shawn cox

Well-Known Member
Hey all. I am going to attempt to track my progress on my lease and share what I do and learn and what I fail at on my 1350 acre hunting lease that I run in central Georgia. I am in a QDMA county which requires at least a 15” outside spread. However my rules are we only shoot mature deer 4-1/2 and up. This is will be my 4th season managing it. We have made a ton of progress over the last 3 seasons with getting the age structure right. I have a buddy that manages 900 acres next to me that follows our same guidelines which helps greatly. We had a great year this year and some really big deer for Georgia were killed by some surrounding clubs that we had let walk for a couple years. Now we have all the clubs around us wanting to follow our example which was what we always hoped would happen because of the great potential that lies in this location. We do have a large farm that surrounds us on a couple sides of our property. Now we do supplement feed with protein during the spring and summer to help out the herd which is very healthy. I also am working on getting as much food plots planted as possible. I have expanded or started working some small new areas every year. I plan on using this as a guide for myself so I have a history of what works and doesn’t work. History of the property was that it used to be a part of a pay to hunt lodge of around 6000 acres. They tricked in hogs because they sold a lot of hog hunts and now we have a population that we will never get rid of. About 18 years ago a individual bought it and started a pine plantation. That is mainly what my property consists of intermingled with a big creek bottom on my southern border and a smaller creek bottom on my west border. There a few hardwood drains that feed out into the pines and the pines are in various stages from 1 year, 3 year, 5 year, and several classes that I don’t know how old but are big. Some will probably get cut again in a couple years. We have a ton of bedding provided by the early stages of planted pines. We are lucky because the land manager is one of the most knowledgeable I know and is a great guy. They do rotational burns every 3 years on the different blocks of pines we have. They actually just burned around 90 acres total in two spots on my lease last week. We have a total of 7 members and that includes myself which helps keep the pressure really low on the property. Anyway I hope to be able to get out this weekend to put out some new trough feeders I built to add to our existing protein feed program and I will take some pictures of the property to add on here. Thanks for following along.

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I built 4 of these feeders and I put these two out earlier this week but forgot to take a picture of the 2nd one. This feeder was put out on a new area I am working on getting planted. I just started a mineral site there also. I tilled this up and put down some wheat on it because I didn't want to leave it bare for long. I am currently working to get the ph right on it.

Here is a food plot of clover that I did not replant this fall. I had planted it the fall before with wheat and crimson clover and I let the crimson go to seed and I did not touch it at all and this is how it turned out. I love that experiment to see if I could save on replanting.

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You are doing a lot of exciting things. My concern is that coons, hogs , possums, birds etc are going to compromise your protein feeding. Non target predation can be very high plus the coons and such will crap all over the feed in that type feeder. Hogs can eat a lot of protein with the only solution being to build hog proof pens around the feeders. I can show design if helpful. Should the predation problem happen You may want to look into coon proof feeders. Numerous companies make them and the investment pays for itself quickly when considering the cost of a supplementation program. Happy to share experiences with protein supplementation if helpful.
You are doing a lot of exciting things. My concern is that coons, hogs , possums, birds etc are going to compromise your protein feeding. Non target predation can be very high plus the coons and such will crap all over the feed in that type feeder. Hogs can eat a lot of protein with the only solution being to build hog proof pens around the feeders. I can show design if helpful. Should the predation problem happen You may want to look into coon proof feeders. Numerous companies make them and the investment pays for itself quickly when considering the cost of a supplementation program. Happy to share experiences with protein supplementation if helpful.

Thanks this is the 4th season with these feeders. I am adding more to get more access to all the deer. I am trying to get at least 1 every 100 acres but trying to get it down to every 80 acres. I have never had a big issue with the hogs or coons on my protein because I have the sides high enough that the hogs leave it alone. Learned that the hard way the first year when they were built too low and had a couple climb into it. Now the height we use works great and never get pics of hogs eating out of them now. I also trap heavy during the trapping season and usually take a ton of coons off of some corn feeders right as season ends. We are starting to see the effects of our protein program on the fawns that’s are coming off of does that are being brought up on it. Quit fascinating to keep track of it. Our body weights are really going up as well. I watch all your videos on YouTube you post and I really appreciate you sharing them with us.

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Looking forward to reading your adventures.

We only have 80 acres in the Florida Panhandle and the first year there was no one hunting the properties surrounding us. That has changed.

I believe the older man that owns the block north of us has given some to his kids or grandkids. This year they were in there all the time and our cam pics of both Bucks n Does has dropped by an alarming amount.

Doing what we can to add Feeders and plots again for next year. I don’t know if they have shot everything off or the pressure caused it.

We are 6 hours away so can’t be here all the time. I believe the older fella was about an hour away.

Last year we had some huge bucks for Florida on cam and I know at least the one biggest made the season. But haven’t seen him since.

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Here is an area that had volunteer pines that I cleaned up and am in the processing of applying lime to get it correct for planting.

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I did a little tractor work last week before my pto seal went out. So I ordered a new seal and went ahead and got the bearing also and will get started working on the property when I get it fixed again. We had around 100 acres burned off in the pines last week also that will provide a lot of browse come spring green up
and the forestry commission was kind enough to break up a lot of the road beds that I want to start getting ready to plant also. The big pines they burned also have nice firebreaks cut through them about every 100 yards. Here are some pics of the road edges I got worked up last week.

