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Stressless ridgetop 'Spoil' food plot creation

Stressless

Active Member
630
44
Keene, OH
With almost no flat land on the farm and needing an attractant up on the limited ridges on the farm I selected an area that met the goals outlined below. Everyone should know the issues of thermals and swirling winds in bowls and valleys so I'll leave that one alone for now: Which is why this plot is 'on-top'. This ridge is a decent cruising location during the rut but there wasn't anything 'holding' the does around there as it was mature canopy. Watching the behavoir around plots for the last two years I knew if I could get a plot on that ridge and not spook he does off during the afternoon feeding, it will be a killer draw. It's aligned N-S with ponds that bottleneck deer movement.

Spoil Plot design/size (light green box in the pic) was done on Google Earth Pro (Free) using the Polygon feature.
Spoil.JPG


I looked into a dozer to shove trees over and move ground around but to access it via the existing bike path the clearance was only 6' wide, I'd have to widen 250 yards of trail to get equipment there, loose a bunch of trees and time, added costs and huge topsoil disturbance. Also no way to get the AGlime spreader there - it's 11' wide. So for two years I thought on how to do this with these goals:
  • Installed in 2-3 total days
  • 1/4 - 1/3 acre
  • Maintainable / access by bike, Mowing, Seeding, Lime (pelletized), Spraying
  • Not disturb the loam, very little topsoil that exists ontop that 70 year old strip mining spoil bank
It boiled down to getting it done via manpower and equipment I could get back there via the 6' cleanace. I marked it as the planned size above, just over 1/4 acre. Cince I was in Sept I deceided to go with annuals and frost seed in this spring, thank goodness!! This falls' drought started the day I planted in Sept and didn't rain there until mid Oct. So for folks that might consider this method, I have been doing semi-pro chainsawing for a couple decades. Always safety first, get a good helmet, toss bag, rope and learn to use them to safely drop trees before ever going into a knot of mature trees....

I setup a Browning Dark Ops (my goto gamecam) to record the plot going in. Basically it's in this order:
  1. Fell trees (experience will tell you how many before you need to do step two)
  2. Delimb and bunk the trunks - repeat step one until done felling trees
  3. Get the limbs and trunk bunks out of the plot
  4. Get the stumps out (I went with a grinder instead of plow or dozer) on the plot
  5. Seed
  6. Lime (I know the ridge is hot based on the forest and being a strip spoil bank. Max application by agronomists is 2 Ton / acre per application)
In the 1/4 acre 'Spoil' plot I put down 1,000# pelletized lime, I will add another 1,000# this spring at greenup. After that I'll wait till Aug and take a soil sample to start dialing it in. I call this first bit or method "Bore Sighting" the food plot. No sence to toss fertializer on it when the pH is really low - just wasting money. Same reason I only put cheap annuals in. I put annual clover, radish, and cereal rye in Sep 2019, with the drought only some of the seed caught. Plan to frost seed perennial Red White Clover, Chicory, and Birdsfoot Trefoil, also Lime then fertilie in the fall after the soil sample.

Spoil Food Plot First Cut to final lime

I'll be adding to this thread as well as this plot gets established. Here are a couple other snaps for reference.

Spoil Plot Marked out with Yellow Tape.
20190908_111201.jpg


Spoil Plot mid way - And me thinking what the F%K WAS I THINKING... but smiling the whole time.
20190908_125436.jpg

Spoil Plot Finished
20190914_174314.jpg


Total costs;
  • 1 chain saw blade ($22)
  • Weekend rental mid-grade stump grinder ($270)
  • 1,000# Lime (25 bags) ($80)
  • Seed ($50)
  • Beer for the two buddies and myself (OUCH!!)
  • Bagging my buck that November while he was on that ridge, headed to check that plot? Pic of the bear in the plot and other bucks cruising it - Priceless!
IMG_0017.JPG


South end of Spoil Stand 45 days after cut.
16952.jpg
 
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Stressless

Active Member
630
44
Keene, OH
Blew off Spoil, the second seeding of cereal rye in mid-Oct caught decent, deer have eaten it down to chin-high. Picked up the frost seed special blend from Merit and 1,000#'s pelletized lime - the lime and seed go in tomorrow - gonna be a good spot this fall.


20200211_154303 Spoil.jpg


Just barely dry enough to blow...
IMG_0007 (2) spoil.JPG


and after...
IMG_0022 (2) spoil.JPG


20200211_195216[1].jpg


It'll be interesting to take the same picture below in mid-Oct...
20200211_172500 spoils.JPG


Refreshed the Mineral Lick 2:1:1 down the ridge, the licking branch (grapevine) is getting used many times a day by the whole herd.
IMG_0900.JPG
 

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bowhunter1023

Administrator
Staff member
45,142
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Appalachia
That's a good looking plot. Well done. Birdsfoot often gets overlooked as a quality food source for deer, but I can attest to it's draw after years in the pipeline business in WV. It will grow just about anywhere and in areas with limited food sources, they deer seek it out like it's a corn pile. I created a custom blend for my best landowners and birdsfoot was a key component in it.
 

Stressless

Active Member
630
44
Keene, OH
Finally got to look at the card I pulled from the camera that took dump overwatching Spoil Plot... Very glad I did - A couple nice video's of some Core bucks using Spoil plot - as designed.

The second one - starts with a buck Magic Trick by Dutton pulling an acorn out of Herdstorm's ear!

Niles:

Dutton and Herdstorm - Trick and Sparing
 
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Stressless

Active Member
630
44
Keene, OH
Extremely happy with this plot. It created movement along the ridge and provides a quality food source where none was available within ~600 yds. The frost today will knock the perennials down but the rye I overseeded is coming up nicely to continue the draw/movement. IT's a wave of lush green in the brown.

20201110_141311.jpg


As of 10 Nov the BFT was mowed chin high, the clover and chicory is beating the grazing pressure and is 10" high.
20201110_133947.jpg
 
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Stressless

Active Member
630
44
Keene, OH
Hit Spoil plot with IMOX (6oz + 4# Ammonium Sulfate/ acre) last week, clover seems to have won out over the BFT or the BFT is just late getting started. I did frost seed more BFT, chicory and clover into it in early March. The overseeded cereal rye from last fall will be terminated by the IMOX.

Only sporadic grasses and some left over mutiflora rose growing in the plot.

Turkey haven't used it but the deer are feeding heavy daily and not over browsing growth rate.

21778.jpeg


20210429_091550.jpg


Very pleased with how this one turned out.
 

Stressless

Active Member
630
44
Keene, OH
well.... I'm not disappointed. @bowhunter1023 -22 months less but that's from clearing to these pics.

Sprayed a fairly light coat of IMOX 20 Apr due to manifold operator error... anywho - the Winter Rye WR almost all got hit by the IMOX and either killer or stunted very nicely.

Opposite side the plot from the other pano shots of Spoil.
Spoil 21_06.JPG


Chicory and BFT doing well againt the clovers - after I clip them in a couple days about 7-8" it'll be a hay field.
20210610_191359.jpg


and this guy just crashing belly first into the salad bar....

IMG_0936-001.JPG
 
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