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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a food plot that I will be planting into prairie grass. I’m going to make it into bedding. I will have some pine trees and alder and willow trees mixed in. I will make a trail system through the bedding area, hoping to line up parts of the trail for shooting lanes. I had soybeans in my plot this year, and I am going to frost seed cave in rock. My plot is just over one acre. I’m not to worried about it not being thick enough, if anything I want it to come in thin. I will have a stand on the north end and the south west end. Was going to go with box blinds, fully enclosed and heated. My go to valley pinch point stand being cut off from both ends. So I need a few more places to hunt. I will only hunt over the bedding with good winds. So my question is, do you guys ever hunt over bedding, like this?
 

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I have 6 acres of Switch currently broken up into 4 plots. I hunt around them fairly often and have never seen a deer come out of it that I was convinced was bedded in it. My buddy tracked a buck through the switch this year and said there was numerous beds and we see the beds during the off season, but I do not think it's consistently used for bedding during season. There is a plethora of possible reasons why it isn't used; such as other bedding options, proximity to food, proximity to human activity, size of plots, etc. But it does get used by mature bucks to scent check food plots from cover and seems to be a focal point for chasing activity. At just 1 acre in size I suspect you'll see it used in the same way and not much for bedding. My understanding is when it comes to attracting NWSG bedding, bigger is better. I did put in 22 acres or so of CRP mix this spring, so we'll see how that theory holds in the coming years.

As far as hunting directly over it, consider it a difficult task. 6-7' grass conceals a 3.5' tall deer extraordinarily well. Even when cutting lanes like mentioned, you usually don't see them until they're in the lane then they're gone out of it before you're able to get a shot off. I plan to do some set ups like this in the new CRP planting but will incorporate a scrape post to get deer to pause a moment in the lane.
 

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I had a lease that was a 80 acres CRP field. It had conifers on 10 acres at the road. This was excellent ground and grew 7’ robust stands of big blue and switch grass. It overlooked a wetter area80 acres,of canary grass. Deer loved it. Our shooting lanes were seeded with turnips and oats, it really worked out well.

At my current land, I have 4 acres of poor ground. Big blue and switch, Indian grass too. It gets around 5’ tall. It is flat after the first snow. Deer might use it during the summer, never during rifle season. I have a strip of rye along the woods edge with it, it is nothing like the other 80. I also have 22 acres of extremely thick regrowth in white pine and oaks. It’s way too thick to hunt. I will be making trails and shooting/ food strips through it. Again, sour poor ground so I’m not expecting much for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have 6 acres of Switch currently broken up into 4 plots. I hunt around them fairly often and have never seen a deer come out of it that I was convinced was bedded in it. My buddy tracked a buck through the switch this year and said there was numerous beds and we see the beds during the off season, but I do not think it's consistently used for bedding during season. There is a plethora of possible reasons why it isn't used; such as other bedding options, proximity to food, proximity to human activity, size of plots, etc. But it does get used by mature bucks to scent check food plots from cover and seems to be a focal point for chasing activity. At just 1 acre in size I suspect you'll see it used in the same way and not much for bedding. My understanding is when it comes to attracting NWSG bedding, bigger is better. I did put in 22 acres or so of CRP mix this spring, so we'll see how that theory holds in the coming years.

As far as hunting directly over it, consider it a difficult task. 6-7' grass conceals a 3.5' tall deer extraordinarily well. Even when cutting lanes like mentioned, you usually don't see them until they're in the lane then they're gone out of it before you're able to get a shot off. I plan to do some set ups like this in the new CRP planting but will incorporate a scrape post to get deer to pause a moment in the lane.

I am going to have a trail system through out the plot. The deer trails on both sides of the plot will be tied into the trail system, each intersection will have a scrape tree. I was going to line the trail up as shooting lanes. I will have a few pockets of brush and weeds. A few small pockets of pine trees. I do have another prairie grass plot about an acre in size. That one is in a bad spot. But it has offered some of the funnest hunting. I have lots of hinge cut bedding and just looking for a spot to hunt over or next to that the deer might feel safe and move around. Or catch the bucks heading in for safety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had a lease that was a 80 acres CRP field. It had conifers on 10 acres at the road. This was excellent ground and grew 7’ robust stands of big blue and switch grass. It overlooked a wetter area80 acres,of canary grass. Deer loved it. Our shooting lanes were seeded with turnips and oats, it really worked out well.

