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Trail Layout


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After spending more time up there, I marked up aerials with a potential trail layout. Thought it would be fun to get people's thoughts & suggestions on what I could/should do differently. The only current trails there are what I am assuming was an old logging road and a new trail I made (the red jagged line on the west side.) The trail I made was a pain. It took the better part of a weekend using a chainsaw, weed whip and riding mower. The reason it's so jagged as I was trying to take the easiest path through, just to get something done. I hope to make the other trails a little more straight so they can act as shooting lanes as well. I am considering renting a skid steer with a forestry mulcher to do this but they are pricey. Might just hire out the main (magenta) trail and then do the rest myself with a chainsaw and brush cutter depending on cost. 

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I would spend some time learning where the Deer travel your land. Then look at stand placement, then trails to access them.  If you just put in a bunch of trails but they end up not going where you needed them your just cutting down a lot of cover.

Also, it's cold but after Deer hunting before the snow gets to deep is a good time to do some cutting as you can get a good clear look at the land with out all the summer foliage blocking. Have fun.

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4 minutes ago, leech~~ said:

I would spend some time learning where the Deer travel your land. Then look at stand placement, then trails to access them.  If you just put in a bunch of trails but they end up not going where you needed them your just cutting down a lot of cover.

Also, it's cold but after Deer hunting before the snow gets to deep is a good time to do some cutting as you can get a good clear look at the land with out all the summer foliage blocking. Have fun.

 

What I have found is that the deer go where the trails are but existing game trails are plentiful. Seems that they prefer the path of least resistance. The biggest purpose of the trails is for access for us. After trying to wonder around this weekend, it's nearly impossible to get to some places without killing yourself. If I shot a deer on the far east end this weekend, I don't know how we would get it out. 

 

I plan to do as much as I can before spring starts to green things up again. 

 

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8 minutes ago, jbell1981 said:

 

What I have found is that the deer go where the trails are but existing game trails are plentiful. Seems that they prefer the path of least resistance. The biggest purpose of the trails is for access for us. After trying to wonder around this weekend, it's nearly impossible to get to some places without killing yourself. If I shot a deer on the far east end this weekend, I don't know how we would get it out. 

 

I plan to do as much as I can before spring starts to green things up again. 

 

 

How did things go with the new neighbor? Did they hunt and did you guys talk anymore about that line where he had a stand?  Any issue with them?

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I probably won’t have any advice you’d like but if it were my ground, I’d go this route:

 

First decide what area I want to leave untouched so there is an area of refuge.  Someplace the deer can feel relatively safe so they stick around.  No trails and rarely step foot in it if that’s possible.

 

For trails, I’ve always preferred narrower, rambling trails that are maybe wide enough for a 4 wheeler.  It just seems more natural to me and less intrusive to the environment.  More enjoyable walks and less of a departure from being in the forest.  I don’t care for long, wide shooting lanes.  Just make spur trials to well placed stand sites.

 

For what it’s worth, I truly believe mature deer feel the same way; feeling more secure in a less manicured environment.  I’ve been on substantially trailed properties that used to produce mature deer that now still produce deer but rarely anything over 2.5 year olds, if even that.

 

You could brush that out pretty easily with a tow behind rough cut mower.

 

Again, just my opinion.  

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14 hours ago, Wanderer said:

I probably won’t have any advice you’d like but if it were my ground, I’d go this route:

 

First decide what area I want to leave untouched so there is an area of refuge.  Someplace the deer can feel relatively safe so they stick around.  No trails and rarely step foot in it if that’s possible.

 

For trails, I’ve always preferred narrower, rambling trails that are maybe wide enough for a 4 wheeler.  It just seems more natural to me and less intrusive to the environment.  More enjoyable walks and less of a departure from being in the forest.  I don’t care for long, wide shooting lanes.  Just make spur trials to well placed stand sites.

 

For what it’s worth, I truly believe mature deer feel the same way; feeling more secure in a less manicured environment.  I’ve been on substantially trailed properties that used to produce mature deer that now still produce deer but rarely anything over 2.5 year olds, if even that.

 

You could brush that out pretty easily with a tow behind rough cut mower.

 

Again, just my opinion.  

 

Thanks Wanderer. I was wondering if I was overdoing it. I think I'm going to eliminate the east/west trails at the north and south borders and just have the spur trails every couple hundred yards off of the main center trail. I want the main center trail (magenta line) to be around 8ft wide to be able to get my jeep and trailer through but the rest I think 4ft would be good. 

 

Really any advice is good advice. This is all new to me. I'm used to hunting farm country in west central minnesota where the biggest group of trees is a few acres around an old homestead. 

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Jbell1981,

I am not an expert on deer, or trail layout for deer, but I do have a less expensive, and less labor intensive way of clearing trails then the way you have Been doing it. What I use on my 40 acres is a skid steer and a land plane. I’m sure a land plane without a hydraulic scarifier would be much cheaper than renting a forestry muncher. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

5CDC1D9E-C2A4-46D6-9FE8-7995CEAEB9B8.jpeg

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jbell1981, how did the pop up camper work and did your Big buddy keep it warm enough?  Sadly, my buddy is selling his cabin in the spring he just told us so we may be off looking for a new hunting spot.  If you build your new cabin I may be in the market for a small used one by next fall if your selling it then?    

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58 minutes ago, leech~~ said:

jbell1981, how did the pop up camper work and did your Big buddy keep it warm enough?  Sadly, my buddy is selling his cabin in the spring he just told us so we may be off looking for a new hunting spot.  If you build your new cabin I may be in the market for a small used one by next fall if your selling it then?    

