Hi all. I just closed on 40 acres in eastern KS, about an hour from my home. My family is very excited about this. As I've never owned ground before, hunted only as a child and grew up "in-town" I'm sure I've got a lot to learn about managing a small farm for agriculture and hunting. To be clear my goals for the ground are to earn some current return from the hay pasture and to hunt and make a small homestead on the balance.
The ground was part of a 50 acre tract. A prior owner split off 10 acres (with a house) from its SE corner. This makes my 40 acres ell-shaped.
About 25 acres is terraced hay pasture in the north and east of the tract. The remaining 15 acres is mostly wooded with sporadic small clearings. One clearing in the back is about three acres. There are two small ponds. One is clearly spring fed as it still has clear water in it (even though the last year has been extremely dry.) The other may have a small spring as it is very muddy but there is no standing water.
The ground slopes from its northeast to the southwest with the low point being on the west property line about 400' from the southwest corner. The western and southern properties are heavily wooded and unoccupied.
There are lots of deer sign, i.e., scat, rubs, hoof prints, trails and I even found a recently broken off antler (looks like a young buck lost a painful fight). There are also many large turkey tracks. I've seen some large rabbits but not a lot. I have heard at least one pack of coyotes howling from the east. There is no sign of any feral hogs.
From a hunting perspective, I've identified some large trees (12" diameter or larger trunks) that overlook the ponds and obvious trails. And I've got pretty good shooting lanes with topography allowing me to keep bullets completely on my property. The ground is fenced and posted (although the purple paint and signs could be freshened) along the road. The non-road perimeter is either not fenced or in grave disrepair.
So here is where I need some guidance and advice. I know to put out a feeder or two. Does anybody have a recommendation on any particular type/brand/model to use? Am I correct that any feed corn will suffice? Or do I need to get corn labeled as "deer corn". Should I run the feeders year round (except shortly before and during deer season, KS law:()? How big do the food plots need to be? Is one larger plot sufficient? Or should I do a couple of small plots as well? What's a good beginner caller for the coyotes? (I know to watch the wind and their circling around.) I'd like to clear some of the brambles but don't want to run the deer off. Should I do a couple of hours clearing every second or third week in the spring and early summer? Or should I just take a couple of days in early spring and get it all at once? Will building a small homestead and shed in the spring and early summer ruin the hunting this season or next? Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
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January 1, 2013, 02:09 PM
Range cake ( 12 % protein) works good for feeding deer even an occasional few flakes alphalfa hay and a few hand fulls of sweet chop. I've never fallen for the "deer corn" though and don't use a feeder. I just cast it around.
January 1, 2013, 03:05 PM
Congrats on the property.
Just a few thoughts for your consideration:
* be sure the locals know that you bought the farm to hunt on.( you dont want any "but I have hunted this for yrs" confrontations on opening day.
* get some cameras up and see what game animals you have to work with.
* liability insurance is pretty cheap.
* get some private property signs and put 'em up
* plant 2 plots to different crops (several reasons)
* find and print a satellite image map for reference and other uses.
January 1, 2013, 03:18 PM
It sure sounds like you got yourself a great place there, I must say I am a bit jealous myself.:D I have a small place of just over 100 acres and I can shed a little light on what I do through the year. I may not be able to do everything I want but I keep a few deer around for the daughter and grandsons to look at and hunt once in a while.
So here is where I need some guidance and advice. I know to put out a feeder or two. Does anybody have a recommendation on any particular type/brand/model to use? Am I correct that any feed corn will suffice? Or do I need to get corn labeled as "deer corn". Should I run the feeders year round (except shortly before and during deer season, KS law)?
I built my own feeders after years of being disappointed by store bought junk. I use the same things they do but I build them to suit me rather than to suit the masses. Here is a link to a place which has most of what I use as far as tops and funnels,
Texas Direct Hunting Products (http://www.texasdirecthunting.com/servlet/StoreFront)
They carry the galvanized lids and aluminum spun funnels which will last you as long as you feel up to filling the feeders or until mother nature strikes them down. You won['t have any issues with the squirrels or raccoons chewing the funnel lip off and dumping your feed.
