The 1 Acre Project
A lot of hunters think you need all of this land.. But what If you only had 1 Acre?
A lot of hunters think you need all of this land.. But what If you only had 1 Acre?
Most Whitetail Hunter’s claim you need a big tract of land to harvest deer on… But what if you had 1 Acre?… Actually let’s take it one step further. What if I told you that one acre was in Michigan? As a lot of outdoorsmen and women know Michigan isn’t a hotbed for Whitetail hunting. In fact, Michigan has been in the top 10 for worst states to Whitetail hunt in, and they are in the top 5 for number of hunters alongside Texas, PA, Wisconsin and Minnesota… So, I guess What I say is… challenge accepted. – AB
"I’m the guy who squeaks when he walks"
Lets just say I’m the guy who squeaks when he walks… What I mean by that is, I’m cheap. When I go into a project it doesn’t matter what it is. I research anyway possible to save a dollar. This project was no different. I went into this with a goal. That goal was to create a barrier for deer to feel safe in a food plot in daylight hours. Then I thought to myself how can I save money but still reach my goal. I borrowed a tractor and tiller. I didn’t take a soil test. I bought my nitrogen off a buddy that had leftovers from his plots so I could get a deal. Lastly we got hot and ready for food because hot and readys are the best pizza for the price hands down. With all that being said you have to be precise with your process even though you’re trying to do this on a budget. What I mean is, even though I’m not taking a soil test I’m planting this either while it’s raining or when I know it’s going to rain shortly after. Also I’m researching what the plant is that I’m growing needs to reach potential and in this case I needed full sunlight for 8 to 10 hours a day and I knew I would get that. So don’t just think you can plant seed in the ground anywhere and it gets to its full potential, do your homework.
Everyone knows water is crucial for animals when it comes to surviving in the wild. In the summer months deer require roughly 96 ounces of water per day. To put that into perspective that’s almost 5 Yeti tumblers. So, water is pretty critical.
Let’s go back to the beginning and my current situation. Each year we as whitetail hunters / managers rack our brains on how we can improve our spots. Well, I’m no different. In my case with the 1 acre farm I started with looking from an aerial perspective. I didn’t only look at the my farm, I looked at the square mile surrounding my farm and tried to figure out what the area was lacking and what the deer needed most. Once I identified what I was missing I tried figuring out what I could physically change and the first thing that I identified was water.
Deer needed water and the square mile around me didn’t have any. So, that’s when I started with the Wild Water System from Banks, that I had access to and asked the question “how can I utilize those tools to solve my problem”. My thought process was to put it in an area where it was easily accessible by me with an atv and not shock the deer. For me, being in a high pressure state like Michigan deer can get very spooky when you place new things into their world, it almost shocks them and I’ve actually seen deer not return to that area for a while. So I knew placement was going to be key. From the aerial and my access points to the property I chose to put it on the edge of a corn field where I knew deer yarded up together. I figured once a couple deer got used to the water system others would join and..It worked. It didn’t take long and every deer in the area seemed like they were using it. I even thought I was attracting new deer to the area just due to the sheer number of trail cam pics of multiple deer in the same picture that I was getting.
So long story short, water is crucial to your herd. Any way you can get a water source to your area and solve the problem it can reap huge benefits. If your goals are to attract more deer, this could be a good solution. If you’re looking to make your herd healthier, this is a great solution. Either way a water source is a win win for whitetail hunters and managers.
"Created a 13’ barrier for only $77 dollars"
"I tripped into a good 3.5 year old buck the first time out."
I want to start by saying I’m not an expert when it comes to using a decoy, but I’ve had good success using one in Michigan. I started using a decoy in 2012 only taking what I learned from TV and magazine articles. Wouldn’t you know it, I tripped into a good 3.5 year old buck the first time out.
I won’t lie, I learned a lot that night. I learned that you can almost get away with murder in the tree when a buck is locked on to the decoy. I also learned to not put the decoy too close to your tree. More often than not, bucks will approach the decoy head on, and when they do you don’t want them sitting at the base of your tree presenting you with no shot. But, it all worked out.
Fast forward a bit I will tell you that I have learned the majority of what I now know about using a decoy just by trial and error experience. I want to list out some of the pros and cons that I’ve experienced first hand…
To get everyone up to speed who hasn’t checked out the first part of the story, I want to go back a few years. We got this farm in the summer of 2016 and I knew it would be a challenge. I started by deploying cameras to get inventory and was pleasantly surprised. I had multiple 3.5 year old bucks that I would love to put in the back of the truck. But it wasn’t until the winter of 2018 that I took it to a whole different level.
Winter 2018: I identified that I was lacking cover and food and that was my focus. Hinge cutting specifically, which in turn helped create woody brows for food. I also had a plan to open an area in the middle of the One Acre for a small kill plot. The clover took right off and the deer loved it. The only problem was… I created so much cover that the deer wanted to spend all day there and it was nearly impossible to hunt it. What helped me out a ton was actually the use of cellular Trail Cams. Once I could monitor if deer were in there when I wanted to be, my deer sightings went up and I wasn’t blowing possible targets out of the county.
Fall 2019: This year was a wash. I didn’t hunt the farm hardly at all just because I drew a coveted Iowa archery tag and I wanted to spend most of my time there. Which, I think by now everyone probably knows what happened with that hunt. But… If you don’t just click here to check that out. (shameless plug…gotchya!)
Fall 2020: Onward and upward. Fastforward to the fall of 2020 my goal was to put in some serious seat time, and seat time I did. I put 50.5 hours last October on stand monitoring these deer, what I learned was mind blowing. I wanted to see how they were actually using this acre and I had some close calls with borderline bucks, and If you didn’t watch the previous video, I actually missed my target buck… YES I MISSED!… I wasn’t happy. But I always said failure is the best learning tool.
Now: The conclusion I came to was that I first need to focus on a particular pinch. I think it will be difficult to hunt, but I also think I have a solution that may help. I plan to utilize the Millennium Buck Hut. It’s no secret that in the fall leaves drop and it can be hard to find decent cover, especially in my situation. I think the blind will give me some concealment and I can still hunt it on off winds. Second, I need a variety of food so the deer have more options. Every time the crops are harvested the deer leave, and I obviously want to keep them around. Lastly, create more perimeter cover. I want them to feel safe at all times. So, with that being said, and everyone being up to speed. I’m out. I’ll touch back soon with updates on my first move.
"How do I hold deer on my property?"
In theory, holding deer on your property is simple and really no different from what makes you or I fat and happy. Food, Water, and Cover right? I’m not denying this at all. It’s no surprise that these are the three main factors you consider when doing habitat improvements for whitetail. However, it’s the techniques within these options where we can make a difference. Also. I believe there is a fourth component that many overlook. Security. As we go through this keep in mind I’m talking about managing small parcels. I’m talking 10 acres and less. Some may call these micro parcels. But, it can really also apply to any size tract.
the “CRAZE” is ramping up as we speak.
It’s no secret archery hunting out of an elevated box blind has been around for a long time but I feel like the “CRAZE” is ramping up as we speak. You see more and more archery hunters doing it year in and year out. Casey and I have adopted this method in states like Kansas with the lack of trees in our region it gives us a versatile option to chase those nomadic wily Whitetails in areas you wouldn’t normally be able to hunt them. Below I’ve listed my top Pros and Cons for you to better understand what you might be getting into if you’re starting to hunt out of a box blind with archery equipment.