A buddy let me use his ventless heater that is the style in the photo (not sure how many BTU's). It kept us ok last weekend, but just barely. It's supposed to be colder this weekend so I am going to use that and the buddy heater and see how it goes. I keep the roof vent open and a window cracked on the opposite end to keep clean air in there but I sure that doesn't help with keeping the heat in. 

 

I doubt you would want mine, but PM when the time comes closer. If I can get it back out without destroying my bridge, you probably could just have it. I only paid 100 bucks for it. Discovered a leak this weekend. The table broke in 2 so it has issues. Even though it technically sleeps 6, I wouldn't have more than 3 unless they were small kids. 

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54 minutes ago, jbell1981 said:

A buddy let me use his ventless heater that is the style in the photo (not sure how many BTU's). It kept us ok last weekend, but just barely. It's supposed to be colder this weekend so I am going to use that and the buddy heater and see how it goes. I keep the roof vent open and a window cracked on the opposite end to keep clean air in there but I sure that doesn't help with keeping the heat in.

 

I doubt you would want mine, but PM when the time comes closer. If I can get it back out without destroying my bridge, you probably could just have it. I only paid 100 bucks for it. Discovered a leak this weekend. The table broke in 2 so it has issues. Even though it technically sleeps 6, I wouldn't have more than 3 unless they were small kids.

 

Lol, well at least the price sounds good!  I do like projects though.  😄

 

BigDave yep it is my buddy up in Outing.  We're looking at getting a pop up and heading back to our old spot where there were some bigger Bucks like the two that are on my Avatar next season.  Then Wanderer can have his road back and all the small Deer over there! Spikes and Doe's is pretty much all we have seen in this spot. Oh and Wolves! 😉

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7 hours ago, leech~~ said:

  Then Wanderer can have his road back and all the small Deer over there! Spikes and Doe's is pretty much all we have seen in this spot. Oh and Wolves! 😉

 

You sure you wanna give it up?  Was just up there today and ran across this.

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19 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

 

You sure you wanna give it up?  Was just up there today and ran across this.

2790CEBA-ECA7-4D8B-813C-C9E51050D749.jpeg.a4f326def8d5cd9947a4fe4ed93c795b.jpeg

 

 

Ran into as in with your truck?  That looks like a pretty old buck looking at that rack.

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8 hours ago, leech~~ said:

 

Ran into as in with your truck?  That looks like a pretty old buck looking at that rack.

 

It ran across my phone as a text from a co-worker. 😏

 

But I was in YOUR 😉 hunten area when I got it.  Fresh dusting of snow and 11 degrees at about 8 pm last night.  It should be nice this weekend with a blank slate on the ground - if you’re going.

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39 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

 

It ran across my phone as a text from a co-worker. 😏

 

But I was in YOUR 😉 hunten area when I got it.  Fresh dusting of snow and 11 degrees at about 8 pm last night.  It should be nice this weekend with a blank slate on the ground - if you’re going.

 

So, your saying it didn't come from the Land of tiny Deer off 55?  😄

My son took a spike opening morning which should be Wild rice brats and Summer sausage be the end of next week. I saw a spike and 3 Doe's and the other 4 in our group saw a big goose egg so far.  I'll be bangen around up there. Good Luck.

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Back to your original question regarding trails I would be hesitant to go in and start cutting long straight trails without knowing how the deer are using your land.  You could end up cutting a nice bedding area right in half and ruin it entirely.  What I would do is figure out where you want to set up camp/cabin and get a nice access in to that spot.  Then figure out where you want stands to be placed.  There are also some areas you want to avoid entirely, if there is a bedding area you don't want to be putting a trail in there because each time you head to your stand you risk clearing your land of any deer.  From how you describe the land it seems likely deer are using at least some portion of your land for bedding and cover. Once you know where you want your stands and you know areas to avoid then you can figure out how to route trails.  I wouldn't make them any wider than an ATV though, deer will use them but they also like to feel secure. I personally also wouldn't make them perfectly straight, I'd figure out point A and point B then route the trail through the easiest ares that also avoids potential bedding areas.  Odds are it won't end up being very straight at all. 

 

I'd probably focus on your main access road to your campsite and work on improving camp first while dealing with narrow winding trails for awhile.  Maybe hunt it like that for another year or two as you learn more about your land and how the deer are using it.  That way you can make a more informed decision on trail placement.  Odds are you'll find that some of your current stands don't produce as well as others and need to be moved.  No sense building large trails to those stands until you know they are in good spots likely to produce year after year. 

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12 hours ago, leech~~ said:

 

So, your saying it didn't come from the Land of tiny Deer off 55?  😄

 

 the other 4 in our group saw a big goose egg so far.  I'll be bangen around up there. Good Luck.

 

Nope, it did not...

 

So, just how big was that egg?

 

I think @nofishfisherman and I are on the same page.

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39 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

So, just how big was that egg?

 

@nofishfisherman

 

Goose egg:

the numeral zero, often used to indicate the failure of a team to score in a game or unit of a game: a pitchers' duel, with nothing but goose eggs on the scoreboard. a lump raised by a blow, especially on the head. 😉

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  • 1 year later...

Thought it would be fun to revisit this almost 2 years later. 

 

It's been a lot more work creating trails than I thought it would be. So it's been slow. We've got a few trails in the west half of my property,  but so far the east half has been barely used. Last fall, extreme rain put a damper on creating any as most of my property was under a couple inches of water (or more). But this Summer and fall We've been going hard every few weeks. We got a camper (until I can build that cabin) and made an 8ft+ wide trail to get that back in the woods. The other trails are around 4ft wide (width of my mower).

 

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