Let's Redo the Bull Pen

Really appreciate your input to this thread as I try to redo the Bull Pen approach. You are so right about the differences of terrain and environment across the country, but amazing at everyone's willingness to contribute (always with those disclaimers "now this may not work in your area").
The Bull Pen area has water, normally has some great sawtooth acorns early October, and then some pretty good food plots. What's missing? Very likely it is the feeling of security to walk out into those plots. As I think thru this I am more convinced that I will have two shooting houses positioned at easy access from the road, and keep folks out of the center of the property. The Bull Pen is surrounded by beautiful hardwood hills and bottoms. The deer have plenty to check out during the daylight hours and venture into bull pen only at dark. We've got to give them some safety feeling, and that may take awhile, as even in the summertime most pictures are at night.

I looked again at your picture, of the large active plot that you drive by to other stands. Are most of the surrounding woods pine? I know you have some hardwood areas and beaver bottoms, but looks like pine closest to that plot.
lak...The part of the farm in the pic with the large food plot is dominated by planted pine. Approximately 55% of my property is in planted pine. Look at it again and you will see 2 small areas of planted pine on each edge of the plot and then immediately behind that you will see 2 hardwood drains that run up either side of the plot. One of the hardwood drains is knarly and thick with great bedding. The other to the right of the pic is an area I hinge cut several areas in a few years back. In those areas, it's really thick and surprisingly, many of the hinged trees are still alive, particularly the winged elm. The pines have been thinned. In the thinned rows, it is as good of cover as I could ever want. It's head high and taller. The top of the pic is actually the SE corner of the plot. I've bush hogged 2 of the thinned rows leading back toward the hardwood drains. Deer use the mowed trails to enter and exit the field in that area.
Thanks for your suggestions. One question: Why will turning the fescue under and then hitting it with a tiller not preserve the OM? I had rather do that than spray, and maybe put some corn and soybean in it this year, along with some Egyptian Wheat near the road for extra screening.
Tillage exposes the soil and anaerobic microbes to oxygen causing breakdown to some extent of OM. Somewhat dependant on type of soil composition as to the amount of change. In addition, at least some wind and water caused soil erosion and temperature change in the exposed soil contirbuting to the soil makeup. I doubt you would destroy your soil but you could manage for optimum with no tillage. As much as I curse fescue, it does build a great balance soil expeceally in grazed pastures. My chief complaint of it is it tends to create a monoculture fighting any other plant growth.
But I'll admit my first plots were done with a plow and disc before I changed my attitude.
Got the fescue mowed. It isbTHziCzk. That's Russian for thick.! Neighbors are telling me to leave it for erosion. May just put in some strips for screening from road.
Lak... What about nuking the fescue with gly and once dead, run a disc over it to release seed bank? Seems in a yr or so it would be full of herbaceous goodness.
Got the fescue mowed. It isbTHziCzk. That's Russian for thick.! Neighbors are telling me to leave it for erosion. May just put in some strips for screening from road.
View attachment 14964
Are you telling me there is a Russian collusion with your plan??? Looks good and I think you are a man with a mission this year. Keep it posted for us.