In the case of this parcel, the landowner approaches a 75% efficiency rating, or 30 acres. This guy knows deer, habitat, & how to bring you immediate success. In this case, Anthony's land began it's journey of success over the course of a few days, and was built to perfection over the course of a few years with huge, measurable gains along the way. These tips are a good place to start when deer hunting smaller tracts or any property for that matter. So my first hunt was Sat. It had all the features I was looking for except a river/creek either way I knew this was the one and had a lot of potential from my previous experiences with LaPratt on other properties and boot camp. instead, if you are going to design and build a small deer parcel, you have to follow the key concepts of deer hunting parcels that I originated many years ago. When given the flexibility, I recommend a combination of larger holding plots and smaller hunting plots. Try reading Whitetail Habitat Strategies to the Bowstand. On a 400-acre tract, that same buck could be a half-mile from my stand and yet still be on my property. The wind was wrong, but it didn’t matter. This is critical within a small parcel especially, that since you can not possibly encompass a complete movement of the local deer herd. Cool thing is all this happened quickly with some long hard days of work and I’m just getting started”. The success of his harvest continues to climb along with the quality of his land. But was looking forward to the future….well that came Oct. 20, 2013. Part of what makes this Central MI whitetail habitat plan and property very attractive, is that it is almost completely surrounded by ag. When I first hunted my 117-acre farm in northwestern Virginia, I saw only a few young bucks and way too many does. Jeff said bedding and corridors in the morning, but I didn’t have a good wind for any of those stands. On parcel of 80-100 acres or more it is often possible to attain an efficiency of 80% or more, with roughly 60-70% typical of 40 acres, and more like 50% on smaller parcels. A thin food strip of under 30′ wide is pretty low impact, but a food source of a 1/4 acre or more in size will definitely create a large enough social area that mature bucks stay a great distance away. Deer sanctuary, lines of movement, hunter access, hunting from the outside - in, screening - it is all here, and it is from a property he layed out in Central Michigan. For more information relating to creating your next great stand location, try reading about Where to Plant Hunting Plots. Big deer were rare. No, working alone from a 6-acre base of operations, you cannot effectively manage the local deer population (the “Herd Management” Cornerstone of QDM). Follow along as I take you thru the key strategies that took this 2013 40 acre client parcel from a zero to a 10, overnight. The deer will pattern you as a hunter, the deer will become nocturnal on all your food sources and in that case it's better to not actually have the food source at all. Want to make a mixed open and deer cover 40 hunt considerably bigger than just 40 acres? And then most of the deer poured out into a draw and into the food….I thought damn Jeffs good! One of the worst things that you can do is to improve your parcel 100% because you can then never access it without the possibility of spooking deer. Look into screening options. Create cover anywhere you can place it, but go ahead and take opportunity to do it strategically. Imagine a big deer hunting property 300 acres, consisting of 1/3 big mature hardwoods, 1/3 CRP, and 1/3 agriculture. Look into screening options. Some high quality areas may lease smaller properties out for a relatively high price per acre (e.g., 80 acres at $30-40/acre), while lower quality areas may lease larger properties for less (e.g., 1,000 acres at $5-10/acre). Jeff said if you can get the other cutting done even into the first week of Oct…it will be huge for your property, so busted my a** & got it done, then hung my stands. For more info relating to providing enough “depth of cover” for both bucks and does, try reading Deer Bedding Strategies. A 40 acre property in Missouri required a different whitetail property layout. Dad saw 9 and 2 small bucks. Saw 19 does and 3 bucks. If you draw a line from stand location to stand location, that line will define the parcel efficiency, by creating an area on the hunter access side of the line for hunters, and the area on the other side of the line, for deer. On parcel of 80-100 acres or more it is often possible to attain an efficiency of 80% or more, with roughly 60-70% typical of 40 acres, and more like 50% on smaller parcels. With the cabin placed in the middle and poor access to the property’s outer boundaries, locating more centrally food would create much lower impact hunting opportunities. In fact if you design a parcel correctly it shouldn't take you years to create an incredible deer hunting land. It also makes it that much more rewarding when we’re lucky enough to bag a good one, especially on small acreage. To my surprise the deer were coming from the beds and corridors vs the corn where I figured they would hang until its down. More important than the “how much”, is the “what kind”. Deer herds are built during the hunting season! With 50mph gusts I had doubts and thought I missed the end of the cold front by a half day. “Studies … Food displaces mature buck bedding. In ag settings though, you can confine deer to smaller spaces and this parcel is an example of that. Mature buck hunting, herd and habitat techniques. Hunting Small Acreage Successfully. Having great thermal cover on your bow hunting property in