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What should I do to attract deer to my property?

Question
What should I do to my property to attract deer to it it has some woods on it lots of woods around it and lots of ponds around it also only one hunting area

Ethan,

Deer need sources of food, cover, and water that they consider safe.  I'd start by evaluating the quality and quantity of food, cover, and water where you hunt.  I like to focus on cover as that's where deer spend most of the daylight hours!  I also like to create something deer like that's not available on neighboring properties.  For examples, fruit trees can be a great buck attractant if there aren't other fruit trees within their range.

Enjoy creation,

grant

March 2, 2016

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What habitat improvements do you suggest for the 160 acres I hunt in Quincy, Florida?

Question
I have been watching several of your video clips on youtube to try to learn how to make my hunting property better. I hunt on a 160 acre tract in Quincy, Florida that is 85% pines with a few hardwoods. I was wondering is there any way you could help me become a more successful hunter by helping me improve my hunting area?

JaJuan,

I'm traveling to Florida today for a hog and turkey hunt!

It appears there are some openings in the forest on the 160 acres where you hunt.  Deer need food, cover, and water that they don't associate with danger.  If quality forage is limited, I suggest creating some hidey hope sized food plots and/or tree plots to attract deer during deer season.  You may wish to contact the folks at http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com and ask what species of fruit trees work well there!

Enjoy creation,

grant

March 2, 2017

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What should I do to improve the quality of cover after a widespread wildfire?

Question
Grant,

Back in the summer of 2013 during the drought we had a very hot burning wildfire come thru our area in NE Oklahoma. We had preferred cover from hinge cutting and TSI on our 100 acres compared to our neighbors before the fire. However, the wildfire was so hot that it killed the majority of the oak/hickory trees over a thousand acres and after the fire our property has nothing different to offer compared to our neighbors. Now that the oaks are regrowing and about chest high, all the cover is the same. We had much fewer deer sightings this season compared to years past. So what can we do to improve our cover compared to our neighbors at this point? We have eagle soybeans, and other cool and warm season plots that were established years ago, and our property borders Keystone lake. So food and water are not a problem. Thanks in advance for your reply, and for your weekly show. I have watched every episode for the last 1.5 years.

Doug

Doug,

It can be very difficult to attract deer to cover when quality cover is contiguous for 1,000+ acres.  It can also be difficult to see and pattern deer when quality cover is widespread.  Maybe you can hunt in such a way that deer consider the cover on your property secure versus on the neighboring properties.  This requires be ultra conscious about the wind and scent reduction.  Hunt your property in such a way that deer are rarely alerted to human presence!   Deer will likely spend more time on your property if they have plenty of security cover, food, and water and are alerted less compared to when on the neighboring properties.  

You may also consider other attractants like fruit trees!  Deer love fruit and I suspect there's not many pear, apple, etc., in your area.  Tree plots can be a great attractant!  The folks at http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com helped me determine which varieties of fruit trees would grow best in my area.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 22, 2016

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What practices can be used to improve a 40 acre parcel of land in northern Wisconsin covered with mature trees?

Question
Hey Grant,

First off, I really enjoy the show and appreciate all the work you guys do for public knowledge. I love that I am able to access your show and learn something new every week! My question relates to habitat improvement in the Northern Hardwoods of Wisconsin. I bow hunt on a 40 acre parcel of land (I attached a picture) that is mainly old growth eastern hemlock, white pine, and silver maple. There are a few White oaks on the property but I could probably count them on two hands. There is also a small pine plantation (red pine) that is on the property along with an ag field that is usually corn or alfalfa. The property does not really hold deer so much as serves as a transition area for them. We see deer moving through daily, mainly does with their fawns with a yearling buck every now and then. There are plenty of other big ag fields around to the south and the East of the parcel. Deer usually have ample amounts of corn until harvest season in late October to mid November. To the North and West are just more hardwoods for pretty long tracks of woods, maybe a couple hundred acres both ways. With the wooded parcel of the 40 acres basically being a biological desert at deer level, what sort of both immediate and long term improvements would you recommend? What are some of the fastest ways to make a forest that is primarily tall standing timber into a useful land for deer management?

Thank you for taking the time to help out,

Jason

Jason,

The property is in a good location if deer are passing through it daily!  I'm not surprised many don't spend much time there given you didn't describe any cover.  Cover is often the resource deer seek during daylight hours.  Hopefully the pine plantation is ready to be thinned as this would allow more sun to reach the soil and cause cover to grow.  

