Brush Hogging Fallow Field For Deer Habitat - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-03-2018, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
The Man
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Brush Hogging Fallow Field For Deer Habitat

This excerpt of an Outdoor Life article is interesting.

"Mow the Grass
Last December, I hunted a farm in Iowa that had corn, soybeans, clover and peas. But I kept wondering why so many does and bucks, including a giant eight-pointer, were feeding in nearby CRP fields each evening.

I investigated and found that a smorgasbord of tiny, green weeds had sprouted up in the mowed strips. Then I got it. Some deer were ignoring the crops and plots and feeding on the succulent, protein-rich forbs. I didn't get the big eight, but I did shoot another buck in a strip.

I left the Midwest with a good deer and a great new trick: You can create "feed strips" anywhere you hunt. Maybe there's an overgrown field or a dry, grassy swamp or a creek bottom on your tract.

Well, mow a few strips through that cover next fall. If you don't own or have access to a tractor and a bush hog, pay a local guy $100 or so to do the job.?"

I think there may be something to that. Fallow "old fields" often get dominated by goldenrod, autumn olive and other stuff, which keep the ground shaded and limits the growth of young forbs.

If you simply mow some strips through the thick stuff, taking it down to 6 inches or so, that lets in more light, and you get new growth of young forbs, which the deer like.

I've seen this done in state gamelands. The vegetation in the mowed strip is a lot different than what is growing in the areas that have not been mowed for quite a while. The tall thick stuff provides cover. But in the mowed strip there is probably more tasty stuff (young forbs and clover) for the deer.

In another gamelands area, they did a controlled burn, which has similar effects.
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Last edited by troutbert; 09-03-2018 at 12:59 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 10:46 AM
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I have a gas line that runs thru my property and was going to put a food plot on it but saw that I have strawberry, blackberry, birds foot trefoil, and many types of wildflowers growing on it. Plenty of deer and turkey feed there so why waste the time and money to change it.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 03:56 PM
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Shhh. Don’t let the cat out of the bag and tell people deer will eat (and many times prefer) plants that didn’t generate from a bag with a big buck pictured on it! Next you’re gonna tell me if my plot isn’t TV spotless and void of all “weeds” the deer will still will eat there and will actually eat many of the “weeds”. This is just crazy talk...😜
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 08:50 AM
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That is an excellent use of a fallow field, i'm prepping 2 small (1/4 ac. ) plots to do just that next year. Just be careful how many times you mow, it will turn into almost all grass ( I have done it ). Mine are mowed so i'm either going to kill all of it with gly, or spray the grass out of it. I'll also lime and fertilize. I'll keep an eye on what grows and spot spray my bad weeds ( ones the deer don't eat ) like pigweed and horsenettle, boy I hate those weeds. good luck
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-12-2018, 09:25 AM
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Want another "trick". Lime the strips in the spring. Actually lime all around your stands, even in the woods. Deer can "taste" the difference in nutrition and and mineral content of a plant grown in better pH soil than one grown lower pH soil.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2018, 09:37 AM
Hooked on HuntingPa
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DDX is spot on, after you lime the strips set an exclusion cage on a limed strip and an un-limed one and monitor the difference. it's always fun to watch how they react to what we do, deer are deer but still have different preferences depending on where you are in the state
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 11:46 PM
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Troutbert, thanks for posting this. I have a spot where I hunt that is all woods and "fallow" fields. Been wondering what kind of easy thing I can do to enhance it and I guess now I know.
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