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Bestul: Improving Deer Habitat with Power Tools

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April 05, 2010

Bestul: Improving Deer Habitat with Power Tools

By Scott Bestul

Food plots are all the rage right now, but when it comes to long-term deer management on a property, you get more bang for your buck working on habitat. My friend Dave's farm is a perfect case in point. It's 80 acres of deer ground in a very good neighborhood (I shot my biggest archery buck there last fall), and between Dave's food plots and local farmers, the whitetails have plenty to eat. Trouble is, bedding and security cover (as well as natural browse) remain scanty.

http://ak.c.ooyala.com/c0NHMwYzofGW_qzv7PSu4aUiy5Bcj8Vt/3Gduepif0T1UGY8H4xMDoxOjBrO-I4W8


Last week Dave decided to improve the latter. Dave sought technical advice and manpower from Tom VanDoorn, a friend of mine from northern Wisconsin who's also a timber harvester. The three of us walked Dave's property, looking for a spot where we could improve bedding cover. We settled on a 4-acre patch of aspen (popple) trees. This stand had long ago reached maturity, and Tom noted that a clearcut would result in a small slice of whitetail heaven. Aspen is not only a sun-loving species, it also sucker-sprouts; meaning young saplings would naturally regenerate from the roots of trees we cut down. So for the better part of a day, four guys (we were joined by my friend Mark Stimets, who's not only a deer nut, but one who loves to run power tools) dropped aspen trees. In 4-5 months, aspen saplings will regenerate in this clearcut. By fall, they'll be 5-6 feet tall and provide dense security cover and browse in an area that once resembled a park. Better yet, that cover will benefit deer for at least a decade. Try getting that kind of return from one day of food plot work!

When I wasn't running a saw, I was videoing with my handy new VADO pocket video camera. This handy little camera takes HD video and very nice still photos, and also fits in the pocket of my shirt. This is my maiden voyage with the VADO, so please excuse any glitches in production quality. The screen-appeal of I and my co-stars I can do nothing about....

Comments (14)

Top Rated
All Comments
from general dethcoff wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

This type of habitat improvement works equally well with non mast-producing hardwoods in the southeast. My cousing and I did something very similar in a hardwood drain on our family property. The drain has several large oaks but we cleared a half acre within the drain that was dominated by yellow-poplar and sweetgum. Instead of relying on the stump sprouts to come back we used herbicide to kill the stumps and use fire to promote herbaceous vegetation.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from general dethcoff wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

cousin*

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from mad_dog9999 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I'm at work and can't hear the audio. (Tractor factory)
But i'm impressed with the video quality from the vado.

Who doesn't love to play with chainsaws?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BowtechWVU wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

cool advei about improving deer habitat

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

Excellent. That's a lot of work. Even though they prefer more acreage this should also develop into excellent habitat for grouse and woodcock. Figure clearcutting aspen benefits around 40 species of wildlife. Nothing to add excitement to a deer still hunt like flushing a grouse at your feet.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

Many individuals believe that virgin forest is grat wildlife habitat. Nothing is further from the truth. Controlled timber harvests promote better habitat and more natural cover and brose. Good fact filled video clip!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

What MLH said. When we can get enough landowners and timber managers excited about small cuts for deer and turkeys, we'll see ruffed grouse and woodcock numbers come back.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I never get tired of watching a good feller do his thing. Perfect fell cuts!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

On our property we did some timbering a couple of years ago and in one areaa it was clear cut. The deer can hide in that stuff forever now.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

A few well placed cut trees, stacked, will provide "blow downs" that deer in any area prefer to use for bunks. A controlled burn in the clear-cut will yield even more vegetation.
Come deer season be sure and treat it as a sanctuary and never enter it, allowing the deer to escape pressure in a safe haven!
Hopefully there is water within a couple of hundred yards, as this will only add to the attraction for Whitetails.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark J wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

Great video, and great idea. My first reaction as a tree-farmer though is, are you just going to leave all that good wood on the ground? There's a good amount of money in that timber if you want it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from theobsession wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

that will help me on my way to improving whitetail habitat

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Moncler4u wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

It's funny.

I'm Moncler new here.Thanks for your sharing

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lucas Paul wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

the more the prep work you put into it the more you will enjoy your hunts and more fruitful thy will be

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

Many individuals believe that virgin forest is grat wildlife habitat. Nothing is further from the truth. Controlled timber harvests promote better habitat and more natural cover and brose. Good fact filled video clip!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

What MLH said. When we can get enough landowners and timber managers excited about small cuts for deer and turkeys, we'll see ruffed grouse and woodcock numbers come back.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from general dethcoff wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

This type of habitat improvement works equally well with non mast-producing hardwoods in the southeast. My cousing and I did something very similar in a hardwood drain on our family property. The drain has several large oaks but we cleared a half acre within the drain that was dominated by yellow-poplar and sweetgum. Instead of relying on the stump sprouts to come back we used herbicide to kill the stumps and use fire to promote herbaceous vegetation.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from general dethcoff wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

cousin*

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from mad_dog9999 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I'm at work and can't hear the audio. (Tractor factory)
But i'm impressed with the video quality from the vado.

Who doesn't love to play with chainsaws?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BowtechWVU wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

cool advei about improving deer habitat

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

Excellent. That's a lot of work. Even though they prefer more acreage this should also develop into excellent habitat for grouse and woodcock. Figure clearcutting aspen benefits around 40 species of wildlife. Nothing to add excitement to a deer still hunt like flushing a grouse at your feet.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

On our property we did some timbering a couple of years ago and in one areaa it was clear cut. The deer can hide in that stuff forever now.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

A few well placed cut trees, stacked, will provide "blow downs" that deer in any area prefer to use for bunks. A controlled burn in the clear-cut will yield even more vegetation.
Come deer season be sure and treat it as a sanctuary and never enter it, allowing the deer to escape pressure in a safe haven!
Hopefully there is water within a couple of hundred yards, as this will only add to the attraction for Whitetails.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark J wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

Great video, and great idea. My first reaction as a tree-farmer though is, are you just going to leave all that good wood on the ground? There's a good amount of money in that timber if you want it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from theobsession wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

that will help me on my way to improving whitetail habitat

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rabbitpolice88 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I never get tired of watching a good feller do his thing. Perfect fell cuts!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Moncler4u wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

It's funny.

I'm Moncler new here.Thanks for your sharing

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Lucas Paul wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

the more the prep work you put into it the more you will enjoy your hunts and more fruitful thy will be

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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