help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

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Macintosh
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help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby Macintosh » Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:48 am

Howdy everyone--my first "real" post, I am wondering if some people might help me with a setup and some tips on a new farm property I just got permission to hunt. It's in a neighboring state near where my parents live so I will be there only around visits, although I can time my visits if need be! I did a quick spin through the other day and have some notes and an onx image below. Basically I'm a longtime hunter but relatively new bow hunter and relatively new at really putting time and intention into deer hunting. I also grew up in and have hunted almost entirely in big woods settings--ag land in general is totally foreign to me and something I'm interested in gaining experience with, hence this post. I'm wondering about suggestions on timing to hunt the area relative to the field getting cut, both for bucks as well as possibly for a doe, stand locations and setup, and access suggestions. I have some ideas of my own but am really interested in what some folks with more experience have to say as well.

I walked the whole area this past weekend and found tracks all around the perimeter of the field, enough to feel confident there's a solid handful of deer that have used it within the past few days. I did not find much historical buck sign, but the greenery was so thick below chest-height I could easily have missed it. The heaviest sign I found was in the wider strip of woods near the tip of the peninsula. I left a camera at a pinch point in the woods near the Northeast corner of the property where it seems many deer are accessing the area, just to get a sense of traffic. I really know nothing about how the corn will affect things before it's cut versus after it's cut, but most years the farmer cuts the corn within a week on either side of the opening day (oct 1). I suspect this area is a bit of a refuge from the heavily-hunted areas to the East and West as well. Property details below.

Thank you very much in advance!

The property is 2 farm fields, split by a raised railroad track, that form a peninsula into a river with a forested strip between the field and the river--I can hunt anywhere on this property. One other guy will be hunting it, but I think he's mainly a rifle hunter which is limited to late november. To the East (Right off the image) is a 2-lane paved road, 3 or 4 houses, then several hundred acres of woods with a lot of oak ridges--tons of deer sign here but it's public and gets hunted heavily. To the West (Left off the image) is the river, a 1-lane dirt road, then a few farm fields, then several thousand acres of woods, most of which is private but it gets hunted fairly heavily. The easternmost section between the paved road and the RR tracks is 35 acres, the western portion is completely obscured from view by the railroad tracks and most people assume the river is there--but it's a hidden peninsula that's over 100 acres, 70 acres of which is the field itself with the remainder being the strip of woods along the river, which ranges from 15 yards to 160 yards wide. Both fields are planted in feed corn.

*red arrows show prevailing winds--99% of the time it's either S/SW or NW wind. S or SW probably most common. Because of the surrounding topography I suspect actual wind will be closer to due S or due N nearly all the time, with a healthy amount of variability.
*yellow arrows show the obvious ways deer are accessing the area based on tracks--mostly from the East through the wooded corridors/ends of the fields, and a little from the West mainly via 2 different shallow sections across the river where it's 2-3' deep maximum.
*violet dots are just for scale, it's a touch under 900 yards between the two dots
*blue dots are a couple of obvious beds I found
*white X's are parking locations. From the x by the road on the East side you can walk a work road straight across to a RR overpass middle of the field, and walk the tracks in either direction or after the corn is cut straight across the big field, or you can drive the edge of the field to the tracks at the north edge of the property and park there. There is also the option of boat access--possible from either North or South and maybe nice because the woods are full of cow parsnip which I'm told can be quite the ordeal if you get the sap on your skin and then get exposed to sunlight.
*I believe the other guy is walking directly across the back field after it's been cut to access a stand on the treeline near the bottom blue dot which puts the entire NW section of the field within 350 yards--I found a treestand I think is his that backs this up. I think he is the only other person who will have permission to hunt this property.
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btsnhos
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Re: help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby btsnhos » Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:25 pm

Looks like a nice area but not very big, I wouldn't pressure it too much but if it were me I would put a couple cameras on the creek crossings and maybe sit both of those on the first few hunts to get an idea of the area. The other option is to find some solid beds along the water and kayak in for a setup.
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HunterBob
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Re: help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby HunterBob » Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:59 pm

Looks like a great piece of land to hunt! I don't get to hunt ag areas, so I am not expert. However, if it was me I would plan a scouting trip in the next couple of months and would focus on the wooded areas that border the creek. Find where they are bedding but realize this may change with the seasons. Find the main trails and plan to do some observation setups to learn the deer movement, playing the wind so that the areas don't get blown out.

I definitely like the idea of accessing by kayak to minimize scent as well as to avoid them watching you cross over the field. Good luck!
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<DK>
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Re: help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby <DK> » Wed Jun 23, 2021 9:48 am

Very nice

Honestly, based on your post I think you have a solid handle on whats going on. Trust your gut
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Re: help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby Macintosh » Wed Jun 23, 2021 10:56 am

Thanks,
OK, well that's a vote of confidence, so I appreciate it. I guess I could use 2 things then.

