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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:32 pm

Since moving to our little piece of Creation, in 2010, I have been studying ways to improve the hunting on this 12 acre estate Very Happy I have enlisted the help and sought advice from many sources and want to share them with others who may find a desire to create or improve hunting opportunities on or near their own homesteads. This type of project should be planned out well in advance of any actual work being performed or prior to spending any money. First and foremost you must decide what type of game animals and hunting opportunities you want. I had hoped to re-introduce quail to my little area, but that would mean clearing most of my woods...so that was abandoned, sort of. Our first year here I made a survey of the wildlife already using the land, which was very overgrown and neglected. What I saw was kind of disheartening. Even though the bulk of the woods is made up from three varieties of Hickory, two or three varieties of Oak, Persimmon, and Red Bud trees, with Locust, Dog wood and Box Elder being well represented, I only counted five squirrels total during seven scouting / survey trips. The grasses on this place are poor quality for forage and shelter, and as a result I counted only three rabbits that first year. Over the last two years the squirrel population has increased to the point that this years survey count was 12, with an increase in the number of dreys (squirrels nests) from four to 20. The year long rabbit count has remained low at 5. The Deer population has been steady at four. Two resident does give birth and rear their young here, and by next spring the herd should be between 6 and 9, but only for a month or two when the younger mothers will leave and take up residence elsewhere. Food supplies for the deer are minimal, but the shelter offered by this land seems to be top notch. So what increased the squirrel population? Careful and selective cleaning up of the woodlot. This included a very aggressive campaign to remove as much Sassafras as possible without opening the wood / field edges to the point that gaps would be formed. This allowed the nut trees to spread and produce better crops. The drought this year seems to have affected yields negatively compared to last years mast crop. Also the persimmon crop was down significantly.

So what to do about future improvements...

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:06 pm

The next step I will take is to clear out some scrub growth in what should be clearings in the woods, and plant shade or low light cool season "clump" grasses. I have decided that Orchard grass fills the bill here, with perhaps some clover and / or some blue grass thrown in the mix. These grasses will be planted both in our field areas and the clearings. Also a soil amendment program will be started. The soil here (as shown by sample tests) is depleted and very acidic. It is classified as a medium heavy clay loam. The garden areas have responded well to having wood ash, lime, and mulched leaves worked into the soil. Earthworms have returned to the gardens after being absent for the first two growing seasons, so I am confident that this I am doing right. The grasses will give the rabbits shelter and food, and will also create the environment needed for quail and other upland birds. Soil amendments needed will include one ton of lime, and several applications of potash and phosphorus. In keeping with my goal of actually improving the soil, not just adding what is needed for plant growth, I will also be adding trace minerals as indicated by the soil tests. Epsom salts and lime are the two amendments that provide a permanent fix to years of neglect, and where possible leaves will also be worked in to improve the tilth or texture of the soil and make it desirable to earthworms. This will promote root growth which, as you know, will help to grow stronger healthier plants of all types. In addition to changing to a more native grass growth, I am also "building" brush piles from storm damaged blow downs, and the small limbs from firewood trees. These piles are being placed near either the field edge or the clearings edge in the transition zone of the woodlot. These brush piles provide shelter from predators and foul weather for both rabbits and birds (game birds and song birds).

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:17 pm

While I am gathering the grass seed and amendments I also plan an orchard planting in the spring. This is where I am diverging from the plan presented by the Forestry biologist and the Fish and Wildlife biologist. While there are plenty of food sources available for wildlife, and adding shelter and water sources is the primary focus of each of their plans (presented independently), I plan to plant some extra nut trees for both extra food sources and added shelter for small game. Filbert or Hazelnut trees when left to grow as bushes form a fabulous low canopy shelter and food source for small game and birds. I get a price break by ordering more than desired, so I figure the extra will cover any losses and provide the benefit of adding to the hunting potential of my little area.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:31 am

