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Sunday, May 3, 2009

We start the month of May at Long Ridge Camp

Last blog had us complaining about the fickleness of April - a blizzard one day, fifty degrees the next. Well we just hit May and we are off and running. There is virtually no snow in the woods right now, and the fields are greening up nicely. The Whitetail clover plot in the far field already has mustard weed a foot tall, so I mowed it down Saturday, and will spray it with Slay and Arrest on the next windless day (that I have off from work). Can't believe how all the fields greened up so soon this year! Nancy and I watched a pair of foxes hunting mice in the rear fields today. I think it's neat - she worries about her chickens.

In any case May is the month to start clearing (or refurbishing existing) food plots. I have already ATVed up to the Far Ridge plot to clear all the trees I cut after last Decembers destructive ice storms. The Secret Spot I planted is all dead, and by July I will spray the weeds, ferns and vines that will cover the ground. Two weeks later, I'll harrow it, fertilize and spread some lime, turn it over again, and seed by August 1st. Ditto on the East side plot, from which one of our hunters has been hanging out with a couple of youngsters after their first turkey. Last weekend the eleven year old got his first, a double bearded fellow, not huge but respectable. In in that youngsters eyes, the stars shone!. He's a lifer. Today they didn't luck out though they heard the gobblers everywhere. It's the nine year old's turn, and by next weekend he'll probably score. In any case they spotted a bear, and this kid will never let a year pass again without procuring his license! The future of the sport.

Meanwhile on the Western side I have been working on a new plot, and this looks to be the best one yet. This area was logged two years ago, with specific instructions to take the Pine and Hemlock, but leave the Oaks. There are both White and Red Oaks here, big massive trees thirty inches through at breast height. Good mast producers they are and this has always been a good deer spot. I cleared the skidder road into it and once there I have begun to pile and bank the two feet deep tangle of hemlock and pine waste. This will take me two or three more weekends, and then I'll rake it by hand, and begin liming. It will take at least a month or so for the lime to have any effect, because I cannot get a tractor in there to turn the soil. Around August 1st I'll plant No-Plow, and hope for the best! By next year at this time, this will be a first class plot. Not big, but I know the deer will love it.

May also is the month to get out and loosen any permanent stands either bolted or strapped to trees. The trees will grow fast between now and fall, and need to be freed up. In mid August we'll go back out and retighten straps and fasteners. That's pretty much it for the month of May for deer camp stuff. The folks are too busy hunting the big birds to get any more tied up with real 'work'! My game camera is out by the Far Stand, where there is a crossroad of trails. The pictures aove are from last week.
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