the late season will also draw deer from neighboring properties. Anthony’s whitetail habitat plan has areas of hardwoods where small, separate pockets of cover can be cut, areas of rolling Autumn Olive that can be carved out and changed with the addition of conifer pockets to increase the attractiveness, and areas of willow/cat-tail marsh where room-sized cut-outs can house 1 mature buck…or a doe family group of 5 depending on the location and proximity to food/overall stress by deer and people. You can learn to create your own 5 acre deer habitat and hunting parcel, by enrolling in my latest land de... youtube.com 5 Acre Deer Hunting Creations For Big Bucks Yes, you can create dynamic deer habitat on only 6 acres that is highly attractive to neighborhood deer and will allow you to enjoy great hunting on this tract. Creating good bedding areas will keep deer on a piece of property. Pretend the palm of your hand and fingers are all open ground and everything around them is deer cover. Watching deer from the barn. These tips are a good place to start when deer hunting smaller tracts or any property for that matter. So I tried the the draw stand again. For the most part, the improvements on this parcel run parallel to the parcel borders. So dad (cheapskate!) Food in the Midwest is in no shortage whatsoever during much of the year. Want to make a mixed open and deer cover 40 hunt considerably bigger than just 40 acres? Everyone talks about a sanctuary and the importance of a sanctuary, but very few have areas where a deer can bed or feed during daytime hours and never hear, see, or smell a hunter. Old-Field Habitat. Hunting deer entails scouting for fresh sign and setting up over that sign. While there is no exact percentage of acreage you should enroll into food plots, you generally fall somewhere between 2-16% on average. But still, you have to make the most of the depth of cover that is given. A 40 acre property in Missouri required a different whitetail property layout. On a side note I don’t mind at all working in the woods from January until late August…but that is another topic. He can also hunt less invasive cruising stands between bedding areas such as on the south side, and even the north and east sides. Much of the cover on the property is towards the back, leaving a large majority of the farm up front not being used and relatively unhuntable. Waterholes are very easy to add, just read Deer Waterhole Hunting Strategies for a complete waterhole source with video and blog links for making sure that you do it correctly the first time. While creating the opportunity for deer to be able to travel from food to cover to cover to food to cover, etc., all while staying on your own parcel, you can greatly deminish the effects of any potential negative neighboring hunting pressure. I’d rather have hunting access to 10 40-acre tracts than a single 400-acre tract. Late September I cut my access lane. Fast forward to Sept. 18, 2013: Jeff Sturgis visits and designs my layout. An effective whitetail habitat plan always aims to take the pressure from hunting, out of the hunt. Add in a rolling topography and non-invasive access and Anthony can house a deer herd that rarely has to be exposed to the outside of his 40 acres if he does his part to keep from spooking them. Everytime I read it something new pops up that I missed and makes more sense. Quality deer management occurs on many levels and in many locations. It is amazing what you can learn by watching their behavior and how they use the property. In 2015 he has very high hopes for a potential 4 year old in this heavily hunted area of MI; which truly is, a “needle in a haystack” attempt. Read Scouting Deer Bedding Areas for more info about various bedding strategies. Getting back to the confines of ag parcels…you can pack a LOT of deer into 1 small parcel through separation. Here’s the scenario. The smaller the parcel, the more a major food source needs to be pulled to one side, or corner. On Anthony’s parcel this is no exception with stand locations located around the entire parcel, but it goes much deeper than that. Deer Hunting Property Design to Control Young Buck Harassment and Doe Movements. After Jeffs visit and hinge cutting example he did on the property, my cam pics went skyrocketing to 2000+ pics vs the 400 and the bucks started immediately to show! Whitetail are smart animals and that makes them challenging to hunt. He has the option to hunt closer to food in the evening at various hot points that serve to funnel deer into a downwind access, as well as to hunt between and on the backside of bedding areas with morning hunts during the pre-rut and rut. They are off-limits to hunting because their mission is supplying nutrition, attracting deer to the property and providing summer buck viewing. This is a terrible scenerio and it promotes an uneasy herd on the entire parcel. When you have a buck travel onto the property, you want him to get into the parcel borders and turn right or left while following your improvements on your parcel instead of merely passing straight through. This also makes the entire south side of the parcel extremely remote with effective food-related doe bedding areas surrounding a large area of the NW food source well to the north. It is important to create a whitetail habitat plan that you can actually hunt with every possible wind direction, and condition for time of year and time of day. And I include all food sources in that too! Increasing human populations and urban sprawl has forced hunters to be more adept at hunting bucks on ever-shrinking chunks of property, and the best small acreage hunter I know is Chad