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Travis77
01-02-2008, 02:35 AM
Just became a member of QDMA and am pumped to begin improving my families property.
The property is roughly 600 acres of overgrown ricefield with scattered sweet gum, hackberry, and crap loads of cherokee rose bushes located east of Houston. There are a few scattered oak trees but are too young to produce acorns. The land is roughly 30% improved bahia and common/giant bermuda meadows. The remainder of the property is covered in light woody shrubs and weeds. Basically the majority of the land is doing nothing for deer nutrition but I do have great bedding areas. I do yearly prescribed burns and mow what I can.
I do have access to several discs, tractors, mowers, and a broadcast seeder.
What I would like to do is begin planting brouse for the deer such as honeysuckle and maybe blackberries. I also like the idea of planting some blue grass or similar grasses that surround my food plots and borders so my impovements go a little less noticed.
I am thinking of doing a real heavy burn and to open up the property. Then thinking of planting several 5-10 acre plots of soybeans. I have thought about corn, but need to do more research. I realize I need to focus on cover and travel routes while creating good food sources. I need to think of what to do on a large scale, but realize it will take some time.
This fall I would like to put in several clover/chickory plots as well. I will be lucky if all goes well, but this is the plan so far. What do you guys think of it.

jamar
01-02-2008, 02:50 AM
I would plant a blend of drought and heat resistant perennials such as Chicory (oasis chicory and puna chicory) and Delar Small Burnett. Should also do alright in low ph soils (not lower than 5.2). If you get enought rainfall per year, then clover is a good addition to the mix. But I wouldn't plant it alone. I've heard that deep south droughts are no joke. You have a nice parcel of land to work with Travis. Sounds like you already have plent of cover and some good natural browse (but the addition of more browse as you have mentioned is even better). I you do decide to plant soybeans, go with the rr soybeans or forage soybeans. Forage soybeans produce more tonnage than conventional and rr soybeans. Like the idea of prescribe burning too. This would provide more natural browse as well as create more view at ground level. Your right, it will take some time. But your off to a great start.

asmith
01-02-2008, 09:11 AM
Travis, welcome to the QDMA and to the website.
One thing in your post that caught my attention is this quote, "I am thinking of doing a real heavy burn and to open up the property."
Deer like very thick patches for bedding. So you might consider not burning all the thick cover. Leave some for bedding areas, unless you plan to replace the burned area with a better bedding habitat than is present there now. Let us know how it goes.

Travis77
01-02-2008, 07:50 PM
Thanks for the replies. I have the majority of the cover around in the area. Because of this, I am going to maintain good cover. What I would like to do is switch some of the type of cover and grass that has some what of a benefit for deer. What I need to do is burn then get on the mower and stay on top of it. Doing this may promote enough natural grass(bermuda) to grow back. I may try doing this instead of breaking ground and planting seed for hay. This would be more economical.
I typically use a propane bottle strapped to my 4-wheeler to burn. Where do you guys get the contraption that is filled with fuel to light fires. Do not know what ist's called either.
Thanks guys.

TrademarkTexan
01-02-2008, 09:51 PM
What I would like to do is switch some of the type of cover and grass that has some what of a benefit for deer. What I need to do is burn then get on the mower and stay on top of it. Doing this may promote enough natural grass(bermuda) to grow back. I may try doing this instead of breaking ground and planting seed for hay. This would be more economical.


One thing you should research - deer don't eat much grass (bermuda or bahia) unless that's all they have available. Grass is useful as cover/bedding if it's at least 3-4 feet tall. Other than that, I plan all of my activities to get rid of grass and promote broadleaf "weeds" and browse plants.

Blackberries are terrific for deer, as are grapes (native 'Mustang' or Muscadine grapes are good). Lots of folks hate honeysuckle, but make your own decision based on research. It's not invasive in my area, but I'm several hundred miles from you. You can also look at Sumac, Thicket Plums, Crabapples, etc. These all provide great food and cover. The Texas Forestry Service sells seedlings at http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=1165

Travis77
01-02-2008, 11:34 PM
I am talking about tackling a block of around 300 acres of totally unimproved land. Obviously I can't have that many acres in food plots. I have to get grasses going for deer but for also for a few cows.
I do have tons of work ahead of me. I am just fortunate that my old man has most of the equipment I will need.
My biggest problem is going to be money. Need to lots of reading here also. I am going to have to focus on the whole "Best Bang For The Buck" theory. I would love to choose food sources that I can burn, mow, apply herbicide, then broadcast plant. I may seem lazy to some, but thinking realistic means I will most likely achieve 50% of my goal. Open to all suggestions. I would love to retain some of the old levees and lightly disc them and put in shrubs like persimmons or more honeysuckle. Being able to drop/cover seed on these long levees is what I am after. What else would be a good bordering shrub that would provide a small wind break and give the property some dimension while providing a food source for the critters? I guess I could title these posts as "Turning Sh** to Sugar" because that is what I will be doing. Thanks

Bob S
01-03-2008, 02:41 AM
Where do you guys get the contraption that is filled with fuel to light fires.I don't own one, but what you are looking for is a drip torch.

Here are several: LINK (http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/drilldown_pages/view_category.asp?cat=107).

Travis77
01-03-2008, 08:23 PM
Looks like diesel is commonly used in them. Any of you guys have a recommendation on what drip torch to buy? I would like to get one for those hard to reach areas where I can't take the four-wheeler and propane bottle.

kbush
01-03-2008, 08:37 PM
I have one from Forestry Suppliers and it works great. Use a 3:1 diesel/gas mixture.