Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Workday at the Hunting Lease '09

Saturday we had our semi-annual workday at the lease. We had two main items on the agenda: 1)finish painting the bunkhouse, and 2)install some sheet metal on our free-choice protein feeder to keep the raccoons from stealing the feed.

When my dad and I arrived late Friday evening, Lee had already taken care of the chore of mowing the yard at the bunkhouse. Also, he and Rusty had already done most of the painting that was left to finish the bunkhouse. So, there was only a little bit of painting left for me, my dad and Chris.

The first thing we did Saturday morning was tackle the raccoon/feeder problem. Here are a few pictures of the problem I am referring to.

These raccoons are climbing up the built-in ladder to the platform at the top of the feeder. Then they do some acrobatics over the edge of the platform and climb down the feeder tube to their final destination - the flat spot on top of the feed ports.

Before I get anybody who has an agenda against feeders riled up, let me explain something. This feeder isn't your typical corn slinger with a timer that is used to bait deer. This feeder is placed in the center of an area that is approximately 65 acres in size that we have designated as a "deer sanctuary". There is no deer hunting allowed inside this 65 acres. This is a free-choice style feeder that contains a supplemental feed which contains 18% protein. Providing this higher protein feed serves several purposes: 1) it produces healthier, bigger animals, 2) it aides in fawn development by providing optimum nutrition for lactating does, and 3) it produces larger-antlered bucks, just to name a few. This type of feed is rather expensive, so all six of us contribute an equal amount to maintain this feeder.

So, we need some type of hindrance to keep the coons from being able to just sit on top of the feed ports. We need to make it hard for them to access the feed. Our answer (we hope) is a steep, sheet metal cone surrounding the feed tube. Also, we need to be able to keep them from climbing the ladder. Our answer (we hope) is a flat piece of sheet metal covering the rungs of the ladder with sharp, jagged edges on the ends. Here is the feeder after the alterations.

The next thing we accomplished was to clear some of the trails we use to get to our hunting locations. Even though we were only armed with chain saws, weed-eaters, loppers, and a push mower, I was impressed with how quickly we got these trails cleaned up.

For lunch we had Mexican food at Cotton's over in Bryson.

Then we went back to the bunkhouse and finished the painting of the outside of the house and Rusty put some new door hardware on the doors of the house for us.

Saturday evening Rusty, my dad and I climbed to the top of Tater Hill to take in the sunset and get some pictures. Tater Hill is a unique topographic feature on the property that is a couple hundred feet high and offers some spectacular views.

Here are a few more pictures from the weekend:

A scorpion on top of Tater Hill

Three different kinds of cactus

Chris and Lee getting a chain saw ready
My dad and Rusty working on the trails

A group of turkeys about a mile down the road from where we hunt (2 longbeards and about a dozen hens)

Some deer pics

I appreciate everybody's hard work. Next up, spring turkey season begins April 4th.


Keelie said...

Thank you for explaining the free-choice feeder. What a thoughtful addition to the lease. Seriously, I think that is neat. Like the new blog design.

Deer Passion said...

Just have to mention that I truly enjoy the sunset/profile photo.. It reminds me of the long harvest nights on the farm..