October - Big Changes
July 26 - After Mowing
After months of learning, anticipation, and hard work it was time to see just how well our plot would perform. Well by the picture above there was no question the plot was being used. Here is a recap of what we saw.
Note: the food plot was only hunted during the afternoon hunts. Morning hunts were on trails leading out of the clover several hundred yards away.
Saturday Morning - overcast with no wind. 5 bucks were seen coming down trails from the clover into the bedding areas. While they lacked appreciable mass, it is rare to see 5 bucks together in this area. No does were seen.
Saturday Afternoon - heavy rains all afternoon. A doe with two fawns fed into the clover at 5:15 PM. The doe seemed to 'drop off' the fawns then continue down into a thick area of the property. The two fawns fed until 6:15 giving me several shot opportunities of which I passed up. At 6:30 two more deer entered the field and gave me yet more opportunities but by that time it was raining heavily and I decided not to shoot. This was the first time we had ever had shots in this part of the land.
Monday Morning - very windy, gusts to 30 mph - no deer seen
Monday Evening - very windy- no deer seen in clover.
Tuesday Morning - windy and rain - doe and fawn head out of the clover and into bedding area. Too far for shot. Several minutes later, 10 deer come from bedding area and head toward clover (8:05 AM). A forkhorn is chasing several doe around including a fat doe which stopped five yards from my stand. As I readied to shoot, a jumbo buck (guessed 220 lbs) came from nowhere - grunting and heading toward my stand. I passed on the doe and gambled that the big 7 pt. would come in. Several does downhill winded me and spooked all 10 deer. Biggest buck ever seen on the property.
Tuesday Afternoon - very windy, wind going the wrong way (into bedding area)- no deer seen in clover
Wednesday Morning - more wind and rain - no deer seen.
Wednesday Afternoon - high winds and Rain - one doe crosses clover
Thursday Morning - hunted different land, wind was wrong for morning setup.
Thursday Evening - high winds and drizzle - large doe comes in to field at 3:30 PM. Feeds past me at 25 yards (pass on that shot) feeds up the clover to Bill who is in the far North stand. He misses the deer at 22 yards.
Friday Morning - high winds - no deer seen
Friday Evening - still high winds, heavy rain. No deer seen.
Saturday Morning - hunted off land, winds gusty but better overall.
Saturday Evening - breezy, blowing into the bedding area - doe comes in at 4:40 and heads to Greg's stand. Two squirrel hunters appear behind Greg and the doe spooks.
Overall the weather was terrible, both in rain, wind, and wind direction (which only once blew prevailing directions once all week). Unfortunately this week was not a good indicator of how well the plot performed however there were several changes which we noticed about the property:
1. We saw more bucks than usual
2. The Fawns looked much bigger than ever before
3. We usually don't see deer in this part of the land during evening hunts.
The other noticeable change since we last checked it was that the plot was only about 3 inches tall - from being overgrazed. After watching several deer for hours eating the clover it is understandable. The deer stay in the plot for long periods at a time. Most deer seen in the plot spent a minimum of twenty minutes feeding before moving on. We also saw some varmints and other creatures enjoying the lush vegetation.
Overall I would say the plot improved the property by making the deer healthier, increasing the population of bucks in the area, and giving us a decent evening hunt - something we never had on this property.
We decided that the plot's small size was a factor in the overgrazing. This had been considered in the planning stages but because of the enormous applications of limestone needed to amend the soil, we were limited to how much to plant at one time. Next spring we will start all over again with a different area and possibly a different mixture to try something new.