I also use Magnum feeder motors which can be found in plenty of places or from their site here,
Magnum Hunting Products (http://www.magnumhunting.com/)
Why do I use Magnum verses others, I simply liked their product. I have been using 5 of them for close to 20 years and the only issue I have had is the timers. Those have been replaced as needed through the years with the Remington feeder timers,The ALL NEW PT-6 (http://www.remingtonfeeders.com/product_pages/timer_units/index.html) Not because I liked them better than any others but they were available locally and they are simple to operate and they last. I haven't had to change a single motor in the Magnums as of yet. Just a drop of oil in the top bearing every once in a while and they go and go and go. The other thing I like about the Remington timer is that it works on both 6 or 12 volts and that makes it handy depending on what I might have available at the time thats charged and ready to put in.
As for feed, I use a mix of corn and 20% protein, usually in a 1-1 ratio and I mix it as I put it in so it will spin out good. If you don't the protein will get damp and clog up the funnel. Just a trick I learned through the years. You can get either one usually at your local feed store, it doesn't have to be a name brand and in fact some of the local stuff is just as good as the higher priced Purina or other name brands. I feed it as close to year round as I can except in the early spring when there is plenty of other natural browse available. As soon as I see the fawns I am all over it, pouring it to them.
How big do the food plots need to be? Is one larger plot sufficient? Or should I do a couple of small plots as well? What's a good beginner caller for the coyotes? (I know to watch the wind and their circling around.)
Your best bet for food plots is Iron and Clay peas, and which ever perennial clover will grow in your area. Before putting anything in the ground however get soil samples in every location you want to put them and have it tested. Then follow your Ag recommendations on fertilizing. Trust me when I say it is night and day differences. I am on a limited budget and I do what I can. I have seen first hand what can be, and simply what is, when it comes to doing it right. I usually do good to afford to put it in the ground and anything else it icing on the cake, even so I have had great and so so food plots, and they both will draw, but the fertile ones are the best in the long run. Even if all you can do is lime it is better than nothing. Plant as much as you can afford to put out, and it will be eaten. Once they find it and know it is there they will mow it down. i plant a 4 acre plot and it usually last until it gets about 8" tall and they wipe it out. So plant a LOT and plant everywhere you can. I ordered my clovers from Seedland , Seedland Seeds (http://www.seedland.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=Seedland)
I did about six months research on them and ordered the best for our area drought resistant and poor soil, I got the Durana and something else and mixed them together, and have to admit after 5 years some of it still comes back every fall and spring. I haven't done anything to spur it on either as much as I would have liked to. The deer love it as well.
I'd like to clear some of the brambles but don't want to run the deer off. Should I do a couple of hours clearing every second or third week in the spring and early summer? Or should I just take a couple of days in early spring and get it all at once?
You want to dress up the place but you don't want to get overly carried away. You need areas of brush and undergrowth as this also is browse for the deer and other wildlife. IF you have an invasive species like youpon or similar you can clear that out as much as you want, but leave a few small areas for cover and browse. The deer need an area of sanctuary where you do nothing but maybe go through and fill a feeder once in a while or put in a food plot and go away. They will adjust to you being in and around the area
working and what not, as long as you leave them a few areas to themselves. In the pasture I plant my food plot I have two hanging feeders, along with what ever I plant. It is a 15 acre pasture we set aside for the deer to do their thing and for the most part we stay out of it. I let the underbrush go and the grasses grow as it will, as well. This gives them a place to their own, where they feel safe and not bothered by us. While I don't have an overabundance of deer in there I DO have close to a dozen does which reside there or in other parts of our property year round and there are a few which have their fawns within 50 yards of the house sometimes. Thing is, if you have the does, the bucks will come.
Will building a small homestead and shed in the spring and early summer ruin the hunting this season or next? Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
We have a house there in fact my mother lives in it year round. WE built several small sheds and out buildings as well, it hasn't bothered them one bit, see the above bit about fawns being born. I even have a shooting range down in the back with stands out to 300yds and we shoot up there quite a bit even during der season. It hasn't seemed to bother them much either, and it is in the pasture adjoining the 15 acre set aside. The property beside us also has shotgun ranges and sporting clay shoots once in a while and believe me when they get going it sounds like a war zone, but the deer still come and they still work on the feeders every day.
