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How many Deer?

bigmac

Member
My neighbor sold part of his farm this spring to a fellow from the city who wanted a place to hunt. They both got what they wanted.
The farmer retired a millionaire and the hunter picked up prime deer habitat that has produced some quality bucks over the last 30 years. The new owner put in multiple food plots and there is row crop that borders one side . The farm that sits next to this one was turned into a deer meca 20 years ago.
I drove by these farms at sundown the last two nights and counted close to 75 deer feeding in the picked bean field and hay ground that are part of these two pieces of ground. Both farms cover an entire section with about 75% being timber and timbered draws. My first question is how many deer can a section of prime habitat safely hold? I hunt some of the ground in the next section and the trail cams are showing less deer and mature bucks are few and far between. Lots of dinks.
Could the managed food plots attract the deer from my side of the road? Or am I looking for something to blame my bad luck on?
 

seven twenty

PMA Member
As long as the food is plentiful, it will hold quite a few.

Are you eating McDonald’s or going across the street to the steakhouse for the same price.

No question that a place “built” to attract deer is going to pull some from the fringes. Depending on pressure, they’d have little reason to wander. 2 full sections is a big area. If everything around them is getting pushed this time of year they are going to go to the quiet place.
 

bigmac

Member
Will deer travel from standing corn to feed in a managed food plot?
This being my 54th deer season and I have yet to figure out how the deer can bed within 50 yards of my house and eat the trees in my yard but every time I go look for them. They ain't home.
 

newfarmer

Active Member
I have 2 acres of food plots on my 16-acre piece where I live. Normally we see 10-15 deer a night during "warm" months. When its cold, Its not uncommon for me to have 80 deer here... Last winter I took my drone and sort of looked on how they were all coming in and I am pretty sure I had 3 miles of river bottom all coming to my plots. This year, we have a little less food due to an extremely busy construction season for me, but still have 50ish deer a night so far, and it hasnt gotten bad out yet.
 

Trapshooter1

Active Member
During the gun season, when most tracts around are getting pushed and the deer are moving around, those quite places and sanctuaries tend to be loaded up pretty hard. Around here the hunting pressure is so high, even in the sanctuaries, the deer don't come out till dark.

And yes highly managed food, and standing food will draw deer off the neighboring properties. I personally think corn will get good, when temperatures plummet, and we get some snow cover.
 
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northcedar

Active Member
Will deer travel from standing corn to feed in a managed food plot?
This being my 54th deer season and I have yet to figure out how the deer can bed within 50 yards of my house and eat the trees in my yard but every time I go look for them. They ain't home.
Overall I don't think you'd pull many deer away from standing corn to a plot. Unless there are other factors going on.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
A section that’s 75% timber with a lot of plots & crops……. Can sustain “a lot”. Short answer: probably 200 deer per square mile if the food & browse was handled ideally. Which they usually are not but thats potential when done right.
1) seeing “75 deer in a field” is more common later in year because, like stated, they are pulling from neighbors with lessor food & cover. During the summer or other times- I’m going to imagine deer numbers are half that or less.
2) yes- if they have ideal food & LOW PRESSURE- deer will go there for food & safety and absolutely could slow down activity on neighboring farms substantially.
3) side notes: the best farms have timber that’s actively managed yearly for natural browse. Examples there are continually making new pockets of open canopy & successional growth across farm. Several acres a year. Year round food: grains that are being eaten up around the end of winter followed by clover & alfalfa that’s greening up in spring. Brassicas & rye blends and as much diversity as possible.
4) a farm that can “sustain 200 deer per square mile” - that’s absolute peak & it would have to be done meticulously. Really watching browse levels. Is there any farms I know of with 200 deer per square mile? Not really. Maybe a couple. 50 deer per square mile is far more common & realistic for folks not overloaded with food. Probably what u have there if I were to guess. Why u see 75 is due to pulling in deer from multiple surrounding properties in all directions.

But yes, that’s likely a big part of your slow hunting. Improve your browse & add more food IF POSSIBLE & combine that with low pressure & low impact hunting tactics & could get considerably better. Good luck!!!
 

Hardwood11

It is going to be a good fall!
The most I’ve seen in Iowa is around 60 in the field in one night. Big field and I could see a long ways.

This year (2022 hunt) I saw prob 25 max in one evening in the picked corn .
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Bucksnbears

Well-Known Member
I grow pumpkins/squash every year and untill this year (unknown why), they have always grown great. Have been doing it for years.
Deer will beat feet from a late season corn/soybean field to get to the pumpkin/ squash.
I only have maybe 1/2 acre for doing so but it's not uncommon to have 20 deer in it.
 

bigmac

Member
Thanks for all of the input. We have always had plenty of deer in our area. So far there has not been a problem with CWD . Will a higher concentration of deer in one area increase the chance that CWD will become a problem?
I have a 2 acre hay field that will need replanted in the spring. What should I plant to create a top quality food plot?
 

bigmac

Member
I am all in on the pumpkin patch. I would welcome some advise on what it will take to make it a reality. I am a retired carpenter and have traded work with my neighbors at different times. Getting access to a tractor and tillage implements Shouldn't be a problem. Can pumpkin seed be planted mechanically?
I have more questions than answers at this point.
All input is valuable to me.
Thanks in advance..
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
I know people have planted pumpkins with corn planters. Maybe the older plate planters?

What is target population for pumpkins?
 

bigmac

Member
Could I seed the acre with a perineal crop that would keep the weeds down and plant the pumpkins in hills over the seeding. The plot would be ready for following season. Any recommendations on what to seed down?
 

Bucksnbears

Well-Known Member
Maybe. Never done that before.
What I would do is disk in fertilizer early, wait till about June 5th, spray the area to kill off all weeds/grass then plant pumpkins a few days later.
With ample rains, they should flourish.
Once they start growing, they grow fast and don't seem to be harmed by weed regrowth.
Actually quite easy to grow and if the plot fails due to a drought, replant later with a different seed blend. Brassica/oats/rye.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Here’s some guys doing it mechanically. Never done this but I see a few variations of planters used.
 

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