I hunt behind straw bales over looking an alfalfa field that has been harvested. there is cover next to the field, with a creek coming through. everything they need is right there, cover, food, water, shelter. It has been VERY good to me.
I am going this weekend to plant some strip plots near two stands that have been getting walked all over by deer. The only thing is the acorns are dropping right now but when they are gone I'm going to have to have something to keep the deer around.
I planted nearly an acre in Biologic products and have had excellent results. The deer have kept it mown down pretty well which is fine with me. Several thousand various shrubs have been planted for winter browse but the deer seem to prefer the white pines and cedar for that. Of course the best attractant is my wife's flower garden, for that alone she is considering getting a license. A clear cut is planned for this winter which will allow for more bowse and the roadways will be planted to more Biologic products.
We have very strict laws in Nevada against "baiting". Planting a food plot would fall under the baiting definition the way it is done in the Eastern and Southern USA. Even a bit of what the Game Warden might consider as excessive spillage of a grain product during harvest is considered baiting. At an area where grain might have been spilled it is illegal to hunt.
Feeders and salt/mineral licks will get you drawn and quartered...! :shock:
If I were to run water into an area just for wildlife, this would fall under the baiting regulations. I can run the water...just can't hunt there. :?
I wrestled with the ethical aspects at first but have come to realize that the plots are positioned such that there is either no way for me to reach them unseen or they are too close to the cabin for comfort. I have not shot deer over any type of food plot yet though I have no problem setting up overlooking an agricultural field. I don't know if there is a logical distinction but maybe some of my wife's thought process is rubbing off on me. The shrubs were planted when the old pines were removed to help jump start the area for ruffed grouse as a primary goal and deer browse was secondary. These trees were so old and crowded they were blocking off the light and nothing was able to grow under them. The white cedars and white pines are intended as a future wintering yard but that is maybe a decade off at least. In Minnesota we can't shoot over any type of bait product though salt and mineral blocks are legal provided they do not contain any type of food product like apples. In Wisconsin one used to be able to use up to 5 gallons of bait but I think that has been discontinued due to chronic wasting disease. I didn't do that either, with all the other items I bring with me, I ran out of hands for the pail. That's harsh regarding the water, but then again, we have so much that there is no real advantage to hunting over a tank or basin.
Which Biologic products did you use? From the research I've done and the TV shows, everything is geared toward the southern states-no offence meant guys, its just that I'm in Ohio. I'm mainly looking for a perenial type product that tolerates wet conditions. I figure if deer eat it so will bunnys and I'm not adverse to a few extra deer around either. Something just for fall/ winter browse wouldn't be bad either.
BTW, in Ohio you can hunt deer over bait but according to ohdnr "studies have shown little difference in success whether or not bait is used."
I can see where food plots could be seen as "baiting" in that they are planted with the main purpose of drawing an animal to a certain location, much the same purpose as placing a barrel of corn or apples. The area east of the Great Plains generally interprets food plots as a "normal agricultural practice" but in the more arid western states, the comparative lack of forage may lead to a different interpretation. I kind of lean this this way myself but hold no ill will towards those who differ.
I use a mix of perennial clovers and the Green Patch which is mainly annuals. The first is mostly clover with some chickory mixed in. The second has some clover but is mostly oats, rye, and brassicas, a five dollar word for five cent turnips. I add some turnip seed to the mix as they do seem to be a desired late fall deer food as well as an all summer rabbit food. I do a spring planting as timely late summer/early season rains can be really iffy in this area. The annual seed is spread over the perennials in early spring and then lightly raked into the soil. In early August I kill the grasses and then reseed with Green Patch. The deer seem to really focus on the new grass growth and appears especially popular to does and fawns. If it is wet enough, this new planting grows quickly These blends do well in most climates, I know of them being used as far north as Warroad, MN on the Canadian border and have heard of them being used in northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. They seem to tolerate fairly damp conditions (no standing water) and have survived winters as cold as -30 degrees. I buy my seed this time of year as the local Wal-Mart clearances the seed out to at about half off.
Thanks. How well did you prepare your seed bed for the clover? if we were planting it for hay, the field was alway fit pretty fine. Many of the bags say to just sow whatever the seed is, but the TV shows (and what I learned from my father) say to prepare the seed bed.
You said you sow the annuals right into the perenials and then rake it. Do you run a disc over the grown clover first, or did you mean sow the annuals and the perrenials immediately after?
