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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
My cousin from Northern Missouri came to southwest AR where I live one time. He said I dont know how you guys ever kill a deer in all these woods down here. He said they get a week of rifle season and he (or someone else) almost always kills his target buck within the first few days. I said we have almost two months of firearm season and we rarely see our target buck.
Yes I completely understand. I grew up hunting in that two month gun season zone. I think over 30 years I killed maybe 3 bucks in that 4 1/2 yo range. Tough hunting for mature deer. 8 years ago I decided I was selling and moved to a couple weekend Gun hunt zone and never regretted it. I went from maybe every three years having a decent shooter to now having up to 15 target bucks a year. The differences is just crazy. But I’ll say this, if AGFC would limit those gun days there those other areas would have an abundance of mature bucks. Of course I know there’s exceptions and I know some have some great mature bucks but they also have land themselves or nearby with little hunting pressure in the thousands acres.
 

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Yes I completely understand. I grew up hunting in that two month gun season zone. I think over 30 years I killed maybe 3 bucks in that 4 1/2 yo range. Tough hunting for mature deer. 8 years ago I decided I was selling and moved to a couple weekend Gun hunt zone and never regretted it. I went from maybe every three years having a decent shooter to now having up to 15 target bucks a year. The differences is just crazy. But I’ll say this, if AGFC would limit those gun days there those other areas would have an abundance of mature bucks. Of course I know there’s exceptions and I know some have some great mature bucks but they also have land themselves or nearby with little hunting pressure in the thousands acres.
Yes Sir... Exactly...
 

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Took me a lot of years to realize the value of clover. Back when I started food plotting - in 1979 - food plots were used strictly for the attraction of game for hunting purposes. Then, twenty years ago folks started planting beans for deer in the summer - more because they new it would hold deer on their property during the summer and they could hunt beans during the fall - without really realizing the tremendous benefit to the herd that most legumes provide.

I started planting beans for summer food plots about twelve years ago. I could grow some great looking bean fields back then. We didnt have many deer or many hogs. I planted beans to keep deer on my place during the summer and I knew the beans were high in protein and could help with antler development.

We quit killing our does about ten years ago when we figured out we were part of the problem. We have a very low fawn recruitment. You have to have doe fawns - that live to breeding age - to grow your herd. You can grow your deer herd with few does and high fawn recruitment or a lot of does and low fawn recruitment. I now have the latter.

After five or six years of shooting no does, we were seeing quite a few more deer. They started eating up the beans when they sprouted, so I had to find a new summer high protein food plot planting. I had always planted a little clover here and there but never made it my main planting. But the more I planted, replacing the failing beans, the more I saw the benefits. You plant it once and it lasts for years - no annual spring preparation and planting. Very low maintenance. I dont use fertilizer anymore for deer food plot - spring or fall. Hogs dont destroy it. It is inexpensive. $30 per acre for Durana that lasts eight or ten years is pretty dang cheap.

All my clover plots become the center of the home range for a doe family. Northern deer managers, where deer densities can be very high (because they dont have long enough seasons;)), caution against creating “doe factories” - high protein summer food plots which tend to increase the likelihood that doe groups will fawn and stay on your property. That is exactly what I want. I started noticing that. I have spent my life in natural resource management, planted all kinds of food plots over the last forty years, but have learned a lot of things since I have owned my own property and lived with the deer. I know individual deer now, I see where they live, how many fawns they have, what those fawns do later in life, etc. Many managers believe that most buck fawns will eventually leave the does and move to new territory, while about half the doe fawns will stay with the family group. I cant vouch for the buck fawns moving out of the area - I tend to believe that based upon several things I see but wont get into.

I do firmly believe that many of the doe fawns stay with the family groups. I see this playing out all over my place. Almost all of My clover food plots have their own family group of does. Perennial clover is front and center of my deer management. If I had to make a choice of fall cereal grains to hunt over or clover plots - I would give up planting wheat. At my place, clover usually does not provide enough forage during hunting season to attract deer - it has not yet recovered from summer heat. Clover usually does not become attractive at my place until late Dec.

In my opinion, wheat and oats are for the hunter and clover is for the benefit of the deer.
 

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Personally, I try to keep up with deer harvest each week of the season. I know a couple of years ago, there were just over 100 bucks killed in the two weeks after thanksgiving weekend in my county on somewhere around 350,000 acres considered to be deer habitat in my county. That is one buck harvested per 3500 acres in two weeks. I dont think that has that great of an effect on the buck quality. Also consider how many of those same bucks might also have been killed during a shorter season with hunters thinking “Oh, I only have two weeks of season so I better get what I can when I get the chance” - and actually increase the harvest during the first two weeks. Also consider some of those same bucks, if they lived because the season was two weeks shorter, would probably be killed during the late ml season, the Christmas Hunt, the late youth hunt, by bow hunters, predators, autos, buck fights, disease, etc. No way can you assume those 100 some odd extra bucks would be alive next year to be bigger bucks.

