I have a small plot of land at my duck hunting club that is my personal hunting space. I see myself hunting this same plot of land for the next 20 or more years. This was my first year hunting this property and I saw a good number of deer (missed 3 ). Since this is my dedicated spot, I plan on improving the plot to attract and hold more deer to my specific area.
The area is about 8-10 acres of mostly brush and bordered by dirt roads on two sides and water and islands on the other two sides. The deer travel into the property to bed down in the brush. I've had good luck seeing deer moving to the bedding area in the morning and heading out in the evening. They mill around the small amount of open area and browse along the roads. They bed in the brush and out on the islands.
I picked up a couple of cheap apple trees last fall and planted them.
My plans are to open up the trails they travel.
In the area where my stand is it is more open than the rest. I plan to clear brush to open this up some more, so there is more food for the deer.
I plan to plant some trees around the edges of the open area by my stand. Any thought on what trees to plant (e.g., apple and specific species of oaks)? Any thoughts on what I should plant in the open area (e.g., alf alfa, etc.)? What makes good winter feed? I've heard the deer will dig things like turnips in the winter.
There is also two shallow ponds near my stand. Are there any water plants that would attract deer?
Should I clear some brush out in the bedding area? It is really, really thick in a lot of areas. Is it worth while to go out there and thin it out.
What should my priorities be? I'm taking a very long term view. This year was my first season hunting the property. I saw a decent number of deer including two mature buck and one young buck with good potential. I'm more worried about filling the freezer than taking a trophy. It's archery only.
BTW, I'm going to replace my old piece of junk bow with a new one. That along with more practice will probably be more beneficial than anything else I do. I still can't believe I blew 3 very easy shots.
Here's what my spot looks like. The deer head out the lower left hand corner to feed and move along the travel routes I identify and bed in the upper half of the area and beyond. BTW I cannot hunt on the other sides of the dirt roads. That is other people's areas.
Any thought will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.