Welcome to Ackley, Wisconsin 40 Acres


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Hi there, I have been lurking on here for a few years and finally decided to document the progress on our 40 acres of hunting land in North Central Wisconsin located near the Ackley Wildlife Area. Since purchasing the land in 2015, we have taken a few decent deer from the property but nothing consistently. As we have hunted the property for 7 years we have learned what needed to be improved upon such as cover and food supply. On day one, the property consisted of 10 acres of mature tamarack swamp along the east border, the rest was mature popple with some maple and white pine mixed in.

We didn't really make any major improvements in the first few years as we were figuring out what the needs were of the property. We started out hunting over bait with decent results, but when that was banned, we had a dismal hunting season to follow. We decided the main priority was going to be food plots. We established a .5 acre plot on the south border of the property in 2019 and a .25 acre plot on the north end in 2021.

We then came to realize that cover was lacking, as you'll see in the first photos of the land, the understory was pretty much open with most areas providing a nice 100 yard view during hunting season. Our area has high numbers of deer but they were just passing through our property because there was minimal cover. While dad enjoyed the beautiful scenery in the woods during the fall, I was sure that view was not helping our deer hunting. So, for a few years we talked back and forth about the idea of having the mature popple harvested from the property to increase wildlife cover. In September of 2021, we had a forester mark the mature popple for harvest and in March of 2022 we had the popple harvested. This proved to be a worthwhile effort as the amount of cover on the land today is incredible, except for the trails that we had put in by a forestry mulcher in June of 2022, the cover now allows a view of 10-20 yards at best. I've uploaded a few photos from day one, I will add as I am able. Enjoy.


My first time stepping on the land in March of 2015, there were numerous vehicles and scrap pieces on the land that were cleaned up before officially closing on the property that spring.

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Here is a picture from the first ladder stand we put up on the property in 2015, as you can see the understory doesn’t provide much cover. Next up, timber harvest.

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In March of 2022, the logger was able to harvest all mature popple off the land just before spring road limits were put into place. The forester said this was the best time to harvest for regeneration. I took my 5 year old and 1 year old boys out for a look, this will be their land to take care of someday .






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In June of 2022, we had a forestry mulcher come out to create trails around the property to influence deer travel routes. Prior to this, there was one atv trail through a portion of the property but it was difficult to get around. As you can see, the mulcher created some nice trails for deer, hiking and atv access around the property.




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This is an interesting project, turning an open woods into great deer habitat. I have some experience hunting central Wisconsin, and the swamps seemed to be the number one place where the deer were, due to the abundance of cover. The thing with deer habitat is that cover is often also deer food, which gives deer a double reason to be there. I'd consider taking a chainsaw into the woods once a year and creating some additional deer habitat to supplement what is happening after the logging.
People often overlook the necessity of cover, I did myself until the light bulb went off. I had a pretty good bunch of pine timber cut on my 80 acres at home around 6/7 years ago and it has made a difference. Like your place, deer came through, but they didn’t live here. And as MM said it makes lots of browse also. That’s probably one of the best things you could have done IMO. That and food plots.