Food plots planted specifically for hunting (annual grasses and legumes) have become popular and are a big business. Annual plantings of food plots will draw game into an area to the point of over population. If year round foods and shelters are not provided (along with water sources) a plot of land cannot support a healthy wildlife population, and will actually cause more harm to the herd and or flock than good. The perennial cool season grasses are the first to emerge in the spring, and the last to die back in the fall. Some, like certain varieties of orchard grass, are even green and lush through the winter. Many many years ago my grandfather told me to always have standing trees around a farm and or field. His reasons were simple..."Always set some land aside for wildlife, and just let it go wild. They need a place to live too." and "...if you don't have trees around a place you won't have shade or soil. The wind will take the good soil and just leave dirt, same thing for good grass. Small critters need good grass, and it holds the dirt too." Since he was born in 1920, and raised on a farm until he struck out on his own, some time in the late 30's, to become a logger, farm hand, share cropper, gas station attendant, truck driver, and lastly a farmer who tended his own fields, I tend to listen closely to what he says when it comes to the land and livestock. At 92 years old he is still with us, and still giving sound advice. You have to pick out the meaning in what he says though. "...that put back ground will give you meat in hard times..." meaning if you manage the wild areas for wildlife, you will have a place to hunt, and a good protein source. "Always take good care of your live stock and they will take good care of you..." kinda says it all.

Getting back on topic (sorry for the divergence there) with his thinking and experience ringing through my head I intend to create a good habitat for a diverse population of wildlife for our enjoyment. Both just watching, and for hunting.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by dizzy on Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:54 am

I think I'm going to really enjoy reading this tread.

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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:12 am

The first area of study in this area, for me anyway, was windbreaks. Most know windbreaks as simply trees planted to slow the wind through an area, but give them little thought beyond that. Windbreaks are vitally important to homesteads and farms of all sizes, for many reasons. First by reducing the amount and speed of wind blowing on a house you can reduce the heating bills (sources quote between 10 and 30% depending on where you live). Shade from the trees can also help cool the area around the house and reduce cooling bills.

A well designed, well maintained windbreak will be appreciated for its usefulness and beauty. Plantings made without thought to basic design principles, soils, and species selection often function and grow poorly. Poorly designed windbreaks may not protect key areas; they may deposit drifted snow on buildings, lanes, roads, feeding areas and other areas causing damage, expensive removal operations, blocked access roads or soil wetness problems. They can also be difficult to maintain.

http://www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/ecs/forestry/technotes/forestryMT17/

There are several general planning guidelines which must also be taken into account in the layout of a windbreak. The most important guidelines are:

Position the windbreak perpendicular or as nearly perpendicular to the most troublesome winds as possible.

For wind protection only, position the row containing the tallest tree species approximately 2 to 5 times the height of the fully mature tree from all primary areas or objects in need of protection. Where the objects to be protected are located uphill from the windbreak, the row may need to be located closer to provide adequate wind protection. All areas in need of wind protection should be located within 10 H (times height simply H here after) of the tallest tree row. Since H will change until the tallest tree row reaches maturity or becomes ineffective, it is suggested that the estimated height of the tallest tree species at 20 years of age be used for planning purposes.

When a primary area in need of protection is located more than 10 H leeward of a primary windbreak, supplementary windbreaks of one to three rows should be made at 8 to 10 H intervals leeward of the primary windbreak.

For wind and snow protection, there are different guidelines for windbreaks. it is still desirable to locate primary areas or objects in need of protection 2 to 5 H from the tallest tree row. However, in some areas, this could result in the burying of primary areas under deep drifts. To minimize problems associated with deep drifts, it is important to properly position the most windward row.

The windward row of a windbreak designed to provide protection from wind and drifting snow should be located 100 to 200 feet from primary areas or objects in need of protection. The distance will vary from region to region and should be based on the average length of snow drifts adjacent to typical windbreaks after severe storms. See figure 3. In the northern Great Plains where blowing snow can come from wide, open fields, the distance recommended is approximately 200 feet to the windward row of primary windbreaks. In most other areas, 100 to 150 feet is adequate.

The number of legs in a windbreak planting will depend upon the number of directions from which troublesome or problem winds occur. Windbreaks with one leg can be effective for controlling troublesome winds and/or drifting snow coming from one direction.

For most windbreak plantings, all primary objects and areas in need of protection should be within the shaded area. It is important to note that farmstead, ranch, feedlot, and residential windbreaks with one leg are not effective against problem winds from more than one direction. If troublesome winds or blowing snow are a problem from more than one direction, two or more legs will be needed to provide adequate protection. Figure 5 illustrates the area protected by two primary windbreaks; one is planted on the north and the other on the west side of objects and areas in need of protection. Again, all primary objects or areas in need of protection should be within the shaded zone and no more than 10 H leeward.

