The day was spent with Jim Ward walking the property. The goal was to evaluate looking for every type of deer sign. This helped us identify property improvement plans for this year and plan for the Property Walk / Field Day scheduled for March 14th.
Checked trail camera and changed SD cards. All three cameras have bucks and does feeding in the plots and staging areas. Winter forages are holding deer strongly on the property.
Jan. 10, 2015 (2:30 pm - 6:00 pm)
Connecting Trail extended from just west of the Main Plot South Section north to the logging trail that runs west from the Main Plot North Section. Luke was a huge help cutting grape vines with the ratcheting loppers and clearing brush and sticks off of the trails. Now we can make the turn east towards the North Staging Area. The trail will extend and run just to the North of the Main Plot North Section.
Bass Wood Trees: Two cluster of Bass Wood trees were thinned. This created opportunities for bucks to rub since the extra trees were cleared allowing space to rub. The trees cut should stump sprout nicely and create future rub trees. The trees cut were cut clean with some hinge cut to create more structure for bedding.
Staging Area Enhanced: There was a small clearing just west of the Main Plot North Section. This area was cleared more and will be planted in a forage to create a nice staging area.
Jan. 17, 2015 (2:00 pm - 5:00 pm)
Pond Buck Beds: The section just on the NW side of the ponds was worked heavily to create buck beds. We used several small saplings and simply bent them over (no hinge cut) and tied them under other hinge cut trees to help create the overhead structure needed. I expect this to explode into some great beds. The deer were naturally using this area and I think this will only enhance it given the cover improvements. Had great help from Bailey and Luke.
Jan. 24, 2015 (8:00 am - 5:00 pm)
Full day spent with Jim Ward working on habitat improvements in preparation for the '15 Property Walk & Field Day. Main focus was on the North and Northwest Sections of the property.
South Side / Pond Bedding Areas: I showed Jim the work done
North Ridge Touch Up: Jim worked on refreshing beds and creating screening cover along the north ridge where the Iron Buck was harvested. Several good beds established on these small points that run SW off of the ridge.
NW Staging Area: We finally created the staging area on the NW section of the property. This is right between where the small streams coming from the east and north directions connect before leaving the property. I believe this is in the perfect spot where deer can socialize and still not be pressured or seen just beyond the property lines.
Connecting Trails: More work was done to create a complete loop of connection trails. The trail ties in all of the topographical features on the north and west sides of the property.
Food Plot Screening Cover: Jim cut the south edge of the Main Plot North Section hard today. There is some clean up needed as many of the trees fell onto the edges of the plot. I plan on leaving this for deer winter browsing until the weather warms up and green-up begins.
In summary, this may have been the most product day we have had in a couple of years working with saws and creating the habitat improvements we need. Huge thanks to Jim Ward for all of the work. Much of the Property Improvement Plans '15 was completed on this day.
Feb. 1, 2015 (12:00 pm - 2:00 pm)
Pond Buck Beds: Worked more on the buck beds directly on the north side of the ponds. A large tree was taken down and created a great structure on Jan. 17th. All Luke and I did was go into this area and make the beds by clearing and leveling the ground and tucking some saplings to give the beds a growing structure once the hinge cut trees die.
Luke and I also cleaned up a tree that had fallen into the SW Field where we had planted native grasses. I debated whether or not to leave this large limb in the field since it gives structure. The reason I elected to cut it up was the plan to spray this area hard this spring and see if we can salvage the grasses.
South Access Lane Work: We are having gravel put down on the old railroad bed to enable clean access to the property. This is being done in preparation for the Property Walk & Field Day, but it also simply needs done regardless of the 50 visitors scheduled for March 14th. In order for the large tri-axle dump truck to work, we needed to clear several over hanging branches all along the trail. A nice little Stihl Pole Saw was used for 3/4 of the work. The rest was done with a regular chain saw.
Trail Cameras: Cards were pulled for the first time in two weeks. Buck group, including the JTR Buck, still has all antlers at this point so no need to shed hunt yet.