Yes they will spook a bit at first, but they adjust to it. Once they figure out your not out thee chasing them all over here and there, they relax and go about their routine. If your food plots are back a ways and surrounded by cover, chances are they might look up when you fire up a tractor or bang a hammer but they will go back to eating once they figure your not coming their way.
It is a LOT of work but to me it is worth it, and even if not I still feel I owe it to them being a steward of the land. As for the yotes, well they will always be there, if you shoot a few others will follow. It is a never ending cycle. I had 8 of them in one pasture a month back and could only manage to shoot one. They were out there and didn't even look up when I shot, the one just happened to come towards us and I nailed him at 287yds.
We fight the hogs more than the yotes. They will eat not only the food plots, and feed, but the fawns as well. Pretty much anything that don't eat them first, and some things that try. LOL They are smart as well and they learn fast, traps, and such simply don't always work. you have to mix it up and not being there every day I can't set them up and stay on top so I am limited to when I can catch them out in the open or in the brush and shoot as many as I can get by with. Best part is they make great table fare, so its not like there is a lot of waste. What I don't get, the yotes do, and I use them for bait as well.
Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with your new endeavor, and hope this helps. It is a labor of love as you will find out. You will have a TON of plans, but find out quickly the cost is sometimes very prohibitive. Don't give up on them just write them all down, and set aside a little here and there and it will add up. We just built a pond this past summer we have been wanting for nearly 10 years. In that time however, we purchased another 10 acres, a tractor and implements, a couple of conex boxes for storage, and a few other things. Like I said make a list, save, and set aside for the bigger things and they will come, just maybe not right up front. Speaking of those cargo boxes, if you can find a couple of 20 or 40 footers they make great storage and or even cabins, especially if you can set them up side by side and seal up the seam between them and cut out the sides in between. Do a search on them as well, it can save you some money on a few sheds and such.
Good Luck and have fun, oh and watch out for the ground hornets and bumble bees!!:what: You will find out what I mean once you start clearing and mowing. LOL
Oh and I think I have some pics up on my Photobucket page of my food plot, and I know some pics of the deer my daughter and grandson have gotten there. Feel free to give it a good look over.
January 1, 2013, 03:50 PM
I second .41 Mag's recommendation for Magnum Feeders. I have had a half dozen in service on my ranch for a dozen years.
I feed corn and feed twice daily during deer season (morning at daybreak and evening 1 hour before sunset) The rest of the year, I feed 3 times a week.
I recommend you get stainless (metal) windproof spinner plates. If you have any coons on your place or the wind blows hard, you will discover why that recommendation is valid. I also recommend the installation of varmint guards on EVERY feeder..reason?? Coons!!
Building a feeder ain't hard, P.M. me if you need help on the finer points.
When the feeders are up and running, put a trail camera on em to see what shows up and when.
Ain't nothing like having your own place where YOU make the rules!!
January 1, 2013, 08:11 PM
I've seen it happen over and over again where a hunter either camps or builds a hunting cabin on the exact spot on a property that is the center of the deer activity. Also, I feed deer all year long at my house and a 350 pound Boss Buck gravity feeder works really good. If there are cattle on the property you need to build a small pin around it to keep the cattle away. I feed whole corn purchased at a farm supply store and it costs about $10 for 50 pounds. It doesn't take long before the deer know how to eat out if it and it will pull in deer, turkey and wild hogs.
January 1, 2013, 10:37 PM
Pac, thanks for no feeder experience. Iíll definitely try it in a few of the small open areas.
KB, good idea on calling the neighbors. I donít think the property has been hunted on recently but it is best to be sure. Iíll check out some game cameras. Iím watching my budget so I donít get carried away with the excitement. Iím sure I can afford at least one, maybe two. Thanks for the reminder on the insurance. Iíll call the agent tomorrow.
