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Family Farm improvement??

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  • Family Farm improvement??

    Hi all, I was hoping to learn some of the first major go to things when trying to improve deer herd/a piece of land for hunting? I have lived on a large family farm in western Kentucky my entire life and up until about 8 to 10 years ago it has been managed fairly well by some family friends who lease it every year. Although they still lease the ground, they removed their last stands from the ground about 2 years ago and stopped planting food plots and managing the ground about 8 to 10 years ago. Knowing this and speaking to them and knowing they may not lease next year I am wanting to really get the farm into good shape. Im a 20 year old and though I would like to think I know what would do, I have no clue where to start on deer herd or land improvement. The farm is an old cattle farm and has a mix of hard timber and some scrap timber that has grown up in the old pastures over the years. I mean there are parts of the farm we cant even get to due to over growth. But my main question is where should I start? Regarding deer herd, we have produced amazing deer in the past but ever since the farm has stopped being managed as well, the more mature deer have moved to the neighbors ground etc. I genuinely want to learn what the best thing I can do is so I can transform and keep this already good piece of hunting ground to an amazing area that the family can enjoy for years to come. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    *Added note, I have access to heavy machinery and have thought of dozing some access paths back on the ground and creating some open spots within the scrappy timber for food plots but didnt want to do so until I got some advice from people who know a lot more about it than me.
    *Another added note the acreage is somewhere in the 800-900 area I believe is what I was told.
    Last edited by CuriousHunter52; 10-09-2019, 06:20 PM.

  • #2
    Check out the "Meateater" channel on YouTube. You've probably heard of Steven Rinella, from the Meateater TV show. On the YouTube channel, he and Outdoor Life writer Mark Kenyon have begun a series of videos that sound custom-made for you, all about turning a 40 or 50 acre patch of land into good habitat.


    • #3
      If the previous leaseholders are amenable to giving you advise, I would start there, especially if you feel like they did a good job.

      Deer generally need cover, food and water. Sounds like you may need to get some feed going to bring those big bucks back. As the previous bunch what they planted.


      • #4
        I have fond memories of hunting in Western Kentucky in the late 90's and early 2000's. My largest deer was taken in Kentucky as well as my longest shot.

        Here's some local sources of help:


        • #5
          Biggest question.
          What kind of equipment is at your disposal?
          How big?
          Equipment for it? Disc, brush hog, tiller, bucket?


          • #6
            I think that the linked podcast episode is one where managing property for deer habitat is discussed. You may find something useful in it.
            you will see how a creative guy or gal with a creative idea can build a reason for a high end land owner to need....... you on his property.


            • #7
              Thank you all for the replies and helpful links. FirstBubba regarding the equipment I have access to, I can get a hold of a tractor, tiller, bush hog, large bulldozer, a large excavator, and a skid steer.


              • #8
                Best of luck. Please let us know how it turns out


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CuriousHunter52 View Post
                  Thank you all for the replies and helpful links. FirstBubba regarding the equipment I have access to, I can get a hold of a tractor, tiller, bush hog, large bulldozer, a large excavator, and a skid steer.
                  With that type equipment available, let your conscience be your guide!
                  Scrape out openings, till and seed in food plots.

                  800 to 900 acres?

                  Egads and little fishes!
                  A whitetails "home area" is approximately 1 square mile or about 640 acres. (not necessarily a square! LOL!)

                  Deer are fringe animals. They work the edges of openings.

                  I'd be cautious about making changes to topography that may cause runs or gullies, but other than that, go for it.

                  At your age (20), I'd look into planting trees that deer favor.
                  White oaks are great mast producers. Pecan trees will draw not only deer, but turkeys and hogs too.
                  It takes a pecan tree 8 to 10 years to begin producing nuts.

                  Even apple and pear trees would be a draw.

                  If you can attract and hold does, the bucks will come.




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