If you have permission to cut a lot of trees (say a minimum of five acres), you can create a lot of cover!  If that's not an option, can you create some smaller openings for tree and food plots?  Planting fruit trees in areas where not many are available often creates a very sought after limited resource.  I really like tree plots combined with a quality forage planted in between the trees.  For more information about fruit tree species appropriate for your area contact the folks at http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 7, 2016
 

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Do you think tree plots are a good tool?

Question
I have been given permission to hunt on a small farm with 7 acres of wood and 20 acres of soybean. I do not farm the land. I have put out food plots in in the past, but have been thinking about planting fruit trees as another possible source of food for the deer. Do you have any advice on trying fruit trees? Is it something that I should try?

Thank you,

Jason Medaugh

Jason,

I do believe tree plots are a great tool to attract bucks!  Often times when a quality food source is plentiful, it's plentiful on a broad scale!  For example, you mentioned 20 acres of soybeans.  There's probably soybeans on neighboring properties also.  This means that when the soybeans are attracting deer, bucks can feed at many places. This makes it very difficult to pattern deer.  

Buck's love fruit and there's rarely fruit available during deer season on most properties (except in the northeastern states where there are lots of apple trees).  Having the only sugary fruit available during deer season within a buck's range is a GREAT attractant!  The folks at http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com have taught me a lot about which species of fruit will grow best where I live and how to plant and care for those trees.  I suggest you reach out to them at:   863-767-0446.

Enjoy creation,

grant

February 7, 2016

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What’s the best food plot to attract a buck during the early season in southeast Ohio?

Question
What is the best early season food plot to attract and pattern a buck before the rut starts to kick in? I would like to draw him in and pattern him in September. I hunt in south east Ohio and have seen very nice bucks on my trail cams.
Thank you,
Dave
Dave,

 
I've had good success with Eagle Seed's late maturing forage soybeans.  These beans will still be green and producing new forage during September while commercial beans will be maturing and decreasing in palatability.  Bucks are very attracted to fruit trees that produce during the early season.  Fruit trees take time to grow and become productive, but tree plots are tremendous buck killing tools!  Check out http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com for more information and suggestions.

Remember that mature bucks seek safety more than food or does.  Make sure you don't alert the buck by hunting the area when the conditions aren't in your favor.

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 16, 2016

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Do you know of a late blooming apple tree?

Question
Hey Mr. Grant, it's me again. Thanks for your quick reply on my last question. I have 1 more however. So I own 64 acres in Northern Ky, right by the licking river. I don't have a ton of land for big food plots but I want to keep deer on my property. The soil by the Licking River is some of the most fertile you will ever see. Anyway what I would like to do is plant a late dropping apple orchard. There's just one issue, the area by the river is naturally low-lying and the fog comes up from the river regularly. If the fog comes up in early spring and we get a freeze, all the blooms on the apple tree will most likely be killed off. Do you know of any apple varieties or techniques that could help me get an orchard in that convenient area? Thanks again so much for your time,
Sincerely, Reuben Stamper.

Reuben,

I really like using tree plots (small food plots with fruit producing trees planted in them).  I don't know which varieties of apple trees would work best at your farm. I like pears and other varieties of fruit trees that tend to require less maintenance than apple trees.  You might check with the folks at http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com.  They know much more about fruit trees than me!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 21, 2016

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Where is a good source of information about pruning fruit trees?

Question
Pruning Trees.
Grant, I have planted a lot of Pears, Apples, Pecan and Persimmons. I am trying to cultivate native persimmons and apples as well.
I know that pruning is very important, but it's very hard to find applicable, accurate info on pruning, particularly for wildlife trees.

When I search for pruning videos, there are too many choices and even when I find a video that seems to be made by a knowledgable individual, it's nearly impossible to find specific instruction related to the needs of my tree plots and what is needed to grow “successful” tree plots for wildlife.

I hope many other GDTV fans can benefit from any advice you can offer.
Thanks again,
Joe

 

Joe,

I'm not aware of a good species specific guide to pruning fruit trees.  The folks at http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com offer great advice.  I suggest reach out to them!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 12, 2016

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Do you have any suggestions about planting apple trees near the Iowa/Illinois border?