We dont have as many deer in my area as we did during the first ten years of this century. But, between my wife and I, we also averaged hitting a deer every year in our cars during those times. I know us hunters often give the insurance companies some bad press when it comes to g&f increasing seasons and bag limits - but it is a pain in the butt when you hit a deer and have to deal with getting the car repaired or replaced.

To be honest, and I am not speaking of any area in particular, only the state in general - the annual harvest has remained remarkably consistent. While AR offers a reasonable chance at a quality buck, I believe most of that is due to hunters managing what they shoot, and not so much a result of g&f management.

For those folks hunting in the farm country of the NE part of state - I would be worried as heck with the easing of deer hunting restrictions. Your deer dont have the whole county to hide in like our deer. And one thing for sure - it is a whole lot easier to shoot them out than get them back.
 

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Personally, I try to keep up with deer harvest each week of the season. I know a couple of years ago, there were just over 100 bucks killed in the two weeks after thanksgiving weekend in my county on somewhere around 350,000 acres considered to be deer habitat in my county. That is one buck harvested per 3500 acres in two weeks. I dont think that has that great of an effect on the buck quality. Also consider how many of those same bucks might also have been killed during a shorter season with hunters thinking “Oh, I only have two weeks of season so I better get what I can when I get the chance” - and actually increase the harvest during the first two weeks. Also consider some of those same bucks, if they lived because the season was two weeks shorter, would probably be killed during the late ml season, the Christmas Hunt, the late youth hunt, by bow hunters, predators, autos, buck fights, disease, etc. No way can you assume those 100 some odd extra bucks would be alive next year to be bigger bucks.

We dont have as many deer in my area as we did during the first ten years of this century. But, between my wife and I, we also averaged hitting a deer every year in our cars during those times. I know us hunters often give the insurance companies some bad press when it comes to g&f increasing seasons and bag limits - but it is a pain in the butt when you hit a deer and have to deal with getting the car repaired or replaced.

To be honest, and I am not speaking of any area in particular, only the state in general - the annual harvest has remained remarkably consistent. While AR offers a reasonable chance at a quality buck, I believe most of that is due to hunters managing what they shoot, and not so much a result of g&f management.

For those folks hunting in the farm country of the NE part of state - I would be worried as heck with the easing of deer hunting restrictions. Your deer dont have the whole county to hide in like our deer. And one thing for sure - it is a whole lot easier to shoot them out than get them back.
Thank you Sir...Agreed.
We started with the game and Fish Acer's for Wildlife.back in the late 70 early 80s...My dad won several award's for his food plots....That he mixed with the packets we got,Cow peas, Ledina (Wrong spelling)clover...And lespedeza,..G&F would send packets of Trees, Improved oaks Walnut, bicolor Lespedeza...and others...We have sense added,Blue stem and vetech.....
Thanks All...
 

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Yes I completely understand. I grew up hunting in that two month gun season zone. I think over 30 years I killed maybe 3 bucks in that 4 1/2 yo range. Tough hunting for mature deer. 8 years ago I decided I was selling and moved to a couple weekend Gun hunt zone and never regretted it. I went from maybe every three years having a decent shooter to now having up to 15 target bucks a year. The differences is just crazy. But I’ll say this, if AGFC would limit those gun days there those other areas would have an abundance of mature bucks. Of course I know there’s exceptions and I know some have some great mature bucks but they also have land themselves or nearby with little hunting pressure in the thousands acres.
Been telling these guys that for years.
They pretty much just give me the finger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Sagebrush doesn’t have much use on the food side but for winter bedding it’s ideal. This is one example of a small sage section that I created for bedding. Does will place fawns in that bedding while they feed in spring and summer. Transition into winter and it gives a great thermal protection from wind. The grasses that mingle with sagebrush gives a great bed. They can look around the sage and still see. I’ve found that these small clumps deer prefer better because they can observe the field next to it. 20 something years ago I found this out, where I had a 10 acre field of sage. And right beside it I had a finger of trees that border it and came to a point. Deer would always prefer to bed in that finger of sagebrush because they could see all around. Had another example where we had let the grass grow up around a well head behind the house out in a 40 acre field. Deer bedded next to that well constantly out in the open field.
I know bedding is a topic most don’t discuss but you can provide the best of food and if you don’t have bedding close your wasting time. I always set aside ground for bedding. I’ve actually got stands and this picture is one where I can access my stand without blowing that field out. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen bucks and does get up after sun up out of that patch of sage. It’s about 100 yards to my stand. There’s no way they can see me get in that stand. I now will glass that clump once sun rises.
Sky Plant community Ecoregion Plant Natural environment
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Personally, I try to keep up with deer harvest each week of the season. I know a couple of years ago, there were just over 100 bucks killed in the two weeks after thanksgiving weekend in my county on somewhere around 350,000 acres considered to be deer habitat in my county. That is one buck harvested per 3500 acres in two weeks. I dont think that has that great of an effect on the buck quality. Also consider how many of those same bucks might also have been killed during a shorter season with hunters thinking “Oh, I only have two weeks of season so I better get what I can when I get the chance” - and actually increase the harvest during the first two weeks. Also consider some of those same bucks, if they lived because the season was two weeks shorter, would probably be killed during the late ml season, the Christmas Hunt, the late youth hunt, by bow hunters, predators, autos, buck fights, disease, etc. No way can you assume those 100 some odd extra bucks would be alive next year to be bigger bucks.