My wife told me just to plant a couple acres of garden and snap peas so we'd be sure to get at least one meal of them. :wink:
I use very basic equipment, a lawn tractor, tank sprayer, and a drag (old bed spring) is all. I prepare the initial seed bed by killing out the existing vegetation with Round Up or similar hebicide. A week or so later I'll mow the dead vegetation as short as possible with the mulcher. I'll then run the drag over the area to further knock down the stubble. I'll then seed the ground and drag the area again to increase the amount of seed contacting the ground. I plant the annuals and perenials at the same time in this instance. In early August I'll often spray Poast or the equivalent to kill off the grasses as they usually are mature enough to be less desireable to deer. I'll then reseed with the annual mixture which I'll run the drag over once again to help the seeds reach the ground. The following spring, I'll sow the annual mixture about when the perennials just begin to green up and drag lightly again. I don't have a disc, plow, or any true farm equipment which would probably result in a better initial plot. For follow up seeding, I don't think this equipment is necessary in my case. A larger plot may call for bigger equipment but mine are around an acre which can be handled fine with my limited means.
As I mentined earlier, I use the Clover Plus and Green Patch mixes the most. Full Draw is a popular on on the shelf but I no longer use it. It is made up primarily of rape which is also known as canola. For some reason the deer in my neck of the woods don't care for it so I did not use it after the first year. Others swear by it and the deer and elk fed on canola heavily in Canada where I goose hunt. I'd suggest trying it as my deer may just be overly fussy or too "low brow".
Thanks again. It is surprising how hard it is to get real world basic information.
I'm using a lawn tractor too. All the "real" stuff went when my father sold the farm better than 15 years ago. The old bed spring is a good idea- I just happen to have one of those in the barn....
If you happen to decide to get some regular equiptment, look at the stuff made to be drawn by one or two horses. Even with the Amish in my area its still dirt cheap. I picked up a sickel bar mower for about $20 at an auction and for another $25 in parts had a functional unit. The prices they're asking for garden tractor/ ATV implements is ludicrous.
Also, TSC and Farm & Fleet have lugged tractor type tires for most lawn tractor rims too. I find my tractor (Sears) has plenty of power but the turf tires just spin when you need them.
I've got one of those sickle bars myself, my tractor is only a small 15 horse Yardman (MTD) with no sturdy place to attach the bar. I've looked at getting a small farm tractor but the prices are outrageous, a Ford 8N with a front loader and another attachment regularly sells in the $4000 range.
I'll have to try the lugged tires, I haven't had a problem with the food plot but the yard is rather steep in places. I also made a light duty scarifier by pounding 1 1/2" roofing nails through a 3'x4' piece of scrap plywood and then screwing another piece of plywood over the nail heads to give it a little weight. I think it will work better for overseeding the clover than the bedspring. I also hope it will do a better job of removing the dead thatch if I decide to enlarge or make additional plots.
I know what you mean about old tractors being pricey.
Do you mean you MTD has that stamped sheet metal piece that covers the whole back of the tractor and is bent out on the bottom w/ a hole punched for a "hitch"?
My Sears had that. I took a piece of 3/16 or 1/4" hot rolled steel 6" wide and whatever was needed long. I used a couple of torches and bent the steel over a concrete block to make a "U" shaped piece that would just fit over the back of the tractor. I used the factory back piece to spot the holes and bolted both back on. Then I bolted a piece of 2x2 angle iron across the bottom and bent a piece of a yard sale trailer hitch (minus the ball) anf thru bolted that from the tractor side of the hot rolled plate. Mine is overkill for the HP but it was cheap. I used an acetelyne torch and a couple of propane torches but if you got the time and half a dozen torches- the propane alone might work.
Sleeve hitches (sort of a manual 3 point) look like they can be modified easily to use as a pin hitch. I'm looking for a cheap used one- with a couple of attachments of course. New they go from $100 to $175. Most small lawn and garden tractors a awful close to the same size back there- might have to drill a couple of new holes but...
Thanks for the suggestion BH, I'll have to see about modifying my rider that way. The food plots I put in are strong draws, even with the heavy hunting pressure in the area, deer are still using them during shooting hours. The plots are in a unique area, no one can shoot firearms into that area without potentially endangering a group across the way. I just picked up seed for next year, Wal-Mart clearanced 10# bags of Green Patch for $5 a bag. I bought 2 as I had bought 4 smaller 2.25# bags the week before for $4.50 each. I'll give the smaller bags to my brother-in-laws for Christmas and the two larger ones should last me the next two years. Thanks again, uglydog