Question
Hi Grant –

The Lord has blessed myself and a friend with the opportunity to develop a 50-60 acre section of old CRP land and cropland in the bottoms near the Illinois/Iowa border.

We know there are alot of deer around and that they've never really been hunted. They bed on and/or near the property, so that's a huge plus. However, there is a good sized coyote and coon population along the creek/river that borders our property.

We are trying to come up with a game plan on how to make the most of our time and money. We were thinking we could start planting some apple trees in the spring and try to lower the number of predators asap.

Do you have any good bits of advice to help us in the right direction? We are both experienced hunters and plan to only bowhunt unless serious deer population control is required, then shotguns/muzzleloaders.

Best Regards,
Nate

Nate,

I really like Tree Plots as a tool to attract deer.  Tree plots take time to develop but can be the only source of fruit around and deer love most varieties of fruit!  Check out the tips for establishing and maintaining a tree plot at FlatwoodNatives.

I also believe it's good management to work toward balancing the predator and prey relationships!  Trapping is a great tool to accomplish that. There are many techniques about trapping coyotes on GrowingDeer.  Go to the Videos tab at the top of the page and then the trapping tab on the left.

Sounds like you have a good plan. Be patient with the trees and take care of them.  Tree plots are a great tool!

Enjoy creation,

grant

January 6, 2016

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What crops would you recommend we use to establish food plots northeast of Dallas?

Question
Grant,

This year I purchased 55 acres located one hour northeast of Dallas, solely for my family and I to hunt. Since I have not hunting in this part of the state, and knew very little about the deer population, I decided before I make any modifications to the property I would spend the year observing how the deer move throughout the property and surrounding land.

We have determined that our property, along with an adjoining 150 acres, broken into 3 individual tracts, are the sanctuary for a large portion of the deer population. On our property you will find heavy cover, large trees, a dense creek line, and native grasses. We have water and cover, but the only feed we offer is browse and acorns.

We have identified two fields 2-3 acres in size that we will plant in food plots early this next year. We plan to take soil samples, cut, treat/burn and prepare the fields, but would love to know your recommendation(s) for how to build a sustainable food plot, which does not require mass amounts of fertilizer after the first treatment.

Our initial thought is to plant clover to build a strong base, and then in late summer plant one field in soybeans, and the other in the Broadside mix. Is this a sustainable pattern year after year, or should we consider alternative solutions?

Blessings on you and your family,

-Erik

Erik,

Congratulations on being a property owner! 

It sounds like you have a good plan.  Even after the existing weeds are killed there will still be a huge weed seed bank.  This is why I like to establish food plots using Roundup Ready Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  I can simply kill the weeds by using glyphosate and then control the weeds that will germinate after the food plot crop is planted by using glyphosate again.  Soybeans are easy to grow and will serve to add nitrogen to the the soil.  

I use a rotation of soybeans which provides extremely high quality deer forage (soybeans are the key to large-antlered deer throughout the Midwest) and add valuable nitrogen to the soil.  Because I can maintain a weed free crop, It's easy to broadcast wheat, brassicas, radishes, etc., over the beans about 60 days before the first expected frost during the fall.  This allows me to keep forage growing almost year round to provide food and continue building the soil.

I never disk my plots.  I simply spray the cool season blend the following spring and use a no-till drill to plant soybeans.  By allowing the forage to decay on top the soil serves as a great mulch to conserve soil moisture, prevent weeds, and erosion.  This rotation and use of conservation tillage has served me and my clients well!

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 22, 2015

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How may I establish food plots in an area that’s primary mature timber?

Question
I was wondering if you had any ideas on food plots for me. There are no logging roads through the property and it is old timber so the ground is mostly dirt. What do you suggest i do other than log a part of the property. Thanks
Ben,

I'm not sure I understand your question.  I believe you are asking if food plots will work well in an area that's covered with mature timber.

All forage crops that I'm aware require at least a half a day of sunshine to prosper. Most do best when they receive all sunlight available during a day.  If there are no openings in the timber's canopy such as where lightning killed a tree, etc., I doubt any crop will prosper.

Enjoy creation,

grant

December 3, 2015

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Is Broadside OK to plant in small plots?