We dont have as many deer in my area as we did during the first ten years of this century. But, between my wife and I, we also averaged hitting a deer every year in our cars during those times. I know us hunters often give the insurance companies some bad press when it comes to g&f increasing seasons and bag limits - but it is a pain in the butt when you hit a deer and have to deal with getting the car repaired or replaced.

To be honest, and I am not speaking of any area in particular, only the state in general - the annual harvest has remained remarkably consistent. While AR offers a reasonable chance at a quality buck, I believe most of that is due to hunters managing what they shoot, and not so much a result of g&f management.

For those folks hunting in the farm country of the NE part of state - I would be worried as heck with the easing of deer hunting restrictions. Your deer dont have the whole county to hide in like our deer. And one thing for sure - it is a whole lot easier to shoot them out than get them back.
It is a concern . I don’t think it’s really a good call to ask the entire state whether they think we (Delta) should have added 5 days for one zone and 7 days for another of gun season. I just don’t think that’s an accurate judgement to decide if folks agree or not.
So after talking to the AGFC we killed more than they expected last year in our particular zones in the delta. They said they will be keeping an eye on it.

My concern and my zones are not affected yet, but these CWD regs. I disagree wholeheartedly with this type of management. We can kill all the deer and restock and guess what CWD last millions of years in the soil, so it’s something we just have to live with no different than EHD. So they should place the 3 pt rule back and let folks feed in Jan.

I started planning for my ground to be in CWD regulations two years ago. And mainly that’s to have stands positioned on foodplots for bow shots. If you don’t have good late season food your toast. I do a lot of hunting in January so it’s crucial for me personally to be ready.
 

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4 parcels, 4 counties , 340 acres total.
I tell folks fairly often that if I was buying land strictly for deer hunting, I would most likely have many more mature bucks on four smaller parcels as compared to one equal acreage larger parcel. I have one block of 300 acres and one 60 acre parcel and the sixty acre parcel will usually have almost as many mature bucks visiting as the 300 acres. Last year, it had more. Granted, on smaller parcels, you are sharing your bucks more often with your neighbors. When I started buying my home ground of 300 acres, I started off with 12 acres and one food plot. We killed as many mature bucks out of that one food plot as we do on three hundred acres and ten food plots. We have a very few more mature bucks now, but we spread them out over ten food plots, making them harder to meet up with. When we had one food plot, someone was sitting in it most of deer season. Now, we have food plots that go unhunted during season.

However, having different pieces of property can sure be a logistical nightmare moving equipment around. I think to really pass deer and have a reasonable chance they are going to have reduced exposure to the neighbor’s, you have to have a lot of acreage - probably at least 2000. I have two different neighbors with a little over 1000 acres each. Nowhere on their property is over a mile wide - that means from the dead middle, a buck only has to walk a half mile to be on the neighbor’s land. Not many of us can afford 2000 acres.

Now I use the term mature bucks - 4 years or older - not necessarily quality deer. A fair many of our bucks wont ever hit 130” - even at five or six years old. We have at least seven mature bucks on our property, and for sure two - and maybe three - wouldnt hit 130. Two wouldnt hit 100. Location within the state can have almost as much bearing on antlers as age. Wouldnt doubt your 3.5 yr old average about the same as our 5 yr old. Nevertheless - a sure enough good one shows up now and again.
 

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It is a concern . I don’t think it’s really a good call to ask the entire state whether they think we (Delta) should have added 5 days for one zone and 7 days for another of gun season. I just don’t think that’s an accurate judgement to decide if folks agree or not.
So after talking to the AGFC we killed more than they expected last year in our particular zones in the delta. They said they will be keeping an eye on it.

