Nice map good find! According to that map yea it looks like you have a good density.. although the map is from 2009 hopefully not much has changed...
What I meant by less is more is I know reading all these threads makes me want to run out there and go nutts and hinge cut all over and clear out a bunch of timber and plant food plots everywhere as fun as it is lol but honestly if it was me and just my own opinion is I'd give your place one full year of hunting without really touching it as far as foodplots or timber anything.. just hunt it the first year and learn how the deer use it and see what kind of big buck activity you have.. they may use your property as a good travel route based on the amount of cover you already have.. so if your goal is to shoot a big mature buck it might already be setup for that without even tweaking a thing... and if you find the following year you need to bring in more food or you need to do this or that then you know..
I've seen people with smaller acreage like this actually hurt their spot more by wanting to put in a big foodplot which may attract Does but they have wondered why they weren't seeing the big bucks like they did the years before... well it was possible the mature deer already felt safe on the property and by opening it up more it made them feel less safe to be on their property so in all it actually hurt their property....
Just an example I have seen and something to think about... but hey I'm a sucker for wanting to get out there and put in food plots and hinge some timber and what not so it's hard to fight the urge sometimes with new ground lol
Thanks for clarifying! I understand. I am normally a pretty low pressure guy when I can control what others are doing....here I can - at least on this property. What you said about others hurting their property by spending too much time on it is true, from what I heard. Tony Hansen writes the Micro Manager articles, or did back when, for Outdoor Life and I remember him thinking the same thing. Turns out Kansas mentions that in the next post too. I don't have tons of time right now which could help in this case....but I do need to clean up the timber mess some so deer can move through it, but leaving the rest of the mess for bedding. I also feel some late season food is necessary based on what I see around there.,..so that would need to be a plot added. The old owner said most of the deer shot on his 75 acres were shot on this 15, so I may be better off not touching it for now. Tough decision!! hmmmm
It definitely looks like the right 15 !! The swamp / lowland definitely will hold deer. Your in a bigger section, like myself......IMO, it's a bonus.
A couple of things I learned being a new property owner last year.....
1 - Don't try and get everything done in the first year.......... I pressured myself into getting 10 bow stands up, 2 gun blinds up, demo the old farm house and planted 4 acres. I believe my constant presence hurt my mature buck sightings.
2- learn how the deer use the lay of the land first. Obviously this recent snow helped you observe that. Hinge cutting for bedding areas, could negatively impact your property if done in the wrong area. IMO, Your access will be priority #1 with a smaller parcel. Make sure access and bedding never interfere with each other. It seems like quite a few habitat guys break out the chainsaw and start cutting before they have a solid habitat plan in place. I've been guilty of this myself.
3 - Smaller parcels = less hunters.......It's tough for me to have two hunters on my 65 acres. Southwinds and Northwinds limit my options for another hunter.
4 - Have a ton of stand options.......Not penetrating the back of your property until the rut may pay off. I have a ton of stands at the front of my property that help minimize my chances of bumping deer.
5 - food plots......... Not sure if you're planting one or not ? If you do plant a food plot, plant it in a area that makes the most sense. I would never plant near my stand access. Keep the prevailing wind in mind also. Example: you probably wouldn't want a plot downwind from where you park.
6 - Enjoy yourself !!! If it starts to seem like work, sit back, relax and take it all in.
In closing: You probably have most of this figured out already. I look forward to more pictures, Congratulations!!!!!!
Thanks Kansas! Appreciate the input from a fellow landowner near me. Some great info there. Let me assess those by number, and let me know if anything sounds off.
1 & 2
- Noted. I think sitting back and watching mostly the first year(with some smaller projects) is a good idea. Maybe some fruit trees, and definitely willow screens in this year. I don't plan to cut much except to cut paths through all the timber mess in back(soon), maybe 1 food plot, and then stay out. Access will be along the south property line for sure. I planned on both north and south access, but the north line is heavily used by deer right now so I would be blazing a trail through the good stuff. That may happen anyhow if need be. Any bedding near access will be destroyed - read that in Brauker's book.
3 & 4
- This isn't my only spot to hunt, so I will be here on the right days only. Max with 1 other person. I like the staying out of the back idea until prerut. Its closer to bedding and I do NOT want to blow it out with my scent. I am thinking a scent-locking blind for certain situations.
5 & 6
- The one or 2 food plots would be in the middle open area, SW of the W pond. Ill be accessing 40 yards away to the south on the prop line....so that may pose an issue? I will be screening each plot hoping to sneak by. My property being only 130 yards wide kind of limits me. That is the only good ground with a lot of sun right now. Open to thoughts. 6 - I cannot wait to sit back and relax out there in the stand. With my youngins I dont have time to go crazy, so each time out there will be cherished.
Congratulations! It looks like you've got great neighbors and your property is partially in a funnel area between that hay field and swamp.
It zwill be interesting to see what ideas you come up with after reading those books. I've read them as well. I have also read Steve Bartyllas book on Deer Habitat and Management Improvement. It's the most valuable one I have read. I would recommend picking up a copy. I used some of his tactics on my property this past spring and shot my best bow buck last fall. It's an awesome feeling.
Thanks ADS! Looks like the deer use it as a funnel I thought. And for the neighbors, we will see. One to the south with the coop sign hasnt called me back and the other to the north, I had a great conversation with. His 2 year old has the same 3rd Bday as my twins! He said he will also be willing to join me at the Co-op meeting next week. A 1st for both of us. I didnt ask what type of deer he shoots just yet.
You are the 2nd person to swear by Bartyllas book. I will pick one up, thanks. I follow his Tip of the Day on FB and he is very thorough.
Nothing more exciting then purchasing your first piece of land. You can do plenty on that 15 acres and looks like your deer have plenty of security. Just have to be careful not to over pressure. I have 160 and I like to treat it as several small parcels of land. For example, I have one stand that is on the edge of my sanctuary. I don't step foot on that stand until the seeking phase of the rut and only with a perfect wind. I want the deer to feel very secure in this area before I start putting any pressure. Shot my big NT buck on it this year in the 2nd hunt from this stand-at 4pm-and he was right behind a big doe. Best of luck with your new place and look forward to watching your success.
Have you put out any trail cams yet?
Thanks Doc for stopping in! I followed yours on the old forum. I will be very low pressure and hold myself to it....especially since everyone agrees that is very important on a small parcel. I will have to catch up on your harvests for that NT buck!
That sounds like a good plan, not pushing in til the time is right. I actually hung 1 camera on a trail yesterday
. I think they are still holding here in MI so pretty pumped to see what I find.