Using this approach, one can readily see that two primary windbreaks, one on the west side and one on the north side, would be needed to adequately protect the site shown in the sketch in figure 1.

Although in most areas, primary windbreaks are desirable on the north and/or west, there are some areas where there is a need for primary windbreaks on the south and east.

Access lanes or roads which cut through a windbreak designed only for wind protection should be at an angle to prevailing or troublesome winds. See figure 6. Access lanes or roads which are parallel to the prevailing wind direction will cause the winds to funnel through gaps.

Lanes or roads located at an angle to prevailing or troublesome winds will not allow wind to funnel into areas in need of protection.

Access lanes or roads which must be used during winter months in areas subject to severe snow blowing, should not cut through a windbreak. Lanes and roads located in such a manner are prone to deep snowdrifts. It can also be difficult to remove snow from such lanes or roads. It is recommended that access roads be located at the ends of windbreaks in areas beyond where snowdrifts form. The lanes or roads should be a minimum of 100 to 500 feet from the ends of the windbreaks to minimize snowdrift problems. See figure 7.

The soils of the potential planting site must be known. If there is more than one soil type, there may be a need to plant different tree and shrub species on each soil or to plant around areas of problem soils.

The location of property lines, subsurface drain fields, and septic fields must be known. Property lines can severely restrict the location of plantings. In some cases where severe snow drifting can be a problem and sufficient space is not available to properly locate a planting, it might be advisable not to plant all or a portion of a windbreak. Subsurface drain lines or septic fields should be relocated or avoided. Species such as the willows and poplars (includes cottonwoods) should not be planted within 100 feet of such lines or fields unless sealed conduit is used

Any existing windbreaks, clumps or groves of trees or shrubs, and, in some cases, large individual trees, should be outside the boundaries of new windbreak plantings. New plantings should not be located within 50 feet of any existing trees if space is available. Where space is limited existing plantings should be incorporated into the design of new plantings or they should be removed.

Care should be used in planting too densely. If you actually stop all wind from an area, you will have to deal with too wet conditions, and a heavy deposit of snow on the leeward side of the break.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:53 am


Garden Column for the week of Jan. 13, 2006.

1/9/2006
By Paul Wray
Forester
Iowa State University Extension

Windbreaks should be an integral part of the farm and acreage landscape. Farmstead windbreaks and field shelterbelts have positive effects on several environmental conditions including reductions in wind erosion, reducing chill factors during the winter months, reduction in drying of plants during the summer, improved heat budgets for houses and buildings, improved feed conversion of feedlot animals, improved wildlife habitat and property value enhancement through beautification.

Some general rules to follow for farmstead windbreaks include: Plant at least two rows of conifers on the north and west side of the farmstead; to reduce snow drift problems, leave 50 to 100 feet between the windbreak and critical farmstead areas; plant at least two different species of conifers; choose species which are best adapted to your site. For some sites consider a strip of prairie or warm season grasses for both snow capture and wildlife habitat.

Conifer species commonly used for farmstead windbreaks include white and red pines; white, Black Hills, Norway and blue spruces; white fir, eastern red cedar and arborvitae. Common shrub species include ninebark, dogwoods, lilac, hazelnut, spirea and viburnums. Some of the large hardwood trees used include silver maple, ashes, hackberry and cottonwoods. Try to match the species to planting site. Assistance is available from your local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office. NRCS staff have recently developed a soil suitability rating for trees and soils to ensure better tree performance. It can be accessed at: http://www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/plants.html

The minimum windbreak in Iowa consists of two rows of conifers and a row of shrubs usually planted on the outer edge of the windbreak. Protection will be increased with additional rows of trees. A better windbreak will consists of three to six rows of conifers, two rows of shrubs and one to two rows of large hardwood trees. Spacing is usually 15 to 20 feet between rows and between trees within the row. Smaller conifers (arborvitae and eastern red cedar) may be planted as close as 10 to 12 feet between trees within a row. Large hardwood trees are typically planted 12 to 20 feet between trees. Shrubs spacing is variable depending on the species but usually varies from three to six feet.

