Blacktail habitat/land management opinions

matt392

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First off...if this is in the wrong section I apologize in advance.


In another thread I posted I have a client that is giving me access to his private property in A zone. He has also said that I can cut trees/manzanita etc. to improve hunting. He does not hunt so he is basically leaving the whole thing up to me (which is perfect). I am just getting started with the "lay of the land" and was wondering a few things.

The cover up there is pretty dang thick. Super thick. However, there are a few natural clearings and I was hoping to make a few more clearings or expand the ones that are currently there. The biggest of the clearings is probably 150x50 yards or so. In everyone's expert opinion, what is the "ideal size clearing"? I know bucks don't spend many daylight hours in clearings but I feel a clearing that is only 150 yards (at most) is pretty small. I'm used to hunting clearings that are much larger.

How about location of the "ideal clearing"? Obviously close to water is going to be key but beyond that...top of a ridge, halfway up, in a draw or even a saddle? Just curious what others think. I have my own preferences but just wondering what you all think.

Also wondering if anyone has any experience with logging companies doing work (roads, cutting) in exchange for the timber on the property? I have some friends that did this on the coast many years ago but the outfit they used is no longer.
 

slamdmini

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i think the first thing u need to do is figure out how the deer are using the land in its current state. where they eat, drink, bed? and remember blacktail really dont pattern well either. and whether u hunt with bow or rifle will prolly make a difference too. if u have permission for more than just a season, id invest in some trail cams, and do lots of scouting. if i were u id spend more time scouting than hunting this season. kinda hard to give specifics without knowing what ur dealing with, but sounds like u could have a sweet gig. good luck and post up some pics of some progress
 

matt392

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Trail cams is a great idea. Scouting is the plan for sure this season. Obviously we would like to kill a buck but we know it will take time to figure it out.

This is an ongoing thing and any of the "improvements" would be made during the off season. There is going to be a lot of time with a chainsaw cutting paths/trails to some of the better hunting areas. I figured I would just see what everyone else has in mind as I scout this area.
 

Hikingwithguns

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Talk to a biologist for your area at the dfg. He can advise you on this exact sort of thing. Its hard to know what to suggest without knowing the property so I think this is your best bet.
 

matt392

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Thanks for the input Hiking. great idea. I didn't know they provided that sort of information at DFG. I really appreciate it.
 

Captjgray

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Sounds like this will be more of an investment for the future than four just this season?

if so consider this, we have a piece of property in Coalinga area that holds a lot of deer and turkeys, and some pigs. every spring on the property has been plumbed ito a canyon and small ponds and troughs are used for holding the water. in those areas there is a lot of really good wet soil. its a great area to plant a food plot and set up a tree stand near by. remember this though. when you start planting stuff try to fence it off so that it doesn't get eaten too early. also plant after the season so you are not "baiting"...
 

ducslayer

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Get a controlled burn. Leave pathes for cover. In three years you wont believe the how good it gets!
 

sfjeeper

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I hunted property that was totally choked out by manzanita. We used a control burn and it really helped open up the land. Couple years later we were killing it. Unfortunatley, with the lack of water and dry conditions this year, I doubt you will get the o.k. for a burn
 

matt392

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I was thinking about a controlled burn. I am not sure how that even gets accomplished. I was more of the opinion I would open up as much with a chain saw as possible then go from there. I want to open up areas strategically so there are funnel points for the deer. Mostly I want to just cut some decent trails to get to the open areas that look decent to set up on so it doesn't take me 30 minutes to walk 100 yards and sound like a herd of elephants in the process.
 

codemaster1

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I have 35 years experience hunting in Lake County and have seen control burns done in areas off of the Old Toll Rd, Highland Springs, Cow Mt, but I doubt with the drought and a lot of recent wildland fires that you will get any action. you can look up and call Northshore Fire District. Not sure how much you want to spend but a bulldozer for 1 day might be faster and easier. The land may never be good if the neighboring land has better habitat, more water and browse, etc. If you don't see a lot of tracks, does, sign, also not sure if your expecting to get 1 buck per year etc, might not be worth the time and $ you will need to spend. I had permission to hunt several ranches in the area, 1 being 400 acres and was only able to harvest approx. 1 deer per every 2 years, public land was better for me. This year 2014 is a good year as Kelseyville Meats has taken in over 70 bucks. I have seen more does and bucks this year in the fields on public land than past years.
 

matt392

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Good advice Code. I am just learning this property. I think a controlled burn would be about the last of the options for me. I think there are plenty of other options to make it a little more user friendly in the meantime. The first just creating a series of trails to get around the place more easily. I am also considering some of the ideas regarding water storage. I think there are ways to make water stay on the property a little longer in the summer time. The good news is this property is completely surrounded by plenty of public land so I'm not handcuffed with just that parcel. I can walk for quite a ways in every direction except due north without hitting any other private land.

I did see sign but no actual animals. Mind you I have only been up there one time and it was with my two little ones. I didn't even get to see most of the property, especially the areas I intend to hunt. My brother and I are headed back up there for closing for a long weekend. Next year we will be the year we really put our efforts in as we got a late start this year. Thanks again,.
 

bisonic

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I had a DFG biologist come to my ranch in Lake County when I first bought it. He had lots of ideas that would take time, effort, and money... but then said that the two most effective things I could do was burn brush and control predators. I do what I can for each, though burning is tough as it's darn near impossible to get chemise to burn during the burn season. I'm lucky if I can burn an acre a year, and I'd like to burn 100 acres.
 

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