Moultrie Products
What's a healthy forest?
Wisconsin
Contributors to this thread:
GoJakesGo 24-Nov-17
Treefarm 25-Nov-17
smokey 25-Nov-17
ground hunter 25-Nov-17
RJN 25-Nov-17
Treefarm 25-Nov-17
GoJakesGo 25-Nov-17
Treefarm 25-Nov-17
Rookie 25-Nov-17
Treefarm 25-Nov-17
treegeek 03-Dec-17
treegeek 03-Dec-17
Bloodtrail 03-Dec-17
WIBUCK 03-Dec-17
Missouribreaks 03-Dec-17
treegeek 03-Dec-17
From: GoJakesGo
24-Nov-17
FB has many members posting videos of big bucks cruising. Most of these videos are of hardwoods with a wide open forest floor.

I have about 6 acres of open timber and I rarely see a deer in that part of the woods. They seem to be more active in the pine/hardwood mix I couldn't get a 15yrd shot in.

I've been doing some hand logging In the thick areas this fall to open some lanes but there is only so much dead poplar and white pine I can burn.

Getting more sunlight in is my goal. Has anyone had ill affects from having too much debris laying on the ground? All season the deer seem to take different routes in the maze of raspberry and sapling rows.

From: Treefarm
25-Nov-17
You have a two pronged question, or at least "what is healthy" & "what do deer like".

Deer like cover and a supply of food. The forest provides mast crop, the crop deer and other critter need for nutrition. They need buds later on in the winter to "sustain". Buds are not as nutritious as mast crop but sustain over winter.

A good forest has both, that is why good timber practices are needed. You need to keep exotic invasive out.

Many say "deer numbers aren't what they were 10 years ago. While some may be true, the reality is that the forest composition changes. Deer move to areas they like. This is a strong argument for timber management on your property. A climax forest does nothing for deer.

Also, deer population is way too high in many areas of WI to have healthy forest natural regeneration. Deer literally eat themselves out of house and home. This is highly argued, but trust me, there are too many deer for healthy forest. Maybe not enough for all hunters, but Smokey "gets" it.

So, keep a healthy mix of small, medium, and large. Keep the basal area in check. Clear-cut as needed to regenerate Oak and Aspen.

A healthy forest isn't all measured by how many deer are present. A high population of deer is not sustainable and can destroy woodland regeneration. Deer feed heavily on desirable and leave the "crap" so to speak.

So, next time you complain there are not enough deer, don't let past sightings skew your view. If you are seeing poor forest regeneration due to browsing , the deer are still there, but remember, other factors affect deer movement. Based on the number of hunters I see walking around, the rage of "tower" stands, baiting, privatization and parcelization of land, etc. the deer definately have the upper hand.

From: smokey
25-Nov-17
Treefarm +1

25-Nov-17
On my land in the UP, the state provided a forester for free,,,, they walked the land, and gave me an evaluation..... After that, once I knew the health of the woods, I found a logger, that specialized in select cutting,,,,,,, They came out, took out all of the popple, most of it was over 25 years old, but surprising in still good shape, according to the logger.....

Great references, you would not even know they were cutting, when they were done,,,,,, well you should see it now, the sun is in there, its got lots of new growth, young popple coming up,,,,,,,

I developed it for grouse and woodcock, and man they came,,,,, if you have grouse, you have deer, I have a lot of them....

No food plots, I am not planting any junk I know nothing about, just good forest mgt and the deer are there....

From: RJN
25-Nov-17
Treefarm - we have a separate 40 that is full of 100 yr oaks. Would you log every one of them? I was thinking of cutting 80% and leaving the rest for acorns. I would also like to plug in a few hundred norways.

From: Treefarm
25-Nov-17
RJN, my advice is hire a consultant forester and tell him what you want to manage for. Better yet, enter it into MFL so it has a regular managed plan for 25 or 50 years. Good timber harvest should occur every 15-25 years. Very site dependent. Harvests invigorate new growth which benefit wildlife...more so than any food plot will.

From: GoJakesGo
25-Nov-17
I have lots of turkeys that roam. They scratch the ground bare yet I cant get any new growth in that six acres. It is a thin mix of 25-100yr oak, and soft maple. Tons of green grasses and open sunlight. Dirt is very moist. I planted 75 3-4' cedar trees in there last week to add some cover.

The thick areas dont appear to be good bedding areas either. Deer always seem to be passing through. I have acres of rasberry/blackberry brush deer browse on-painful to watch them munch on those prickly vines but they love em. Ive dropped 70ish dead trees this summer cutting up about 1/2 of them for firewood but would like to cut another 70 (mostly pine) to really open it up. Forest logging debris in the north is common but it makes walking to stands difficult. Just curious why some guys film deer galore in their open woods but I can get a bluejay to fly through mine.

From: Treefarm
25-Nov-17
GoJakesGo, knocking down dead timber may be eye appealing, but it is also habitat. Snags are needed for many critters. If they must come done for safety or opening canopy, leave wood to rot. Not only is the decaying matter nutrients, it also is habitat. A clean woods is sterile. Hand plant amongst the felled trees to give protection to seelings. If you are having a barren understory (no natural regeneration), is the area over browsed? If sunlight is getting through, something is impeding natural regeneration.

From: Rookie
25-Nov-17
Tree... Is there a best time of year to cut live trees to help growth of new stuff from the stumpage? Red oak and paper birch to be exact.

From: Treefarm
25-Nov-17
Rookie, Always cut when sap (energy) is south for best chances. This typically is a winter strategy. With energy stored in roots, you will get vigorous sprouting typically.

From: treegeek
03-Dec-17
TTT

From: treegeek
03-Dec-17
TTT

From: Bloodtrail
03-Dec-17
Treefarm is the "best" - what a knowledgeable guy!

It is so true what Treefarm is saying here. I was the biggest idiot in tree management and hated the site of a cut over or even select cut - boy, was I wrong! Great habitat and cover and DEER! I was told one time a whitetails world is less than 6 feet tall - makes sense!

You can food plot all you want, but if you don't have the cover for those deer, they'll be visitors at best. They need a place to feel safe. If you don't have it, they'll find some place that does.

Forest regenerate and so many people say, "Gosh, I used to see 20 deer a day on the property". Well, what have you done over the twenty years to manage for whitetails?

"A clean forest is sterile" that is so, so true. Dead wood, yes, leave it for the woodpeckers and the owls and the wood ducks and anything else that needs it. Once it falls, the forest floor will use it!

I don't even have an ounce of the knowledge that Treefarm has, but some of this seems to be good common sense.

Thanks again Treefarm!

From: WIBUCK
03-Dec-17
I own 3 farms and have been trying my best the past 10 or so years but I am giving up. To many acres not enough time with neighbors in the same boat or just don't care. Checked areas today that I had cut and sprayed honeysuckle only to find these areas covered with buckthorn. Areas I was not able to get to are so thick with honeysuckle they are almost impassable. This fall driving between my farms the whole country side was green with buck thorn. I can tell you it is completely out of control here in west central WI and will only get worse. Really depressing.

03-Dec-17
I agree with treefarm, too many deer in much of Wisconsin for good forest health.

From: treegeek
03-Dec-17
Don’t give up! Never give up!

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