feel exposed they seem to like it even more.

    Some views of these trails from my stands:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Prelude8626

    Prelude8626 Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Maine
    Hardiness Zone:
    5
    The pictures really help giving me ideas!
     
  10. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,412
    Likes Received:
    1,575
    Location:
    Decatur county, IN Zone 6a
    That was the intent. You have to figure out what works for you. I essentially took a weak path and simply opened it up and try to stay close to decent cover. The deer will do the rest.....and do NOT use it for other access. I have even tossed out a little WW or rye near stand locations just to give the deer a reason to stop....a licking branch works well for that as well. These areas are great for stands because the deer move past you instead of them lingering say like in a plot or staging area where your movement or a swirl of the wind can educate them. They walk past and have no idea you are there, you just have to be ready and know which one you want. Good luck.
     
  11. Hoosierhunting

    Hoosierhunting Active Member

    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    172
    Location:
    N. Indiana Zone 5b
    Deer relate to edge like fish relate to structure.

    Look how the trail perfectly follows the small change in habitat. Image1565711820.971562.jpg


    Sent from my iPhone using Deer Hunter Forum
     
    Triple C and TreeDaddy like this.
  12. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,412
    Likes Received:
    1,575
    Location:
    Decatur county, IN Zone 6a
    Yep - I see that while the crops are in the fields (especially corn) but once the field is harvested the deer seem to feel too exposed and then tend to push back to the next "edge"....at least here. And that edge may not be where you want it to be. All I do now is improve that "secondary" edge and promote the use of it all year long....OR produce a secondary edge with the mowing. I agree that an edge of different cover types is best, but any edge is better than none at all.
     
  13. Hoosierhunting

    Hoosierhunting Active Member

    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    172
    Location:
    N. Indiana Zone 5b
    Agree J-Bird, I think mowed paths can do exactly what you want them to.


    Sent from my iPhone using Deer Hunter Forum
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. wsucoug,
  2. DRandall90,
  3. BrianVT
Total: 93 (members: 4, guests: 72, robots: 17)
(moderators are listed in blue)