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As this season progresses, as with any, I sit there thinking "I thought I had this better thought out"....I have received a lot of great ideas and concepts from many people on this sight, books, etc. Moving forward I am in the beginning stages of trying to fine tune this place for improved hunting, specifically mature bucks.

I have three scenarios right now (besides the current).The white lines around the property are access created this year. The white dots are current stand sited.

The "cover" that is shown in these pictures are planted hybrid willows, poplars, dogwood, etc. (immature now), and the pale green is planted NSWG Cave in rock(also just planted and immature). More shrub and tree planting will continue to take place to thicken the property each year.

Scenarios:
Current design: Saw plenty of deer use the larger rye plots located away from the smaller kill plots, deer would not arrive at the kill plots till dark or after. I did not really like the way the small "destination" plots worked out.

Small Plots: Small food plots peppered throughout the property, someday will all eventually be in heavy cover. Some are now.

Option 1: Long winding trails from one side of the property to the other, both on the south and north ends of the east/west property.

Option 2: Winding trail located away from stands to allow "space" for bucks to cruise and scent check downwind without having to enter the plots.

Just looking for thoughts/opinions on the best option since the season is winding down a bit, and the planning season is winding up.

Thanks in advance!
 

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It will all change when you get adequate cover. If deer are not getting to the plots until dark, they are simple bedding too far away. Cover, and access are some of the most important factors on a parcel. Creating a winding food plot along the path connecting your smaller plots is not going to have a dramatic effect without enough cover along the sides, except the fact that you have more acreage in food plots. If that is needed, it would be a good idea. Heavy clover close to a small food plot that is surrounded by heavy cover, can be a deadly combo for a mature buck's daytime visit. If I learn or have a hunch a mature buck is bedding in an area through October, I want to hunt a stand that is as close as possible to him, so he only has to move a short distance to be in range. Cover, access, wind direction and luck, are all needed to pull it off.
 
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