41, Iíve bookmarked Texas Direct Hunting Products and Magnum Hunting Products. Looks like good stuff. Iíll think about the feeders overnight and call them tomorrow. The winch lift looks really convenient and a lot safer than climbing a ladder with bags of feed. Am I correct that you are using the 55 gallon feeders? How often do you have to fill them?
Iíll be sure to mix the protein and corn so it doesnít clog. Thatís a good tip. I need things to run smoothly as I wonít be on the property daily.
Iíll have the soil tested. Hopefully it wonít cost too much to amend but Iím guessing it will need something. Iíll research the clover for this area. Thanks for the Seedland Seeds link. Got it on planting as much as I can. The competition there will be from the wife who wants a garden but Iíve got an area in mind for that.
The only undergrowth I want to clear out are the thorn bushes. My youngest likes to still hunt (not that weíre any good at it) and the thorns make it a lot harder. It is going to be a pain as they are mixed together so I canít just cut it all down. The thorns arenít too bad now but Iíve walked another property where the thorns were taking over. (They were so thick there it was very difficult to walk through.)
I really appreciate all your insight. I do have plans but I also have a budget. Still debating on how big a tractor I really need. From the looks of it, the prior owner didnít mow much. She left a sickle but Iím not sure she used it. Iíll rent the pasture out so the real need for a tractor would be a post hole digger for adding and maintaining fences. I about choked on what a new compact tractor cost. I bet if I watch Craigís List I can find a used one much cheaper. I donít want to add a lot of equipment. I bought this place to make a little money on and to enjoy. Working on equipment doesnít seem to fit in either one of those categories.
And thanks for the reminder on the ground hornets. Several years ago I ran over a nest of them cutting my back yard. They got my undivided attention real quick. :eek: Neighbors thought I was having a seizure, hopping, rolling around on the ground and flailing my arms. :D
PS. Great pics of the grandson. He sure loves his grandpa. The joy on his face says his life is pretty good.
Pistol, thanks for spinner plate and varmint guard suggestions. I havenít seen them yet but coons have to be on the property. There is just too much forest for them not to be.
Sage, you hit on exactly what my wife and I have been discussing. Iím lucky she understands the shooting lane concept and keeping the structure out of the way. I think weíve settled on the inside corner of the ell. I wonít be shooting that direction anyway. If any deer come from that direction, Iíll be a lucky man as itís vacant property in foreclosure. No cattle yet but Iíll definitely keep your advice in mind.
January 1, 2013, 11:39 PM
Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day! Take your time and enjoy it. I've got 30 acres and the biggest mistake I think I made was trying to do too much, and not being able to really take care of the projects I started. The wildlife is already there for a reason, find out why and enhance it if you can. I've used pvc feeders as a cheap, low tech way to attract animals. You can find how to make them on Google. Wether or not you put up signs you will get trespassers from time to time. Unfortunately that seems to be a problem with every landowner I've talked to. Even ones with fenced in land. As far as puting in food plots, I've always been told its good to have something the deer won't get anywhere else locally. I'd recommend something like that that also becomes edible for them during your hunting season. Learn to trap muskrats! They'll find your pond and multiply quickly to wreck it. One last thing, get a plant/tree identification book or two and learn what you have. It's very satisfying to know what you have out there, almost like learning a new language.
January 2, 2013, 12:17 AM
Tractors- there are many thoughts to tractors... 40 acres is big enough that I would not just consider compact tractors... smaller is NOT better...
An older quality american brand tractor can still have many years of service in it and even if a repair or three are needed you may be ahead. Do not necessarily jump on the first you find. remember also the tractor will be tax deductible against the income of the property also so no real need to go super cheap only to regret it later.
You may even be better off with several tractors instead of one. You need to read up and learn about tractors a bit I think. And likely a farm truck- not the pretty expensive ones most like but an honest beater to use!
January 2, 2013, 12:46 AM
I use 55 gallon steel drums, they will hold 350# of shelled corn. How long it will last depends on how often and how much corn you dole out with each feeding. During deer season in Texas, I feed twice a day for about 3 seconds run time on the spinner. One fill up will last for a couple of months. With a freshly charged 12 volt battery, the spinner will sling corn in about a 100' circle..
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