McKibben. How To Design A 40 Acre Deer Hunting Parcel - YouTubewww.youtube.com › watch (17 minutes) "Well over half of the bucks I’ve taken in the past 25 seasons, whether at home or out-of-state, were taken from active scrape areas surrounded by some form of security cover. On this 70 acre property we selected every area parallel to our entrance and exits on the property. Ag parcels can change very quickly, because if you supply great food and great cover, and leave it alone, you often have no problem piling the deer into it! For example, let’s say a property has a 20-acre alfalfa field and 40 acres of woods. Depending on where your property is located, the average hunting lease price per acre will fluctuate widely. As an overly simplistic example, just to make the point, put your hand in front of your face, fingers up and spread. However Anthony has worked as hard as any other client, I have no doubt that he will beat the odds very soon…and I can’t wait to hear all about it! Then saw 9 does, a small buck and at 9:30 this buck I shot came from behind me walked down the draw and was headed for the apple corridor. ... it can happen just the same on your 40 acre parcel, or 100, or 200. Now by leave it alone, I mean hunt it effectively but that being said; the parcel has to be designed to hunt effectively or the improvements can do much more harm, than good. Jeff’s post said near, but not on food in evening so I’m a little earlier than usual but gonna give this stand a try for the first time of the year. Mature buck hunting, herd and habitat techniques. The plan called for connecting the neighbor’s great cover to the south, to the large food source across the North border of the client’s parcel. tried to convince me that we could do the work and I knew we could improve but wasn’t confident (one shot at hinge placement) enough that I would be able to bring the property to its full potential and do what Jeff does so well & that’s looking at the whole picture and turn it into one well balanced parcel. If you build a bed to feed pattern around bulletproof access, and include water and social components, the deer will follow the script. It also makes it that much more rewarding when we’re lucky enough to bag a good one, especially on small acreage. Although located within a high hunter density area in central MI, Anthony’s success is certainly not over yet! One of the worst things that you can do is to improve your parcel 100% because you can then never access it without the possibility of spooking deer. Separation is important because deer, especially doe family groups, are highly territorial. The design and creation of a 40 acre deer parcel takes a lot more than just nice food plots, low value timber and quality cover plantings like switchgrass or shrubs. In my opinion, this was a waste. Sanctuaries are built during Sept-January, and what takes place the rest of the year has very little effect on the local deer herd. Try reading this article for more information about Building a Quality Deer Herd. Separation not only means that you can hold more deer in the same amount of space, but it also allows for the separation for yearling bucks from doe family groups, mature bucks from the rest of the herd. When it comes time for late season food-hunting, where you stay away from the bedding areas for morning hunts and watch deer pour into the food in eary afternoon, he can do that with well placed and hidden shooting houses on the north, west, and east sides of his parcel. Keep these thoughts in mind and work hard, and you can enjoy the wonderful and far reaching benefits of quality deer management in your own neck of the woods. Bordering every hardwood creek drain is a strip of old-field habitat approximately … Plant a 30 to 40-foot-wide row of shrubs along the edge of your plots where they adjoin woods for a buffer or staging area where deer will feel comfortable before entering the open food plot. Keep in mind, however, that without good cover to create a sense of security for the deer, much of the food plot usage will occur at night — especially by mature bucks. $$$ well spent!! I really like this parcel in it’s ability to achieve separation of not only both sexes of deer…but from each other. Plant a 30 to 40-foot-wide row of shrubs along the edge of your plots where they adjoin woods for a buffer or staging area where deer will feel comfortable before entering the open food plot. Managing the property is manipulating the landscape to dictate deer movement, so you have the advantage, not the deer. Single big deer came through the draw at dawn but too dark to see. High production Ag regions need to be thought of differently than say a mostly wooded region. I recently looked at a plan that took advantage of a large hayfield to the north, with food plots in a line running north to south through most of a 1/4 mile area. Whitetail Habitat Strategies to the Bowstand. Pretend the palm of your hand and fingers are all open ground and everything around them is deer cover. I would also like to see Anthony place a water hole at the access point in the SE corner where he shot his deer to help further define the travel corridor and stand location, as well as one along the west and north border. Make sure that the deer are pointed within your own borders, and not to your neighbor’s. I read all his articles on his website and keep learning from this guys wealth of knowledge shared on his website and on MSF. A good approach might be to set aside a 5-acre inside corner of the field for a food plot consisting of a either a single-grain crop or combination of grains. Many of us hunt deer on small properties rather than vast wilderness