Whippoorwill Ridge

Well after stalking all off your threads on the old site and doing the same ever since this new site was created, thought I'd finally join in "Officially." I have a tremendous amount of respect for the morals, values, and individuals on this forum. Bought 82ac in northeast Kentucky with a buddy in March of 2016. Between the knowledge gained here and a background in Resource Conservation, we have only made a few mistakes in the short time of ownership. Namely, in thinking an old Ford 8N could handle the hills and hollers! Just transitioned to the Reserves after spending 10.5 years on Active Duty in the USCG doing SAR/LE. Sometimes there is no one to share my excitement and habitat successes with so this thread is a much needed outlet. Here we go!
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Little chainsaw work to create the western view off back porch of cabin.


Cleared about 3/4 acre section in the bottom that was offering very little. Also, dug out a natural spring in corner which is currently holding water despite dry conditions. Planted approx 40lbs of Southern States Wildlife Mix (sorghum, clay/iron peas, buckwheat, millet, and forage beans) on 4/20/17. Bottom picture is from 6/6/17 when we applied a foliar fert.


8/18/17 - Overseeded winter peas, white clover, rape, and kale. Light rain following afternoon. Sorghum fully mature, volunteer clover everywhere.




10/1/17 - Suspect heavy forage on peas/beans by looking at exclusion cage growth. Good winter pea growth, thick and viney in some spots. Sporadic rape and kale. Had four does come in and devour sorghum like it was ice cream cones!
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My buddy with his 5.5yo 11pt bow kill on 12/20/16, our first season. Tooth was sent off for aging.

Our trail camera surveys and observations indicate a lot more deer activity on the property in the past 6-9 months. 1st hunting season revealed 9 different bucks in total, age class structure ranging from estimated 1.5yo-5.5yo (as proven by tooth aging). Only 3 of which were with us from velvet to seasons end and they were the 2.5s. Doe sightings were infrequent and typically consisted of a couple of yearlings. Only mature does seen were during the rut being bumped or chased. This season we have 10 different bucks so far, all of which have been fairly consistent since early summer with the exception of one we call "Purple Haze," (due to a purple hue in the trail cam pic). We have also observed 3 distinct doe groups. One with 2 mature does and 2 yearlings, a doe with a button head, and a different doe and button head combo. We have one leftover buck from last year that might be 3.5yo and is definitely getting a hall pass. There are 3 distinct bucks from last year that we are hoping will show up in coming weeks. As of now, there is only one buck that we have agreed to harvest if the opportunity presents itself and that is "Big Boy." Guessing solely on last year's kill that "Big Boy," is maybe a 5.5yo. I will close out this post by disclaiming we have two Kiefer Pears in our overgrown ridge top field as well as two in our bottom food plot. All four trees have cages, weed mating, have yet to produce but are thriving. Will share more as we go but for now will leave you all with some pictures of Big Boy.






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This is a buck named "Handlebars" that was photographed with Big Boy and the smaller buck Big Boy was sparing with. Handlebars has been photographed with the younger buck recently in a different area but hasn't been seen with Big Boy since summer.



Thinking Handlebars is 3.5yo, but regardless, would love to see him survive another year or two. Definitely need the season's first frost to ease the threat of the current EHD outbreak in Eastern KY!

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Very cool..... I hope you get a crack at "big boy" and you should expect to see more and more deer. I am guessing there isn't any significant agriculture (row crops) in your area just based on the pics so food will certainly get the deer's attention. You even need to scratch your habitat "itch" we are here for you. Thank you for your service!!!!!
Very cool..... I hope you get a crack at "big boy" and you should expect to see more and more deer. I am guessing there isn't any significant agriculture (row crops) in your area just based on the pics so food will certainly get the deer's attention. You even need to scratch your habitat "itch" we are here for you. Thank you for your service!!!!!

I had it relatively easy compared to those in other branches. I worked at the beach and drove boats in heavy seas. There is no ag whatsoever. Have a few small hay fields in the area but that's it. Really lucked out with the new bottom food plot. I knew we needed to avoid a monoculture to give the site a chance at success. I also wanted to layer the plot. Super pumped that the winter peas are vining aggressively on the sorghum just like we envisioned! Definitely a little dumb luck involved! But supposedly this holler grew corn up until the early 1900s and has plenty of accumulated organic material. I will bounce ideas for Spring 2018 plot off all of you in coming months, but right now leaning toward soil test, proper amendments, and planting same seed mix.

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Only advice I can give you is if it isn't broke don't fix it! That mix looks like it has done well for you. I suspect you will see more and more deer use on it so you may see some decline of the amount of food over time because of the more and more mouths you are feeding. And some of the more "ice cream" type plants may not last long. Also sounds like you found the best soil on your place, by chance or otherwise, but that will help as well. "Layering" also helps you maximize the dirt you do have as well. I overseed brassica and cereal grains into my corn/bean plots to help provide variety as well.
WOW. You northeast KY land has a MONSTER walking around. Hope you can hold steady when your paths cross! Beautiful land. Thanks for starting the thread. Look forward to following along