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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summertime at Long Ridge Deer Camp

Back in April you saw just the first layer or so of camp wood laid out here. With the literally dozens of trips to and from the woods each week, the pile is now complete, and will fullfill the wildest dreams of campers for nine days of camps this fall...

You can see that the fawns here are much bigger than just several weeks ago, and we are glad they do not all succumb to the bears and, fisher and coyotes.
What did I just say about coyotes?
Mid June or so, this is on the Far Ridge Stand, and we have two bucks - the bigger one in the rear, coming along. Hard to tell this early what they will turn out to be, but by mid July we'll have a better idea...
Here is a developing handsome fellow, but still with remnants of a winter coat. This week in Southern New Hampshire it is 95 degrees, and the deer have to hate this, just as we do. In fact, it has not rained here in weeks, and the lawns are dying. I know my friends in Mississippi take this in stride, but it kills us. -40 degrees to +95? Yeesh! It about puts the Moose down.

This doe is sleek and healthy, and well bagged up. Can't see her fawn here but it is likely to be a healthy one. This is just below the Far Stand.
I decided to put a small plot up on our Eastern Ridge, where we have always had a woods stand (pictured below). Not very productive in the past (one buck in ten years) but it IS on the edge of a 30 acre sanctuary that we leave mature bucks undisturbed in. This is nasty country, about a half mile from camp. It is ledge, loose rocks and terrible soil. Six of us and a mini-excavator did the cutting and clearing in about 5 hours. All large pine and Oaks up there. I took the Red Oaks off, leaving the Whites.

After the inital help from fellow hunters, I spent several days up there de-rocking the place. I have a six foot heavy duty rototiller on the back of a 1070, and I weasled that up there, spun the rocks and soil over. I had to hand shovel most of the rocks out, and with the deer fly population at it's height, this was NOT fun!
Below is the plot mostly finished off. I would haul my harrows up here but the trail is simply not wide enough. I think I will  lime, fertilize, and seed the plot, then haul a four foot roller up here to set the seed. It'll come in all right by late September, and by next year, I 'll make access for harrows.
Here you see the woods stand we have mounted on a Red Oak many years ago. This was simply a strategic stand twenty feet up on an Oak on the edge of the sanctuary. I have gotten away from the permanent stands. They ruin good trees, such as this otherwise valuable Oak. The trees grow around them, so you can't remove them. Now we use ladder stands, and hangers. Since we are changing this over to a food plot, I will erect a twenty foor ladder stand on the North side. Too late to remove the permanent one at this point...

Down below you see the basic products I use to make initial food plots. Mostly I use Whitetail Institute products because they carry a full range of things such as seed, weed killer, mineral stuff and the like. I have a field planted in the Whitetail Clover seed and it has served the deer (and hunters) well. It is not the best clover out there for attractant strength, but it is good. When I make a new food plot, the first year I generally seed it with No-Plow. After a year or two I like to switch to Secret-Spot , and both have shown great results as far as making deer more healthy. I have three spots where I put down minerals (30-06) and the bucks are literally tearing up the ground to get at this stuff. Does prefer to have some poured on a stump, but follow Whitetail Institure directions if you want the bucks to use it. By the way, the five gallon bucket has left over clover seed in it, but it is a Lamb-Saver milk replacer bucket that has kept a bottle feeder healthy and happy!

These are bowhangers which I found on sale for twelve bucks for three. How can you beat that for summer shopping?

Yesterday, when I was doing the final rock removal at the East Ridge plot, I stopped to have a cold beer (hey, it IS 95!) and looked up to see this fellow staring down on me. He was panting like a dog, but followed me with his eyes wherever I went. They DO love clearings!
And here, mid-summer is a patch of the Far Field, which I never mow til late summer, because of the beautiful wild Sweet Pea. The deer don't eat it, so I don't know what purpose it serves except for beauty, but in that respect, it is worth sparing and enjoying. The following picture is of the rest of the Far Field. If we do not grow clover for deer, or graze it to sheep, we let our fields grow through the summer. I try not to mow before August 15th, so that all the field birds are done fledging out, turkeys are matured, and resting fawns a memory. The sight of fawns through mower conditioners is NOT pretty...of course in deference to real farmers and ranchers, we do not make a living from farming, so I make no judgements on those that must make hay!

And here you see the results of my daily bow practice...At 40 yards I was a bit high with four arrows and literally broke the back of this 3-D target. The last arrow to hit sent his head jerking to the ground, and he looked like a live deer for a second!. But what a costly mistake, as these things are not cheap. In any case I assume all you bow hunters are out there sending a half to a dozen arrows a day toward some target, so that when the day comes, you are in shape and ready for the challenge. In two weeks I will begin shooting at this target from elevated heights. I put it below a climber for realism.
Just had to throw in this picture of another little one. Looks quite new to the mobile world. Have a great summer, all, and keep your aim in line!

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