For more information contact forestry extension or your ISU Extension County office and ask for Farmstead Windbreaks: Planning, (PM 1716) and Farmstead Windbreaks: Establishment, Care and Maintenance, (PM 1717.) These also can ordered or downloaded at www.extension.iastate.edu/store/

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/news/2006/jan/070202.htm

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:01 am

That should get you thinking about the benefits of trees and shrubs for your small homestead or large one. So if you set aside areas for a windbreak, what can you do to make it a multipurpose area...want to attract songbirds? Rabbits? Squirrels? What about Quail, Doves, Turkey? Some of these have similar habitat, some require habitats that preclude the others. So for me I really had hoped to attract Quail. Particularly the Bobwhite Quail, a native to Ky (my home state), and a favorite childhood quarry. Sadly these birds have become rather scarce locally due to loss of habitat and over hunting by unscrupulous "hunters", and predator populations increasing. Research started here: http://fw.ky.gov/navigation.aspx?cid=766&navpath=C765

Check out your states department of fish and wildlife, or department of natural resources to see what is available in your area.

As for "my quail" well...I found this PDF and downloaded it: http://fw.ky.gov/pdf/quailplan08.pdf

The file was informative, but did not have all the information I was looking for. So I dug around some more and found this link to all these pdf's under habitat how to's: http://fw.ky.gov/howto.asp

I was finally able to compare habitat requirements for what was here, and what I wanted here. I found that Rabbits, Quail, and Turkey all need similar habitat. So the biggest issue with quail is I do not have enough open ground for them to survive. Rabbits thrive in edge habitat, where two different types of land border. In this case, grassland and forest or woodland.
Activities such as clearing land for pasture within a predominantly forested area can fragment large blocks of a particular habitat type, and produce edges. Unfortunately, these edges are often abrupt, lacking the width, species diversity, and structure that are associated with more gradual edges. An example of this would be a situation where a grass pasture is kept mowed or grazed, right up to a point where the mature trees of a forest begin. This type of abrupt edge can actually be detrimental to many wildlife species. Because abrupt edge has very little width, wildlife that nest in such an edge are much more susceptible to predation. It is easier for a predator to hunt a narrow strip of habitat than a wider one. Wildlife species that nest in mature forest are also subjected to increased risk for nest predation as well as nest parasitism by brown–headed cowbirds. This is because there is no buffer present to separate the grassland (where the cowbirds reside) from the mature forest. The lack of vertical habitat diversity in an abrupt edge may also exclude certain types of wildlife altogether. For instance, a "clean edge" that is kept mowed right up to the woods may lack wildlife that nest in briars or shrubs, such as eastern cottontails, Carolina wrens, and golden mice.

Fortunately, edge habitat between forestland and grassland can be actively managed to reduce negative impacts of clean or abrupt edge and produce the gradual transition or feathered effect desired by many types of wildlife. The first step may simply be to evaluate the characteristics of a particular edge, remembering the parameters described above, to determine if it is too abrupt. The width of edge habitat that should be maintained will depend on factors such as topography of the land and adjoining land uses. In general, the wider the edge the better. An ideal recommendation would be to maintain a 150-foot wide belt of edge habitat divided into at least 3 zones comprised of vegetation of different thickness and height. A managed edge should be a minimum of 50 feet wide in order to achieve the gradual transition of habitat that is desired. If an existing edge lacks width and density of vegetation, then you should consider implementing one of the following edge treatments, or a combination of them, to produce a gradual, feathered edge.

Read more (and find related links here:
http://fw.ky.gov/edge.asp

One thing that I was not aware of until I began researching this project is that fescue, the most planted grass in the US is detrimental to wildlife health and habitat.

The number one problem on many farms today for ground nesting and ground-feeding wildlife species is the predominance of tall fescue. Fescue is simply a poor choice for wildlife habitat. KY 31 tall fescue is an extremely competitive plant, which tends to totally dominate fields where it has been established. Tall fescue is a sod-forming turf grass with a thick, matted growth form, which is extremely limiting to the movement of wildlife such as quail and rabbits. This thick growth often eliminates all other species of plants from growing, creating nearly monocultural fields of fescue. These virtually pure stands of fescue lack the necessary diversity to provide the habitat components essential for supporting a variety of wildlife species. In the winter, fescue is flattened by the weight of snow and ice, therefore providing little or no winter cover.

