Cutting edge site layout

There is an answer to achieve optimum hunting recreation for all property descriptions. Here is one answer if your property consists of partial woods and open farm - land. Think of the illustration (click here to see the illustration) as a tract of land of around 80 acres in a farm / forest transition area. The layout shows a property with approximately 30 acres of woods and 50 acres of farmland. In fact, this works for any size of land, large or small, all woods or all open land, just pick the info that applies. 

Timber and brush set up

The upper area consists of timber and brush and a sanctuary area heavy with lowland brush. This wooded parcel is used  for a single firearm site and a few bow sites. Note the two firearm food plots nestled against the sanctuary for safe and easy access for Bucko to access forage. The hunter quietly and without any alarm to deer accesses his blind using the right hand access path. He can see four food plot sources, with one being a multiple forage lane. In this lane we plant three different but delectable forages, that is very difficult for any deer to resist. Example, since this is a firearm site we choose cool season forage and start with a 15 feet wide lane of sugar beets, (sugar beets are hard to beat) a lane of winter wheat and a lane of alfalfa, (deer love alfalfa). The two nestled plots could be a blend of forage rape, (brassicaís) and Austrian winter peas, while the third and last plot a blend of perennials consisting of several clovers, chicory and alfalfa. We are encouraging Bucko and his friends to move about, with a smorgasbord of forage. Note the travel lanes leading from the sanctuary and the multiple food- plot lanes leading to the open field. These travel lanes are planted in a cover and forage blend ©. This combination blend serves several uses from deer travel lanes, access lanes, edge, privacy shield, crop field separations and larger deer bedding areas. The cover and forage blend has perennials from clover, chicory and alfalfa for seasonal forage blended with cool and warm season grasses such as timothy, Canada rye and switch grass for cover. Shown are five bow sites in carefully selected trees that border the travel lanes or the 15 feet wide edge © planted next to the timber. The travel lanes and the 15 feet wide edge also serve as a staging area as the deer check the area before venturing into the 45 feet wide bow and firearm multiple food plot lane.  

Open land set up

The remaining 50 acres has been farmed for many years and has a fine history of producing excellent farm crops. You may have farmed it yourself or leased it out to help pay the taxes and recreation upkeep. We now have a plan to add that 50 acres to that 30- acre hunting honey hole and still pay the taxes. Note the four- combination firearm and bow sites positioned around the perimeter of the 50 acres. Let the wind direction influence the site you use. You will need to spend a bit of time developing your plan for each site layout is designed around the features of your land. Your blinds need to be no more than four six and 1/2 feet long steel posts driven 1-1/2 feet into the ground and spaced 4-1/2 feet apart. The front posts are within two feet of the edge of the cover and forage blend planting. You can keep them apart with a length of 2X2 wood near the top of two steel posts. Secure the ends of the wood to the post. Take camo cloth and wrap it around the four posts, then secure it. If the crop is corn, use the corn and lay it on the wooden 2X2ís, then secure. I use two milk crates for my seat and either cut open sighting holes in the camo or arrange the corn to suit me. Another 2X2 can be secured between the front posts at the right height for my shooting piece rest. These are permanent blinds and are not alarming to deer. Note; a small one- man tent will work.  

Cover and forage blend ©

One main feature that makes this work is the cover and forage blend, ©. We just placed four blinds around the perimeter within the ©. This perimeter is now secure from sightseers. All food plots need to be placed in heavy cover or heavy cover planted around it. If the four plots in the timber and brush area is not in heavy cover, plant the © around it. The multiple lane firearm or bow site food plot in the upper area of the open land is surrounded with ©. This cover needs to be tall for the hunting seasons to lure deer especially bucks to use it for their travel and bedding area. Cover can be four feet tall during the late spring and summer months and hold both does with fawns and mature bucks. This is not the story after bucks shed their velvet. They demand thick and dense cover and the taller the better. Does will still be in the four feet tall stuff but rarely mature bucks unless that is the only place not visited by man. Now we arrange the interior of the open land with deer in mind. As much as possible create a large area centrally with the cover and forage blend. Think Cave in Rock switch grass for winter stand ability and tallness, (up to eight feet tall). Your cover cannot be too tall. Try to place centrally a water source and if dug out, place the diggings around the area to raise the elevation however slight. Plant trees of variety, (nut, fruit, conifer, brush etc) around the water source, plus add the cover and forage blend. The tall cover and forage blend, © will do itís job of holding deer alone as a bedding area. Adding the water source and the variety of trees around the water source now adds an oasis within the cover and forage blend, which draws deer like a magnet. This slightly raised oasis will be a major part of the deerís bedding area with a water source within being critical for maximum results. You will create cover and forage © separating lanes of 60 feet minimum between crop plantings. You can as shown create shooting lanes and food plots, (Food plot #4-5) within this ©. The crop can be whatever you and or your lessee decide. If you plant corn, the entire field will be a cover and forage field. When corn is the crop, you can create firearm- shooting lanes with a bucket on your tractor that is lowered within a foot of the soil surface. A couple passes will do. For an extended or later season add a pass or two. This works like dynamite. The deer feel quite safe within this narrow lane. No need to create wide lanes, (15 feet is fine). Of course this means you are leaving the corn standing through the firearm season. I have combined my corn in special locations right after the firearm season more than once. That made me happy twice, (had my deer and corn). As mentioned these four sites within the open field can be set up for both the firearm and bow seasons. Think of Food plot number 1-2 and 3 as bow site food plots along with the long multiple food plot lane. Use the above variety of forage thinking planted in the firearm timber and brush area. Expect around half or more of the open area to be used for cash crops. Most fields are variable in soil types. You can work with the lessee and make the plan favor him or your self if you are the producer for the better soils. 

Keep the fun in hunting

Ed Spinazzola


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