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Cover suggestions...

formerbowhunter1023

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#1
I'm formulating a plan for our farm this year and one of my biggest obstacles is cover on our farm. I don't have much in the way of dropping trees, so I need to plant something. How difficult is to find liscensed burn specialists to do a controlled burn? Then what am I going to need to do to plant switch grass?

What I'm thinking about it talking my dad into letting me section off the last 50 yards of the big creek bottom to make it a sanctuary. I want to plant two rows of pines near the fence and two more 50 yards from the fence. Then plant that strip with some sort of tall grass. Would I be better off to just let that grow up with natural browse?
 

Gern186

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#2
Jesse,


Switch grass takes several years to get established to the point where it will benefit you.


Have you ever heard of hinge cutting? This is where you pick out an area that you would like to create a bedding area or small sanctuary and selectively cut small to medium trees just over 1/2 way through, just enough to get them to fall.....this will create an open canopy to the sun which will let grass and briars start growing up and at the same time the tree will still be alive enough for the top to grow foliage (which will be laying on the ground).....I'm telling you man, those deer will find these areas and really use them, plus they will be thick in a year or 2.....If you don't have a chainsaw, that would be a good investment or I'm sure you could borrow one from somebody down there for a few hours.

Also, when you fall the trees, you can decide which way you would like the trees to lay to work to your advantage. In addition, you could plant some grasses inside your open canopy to get things started.
 
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RedCloud

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#3
If it was me Jesse, I would just let that area grow naturally. It won't take long for that stuff to grow up nice and thick back there. You could always go back there and spray some fertilizer to give it a boost. The deer out where I hunted this year really liked the overgrown tractor path and would bed down right in that thigh high grass.

Now with the pines I would make sure you put up some caging around them for a couple years just so the deer don't eat them and kill them before they get started growing good.
 

Gern186

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#5
I've done some hinge cutting on this place in the past and dad has put his foot down on cutting any more. So I need a planting option. I have six trees I can cut in my sanctuary, but I'm done after that he says!
Does corn grow good down there? If so, hand plant some here and there if you have to......it will probably get raped by the coons, but the stalks should still be standing which will give some security cover. If you need some seed let me know and I can hook you up.
 
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formerbowhunter1023

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#6
Does corn grow good down there? If so, hand plant some here and there if you have to......it will probably get raped by the coons, but the stalks should still be standing which will give some security cover. If you need some seed let me know and I can hook you up.
I could make it so it does. Right now it is really rough despite being flat thanks to clumps of native grass growing there. I will have 4 hours of dozer time to use this spring and I've thought about having him lower a blade down there to make it plantable.
 

Gern186

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#7
I could make it so it does. Right now it is really rough despite being flat thanks to clumps of native grass growing there. I will have 4 hours of dozer time to use this spring and I've thought about having him lower a blade down there to make it plantable.
Some roundup sprayed on that grass will take care of it and I can send you some roundup ready corn to plant.......If you are serious I will help you out and let you in on some farming secrets!
 

formerbowhunter1023

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#8
Some roundup sprayed on that grass will take care of it and I can send you some roundup ready corn to plant.......If you are serious I will help you out and let you in on some farming secrets!
I'll be in touch. I still need approval from the land owner. Maybe that's what I should tell him I want for Christmas!!! LOL

Either way, I'll be planting more than I ever have in the past, so I can use some help. I'm still working on figuring out what he'll let me plant and how I can get it planted. Should be able to get a tractor to all of it. Got a disc for the Ford 4100, just need a set of plows.
 

rgecko23

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#9
I would say let the natural stuff grow....

The thicket in the front part of my property which is like a staging/bedding area is riddled with bedding. If you get yourself in there it looks like a hotel. Severl areas that are matted down from them bedding in it. They get a ton of sunshine and stay out of the wind. Its probably 5-6' high in there with briars and reeds, grass, etc. They love that place...

Round up ready corn story......

The farmer where I got access to hunt this year did not plant round up ready corn and sprayed his whole crop. It wasnt a huge crop but it was alot of it. He killed all of it. Wasnt worth a crap, so that is important stuff.
 

jagermeister

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#10
Like Chad said, switchgrass takes a while to establish, and IMO I don't think it's going to be worth the effort for an area of that size. However, if that's the way you want to go, contact your local fire dept about doing a controlled burn. Sometimes they will use the opportunity for a training exercise.

FWIW I'll put in my 2 cents. My first choice would be hinge cutting. That would result in the fastest results and is extremely effective. Since that doesn't seem to be an option, I would recommend just letting nature take its course. The property I hunt in Carroll County has two areas that used to be mowed two or three times a year, and were used as pasture. After some persuading a several years ago, the mowing stopped and the cows are gone. Now these areas are so thick you can't even walk through them and the deer utilize them like you wouldn't believe. Corn is a great alternative too, but IMO the natural growth will be thicker and provide just as much, if not more, valuable food via woody browse.... not to mention you'll have virtually no sweat equity in it.

No matter which way you go, just doing something is going to be better than doing nothing at all... so you really can't go wrong dude.
 

hickslawns

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#11
Chad- Have you done some "deer habitat" work on any large scale properties? My buddy and I are in the process of developing his farm strictly for hunting.
 

Gern186

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#12
Chad- Have you done some "deer habitat" work on any large scale properties? My buddy and I are in the process of developing his farm strictly for hunting.
Yes, my uncle owns an 80 acre farm and we have been doing things there for quite a few years now....I never hunt there, we kind of keep it for a place to take the kids, wives, and grandpa. We have a tractor, disk, harrigator, and a 6 row john deer planter, and a chopper also. Last year we planted a lot of corn on his farm and at my house and we are leaving it stand until this spring.
 

Mike

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#13
I don't know much, but one of the small woods I hunt (where I took my two does this year) was logged in the spring of last year. What a bummer that was. Two of the three owners of the wood block let loggers come in a cut all of the mature oaks. They took the trunk wood and left the tops. Some of those trees had 125 rings! Well, let me tell you that since the canopy was opened up, that woods is thicker than shit! With all of the oak tops left in place and all of the new growth, it's made an excellent bedding area.