1) How would folks approach this differently before and after the corn is cut? My thought is before the corn is cut and the few days after I can probably assume the corn is a food source, but after that the treelines would simply be a travel corridor between the woods and oaks across the road and a bedding sactuary out on the peninsula that doesnt see much pressure.
2) If the above is true, then I see stand possibilities approximately like below--I'd love anyone to offer other suggestions if they see differently or if they think I'm missing something, a "you're on the right track" or if you think any of the below are better setups than others or a particular order you might approach them in, or if I'm missing "the" setup--this area is so different from what I'm used to that a little confidence boost or nudge in the right direction about how to approach this area is really helpful. I wont be leaving a stand here so anything I set up will be mobile. Again, thanks in advance!

Stands 1 and 2 are PM sits on a north wind with access shown by the blue line or by boat, both targeting movement along the treeline moving from the bedding in the wider portion of the forested section to the West, toward to the oak ridges across the road or along the field edge. Stand 2 maybe closer to the road and thinking deer may be in the first little wider section near the narrow southen end of the treeline, and if there isnt much movement there then moving deeper to #1. Either could also be rut stands I guess, the treeline being the obvious travel corridor.

Stand 3 if I can tell the other guy isnt there so I'm not messing him up, on a south wind so my scent is blowing out into the field, probably before the corn is cut?? The black waypoint is his stand looking mainly North across the field. Access either straight across field, or if it's too thick following the treeline from the south. I found beds in this section of the woods and the only obvious trails into the field were around this point, so it is possible he was set up on one of those trails as well, but there's a huge view North from there that covers the entire NW section of field within rifle range so figured there was decent odds I wouldnt see him during bow season. I'd be interested in hearing what people think of this location for after the corn is cut.

Stand 4 and 5 PM stands for south winds, approaching along the treeline or the shoreline or possibly by boat for 4. 4 targeting movement out of the wider section of woods along the treeline, and 5 being the obvious travel corridor leading between the fields and the oak ridges across the road. (the across the road stuff in the image is all private/not huntable or owner hunts it, and then turns into heavily pressured public just off screen).

Thanks for any feedback on these.
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btsnhos
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Re: help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby btsnhos » Wed Jun 23, 2021 5:53 pm

I think you actually have a really good plan, you could probably do another sit just south of spot 5 in that section. I don't know how the deer are going to act with the corn being cut vs. not being cut, I also think it depends on other crops in the area like soybeans. Observation sits, glassing, and trail cams are probably your best ebt
Macintosh
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Re: help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby Macintosh » Wed Jun 23, 2021 11:24 pm

Makes perfect sense. I already found beds in that finger of trees across the tracks from there so I guess it makes double sense. Question—how the heck do you access and hunt a spot like that? With corn down you can set up further down the trees which I assume will be the exit...but early when corn is a food source, how do you hunt a peninsula like that when they may be bedding right near the edge and exiting into the corn? Super early AM sit is an option I guess, what other options are there?

Also, as far as I know there are no soybeans in the area. Its really a dairy area so feed corn is about it.
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austin1990
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Re: help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby austin1990 » Wed Jun 23, 2021 11:51 pm

Sounds like you have a good head start! I have a question, when does your bow season open? Here bow season usually opens the last weekend of September, usually 25th-28th range, and here the corn gets cut anytime from September 1st- mid September. Never fails lol get deer patterned on corn earl and always gets cut and deer leave within a few weeks of opener. Also, that last month or so before its cut and that corn has browned and getting ripe the deer tend to just bed in it, not travel to and from bedding areas much.
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Tribute80
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Re: help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby Tribute80 » Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:33 am

Did you see tracks on the dirt road or deer crossing the dirt road? Also do you think you could park on the dirt road and cross the creek to access without making someone mad? If its feed corn That could be standing for awhile could you find out when they usually try to have it cut by. With it being on the small size and the guy mostly gun hunting if the corn is still up in late October I would maybe target it around then. Give the pressure from the other property a chance to push the deer to your low pressure. Then sneak attack them. Or Hit it once around the open of season and wait for ideal weather. I wouldn't do the same thing over and over so the deer don't pattern you and if the other guy has been hunting there awhile they may already have him patterned so just do it different and you should see some results. Good Luck seems like your on the right track.
Macintosh
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Re: help new/big woods guy with ag field setup?

Unread postby Macintosh » Thu Jun 24, 2021 8:47 am

Opener is oct 1.
I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but my recollection is that most years they cut the corn between the middle of Sept - middle of October. It’s been dry this year, so I think they were able to get planted earlier, so probably gets cut right around the opener? We often get first snow in late October, so I think they normally get it cut well before then.

The tracks crossing the river were on the side I had planned to hunt, I did not see any tracks crossing the dirt road. Most of that road is owned by folks who have it posted up tighter than a frogs rear-end, so probably not an option to access from there! As far as accessing that island of trees facing the parking, I might get dropped off on the south end and walk the tracks back? Is that where you were angling?


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