Nearly all stands of KY 31 tall fescue are also infected with a fungus that lives in a mutually beneficial relationship with the fescue. The fungus produces chemicals in the plant, which cause fescue to have toxic qualities. These chemicals act as a feeding deterrent, causing animals not to eat the fescue, except as a last resort. By deterring feeding, the fungus, called an "endophyte", has ensured a place for itself to live while in turn helping the fescue compete with other grasses and forbs (broadleaf plants).

Read more here:
http://fw.ky.gov/fescue.asp

That's all for tonight, off to evening services...

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by dizzy on Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:36 am

I'm not a fan of fescue myself. While I'm not breeding horses, it can be a problem for pregnant mares because of the endophytes. It's been awhile since I've studied it, but I seem to recall that it can cause abortions, or problems w/the placenta. I know they recommend keeping pregnant mares off of it for 3 months B4 delivery.

And, even if you get some that is endophyte free, it won't stay endophyte free forever. Now I'm wondering if it could also cause problems for deer or other animals that might eat it.

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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:49 pm

dizzy wrote:I'm not a fan of fescue myself. While I'm not breeding horses, it can be a problem for pregnant mares because of the endophytes. It's been awhile since I've studied it, but I seem to recall that it can cause abortions, or problems w/the placenta. I know they recommend keeping pregnant mares off of it for 3 months B4 delivery.

And, even if you get some that is endophyte free, it won't stay endophyte free forever. Now I'm wondering if it could also cause problems for deer or other animals that might eat it.

Yes, and is directly linked to population decline of Rabbits. It causes low weights in beef cattle, but that is all I can verify.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
12acrehome
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Posts : 4596
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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:06 pm

Well, so far we've looked at windbreaks, that help protect areas and structures from the elements. They are also shelter for wildlife, and if managed correctly can provide both food and shelter for wildlife of different species. Squirrel, Deer, and Rabbit will share habitat nicely in a large enough windbreak area. So what about that 5 acres of woods in the back of the property? 5 acres of mixed woodland will supply enough wood to heat a 2,000 sq ft home with a decent wood burning stove without damaging the woodlot, nor depleting the trees there in. Since we are looking at wildlife habitat management, though, consider a 5 acre woodlot the minimum area for pleasure hunting of small game. Rabbits will take up residence in the transition zone between woodland and grassland. They, and deer feed in the grasslands most of the year, and shelter in the woodland. To encourage both, along with songbirds, build brush piles. Deer will bed beside them, rabbits will shelter inside them. Squirrels need mast trees, that is trees that produce fruits and nuts (fruits are soft mast and include all manner of berry bearing trees like dogwood, mulberry, wild cherry, as well as domesticated varieties.) Song birds, and Doves will also seek out these trees for foods during the times that grains and nuts are not available. Ground dwelling / nesting birds require that there is no sod barrier in the grassland areas they nest in. So called clump grasses, or prairie grasses are needed as habitat for quail, grouse, and turkey. They thrive in areas where bare dirt is available for dusting, but shelter is provided between the clumps of grass. Here food plots could be the ticket, but must be available year 'round and in sufficient quantity for a covey or colony to have a year long food supply. Small, shallow water pits or miniature ponds are also needed to supply the water needs of the colony. Squirrels will thrive on hard mast (nuts and seeds), as well as bark and small twigs. Squirrels also feed on soft mast when available.

So to the hunting...

Over hunting is the quickest way to deplete a population in any area. Care should be taken to track the population and the foods available year 'round to determine how big your harvest should be. A large population combined with a reduced mast crop would indicate the need for a heavy harvest to thin the population and keep the population healthy. A slight population, and a heavy mast crop means hands off, no hunting. The extremes are easy, the rest of the time I use a 1/4 population maximum harvest rule. That is if I count 8 squirrels, I harvest two, and no more for the year. Now here I must confess I am not actually counting individual squirrels, at least not entirely. With the leaves off the trees I count drays, and multiply by 1.7. A dray is the nest of sticks and leaves slightly larger than a bowling ball that squirrels build and nest in. Sometimes a single squirrel will occupy these, sometimes a pair, sometimes a mother and young. As spring comes and summer passes I count and try to identify individual squirrels to get a count of the population. During my treks into the woods I keep track of acorn, hickory, and walnut production, and try to estimate the fall harvest. Once fall, and therefore hunting season, arrives I know that there are 8 Grey Squirrels, and 4 Fox squirrels using the woods. The Fox squirrel, being more aggressive and larger than the Greys need to be kept in check, but there are too few to hunt this year.

