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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought about 50 acres in NYS last year and this will be the first time I'm hunting it. It is loaded with hundreds of wild apple trees and there is a large hay field (about 18 acres) towards the back of the property. There are a lot of deer, turkey, and coyote, and an occasional bear. Needless to say, I'm very excited to go bow hunting up there next month.

This property belonged to a farmer who died about 18 years ago. Whoever he willed it to didn't sell it until last year. Anyway, for the past 18 years there have been people showing up hunting the property without permission. I didn't know this before I bought the place.

I was talking to a farmer that owns the property next to mine and he was telling me that he has been hunting there since he was 13 , he's in his 50's now. He said that they get some decent sized bucks, but always with small racks. He showed us some of the racks he had and he wasn't lying.

My question is why do you think they have small racks? I'm guessing it's hunting pressure because the place was a free-for-all before I bought it. My brother (and the farmer) think it might be what they are eating. Maybe it's a combination of things.

Thoughts? Opinions?
 

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This is a semi broad question.

You keep saying "farmer". I'm assuming this means crop farming ? If so, what crops are generally planted within a 1 mile radius of the property ?

I would imagine that a big bodied buck would only get that way given an adequate supply of nutrion.

Just because "they" are shooting large bodied bucks with small racks does not mean that larger racked bucks dont walk these tracts.

I'd venture to guess, with minimal knowledge of this area, that it is more of a genetic enomaly than it is a nutritional bi-product.
 

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Genetics & nutrition grow big bucks. Those two things are the biggest factors in rack development.

Age plays a factor too, but if you're sure they're older deer growing dinker racks, they're lacking in genetics, nutrition or both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You keep saying "farmer". I'm assuming this means crop farming ?
The whole area is surrounded by farms. Most of the farmers in that area sell hay, including the farmer that I mentioned.

I'd venture to guess, with minimal knowledge of this area, that it is more of a genetic enomaly than it is a nutritional bi-product.
I hope you're wrong about that, but I have a feeling you might be right. Like I said, there is plenty for them to eat, especially on our property in the way of apples.

Also, I forgot to mention that they get some really severe winters up there. It's east of Lake Ontario and they get tons of lake effect snow. I'm not sure how much that is a factor though.
 

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for the past 18 years there have been people showing up hunting the property without permission
Unfortunately, it is doubtful that type of activity will stop. That's the same old song for absentee land owners. Congrats on your purchase, but unless you have people you can realy "Trust" watching the property. It is very likely that the locals will continue to trespass on your land and hunt it in your absence.

It suck's but there's no real way to stop that activity when you don't live on the land.

We have a similar problem on some of the conservancy property. It was close dto hunting for years, but its was regularly hunted by the neighboring property owners who were none to happy to see us. I actually had one guy who had 3 stands set up inside the property, and the conservancy folks took them down. We ran into him while positing the property line, and he gave us a full ration of sh!t. While hunting during 6 day, he actuall pointed his shotgun at us(from his property) and warned us to "not cross that property line or else!"

Some real jerks out there.

But back to your rack size question: are there sufficient mineral's in the area that would promote antler growth in the spring?? if note, throw some mineral licks out there and see what happens
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Unfortunately, it is doubtful that type of activity will stop. That's the same old song for absentee land owners.
You are 100% correct.

We put up posted signs this Summer and had four different guys stop by asking if they could still hunt. We said no but were nice about it.

Regardless, I know there will be guys up there sneaking on the property, but unfortunately there isn't much we can do. We made friends with all of the surrounding land owners and farmers and asked them to watch the property for us and they said they would. That only goes so far though. It will be interesting to see if people start showing up once bow season starts.

Anyway, not sure if they are getting enough minerals up there or not. How can I tell? I am going to take your advice and put out mineral licks. We were talking about food plots as well. If we did the licks, food plots, and stopped people from hunting there, how long do you think it would take before we see results? I know that is a hard question to answer.
 

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Also, I forgot to mention that they get some really severe winters up there. It's east of Lake Ontario and they get tons of lake effect snow. I'm not sure how much that is a factor though.
Winter is the most stressful time for whitetails. Cover is lacking, nutrition is lacking. They have additional stress from hunting pressue, by this time.

They end up having to travel further to find food on top of already being hungry and "beat down" from the rutting period.

Aside from providing deer with a sanctuary, of sorts, a sustained winter food source is top priority for those serious about holding a healthy deer heard on/around their property.


Hay and apples sure are not going to do that. Only excess nutrients are bifurcated to antler development.

Nutrition is key.
 

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My club in Roscoe is bothered by the same thing. We have been hunting the prive 100 plus acres since 1963 and still have people in the surrounding area cut through state land and put stands etc on the property. It really comes down to respect and great hunter ethics. In which the people up there do not really care about at all. Well in general there are hunters like us who still play by the rules. In roscoe though and mos tplaces upstate NY we are forced with the locals poaching, taking deer at night, and taking deer out of season. In place like yours and mine, the taking of deer is a means for survival and as well trophy's. People hunt all year long up there because the poverty is so bad. So the problems we face at my place are the locals taking the deer for the meet just to survive and as well they seek out the deer with the largest racks and hunt them at night. This may be a reason why you are not seeing the larger bucks. This is part of my 2 sense for my club and maybe yours.

