Plans for 2018?


Active Member
With the season coming to an end, I was wondering what everybody is planning on doing with their property now, I am looking for a bit of inspiration for projects to take on this year!
Open up some trails and shooting lanes and do food plot planting on the widened trails at my best stand sites. Having thick cover with hinge cutting alternating with shooting lanes planted in clover at my best stands pays huge dividends on the first day of hunting season. This is time consuming work that's often omitted when initially placing new stand sites, and then I catch up on it later, often developing it a little more every year. The cutting and TSI work needs to be completed in winter, and the planting in spring, then I stay away until hunting season opens.
This is an excellent idea for a thread TLH. It is a good way to learn from each other as well as get us all more motivated. One of three major activities planned in 2018 is to continue to implement the over all property plan including maintenance of food plots, providing winter food, extending deer sidewalks, and creating bedding areas as on plan. A second major activity will be to expand our effort to catching and identifying trespassers. The number of cameras super hid as well as cameras in plain view will be increased and as usual all posted signage will be freshened up.

The third major improvement activity planned is along the lines of what Mennoniteman has posted regarding increasing the productivity of in the woods stands now in place. Some stands will see increased effectiveness from releasing apple, pear and hickory trees along shooting lanes, some by raising the stand a few feet or even ten feet or even slightly relocating the stand, some by adding mirrors inside the stand for more visibility, some by adding privacy window film to help hide us, some by adding water holes, and scrape trees, ground scrapes and over head bushes, some by redirecting deer trails just out of view to into view, some by redirecting deer trails too close to the stand to a safe distance out, some by adding or extending a shooting lane or two, some by extending bedding areas creating points starting near the outside edge of the stands view and beyond, some by adding small food plot type plantings to a section of skid trail within view, some by knocking out invasive plants and replacing them with preferred browse plants, some by adding crossing cover via hinge cutting, some by blockading areas down wind of the stand for preferred wind days, some by brushing in the stands themselves or planting screening to hide us during entry and exit at the stand, and some by selective thickening and possibly adding soil amendments. One stand needs a different access/exit trail to the stand, one needs a ft. bridge for when heavy rains make crossing without a bridge too difficult and other access/exit trails just need some clean up. More thought and preparation will be given creating perfect camera sets in stand areas as well. And one or two stands may need all of the above improvements or more. In addition some stand sites that were heavily tested last year will see new "permanent" stands erected while others will be tested again after tweaking the exact locations based on 2017 experience and still others just plain didn't work at all. Since each of us can only sit in one stand at a time it just makes sense for us to have each stand area optimized to the highest level possible to see the most deer without being seen, heard, smelled or sensed by any deer. Not surprisingly completely optimizing every stand will not happen in 2018 but it will be likely our biggest improvement to our hunting for 2018.
Sounds like you two are going to be busy for a while! As of now, my to do list is to get my fruit trees pruned back, they had a great growing season here with the mild winter and summer. My edges need work to get them back up to par since they have gotten a little thinner than I think the deer like (although the turkey seem fond of it). Some stands need moved in order to gain views of my orchard (which should throw its first fruit next year!!) and a new chokepoint that is getting used really heavily. That chokepoint needs to be beefed up a little bit, as my cuttings used to create it have lost most of their loft and can be walked over now. Ingress and egress to my best stand remains a problem that I would like to work on a solution for this year, but that's certainly a work in progress.
A September timber harvest on my favorite 40 with several objectives. Bedding area, sanctuary, cover, and room to plant desirable tree varieties. Got my fingers crossed.
Adding several tree varieties to my "nursery" - Hickory, Chinkuapin Oak, Dunstan Chestnut, and hybrid Italian Chestnut.
Aggressive tree planting on an 80 where timber was harvested last year. Cleanup on that property where it was very wet, poplar clear cut and TSI harvest. Big equipment made a big mess. Planting a mix of clover, grass, and chicory on the roadways.
Taking care to stay within my capability to put the appropriate effort and time into each one of these projects will be a challenge.
Great thread. Yall sure do have detailed plans, glad I can see what others focus on.

