As we headed north towards the property I couldn't help but be excited. Not only was I going to get to spend the entire weekend up at the cabin, I was also going to get to check our trail cameras for the first time this year. I wasn't totally sure what I'd find but I was still pretty excited to get those SD cards in my hand and get them loaded into the computer.
Unfortunately, since I don't have a laptop I wasn't going to be able to take a look at them until we got back home on Sunday. Because of that I decided to wait until Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to go out and pull the cards. I figured that it would be easier on me to leave the cameras alone rather than have the cards in my hand but not be able to view them. There were a few other things that I wanted to do anyways so once we arrived on Friday I got started.
I had spoken with our landowner a few weeks back and he had said he was going to be planting our Plateau Plot at some point last week. With all the rain we got late last week I was curious to see if he had been able to get in and get it planted. Once we got settled in my son and I hopped in the UTV and went for a ride to check out the plot.
I was very happy to see the Plateau Plot had already been planted.
I was very happy to see that the ground had been turned, planted and cultipacked. The sandy soil had faired well in the heavy rains and wasn't looking at all soggy. That's quite a feat considering that much of the property near the river was under a foot or more of water thanks to the rain. Hopefully the plot was able to survive the downpour and the seeds will get off to a good start.
My son and I took a walk around the outskirts of the plot and checked the area out. I pointed out a few sets of tracks to my son and he cleared a few small sticks out of the way for the farmer as we slowly worked our way around. There were a few beds along the edge of the plot and overall it appeared that the deer were relatively active in the area which is always good to see. My son gave the planting his seal of approval and we made our way back to the UTV to head back to the cabin.
My son carefully inspects our landowners work.
The heavy flooding made doing much work or even just walking around the property a bit tough so Saturday I really only had one project that I wanted to attack. This year we have plans this year to create a bit of a path through some really thick and nasty cover on our property.
The deer use to run this area quite a bit in years past but we noticed that last year the useage was way down. Once winter hit and some snow finally arrived we could tell that the deer wouldn't go into the thick cover that had grown up. They would work to the edge and then parallel the area we call "The Ridge".
The trail that use to run the length of The Ridge dumps directly into our Southline foodplot so we would really like to see the deer get back to using it. Because of that we decided to clear a small trail through the area. The area was clearcut years back and has since grown into a very thick mess of downed trees, new poplar trees and all sorts of thorny brush. I can promise you that if I was a deer I would avoid this area as well as it is difficult and painful to move through.
This shows the thickness of the area we are working in. Usually thicker is better for deer cover but it appears that the deer are actually avoiding this mess.
I'm not going to get into the nuts and bolts of this project just yet because I want to wait till it is completely done to show some before and after pictures along with some other details of the project. I will show you this picture though as a teaser. This is pretty typical of the area and is what I was working through on Saturday.
As you can see it is pretty thick in there and it was slow going trying to make progress but I was able to get a good start on the project.
After calling it quits on the trail project I decided it was time to pull the trail cam cards. I grabbed two of the four cards Saturday night and retrieved the other two Sunday morning. Once we got back home Sunday I headed down to the computer to see what we had gotten.
As we expected we were able to get several pictures and videos of deer and we even managed to find a few bucks mixed in as well. What I didn't expect to see was the high number of turkey pictures that we ended up with. We usually don't see all that many birds on our place but this year it apears we have quite a few using the area.
This picture shows three Tom's in full strut following a group of hens.
While getting some good pictures of turkeys, especially three toms all strutting in the same picture, is pretty cool we were really hoping to get some good deer pictures. As I flipped through the pictures I was pretty happy to come across this buck. He seems to be off to a decent start for this early in the year and is actually ahead of what we saw at this point last year. It's way too early to go getting excited but we are certainly hoping he stays around and gets back infront of the camera.
The buck on the right is already starting to sprout brow tines. He is ahead of what we generally see this time of year and also appears to be a bigger bodied deer.
This next picture isn't anything too special, just a doe working along a pretty well used runway. The thing that caught my eye was her split right ear. Last year we had two small bucks running our property that had split ears as well, one right side and one left. Now we have a few different pictures of this doe with a split ear. It makes me wonder what the cause is, it seems pretty coincidental to have three deer with split ears. We do have a lot of fencing on our property that seperates the cattle from the woods, perhaps that is the cause? I can't say for sure what the cause is, but she'll certainly be easy to keep track of this summer.
This doe is the third deer we've seen since last fall with a heavily split ear.
As we expected, the first pictures of the year were pretty exciting but were also pretty dull at the same time. With the bucks just starting to sprout antlers there isn't that same excitement level that we get in the summer. It was still exciting to get some pictures though and to start following the deer again. We'll probably have one or two more "dull" sets of pictures but before too long the bucks will start to show their stuff and the trail cam excitement will be in full swing.
Until then we will hopefully get a few projects knocked of the "to-do" list while watching our food plots start to take off for the year. It won't be long until the blog is full of velvet bucks and it's time to start talking strategy for the fall.
Stay tuned, it's gonna be a fun summer!!
Take care, and thanks for reading!