On to nutrition for the land. My place in roscoe has not the greatest soil and also lacks oak tree's etc. Yes we do well every year but like you we do not get the most giant racks. It's really tough and makes you wonder. With this being, it comes on to us/you to see what you can do to provide nutrition and as well what to keep the deer on your property instead of them wandering to neighboring property. So what i have been doing is trimming the apple tree's on my property, throwing out numerouse salt licks, cutting down tree's a year in advance for fire wood (this allows the deer to eat the foiliage, and now looking at what kind of food plots to put out to help support the habbitat. It's taken me 2 years to fully understand what I can do and how to assess the problem but, I do feel my efforts now is show because of the more deer sign, antler sizing, and over activity. It's tough work with traveling 1.5 hrs just to get it done and time comsuming but, in the end it all pays off.
 

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Ill bet that they get plenty to eat up there with all the crop fields around. Also, their genetics probably breed large bodied deer up there.

My best quess without seeing the deer up there is that the farmers up there are probably shooting young deer (1.5-2.5 year olds) which have decent size bodies.
 

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Sounds like the apples are an OK september through October food source, but you need to think 12 months out of the year. You need some good spring crops,(clover) and some hard mast (acorns/beech nuts) to cary over in winter-standing corn is always a good food source in heavy snow areas, as the corn is above the snow line. Likewise, young surgar maple and black birch saplings are a good over winter food source-(deer will eat the branch tips) clear cutting some old timber will facilitate the growth of these.


But don't focus solely on food sources. Look at what the surrounding properties have on them that deer need, see what's missing from the puzzle, and make sure you have it. If the surounding area has loads of food-think tasty food(apples, pears, persimmons), and good bedding (chest high young growth near tasty food sources and timber thickets).

If you can stop the poaching, and have good nuitrition, you will see the change in the very next season. But developing the nutrition is the hard part-there are some plants (nut trees) you just can't grow in a year or two.
 

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My best quess without seeing the deer up there is that the farmers up there are probably shooting young deer (1.5-2.5 year olds) which have decent size bodies.
As Cris says, I bet that is the likley problem.

In place like yours and mine, the taking of deer is a means for survival
This is actually true. I hunted der up state once with a doctor who owns 700 acres and a farm house(we traded hunts-he came to my jersey property for bear in 2005). We stayed at the farm house for the weekend, and he has a caretaker who lives in the house (rent free) and "watches" the property. We had venison for dinner and the caretaker's 12 year old joined us. The guy actuall said his kid has never tasted beef-the only red eat he eats is deer-he hunts the property 365 days a year-as does a few of his friends from the numbers of bones half burried in the back yard-it looked like a scene out of "Deliverance"
 

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Hey aren't some of you guys the same ones who say don't shoot BB they will grow to me monsters. heres proof on one property that they don't?

Hire a genetics firm and have them test your soil posibly and branch out from there is another possiblity to consider I suspect.

I see shooting the little ones as a plus that leaves the big ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I appreciate all of your thoughts/suggestions. It's certainly given me a lot to think about. There are many factors that could be causing the problem and I'm going to try and see if we can fix it.

The only bad thing is that my property is a five hour drive from NJ. So it's tough to get up there regularly. Hopefully posting the property will keep some people away.

As far as food plots go I'm not sure what we should plant up there. I don't have a tractor or anything to plow up the field. I did see this stuff:

No Plow food plot

Has anyone ever heard of this?

Also, any ideas about mineral licks and what to do for the winter? It's not possible to get up there and fill a feeder. So I will need to come up with another solution.
 

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The locals are shooting all the big bucks and there is nothing you can do about it.

Buddies have a place 3 hours up and the same thing happens to them.

The locals jack the deer when they aren't there.
 

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The locals will have you patterned shortly. Out of curiousity how/why did you pick this spot? I would guess those apple trees are in dire need of pruning and bug spray to improve the yield. Sounds like its a haul and your time is going to be limited but start farming and be sure to bring your saw. You might want to read up on how to prune apple trees if you haven't done it before.
 

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I have been hunting NY for a number of years. It seems that the bucks do have bigger bodies in NY state than in NJ. YOur typical 2.5 year old buck dresses out 160 lbs or more and 3.5 and old bucks are 180 plus. The antlers tend to be squatty. I killed the biggest buck we have ever taken on my families property in Walton NY and it's not really that big of a buck. If he had longer tines he probably would have had a much bigger score.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Out of curiousity how/why did you pick this spot?
Well, for starters, the price per acre was good. There is a groomed snowmobile trail on the end of the property. There is a casino about 45 minutes away. Pulaski, Lake Ontario, and the Salmon river is 20 mins away. Adirondacks is 30 mins away. Oneida Lake is 30 mins. Redfield Reservoir 5 mins up the road. So we are right in the middle of a lot of good stuff. Plus, even though we haven't seen any monsters, there are a lot of deer on the property, not to mention turkey.

I'll have to look in to what to do about the apple trees and how to prune them. They are wild apple trees so I don't know if that make a difference.
 

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The locals jack the deer when they aren't there.
Unfortunately this is true. On my families place we also have a trout pond locals fished all of the trout we had in there out. And there was a lot and many were 3lbs or better. Also two seasons ago one of our guys shot a decent buck and they hung it up by the trailer. They went out for dinner and the deer was gone when they got back. NY hicks tend to be number 1 jealous creatures and number 2 have no respect for other peoples property or stuff. Not much different than Jersey if you ask me[rofl]
 
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