Marking for later.
As like many others I think we can all agree that the list is always endless. There is always something to do in the woods. For 2018, my focus is going to be on getting our electrical fence up and WORKING around a few of our alalfla plots. I also want to try and successfully start some trees and shrubs from seeds and transplant them later on. Im ahead of the 8 ball on that one as I have some in my makeshift greenhouse and some in pots in the ground. Also, working toward getting my first buck bow kill will be important!
A good rabbit hunt or two; followed by TSI in my successional timber stands. Mostly cutting red cedars to release more valuable trees from a wildlife perspective. Downed cedars make good rabbit cover. I will also bush hog in my riparian buffers along the fence lines one or two swipes. Late in the winter I am planning to do some further cool season grass control in my buffers. That worked really well last year.
1. Graft and tube 10 more apple trees on B118 rootstock.
2. Cage the grafted apple trees from last year. I've posted pics of the incredible growth out of the 5 ft tubes. Question for you grafting experts...Wonder if I should leave them in the tubes for another year?
3. Maintenance of firebreaks. Lots of clean up work to do.
4. Add either another Redneck or 2 man Millennium ladder stand with optional enclosure. Love the Redneck for late season but this far south, they can be mighty hot all the way thru mid November or even later on a sunny day. Something cool about sitting the 2 man Millennium with the enclosure on it when inclement weather moves in.
5. Prescribe burn pines and fallow field.
I have plans to put in two shelter belts across my large main field by planting 200 trees. Hopefully, the rains will come this spring and help get the seedlings established. I plan to plant two food plots this fall but we shall see what I can get done.

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I would love to be able to do more at our lease. We have to abide by the timber company rules, so that limits us to planting open areas(planted them already) and no TSI. We might be able to slip in and cut a bunch of saplings where they have cut timber and it is thick and plant a small plot or two. All of the logging roads have grown up with trees and we can't cut them. We are going to try and add to a few plots by cutting over hanging limbs to let in more sunlight, which should give us an additional 2-4ft strip of growth on the outside of the plots. We will continue working on our soils and trying to keep enough food for the deer to eat, with the limited amount of space we have.
Update: 200 hundred trees are planted. Both shelters belts are in and praying for a wet spring. I do plan on planting one more big tree in camp this year and two food plots to go in. I am half way there.

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1. Expand my road/trail network. All the easy areas are completed. Virtually all that is left are wet/dense areas that will require corduroy or pull up construction. I have lots of dead ash, so wood won’t be a problem. Also have a dump trailer for my tractor and lots of easily accessible sand on the property, so it’s just a matter of time and muscle.

2. Continue work on my food plots. Put in 3 last year, two of which took off very well. Plan on redoing the third and possibly adding a fourth and fifth, time and weather permitting.

3. Build a gun and 3D archery range. More of a want than a need, but nonetheless something I really want on the property to enhance the whole deer camp experience.
Oops...forgot the orchard. Cleared about an acre of desiresble ground last year for a future orchard. I’ve still got some soil prep and learning to do before planting. Probably a fall planting. Any advice in this area would be appreciated.
Plant, plant, and plant some more! I started with bare corn stubble last year at this time, established about 18 acres of switchgrass last year that got to 2-3 foot tall in its first season. This year I’m working on planting hardwoods, shrubs, and softwoods around the perimeters of the NWSG, and I’ve already over seeded some bare areas with locally collected big blue, coneflower, and milkweed. I’m also scouting some willow and red osier dogwood to transplant (in the form of whips) into my wetland margins. It’s going to be a busy spring.

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I have crabapples ordered to plant, I have SWO acorns in the fridge to be direct seeded as well. I need to get some tree tubes to protect and promote my sawtooths from last year and I need to grow some more MG. I have a tower blind or two to be built on the roster as well.

No MAJOR projects but I will be busy and we will see what actually gets done. Toss in the normal plots and stand work and I am sure i will be running behind again!!!

I need to learn how to graft and top work a tree I have, and maybe grow some cuttings as well, but like I said.....the list tends to get much longer than I can accomplish in a year.
I'm looking forward to playing with my roller crimper. This will be the first spring I get to use it. I planted several fields in 150# elbon rye/acre so should have thick thatch to experiment with. Will be drilling beans in some and cow peas/sunn hemp/sunflowers in others.
I'll be continuing my road screen adding white pine and white cedar, adding more high bush cranberry/hazelnut/white pine and chestnuts to my shrub strips. Planting some wildflower blends this spring and some jap millet.
I'll be continuing my road screen adding white pine and white cedar, adding more high bush cranberry/hazelnut/white pine and chestnuts to my shrub strips. Planting some wildflower blends this spring and some jap millet.

I'm interested in your shrub strips. Can you post ground and satellite photos?

Just wondering what the design and intent are.

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