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I was putting a feeder on this plot the other day and I always figured this plot just didn’t do great by the looks of it. I never did get my exclusion cage put on it so I could tell what was going on. Well I looked at it and it has some old volunteer brassicas in it and some crimson and Zulu arrow leaf clover in it. I thought it was poor showing but after getting out and looking the clover was being browsed down to about two inches and there were deer tracks and deer poop everywhere in it so I guess it wasn’t a failure after all lol. I started a mineral site and added a protein trough feeder here. I have to go back out later and put the roof on the feeder.

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Here is my 5.5 year old I shot opening weekend of rifle season this past season. I had to work on Saturday of opening weekend. I was able to go Sunday of opening weekend. That was the first opener I have missed. I sat on the ground in my creek bottom Sunday morning and only saw a 2-1/2 year old 8 pointer. I hunted there because it was a good travel corridor with several fingers of hardwoods that fed out of some pines that connected at that spot. I decided to move about 200 yards to my west because there was a big run line there that I knew had to be one of 5 shooter bucks in the area. I never put a camera in there to verify because I want to minimize the pressure there. I had the right wind for it and went in about 3:00 that afternoon to get set up. I had picked out a giant cypress tree that had a tree about 5 yards from it and put my hammock seat on that tree with the cypress tree providing backing. There were a ton of knees sticking up that provided additional cover but I still wanted better cover so I got up and cut some palm fronds and placed them around me but there was still some exposure to my south and I got up and cut two more to put there. I got them placed and sat down to check everything and I look up and see a large deer moving in front of me about 80 yards away. I pick up my binoculars and immediately know who it is. I reach down and grab my gun because I was still getting set up. I notice more deer movement and see 5 does walking along a trail out in front of him. They would be tracking yo my north and I hoped he would follow. He disappears behind some brush and I feared he would walk away from me and be gone but after a brief minute he resumed on the trail following the does who had walked to my north and were about 75 yards away. He finally stopped and gave me a shot and I took it at about 75 yards. He mulled kicked and started walking forward and I knew he was hit hard. He walked about 50 yards and stopped behind some brush and just stood there. The does we’re still there also as they did not run when I shot. At some point I was watching the does to see if they would run off and take him with them but he finally fell over right there. What a thrill it was. It was the quickest hunt I had been on and he is my personal best. I shot him on October 27th.

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So after harvesting him I only had one other buck that was bigger that I wanted to shoot. We have several other smaller bulky bucks but I wanted to hold out for the one we called the Freak. I had him one morning at my stand but I was at work of course lol. That’s how it always goes.

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Well I took off on November 13th from work. I was targeting the Freak and I planned on sitting where I thought he was traveling through looking for does. I did not have any cameras in this location. It was in the creek bottom and I was going to sit in my hammock seat on the ground. I planned to sit all day. I ended up seeing two of our older shooters but I was holding out for the Freak. I ended up seeing 8 bucks cruise through that morning. My wife was at home sick and wasn’t feeling great so at 4 o’clock it had slowed down and I left to go check on her. Well that morning I had took a camera in with me and set it up where I was sitting on a scrape line. I went home to check on the wife and she needed a few things so I took her car to get gas and pick up what she needed. At 5:30 my buddy who hunts the lease right next to me calls me. As soon as I see him calling I figured he had shot the Freak because he was out hunting him also. He tells me he shot him and I tell him I will be there shortly. I go back home and get my truck and go out there. I only live 20 minutes from it. I am excited for him because he had been the one that had him on camera the most the last few years. We do a short 75 yard track and share the joy together. Well a few days later I go pull my camera out and I check the card and had I stayed and hunted he would have walked by me at 50 yards with a perfect wind 30 minutes before my buddy shot him. I am still excited for my buddy to get the 167” Freak

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here are 4 good bucks that were shot by neighbors that we had on camera all summer. They were part of our feeding program. I was happy to have these guys shoot these mature deer because in the past they were shooting younger deer and now they realize what potential we have on these properties and are starting their own feeding program but the most important thing they are going to do is follow what we have been doing and only shooting mature bucks 4-1/2 years and up. That is the biggest factor in growing bigger bucks if that is your goal. You have to let them get that age on them.

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I did hate to see the ten in the bottom picture get shot. One member had let him walk already but he was only a 3-1/2 year old. He still scored 135" though. We thought he would be a giant in a year or two, but that will always happen on open range hunting and we are ok with it. We just stick to our plans and hope for the best.
my most favorite November stand. I climb one of the big pines that just out in the foreground in my climber. Awesome rut spot to see a lot of chasing. I have never shot one from here but I have seen several shooters each year that I just enjoyed watching and learning from them. It is perfect for the prevalent North winds. The pines are on the south end of this 75 acre cut over. Next year I will knock down some of the dog fennel in spots to make visibility better because this year was tough seeing them in it.
this plot will be 4 years old. I planted it in whitetail imperial clover and chicory the first year I took over the lease. I over seeded it with Durana clover this fall. It is doing great and the Durana is coming up good. First time I have tried Durana. I also planted some Zulu arrow leaf and some crimson in an area you can’t see in the picture that is doing just as well. It is my first year planting the Zulu arrow leaf. It clams to have roots that can go to 3 meters deep.

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