Question
Hi Grant, I love your Growing Deer TV website. It is very useful for us do it yourself type of people. Kudos to your family and friends. I have eight acres with a house and I have been managing it for bow hunting for a long time. I have great thick cover from continuous TSI and plenty of water. I have had a micro food plot that I can expand to 1/8 acre. Believe it or not that existing food plot is extremely effective as I have a wide range of fruit trees and up and coming nut trees. Would Broadside be ok to plant in that size plot? I know the smallest broadside seed size bag is 1/4 acre. If not what do you suggest planting specifically as far as seed blend and seed company? Please don't post my email.
Thank you, Kevin

Kevin,

It sounds like you are doing a great job of managing the property!  Tree plots are a great technique to attract deer!

Check out my Facebook page (Grant Woods). I've posted several videos during the past few days of bucks in my hidey hole (small) plots. These are all planted with Broadside. It should work great for your plot also!

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 28, 2015

 

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Do you have any suggestions of how we can improve a recently timbered area in the Arkansas Ouachita Mountains?

Question
Hello there Dr.Woods!
I have an interesting situation for you. The property (200 acres) we own is located in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, encapsulated by National Forest and mountains that have a minimum of 1000 ft elevation. The majority of our property sits in a valley and is heavily timbered with oaks, pines, and gum. We do however have 2 or 3 areas that are small open fields. We also have several ponds, creeks and springs. The only kicker is we do not have a tractor or equipment to make drastic habitat improvements.

After a tornado hit our area this summer we decided to hire loggers to remove the fallen trees and a sizeable portion of land (50ish acres) that is infested with gum trees. I feel like this winter/spring is a golden opportunity to create a food buffet for the wildlife in the newly logged area and our existing fields.

I feel like it is a great idea to plant some soft mass bearers and an assortment of oaks from Flatwood Natives in the newly opened area along with an array of food plots to offer food year round. I would love to hear your opinion on how you would try to accomplish this idea without a tractor/equipment, what food plot seed/tree types you think would be beneficial, and any other idea that comes to mind while reading this! If you feel a visit would further help you determine a plan of action please send me an price estimate, I would enjoy meeting you in person as I have spent countless hours watching almost all of your videos trying to gain more knowledge on deer habitat improvement and hunting.

Thanks, James.

James,

That's a beautiful area!  I suspect there are plenty of oaks on and around your property!  I like to create tree plots that produce fruits and/or nuts that are available only at that location. This creates a source of desirable food that's only available where I can hunt.  I suggest you focus on fruit producing trees and plant multiple species so there's fresh fruit available during the early, mid, and late season.

The folks at http://www.FlatwoodNatives.com were very helpful in designing such a tree plot at my farm. Give them a call and discuss your location and what varieties of fruit trees will perform best at your location.

Enjoy creation,

grant

November 12, 2015

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What fruit trees are a good deer attractant?

Question
Dr. Grant,
Really enjoy your videos, guidance and passion for developing deer management strategies. I've learned a lot from your web site!

This is a suggestion based on an experiance I am happy to be having as a result of a neighbor setting up bee hives on his property. My neighbor set up 4 or 5 bee hives early this spring and I've noticed them all over my wild apple and plum trees when they were in bloom. the droning was incredible! Now the apples and plums have started to grow and I have never seen them producing so much fruit! (I've had the property for 9 years). Some of the plum tree branches are actually breaking under the weight of the fruit. My apple trees, one in particular that is close to my house, seem to have 50% more apples this year. We have also had good rain in the area (South West corner of Wisconsin). So if fruit bearing trees are part of your habitat strategy, Bee hives may be a good investment to promote pollination with a pleasant side effect of being able to collect some honey!

Guess I'll add a question: How does fruit bearing trees and brush such as black caps, rasberries etc, play into your forage habitat planning?
Thanks,
Travis

Travis,

Like you, I have a friend that keeps his bees at our place!  I enjoy the work they do and the honey they make!!

I have a tree plot (fruit and nut producing trees planting within a forage-based food plot) at my place!  Here in southern Missouri I prefer fruit trees as the landscape is primarily covered by oaks.  I usually prefer plums and pears to apple trees simply because apples trees tend to require a lot more maintenance to produce fruit.  I get my tree stock from Flatwood Natives and have experienced good success and I appreciate thier service and advice!

You can see some of the planting and maintenance advice from Flatwood Natives in episode #247 here.

There's lots of native soft mass at my ranch as a results of the native habitat management.  These include wild strawberries, dewberries, blackberries, etc. Most of these ripen long before season opens but do provide a source of energy for deer and other wildlife species.

Thank you for watching http://www.GrowingDeer.tv!

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