Learning a new property

George Siegman

New Member
So have anew place to learn. Northern Ohio 100 acres, very flat no contour. nearest water across the street 1 mile away. 60 acres over grown pasture. The rest is wooded but pretty open.No pines for thermal cover. After Walking it in a one week old snow I see very little defined travel trails.The deer seem to wander randomly. Found no scrapes or rubs, the only beds I found where in the middle of one of the pastures 50 yds from cover. I have trail cameras that do field scan. Set them up now or wait til spring when there may be more activity? Thanks for your help
WHAT part of northern Ohio?

Find the wheat fields near you if any farmers are using a notill cover crop method. You’ll find the deer not far from there.

Sorry I can’t offer much more help.
Are you permitted to do any habitat improvements to this property? How many time have you walked it? I would think it would take a few walkabouts to get a general feel for how it flows. I would put the cameras out now, you have nothing to lose and knowledge to gain. You may be pleasantly surprised...
I'm curious to know why you think there will be more activity in the spring? I'm a southerner and that might explain my misunderstanding!

Cams now or later? I'm all for gathering as much intelligence as one can - now. On the other hand, if you wait until spring you might have a better sense of where to put your cam's for the best advantage. Which comes first? I'd say its the chicken.

Is it Trumbull County? What's your perception of the deer population there? I see 1,278 bucks and 2,345 does killed this past season. On a gross county square mile basis its 2 bucks and 3 does per square mile. As a way to get my head around stuff I figure the deer kill is about at least a third of he population.
Well there are deer there I put out a camera close to where the field meets the woods thinking it wood be a good spot and have some traffic but not like I have at other farms. Back in July I did find some sheds that we pretty chewed on and weathered .One was a toad 140 ish. I did hunt it several afternoons, maybe 4 sits. saw only 1 deer.He wasnt close but also a very large deer.I was originally thinking this farm would be a slam dunk, but not so.Maybe next I will put out some cameras on field scan and take another look. Yes Trumbull county Because the farm is not used and doesnt see any pressure hoped it was better than it is.I was also thinking come spring i would mow some trails thru the pasture to steer some deer where there are trees for a stand.Ag is to the south of the property about a mile away. Have not been there since first of Nov. Certainly not giving up on it but had better spots with some history. Thanks for your input will be interesting
If it's legal in your state, I would establish some mineral sites. Just put out some trace mineral blocks designed for cattle (Tractor Supply), hang a camera and see what you have. From now until early summer deer will hit the blocks. I find that's the best way to inventory the deer on my place.

You can also put a water trough out there and keep it filled if you want to go to the trouble. No water on the place, the trough might be a good thing.
Digging a small pond would be yuge. Putting in a small LC food plot would be even better, putting it directly upwind or cross wind beside your stand site. And make sure you can get to your stand without spooking all the deer. Getting pics now is not important IMO, you may just be putting unnecessary pressure on the place. There's liable to be a bruiser hanging out there even if the deer numbers aren't high, if the place hasn't been hunted much. Your goal at this point is to not drive him away before next hunting season. I only go into my best spots with a tractor to do habitat work. A working tractor doesn't drive deer away nearly as quick as a person on foot.
I don't know a lot but depending on what the neighboring properties look like, your best bet might be to hope for catching them moving. Doesn't sound like you have much hope of "holding" deer.

My buddy has a place like that, its basically open fields, but its in between the river and some land that is pretty much managed for deer. But they have to cross his land to get to it, hes killed a fair number of big deer, much to the disappointment of the guy who runs the outfitter, but nothing the guy can do about it though.
I've hunted deer the same 400 acres property for 35 years - in fact I've never shot a deer anywhere else. SO..... one would think I don't have anything to offer. But - I do shed hunt elsewhere, extensively and sometimes I get new properties to go through - and one thing I've learned is that very often bucks especially do not use the properties I search on the same at all times of the year. Sometimes, late winter deer sign is nonexistent - but I find rubs and scrapes that suggest good fall use. Similarly there are times I find sheds where I find no scrapes and rubs. As often as not - I find sheds where winter deer sign is not heavy.

This type of information has led me to really believe that at certain times of the year bucks, good ones - tend to live in marginal areas well away from doe groups. I don't speculate why as much as I remember these spots. And I never discount good shed areas if I don't find a lot of rubs or scrapes.

From that, maybe some summer scouting will help you determine if bucks call that home outside the rut.
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If the nearest water is really a mile away, i would solve that first. No way will they consistently bed there if they have to go a mile away for a drink. Next, a clover food plot for max payback on effort and 3 season benefit. Need to give them a reason to be there. Food, water, bedding cover. Stick with the basics i say...
Flat land deer still relate to terrain and edges. You just have to look at it a little differently. A dip or depression of 10 feet can be what you are looking for. I see it here all the time. Pretty dang flat here with only small wood lots of cover. Learn how to identify your corners of cover, your edges within (edges of different habitat types or even different cover densities), A water source and a food source need to be nearby as well. ID all the oaks and see what is producing. Look for any signs of browsing as well. There is a fair chance deer go to this property to escape surrounding hunting pressure......What does the neighboring properties look like at about a 1/2 mile to a mile in all directions of this piece? You have to figure out how the deer use this piece of property in general in the area. Properties are not islands and once you figure out how your piece fits into the big picture it will help you understand how they use it and when. A satellite image of the place in detail and then another showing at least a square mile with the property in the middle can help as well. Also keep in mind big/old deer tend to not like company.....so a lack of deer sign could potentially be a good thing. Getting cams up and seeing what is there would be very helpful. You may have to hunt this property very differently depending on how the deer use it. As there is no point hunting deer that are not there. You may need the surrounding farms to apply the pressure before this place really shines..... Don't give up on it, just learn what you can and take note of every bit of deer sign you find...tracks, deer poop, browse sign, rubs, scrapes and beds. it may take time for a pattern to develop, but I think one will over time.