At my current land, I have 4 acres of poor ground. Big blue and switch, Indian grass too. It gets around 5’ tall. It is flat after the first snow. Deer might use it during the summer, never during rifle season. I have a strip of rye along the woods edge with it, it is nothing like the other 80. I also have 22 acres of extremely thick regrowth in white pine and oaks. It’s way too thick to hunt. I will be making trails and shooting/ food strips through it. Again, sour poor ground so I’m not expecting much for a while.
[/QUOTE. I thought about a clover trail system inside the prairie grass.
 

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I have 22 acres of NWSG, so this may not apply to small stands. They bed all over in it. The only areas they avoid using for beds are areas of seasonal wetness, when wet. And yes I also have thick hinge cuts in my woodlot as do my neighbors. I have several stands surrounding this field. Can be absolutely awesome when bucks are cruising. The last week of bow season, I was watching a small buck cruise through it. Within a 75 yard stretch, he jumped up two more bedded bucks. Like anywhere else, deer have preferred exit and entrance spots that can make for great stand sites. There may be no better place, IMO, to call bucks in. They cannot see very far so it is a perfect scenario to dupe them. I will add that I hunt exclusively from treestands that are in the 20' range. I have little problem spotting deer it (never leave home without the binos) but no doubt, some can slip through. It may be a little tougher from a box blind at a lower elevation, don't know.
Having said all that, one acre is a very small area to expect a lot.
 

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If the deer use it, I hunt it. That is a small plot though. By the time you carve a bunch of lanes through it you will have even less total square feet in grasses.

My only thought is that you don't need the trails. From most elevated stands you can see a long ways through grass stands and the extra work of keeping them mowed doesn't sound like a lot of work now but when things get busy in the summer and rain events don't help your efforts, it will become a PITA. Make the plot, don't mow the plot. If you want to create movement patterns try running a snow fence from one corner to the other, fence can make a good spot GREAT.

We have several stands of NWSG that are 8-12 acres and IMO the ones that are the very best have some low wet spots. Our low wet spots over the years have developed willow and cattail that depending on the year can be mallard habitat or unreal buck haunts. Snuck on a buck a few years ago that I got the drop on while looking to jump shoot a duck puddle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have 22 acres of NWSG, so this may not apply to small stands. They bed all over in it. The only areas they avoid using for beds are areas of seasonal wetness, when wet. And yes I also have thick hinge cuts in my woodlot as do my neighbors. I have several stands surrounding this field. Can be absolutely awesome when bucks are cruising. The last week of bow season, I was watching a small buck cruise through it. Within a 75 yard stretch, he jumped up two more bedded bucks. Like anywhere else, deer have preferred exit and entrance spots that can make for great stand sites. There may be no better place, IMO, to call bucks in. They cannot see very far so it is a perfect scenario to dupe them. I will add that I hunt exclusively from treestands that are in the 20' range. I have little problem spotting deer it (never leave home without the binos) but no doubt, some can slip through. It may be a little tougher from a box blind at a lower elevation, don't know.
Having said all that, one acre is a very small area to expect a lot.
If the deer use it, I hunt it. That is a small plot though. By the time you carve a bunch of lanes through it you will have even less total square feet in grasses.

My only thought is that you don't need the trails. From most elevated stands you can see a long ways through grass stands and the extra work of keeping them mowed doesn't sound like a lot of work now but when things get busy in the summer and rain events don't help your efforts, it will become a PITA. Make the plot, don't mow the plot. If you want to create movement patterns try running a snow fence from one corner to the other, fence can make a good spot GREAT.

We have several stands of NWSG that are 8-12 acres and IMO the ones that are the very best have some low wet spots. Our low wet spots over the years have developed willow and cattail that depending on the year can be mallard habitat or unreal buck haunts. Snuck on a buck a few years ago that I got the drop on while looking to jump shoot a duck puddle.

I hear you on size. But that is what I have to work with. I think I will still plan on trails, but after a few years I could let them grow shut. Quite interesting about the low spot with cattails. I was going to plant some alder from another part of my property, in a few small pockets.
 
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