Rabbits are more difficult, I use visual contact with individuals to estimate population. This years count stands at three sightings. I estimate 6 to 8 Rabbits on the place. Not enough to hunt, since the grasses here are poor when compared to the needs Rabbits. I am planning to open the small clearings in my woods, and re-plant my field and the powerline right-of-way with a grass mix more suitable for food stuffs for all wildlife.

I do not like the idea of bait stations, food plots, or high input annual plantings merely to attract wildlife for a short part of the year. To me this is not managing habitat, but rather feeding a blood lust that seems to be overtaking true sportsmanship in this country. Too many so called hunters kill only to brag about the size of their larder, rather than speak about fair chase matters and brag of a difficult stalk on one or two. To me hunting is Hunting, and killing is killing. Too many trips afield will cause birds to flush long before you are in range, and squirrels and rabbits will simply abandon an area as too dangerous to occupy. Each acre you hunt, actively or passively must be rested two weeks between excursions. Any more, or a heavy harvest, will result in game becoming scarce.

As you can see hunting a small acreage is a balance of the needs of wildlife, and the desires of the gamekeeper, as that is what you have become when you start down this path.

Anyone wanting to try this activity on their own acreage, or an estate they have rights to, please post below your efforts and results so we all may learn together.

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by dizzy on Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:36 pm

2 good trees to plant (at least in this area) are wild black cherry, and eastern red cedar. They'll attract a large variety of animals. And, one tree you DON'T want to plant is arborvitae. It can look nice, and make a nice wind break, but it's not a native tree and doesn't attract nor feed the animals. Deer and rabbits especially like the cedar.

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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:19 am

Excellent point Dizzy! Use native non-invasive plantings for best results.

_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
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Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting Empty Re: Managing woodlands and small acreages for hunting

Post by 12acrehome on Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:25 pm

So you have trees and shrubs planted, you have attracted small game and determined you can hunt without harming the population. You have earned the title Jager Meister. In the days of kings this was the master of the hunt or the gameskeeper. Responsible for good habitat and population for the Kings hunting pleasure.

So how to go about it...check with your local or state game warden. As fun as it is to pretend to be emperor of the world, while tending to pet projects on your own land, the State or local Province retains control of all wildlife within its borders. In other words know the possession limits, dates and times of hunting seasons and legal shooting hours. Above all weapon regulations must be known before going afield. In my home state as long as I only hunt my own farmland, I do not need purchase a license nor tags, but must call in and "check in" any harvests other than small game.

This time of year I find an 8 inch deep carpet of dried leaves covering the ground of my woods. This makes sneaking about nearly impossible. This is the time to gather leaves for soil amending in the gardens so why not take a walk behind bagger mower and clean off some paths. Take a pair of pruning shears with you and trim small limbs, and brambles and vines for easier walking. The question though, is where are you walking to? Remember those brushpiles, Dreys, and warrens (rabbit colonies)? Well those are mostly in edge habitat and should not be disturbed, but this is part of what you want to observe during hunting trips. Clear your trail so that you pass within 20 yards, but get no closer than 7 yards.
too far out and you'll not get a shot, too close will pressure your quarry too much. You should continue your trail to popular feeding areas. Here things can be quite tricky. Often one tree will be very popular for a few days, then the critters will be off to another tree or bush perhaps 100 yards away, then the next day back to a tree close to the first. Knowing which group of trees or bushes to peek into during the early season, and during the late season will come with time afield. For now simply pass your trail through the area, but leave yourself some cover to pause behind and observe the activities of your intended quarry. Lastly, I find it beneficial to have trails laid out in loops. Time and watching will let you know where the best places are to ambush your game.


_________________
Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
12acrehome
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