My concern and my zones are not affected yet, but these CWD regs. I disagree wholeheartedly with this type of management. We can kill all the deer and restock and guess what CWD last millions of years in the soil, so it’s something we just have to live with no different than EHD. So they should place the 3 pt rule back and let folks feed in Jan.

I started planning for my ground to be in CWD regulations two years ago. And mainly that’s to have stands positioned on foodplots for bow shots. If you don’t have good late season food your toast. I do a lot of hunting in January so it’s crucial for me personally to be ready.
I agree. I always fault those surveys where folks can respond about restrictions in a specific zone or wma where they have never hunted or going to hunt. Sure not fair to the hunters who frequent those areas.

As far as cwd goes, I have always read where specific cwd regs are are responsible for the deaths of more deer than is cwd. I fear the day it shows up in my area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
I tell folks fairly often that if I was buying land strictly for deer hunting, I would most likely have many more mature bucks on four smaller parcels as compared to one equal acreage larger parcel. I have one block of 300 acres and one 60 acre parcel and the sixty acre parcel will usually have almost as many mature bucks visiting as the 300 acres. Last year, it had more. Granted, on smaller parcels, you are sharing your bucks more often with your neighbors. When I started buying my home ground of 300 acres, I started off with 12 acres and one food plot. We killed as many mature bucks out of that one food plot as we do on three hundred acres and ten food plots. We have a very few more mature bucks now, but we spread them out over ten food plots, making them harder to meet up with. When we had one food plot, someone was sitting in it most of deer season. Now, we have food plots that go unhunted during season.

However, having different pieces of property can sure be a logistical nightmare moving equipment around. I think to really pass deer and have a reasonable chance they are going to have reduced exposure to the neighbor’s, you have to have a lot of acreage - probably at least 2000. I have two different neighbors with a little over 1000 acres each. Nowhere on their property is over a mile wide - that means from the dead middle, a buck only has to walk a half mile to be on the neighbor’s land. Not many of us can afford 2000 acres.

Now I use the term mature bucks - 4 years or older - not necessarily quality deer. A fair many of our bucks wont ever hit 130” - even at five or six years old. We have at least seven mature bucks on our property, and for sure two - and maybe three - wouldnt hit 130. Two wouldnt hit 100. Location within the state can have almost as much bearing on antlers as age. Wouldnt doubt your 3.5 yr old average about the same as our 5 yr old. Nevertheless - a sure enough good one shows up now and again.
I figured out years ago it was better to spread out than to put all my eggs in one basket. On moving equipment, yes I tried that for several years, it would take me 6-7 days to work plots and sow seed. Then it might dry out or army worms hit and I’d go back in and top seed. That’s when I figured I’d go clover completely. Now it’s not bad. I never had to transport a tractor last two years and that’s nice. I can pretty much do everything with ATV. Family has a tract in the Ozarks that they don’t plot because the ground is just not plantable. Super rocky, water runs off fertilizer and just poor ground. So we just feed and rely on acorns. We tried for years to have plots there and it’s just not tillable. But it has some good deer there but nothing real big with mass. Occasionally though a good one will be killed there. My other three tracts are all good. Age structure is good but occasionally we might have a down year on one tract. So we just bounce around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
I saw a guy on facebook last year posting a pic of himself dropping off his deer head at a CWD testing site and he said, Doing my part.

The very last thing I will do is take a deer to a cwd test site if it hasn't already been found in my area.
Doing his part!!! Sure buddy, hope you enjoyed your time hunting because things about to change if you find CWD. I’m sorry but if I got a sick deer guess what? I got a sick deer and going in and killing all the other healthy deer with the ideal that’s going to slow the spread is lunacy. Now you have less deer and guess what, you still have CWD in the ground. I’m willing to let nature run it’s course than to go in and shoot all the deer.
So think in these terms. You got 100 deer in a 640 acre block. One deer is CWD positive. So you go in and shoot 75 deer. You have 24 deer left. You don’t know if the remaining 24 deer have CWD. We know one deer can travel up to 14 miles. I know deer that traveled 7 miles within a 24 hr period. So all you accomplished was reducing your herd by 75% and you didn’t contain the disease. One deer can still travel and hit another area. The folks back on the 640 block now don’t really have the deer to even hunt. And the herd coming up might still have CWD. So what’s the point ? It’s almost like the point of the unvaccinated wearing a mask to protect the vaccinated. Or Vice versus. Stupidity. Let’s kill all the deer to protect the deer from getting diseased.
 
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