Need Land Improvement Ideas
Habitat Improvement
Messages posted to thread:
MNdeerslayer 26-Apr-17
kscowboy 26-Apr-17
BigOzzie 26-Apr-17
r-man 26-Apr-17
t-roy 26-Apr-17
bonehead 26-Apr-17
CAS_HNTR 26-Apr-17
MNdeerslayer 27-Apr-17
MNdeerslayer 27-Apr-17
elkstabber 27-Apr-17
Bowhuntingboy 27-Apr-17
Bowhuntingboy 27-Apr-17
Bowhuntingboy 27-Apr-17
CAS_HNTR 27-Apr-17
rodb 27-Apr-17
Bowhuntingboy 27-Apr-17
satguy 29-Apr-17


MNdeerslayer's MOBILE embedded Photo

I've got a 90 acre parcel in central Minnesota. This property has a 20 acre section that is swamp that holds water year around most years, there is an acre or two island in the swamp that is accessible only dry years. It also has a hay field which is also about 20 acres. The remainder of the property is long grass and groups of mature trees. This is a decent size of land but a chunk of it is not usable due to it being a swamp. I manage to get a couple deer a year but nothing too big. I'd really like to add some cover to the hay field. I would also like to add some sources of food being the only food sources are nearby corn fields.

I am new to improving land for wildlife and would like some suggestions, open to anything.


You'll get some great advice and then some not so great advice on here. Answer this question: Do the deer bed on the island? If so, I would begin thinking of ways to make this a thick, nasty patch that was a sanctuary for them. How deep is the swamp? If it's a couple of feet, it provides multiple escape routes and very desirable bedding.


Make it so they never have to leave

1. Safety, good bedding that they feel safe in, as stated above the island sounds perfect

2. Feed, hay field sounds perfect

3. water, swamp

4. Does, the bucks need does.

sounds like you have what you want you just need to improve. A great situation you don't need to create anything just improve it. the experts will be along and tell us how to do that soon.


By: r-man

you need timber , cover ,

By: t-roy

What does the hay field consist of? Just grass, alfalfa, or mixture of something else. If just grass, there isn't a ton of nutritional benefits there for the deer. Is the hay being harvested? Do you you have access to, or know someone that has any equipment to put in any food plots?


the most help for the least effort/cost-see if whoever is cutting the hayfield will convert it to alfalfa hay and plant edge cover of a variety of hard and soft mast along the swamp border


Plant a few different areas of 2 ac of spruce, pine, fir of some sort......bedding is your friend.

Adding food is also a great idea.....plots, trees, or just a good amount of edge habitat for browse.

One other critical thing will be how you access the property....don't want to put bedding right next to where you have to walk in to hunt each time.


Thanks for all the feedback, I do know people that have equipment to put in food plots.


MNdeerslayer's MOBILE embedded Photo

Maybe something like this? Open to all criticism/ ideas. Thank you!


That looks like a neat piece of property. But it's hard to visualize it.

What are the light areas on your neighbor's land to the east? Row crops? Are the edges wavy because the land is wet? If the bulk of your 90 acres (besides the field and swamp) are grass is that because the land is too wet to grow anything else? How well do you get along with your neighbor? The reason that your neighbor is important is because if you don't get along well you'll probably want to make a trail through the eastern part of your property.

At a minimum you'll want to cut some trails with a tractor and bush hog so that you can more easily access the property without blowing deer out everywhere. Also, white clover is one of the best food plots that can handle excessive moisture.


Plant fast growing trees, I am in mn, so I know these work. White pines, Norway spruce, add some tamarack near the swamp. Most maple trees grow pretty fast. Put maples, spruce,and pines around the hay field. As stated, get some apple trees, maybe some oaks of this is longterm. I would recommend getting all trees but the fruit trees from itasca nurseey, they have good prices and everything comes up good. Also, never hurts to put a good plot or two in. If this is longterm and you plant all those trees, you will have a deer filled forest in 10 years.


I am also in central mn.


If there is young trees on the rest of you land, you could transplant those to this part.


Too much food.....not enough cover

By: rodb

Like t-roy said the hay field needs to go, change it over to food plots. The island to the south needs to be a sanctuary. What type of vegetation is in the swamp? If the creek runs into the ditch damming it up will only make the swamp wetter. Willow and grass would be nice. If you want a pond dig one near one of your stands.

Planting trees is a huge undertaking, any tree you plant will need a fence around it.

What direction do the deer come from and what direction do they leave?


Converting the hay field to soybeans seems like it would be good.

By: satguy

I would kill of the grasses in the hay field and plant 14 acres in switchgrass. Put 1 acre into a fruit tree orchard and the rest I would put in food plots like maybe 2 acres of beans and the rest into an LC Mix. That island is probably a bedding area. I would put up an elevated blind on the edge of the switchgrass and the food plots. Hay has no nutritional value to wildlife. My 2 cents.

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