areas. The opposite would be a 40 acre parcel of mature hardwoods, in which literally 1 or 2 doe family groups can rule the entire parcel. With the cabin placed in the middle and poor access to the property’s outer boundaries, locating more centrally food would create much lower impact hunting opportunities. This 70 acre small property is in a region soaked in s… I bow hunt on a 40 acre parcel of land (I attached a picture) that is mainly old growth eastern hemlock, white pine, and silver maple. I started following Jeffs recommendations on his food plot designs, drew up a million designs and then came August, came across Heath’s experience (previous client who had only 8 acres) and said wow If he can do this with 8 acres what could he do with my 40. Each year, as we watch various hunting shows unfold on outdoor television programming, like the one Academy Sports + Outdoors personality Jeff Danker produces, most deer hunters are constantly dreaming of finding a great new spot for deer hunting.. And sometimes, thanks to hard work or plain old-fashioned good luck, those dreams come true — either through gaining … I wasn’t finished with his design by the Fall of 2013, and wasn’t expecting much that year because it was so late. How many acres you should devote to food plots depends on the region and surrounding habitat. night out of a stand placement that Jeff recommended. 1 shooter. Most landowners 20 acre sanctuaries are actually widdled down to a hectic 5-10 acres because deer are constantly being bumped from the outer 40-50% because they are not insulated by exterior hunter efforts. It is impossible to dedicate 100% of your parcel acreage completely to the deer herd because you have to be able to access and hunt the parcel. Good timing for the beginning of the habitat season this year... How To Design A 40 Acre Deer Hunting Parcel - YouTubewww.youtube.com › watch (17 minutes) Over the years, Terron has sent me numerous videos of deer on the small alfalfa plot that surrounds the Banks Blind with the wind blowing right at the plot — that’s the beauty of a quality enclosed blind. Though he’s only been hunting just over a decade, McKibben has managed to take really large bucks on properties where other hunters would strike out. Create Bedding Areas. No matter what your land size, shape or style is, you can improve the quality of deer and deer hunting in your area. I had been paying attention to Jeff’s cold front postings and when he posted that we were 1/2-1 day behind him I studied the forecast and decided to pass off my weekend overtime and head for the cabin a week earlier than I usually start to hunt prime stands. As an overly simplistic example, just to make the point, put your hand in front of your face, fingers up and spread. Most landowners 20 acre sanctuaries are actually widdled down to a hectic 5-10 acres because deer are constantly being bumped from the outer 40-50% because they are not insulated by exterior hunter efforts. Well of course with some hard work on my part! On parcel of 80-100 acres or more it is often possible to attain an efficiency of 80% or more, with roughly 60-70% typical of 40 acres, and more like 50% on smaller parcels. Separate that 2 acres into four, 1/2 acre areas and well…you get the pictures. After we purchased it, we saw 6 does during the whole month and all year I was getting an avg of 12 deer, 4 were bucks, & about 400 pics of the same herd over a 2 week period. This effect is greater in wilderness/deep woods settings where deer have a 100s of great bedding areas to choose from with sometimes dozens of acres of cover or more, per deer. Then Bam at 5pm it was like someone shut the lights off on the wind and rain. There are a few White oaks on the property but I could probably count them on two hands. I bow hunt on a 40 acre parcel of land (I attached a picture) that is mainly old growth eastern hemlock, white pine, and silver maple. I looked to reduce the amount of food on the east side so that the majority of the doe family groups would focus their bedding efforts towards the northwest corner of the parcel, effectively providing a “depth of cover” running through the center of the parcel and all the way to the southeast corner. If you need help working through all the considerations of laying out your hunting property, consider taking NDA’s Deer Steward I and II courses. That 30 acres includes the area that except for deer retrieval or post season habitat chores, is “all deer, all the time”. There are a few White oaks on the property but I could probably count them on two hands. You would much rather have your improvements lead deer around your parcel…than off of your parcel. I stuck him at 30 yds. Is your whitetail habitat plan efficient? 2 acres of cover can be taken over by 1 doe family group and that dominant doe will keep every other deer out of “her” area. I did that for a few years on our property and sulked around late in the season when my hunting success was zilch. If I can get a mature buck to bed on a 40-acre tract, I know every time I hunt there the odds are good that I’m within a couple hundred yards or so of him. On the other hand, take that same 2 acres and separate it by 30 yards of open hardwood or less desirable cover and you can hold TWO doe family groups. Although in theory it looked great on paper because it certainly created a giant North/South corridor, what it actually did was to create a chain of food several hundred yards long that encouraged deer to bed off of the parcel to the south. One of my main hunting properties is about 50% cover (timber, CRP, swamp) and 50% ag field. 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