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2018 Wildlife Habitat Improvements on 50 Acres

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One of the biggest and most important projects you can do on your hunting property is improve wildlife habitat. Every bit helps even if it’s just on an area the size of a football field. Good quality habitat is by far the most important over supplemental feeding or food plots.
This spring it was time to thin out some pines on my place in Catahoula parish. I worked with a logger and we walked over the property and I showed him what I wanted to have done. I was interested in thinning a heavy stand of 15 year old pines and develop some great wildlife habitat in the process. There was also some stands of gum, willow, and less desired tress which I wanted removed. My goal was to open the forest floor enough so I could get good sunlight on the ground for native grasses and briars to start growing. We did a heavy thinning and removed every pine that was not straight or had multiple splits on the main trunk. We developed shooting lanes and made a nice food plot in the process. Now that we have completed the cutting I will help the native briars jump start by planting seeds from blackberries I have picked earlier and dried out. One quart bag of blackberry seeds will plant about 25 acres. I completed briar planting two years ago on a 25 acre clear cut and I’m seeing some awesome results. I now have briar thickets that are 6-8 feet in height and 20-30 feet in diameter. This is going to make for some awesome cover for deer, rabbits and other wildlife in the coming years.
Lots of people don’t know where to start when it comes to improving wildlife habitat on their hunting grounds. Weather you lease land or own it get with your local Wildlife biologist, your local Forester, and work with the landowner. Most landowners I deal with are more than understanding when it comes to improving their timber stand which improves wildlife habitat. Go in with a plan and you will see results very quickly.
I am also working on another part of my property doing Hinge Cutting which is a technique of cutting unwanted trees about chest high and leaving one side of the tree attached, then pushing it down. The tree will stay alive for several years and produce unbelievable cover for wildlife. It also lets sunlight in which creates more natural browse for wildlife. I try to do several areas about the size of football fields each year. You can search on YouTube for videos on Hinge Cutting and Improving wildlife habitat. Check it out as there is some interesting information on improving your wildlife habitat.
I hope you find this interesting and I will post pics of the hinge cutting we have been doing over the last few years in the coming weeks.
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Re: 2018 Wildlife Habitat Improvements on 50 Acres
Hey LETUMGROW, beautiful deer in your profile pic! You must have at least a clue of what your doing if you’re growing deer like that!! Awesome habitat work your doing on that pine plantation. The idea of putting in those blackberries is great and you will have plenty of forbes and native grasses coming in too! Not to mention bedding area, fawning cover, sanctuary spot(if you decide to not hunt that spot of course)...the positives are endless. I think some people are interested in doing habitat management/TSI where they hunt, but like you said they need to just get with the landowner. It could only benefit everyone and wildlife. I myself am blessed to have acces to about 70 acres of family land to hunt...20 is wrp shallow water area that we duck hunt(deer bed on levees and tear up the blackberries there!) and the rest is mature bottomland hardwood timber stand. I’ve been really researching and trying to learn and I myself am looking to do some hinge cutting as well as some hack-n-squirt/frill applications on less desirable trees in there with the goal of opening canopy and increasing floor cover/browse. Right now about the only draw I have in there in the season is the acorn crop. We are lucky to have an abundance of nutall, overcup, and red oak but with some TSI I think I can make it even better. Looking to start doing acorn surveys each year to find my best trees too. The hinge cutting will be done on mostly red maple and hackberry but I plan on doing some herbicide too because I am doing this mostly myself and am on a budget. Hack and squirt has its positives too tho! It will be economical for a poor boy like me and still allows plenty of sunlight thru once leaves are gone. Do you follow Dr Grant Woods on GrowingDeer.TV? They put out a weekly show every Monday on there website. They are in southern Missouri in the Ozarks but it’s still got a lot of good info on a lot of different topics, notably habitat management! He does consulting work for private landowners and shows that on the episodes. Really interesting stuff! Anyway, glad to see what you are doing for your piece of heaven on earth and I’m looking forward to seeing your pics of hinge cutting and other TSI/management work!
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Re: 2018 Wildlife Habitat Improvements on 50 Acres
Powerstrat
Yes I have been following Dr. Grant Woods for some time now and enjoy his videos and management technics. By far Hinge Cutting is a cheap and very effective means at producing excellent wildlife habitat in a very short time. Within days deer and other animals start using these areas. No matter what time of the year you cut, the wildlife will benefit. We generally do this in the late winter mainly to avoid the heat. But year round cutting works fine. Work with the land owner, show him your plans and benefits.
I have yet to meet with a landowner and discuss a solid plan for timber management and wildlife improvements and get turned down. Once you show them the benefits from timber improvements which equals money they are pretty much on board.
My pine thinning this past spring is producing some awesome results and seeing native plants covering every inch of the area. Rain has been short but still getting waist high vegetation growing and hope it will be chest high by fall. Thanks for your comment and good luck with your place.
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Re: 2018 Wildlife Habitat Improvements on 50 Acres
Here are some neat comparison pictures from the 50 acres of pines I had thinned back in May. The pines were so thick no sunlight could reach the ground so there was little to no vegetation under the canopy, which housed little to no wildlife. In just 3 month of good sunlight, warm humid weather, and some rain you can really see how this has jump started the vegetation and will make for some awesome food and cover for wildlife for years to come. When I walk around in it now there are deer tracks everywhere and you can see where they have browed of the tops off of numerous plants.
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