Mar. 13, 2015 (8:00 am - 6:00 pm)
Entire day spent preparing for our 2nd Property Walk & Field Day. This included additional gravel being put down for the lane back to the property. The tent was put up with the help of my brother. We also did some miscellaneous mowing and other clean-up work.
Jim Ward worked for most of the day creating the Buck Living Room. He also completed some additional feathered edge work on the main plot. Fantastic progress.
Mar. 14, 2015 (9:00 am - 2:00 pm)
Property Walk & Field Day conducted with over 50 individuals showing up to participate. Great day!
Apr. 12, 2015 (4:00 pm - 6:00 pm)
Luke helped me cut and clear all of the brush along the south edge of the Main Plot North Section resulting from the feathered edge cutting completed before the field day.
We also took Guster to the property to give him some time running free. He is getting big.
Apr. 25, 2015 (Noon - 2:00 pm)
Started work on cutting and clearing brush along the edge of the Main Plot South Section resulting from the feathered edge work completed by Jim Ward. Most of time spent with chainsaw in hand. Need to throw brush into woods.
May 3, 2015 (2:00 pm - 3:00 pm)
Worked on cutting and clearing more brush along the edge of the Main Plot South Section resulting from the feathered edge work completed by Jim Ward.
May 16, 2015 (1:00 pm - 4:00 pm)
Mowed all of the plots and trails with new brush hog mower. Best form of weed control.
June 7, 2015 (10 am - 3:00 pm)
Spread lime on all food plots. A total of 8,000 lbs. of lime was hand shoveled into the cone spreader and applied. A front end loader would be huge, but that would require another tractor to load into the spreader. The property isn't conducive for getting a larger spreader truck to each plot, thus I have to use the cone spreader. Not to mention I don't have enough acreage to attract local co-op services with a spreader truck. This application should help maintain pH based on my soil sample results earlier this year.
June 14, 2015 (12:00 pm - 4:00 pm)
Sunn Hemp planted in half of the Main Plot South Section. I have included a link to the NRCS Plant Guide for your reference. I have never planted this species before and hope it produces well for good forage and also screening cover to accessing the stand just to the west. Last year I was busted by a good buck bedding down right along the north side of this plot. I believe this screening cover would prevent that from happening again. This species helps soil conditions and provides a forage that deer reportedly love. We will see.
June 27, 2015 (1:00 pm - 4:00 pm)
SE Tree Stand established. This serves two purposes: 1.) Location for early season hunting without pressuring deer in the main part of the property. 2.) We will use this stand to practice archery to help improve accuracy. Luke helped me set up the stand and he was quick to want to climb in and start shooting.
July 2nd, 2015 (3:00 pm - 5:00 pm)
Transported almost 200 gallons of water to the property to store for use when spraying herbicides.
Moved two of the three trail cameras. Once was placed again at the watering hole and the other on the Main Plot South Section was adjusted to prevent being triggered with the setting sun. During the walk back, we kicked up a hen turkey with babies just to the NE of the watering hole. She was nested in the tall grasses growing in the area we had cleared. I had mowed this earlier in the season, but the growth is back up enough to even serve as fawning cover.
August 8, 2015 (9:00 am - 4:30 pm)
Property walk conducted with Jim Ward and a new friend from the Greencastle area. Several buck beds visited and found good usage in all areas. Also found the need to clean out other beds within the same area.
Weed Trimmer used to clear the rest of the connecting trails. I also cleaned up the center staging area. The amount of Chickory growth was widespread. Clearing some of the other plants should open keep the Chickory already established growing well.
Cleaned out the buck beds on the west point just west of the Main Plot South Section and north of the Buck Bed Room. Found awesome use of the exact buck bed the Iron Buck used after being wounded. The bed was cleaned up a little and several other beds cleaned up and the dead branches removed to provide more head room and clean exits for the bucks. The Weed Trimmer was used to clean out the beds and help level / smooth out the dirt.