Home Forums Campfire Forum Making a Better Forest For Deer (Hunting)

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    • Patrick
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      Today is the beginning of a major undertaking by my dad and I. We are going to take down a ton of trees in an attempt to make some thick, sanctuaries/bedding areas. He has three blocks of land that we’ll be working on. I’m going to TRY to keep video and photo logs of what we are doing. Along with some before and after google map shots too. I’ll upload them here too if anyone’s interested, AND if the photos and/or videos wiil show useful info.

    • Clay Hayes
      Member
      Post count: 418

      Habitat is where it’s at! I’ll follow along. Can you give a few mor details such as:

      how large are the blocks
      what type of veg communities (habitat)
      what type of cuts (small clearcuts, shelterwood, etc)
      is the management primarily intended to inhance habitat or the wallet? Not that they’re mutually exclusive.

      ch

    • William WarrenWilliam Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      Patrick,
      There is no doubt in my mind that creating clear cuts enhances deer habitat for several years after. I have seen something as small a large tree dying and creating an opening in which saplings grew up become a deer magnet in one of my favorite old haunts. But also controlled logging will do the same thing on a larger scale. One of my hunting spots was logged and the following year the fawn drop was at least double. The herd grew and there were more bucks using the area. And this without planting anything to help them along. Good luck with your venture. Will you do this your self or bring in professional logging equipment?

      Duncan

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      yes keep a photo/video journal!!! When we cleared some brush to make a tiny clearing I totally regreted not taking before pics, because we did alot of work, only sapplings and thorny thickets, but they just didnt want to come up, lol. But clearings are also great for all critters, not just deer, which I am sure you know, so keep us posted!

    • Patrick
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      The primary goal is to enhance habitat.
      One block is 40 acres, 10 acres of woods, mostly mature beech, maple, and oak. That’s the one I want to focus on. It doesn’t hold any deer. I want to plant pines on a sandhill that is currently farmed, by my dad. As well as clear cut approximately 1 acre in a corner. There is a large river bottom that we used to hunt nearby this section, but don’t have permission to hunt anymore.

      The block we are currently working on is 65 acres. My grandpa, and great uncles actually planted the 40 acres of white and red pines that makes up most of the block. They average about 80 feet tall. There is a HUGE sand ridge with oaks as well. Yesterday we felled about seventy-five 60-80 foot pines. About half what we want to accomplish in a 1 acre section. There are already some clearings in the block because my dad had it select cut 2 years ago, and those are already showing promise.

      The largest block is, about 400 acres (I might have to change that one after consulting with my dad). Most of it is tillable, but it has the largest section of woods, and is the most diverse. There is a creek running through a part of it, which has a thicket adjacent to it. Then a large oak stand with no underbrush. Next to the oak stand, on the other side of the thicket is where we’re going to cut maybe 1 to 2 acres. I know this section will improve quickly. It was done about 20 years ago with this same section, and it was amazing how it went from useless (for hunting) to the best of the sections.

      It’s just my dad and I with 2 chainsaws, a chain, a tractor, and a brush hog (that we probably won’t use).

      I’ll probably fix some typos later as well as expound a bit more, and add some google map snap shots to give a better idea of what it looks like.

      In the mean time a question:
      Would you recommend we pull those pines out or leave them where they are at?

    • Chris Shelton
      Post count: 679

      personally I would leave alot of them there, just because I like deadfalls on the ground, they are good for alot of things in my opinion. But I am not an expert!

    • William WarrenWilliam Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      That sounds like a great project. If the pines are not useful for anything else like lumber or pulp wood, I would pull them up in wind rows leaving most of your ground open for food plots or natural browse to grow up. The wind rows or brush piles as some may call them will attract birds and small game. I had to clear a 1/2 acre at my place in 2008 for a new septic system and we piled the brush in a row. The squirrels and rabbits love that stuff. Theres always some critters playing around in it. Good luck with your project and be careful!
      Duncan

    • Clay Hayes
      Member
      Post count: 418

      Duncan wrote: That sounds like a great project. If the pines are not useful for anything else like lumber or pulp wood, I would pull them up in wind rows

      If your sole objective is wildlife, Duncan’s suggestion is a great one. Slash piles or windrows near good forage (food plots) will be a magnet for cottontails and other wildlife.

      It sounds like you’ve got a great project going. I do have one suggestion concerning the oaks and beech. You can offen increase the mast production of a few trees with dominat canopies by taking out the lower quality trees surounding them. I’m not sure what your stands look like but that may be something to consider.

      ch

    • Patrick
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 1148

      Clay Hayes wrote: It sounds like you’ve got a great project going. I do have one suggestion concerning the oaks and beech. You can offen increase the mast production of a few trees with dominat canopies by taking out the lower quality trees surounding them. I’m not sure what your stands look like but that may be something to consider.

      ch

      That is part of what we are doing.

      The trees we just took down are scotch pine. My dad checked and there is no market for them (They only took red and white pines). When you guys refer to pilling them in wind rows, I’m not sure I know what you mean, could you expound on that some? Thanks

    • Mike Bolin
      Member
      Post count: 23

      Patrick, the way I interpret what they are saying and what I would do, is to stack the pines making a natural windbreak. More or less build a fence/windbreak with the pines. Depending on the amount of trees, you can actually position the pines to provide natural cover around future foodplots. As far as beding cover, any “junk” trees you wish to drop, I would suggest cutting them 2′-4′ up from the ground. If possible, don’t cut the thru, leave a “hinge” and let the tree fall to the ground. More or less, you create deadfalls and natural windbreaks while still letting the sunlight in to enhance natural growth, providing both natural food sources and bedding cover. Keep us informed as to your progress! Mike

    • William WarrenWilliam Warren
      Member
      Post count: 1384

      Patrick,
      You are correct that we mean to pile them up in rows on one side of your cut over. In the eastern part of NC when new fields are cleared they push the trees/stumps up in long rows to rot. That is where we get the term windrow. I’ll post a pic of my clearing that shows the brushpiles.
      Duncan

    • Brian Halbleib
      Post count: 12

      Glad to see others here interested in habitat improvement. I own a small recreational farm in Ohio and spend a lot of my summers improving the land for wildlife. Hinge cutting undesirable trees (not beneficial to wildlife) is a great way to create long term bedding cover. When done correctly, the “hinge” will stay connected and the tree will continue to live, providing cover and more browse. Here is an example that I did with some ash trees.

      -Brian

    • Mike Bolin
      Member
      Post count: 23

      I have spent the past two weekends working on my brother in law’s property….62 “huntable” acres with 55 acres being wood ridges with an overgrown creek bottom to the west side and 7 acres of overgrown pasture.

      I am in an enviable situation in as much as long as I keep the old trails and logging roads clear and the old pasture mowed it is mine to hunt and do with as I please. I just spoke with a local farmer about an hour ago and he would like to plant the pasture in either clover or alfalfa next spring. I am definitely good with that! All I have to is some repair to the old logging/entry road and drop a culvert into a small overflow ditch and my mowing job is cut waaayyy down!!

      Next spring I plan to plant some milo on the sunnier sections of the trails for the quail and turkey and am looking into some native long stem grasses for cover for them as well. Coyotes and feral cats have taken their toll on the quail population around here and when I clean up the limbs around the pasture edges I am going to pile them for more “bird” cover, rather than burn them.

      Lots of work, but I really enjoy it…..shame I can’t make a living doing this, ’cause I’d retire now and do something I really enjoy!!!:D

      Mike

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