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Clear Cut or TSI
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
goyt 10-Jan-23
Thehospitabledoc 10-Jan-23
NCK 10-Jan-23
fuzzy 10-Jan-23
Bow Crazy 11-Jan-23
wildwilderness 11-Jan-23
NCK 11-Jan-23
WV Mountaineer 11-Jan-23
Inshart 11-Jan-23
Squash 12-Jan-23
goyt 12-Jan-23
fuzzy 12-Jan-23
goyt 13-Jan-23
fuzzy 13-Jan-23
GFL 13-Jan-23
blue spot 13-Jan-23
fuzzy 13-Jan-23
blue spot 13-Jan-23
Hilltop 13-Jan-23
goyt 14-Jan-23
blue spot 14-Jan-23
goyt 14-Jan-23
blue spot 14-Jan-23
fuzzy 16-Jan-23
Pat Lefemine 16-Jan-23
WV Mountaineer 16-Jan-23
blue spot 16-Jan-23
NCK 16-Jan-23
From: goyt
10-Jan-23
I have a strip pit running through my property. On one side of it there are about 28 acres that have been great bedding in the past that is getting too open. With that said the buck I shot this year was checking that bedding area when I shot him. There is harvestable timber there but it is a little small. If I take the good timber there would be nothing but junk trees growing because the stocking of good timber is low. I could perform a TSI where most of the poor-quality trees would be cut and left. There is probably not a market for them so I would have to do it myself or pay to have it done. I could have it clear cut. A forester that I'm working with said that he could sell non-sawmill trees for firewood if we clear cut a large enough area. The Christmas storm this year had high winds which broke off 4 poor quality trees close to each other. Amazingly there are deer now bedding near them. This makes me hopeful that a TSI cut would work well. I wonder if a clear cut would make it too thick.

What has been your experience on what is the correct approach with an area like this? I could do a combination of TSI with some clear cuts. If I do that how big and how many clear cuts?

10-Jan-23
Non-expert advice here but anything you do there is going to be good, as evidenced by deer bedding in fallen trees IMO.

I have a 40 of mostly mature hardwoods that I'm going to end up going out of pocket for some TSI in areas close to the creeks and clear cut a small area. Disturbance is a good thing for deer.

From: NCK
10-Jan-23
You could hack and squirt the junk trees freeing up the desirable ones and at the same time get more light to the floor and new growth.

From: fuzzy
10-Jan-23
TSI

From: Bow Crazy
11-Jan-23
I like the idea of selling the non-sawmill trees for firewood, while leaving the good timber. It sounds like you will really open up the canopy. We did that on 20ish acres last winter. We did a seed tree release, a cut where everything goes while leaving all the oak trees for seeding. I was able to make trials where I wanted, and I was able to open two areas for food plots. My 20 acres is not all one piece, its broken up by areas of more mature trees and an area we did a select cut at the same time. The areas fits into my overall plan/layout design. Last spring I planted white spruce and white pine to and more thermal cover where I wanted it. You also said, "I could do a combination of TSI with some clear cuts. If I do that how big and how many clear cuts?" I do too, which is really what we did. If you end up just cutting areas for new bedding areas, I would do some small, 1/8 acre, some a little larger 1/4 acre, a 1/2 acre at the most. I've done all three, even larger, with great results. Our land is in Wisconsin ag country, the woods are hills, valleys with flat ridge tops in between. That could make a difference in size not sure. Good Luck! BC

11-Jan-23
What time of year does hack and squirt need to be done?

From: NCK
11-Jan-23
Oct to March..........

11-Jan-23
TSI. Cut the junk. Leave the good stock for future. It’ll kill two birds with one stone.

From: Inshart
11-Jan-23
I would clear cut about 5 acres right in the middle of the property and leave it come up really thick - perfect bedding area to leave as a sanctuary.

From: Squash
12-Jan-23
If your forest consists of valuable hardwoods, and sawlog trees are still small diameter breast height, 12”-15”. I would do tsi along with a crop tree release. Any firewood trees cut, leave tops in the woods, that will create instant cover, plus help protect hardwood regeneration from deer over browsing. The main thing is have your Forester calculate stocking levels, and then thin accordingly.

From: goyt
12-Jan-23
Thanks for the responses. Here is some additional information. The 28 acres is part of a 428 acre piece. It is the SE portion of about 63 acres of what is mostly a sanctuary/bedding area. I hunt the deer as they go in and out of the area and I enter it only far enough to take advance of bottlenecks going into it. I am not sure if I can get someone to cut firewood and save a residual stand. They may not want to protect any trees and probably will not want to deal with cutting small areas here and there. I can always ask. Regardless, if I want some small clear cuts, I am sure that there is a way. The way the terrain lies, it is a natural bedding area that is getting too open. There are benches, knobs, steep slopes and flats.

From: fuzzy
12-Jan-23
I'd gladly cut to your specifications as described if you were close enough. Ask around you may find qn old broken down semi retired guy like me who'll work with you

From: goyt
13-Jan-23
fuzzy, there are some young guys that I let hunt that would hopefully help. I do not think that either one has ever even held a chain saw. I am concerned that one of them would get hurt. Very tempting though.

From: fuzzy
13-Jan-23
Yeah there's that. Maybe find an experienced faller to supervise a bit. There's 1,000 ways to get hurt or killed in the woods.

From: GFL
13-Jan-23
Girdle cut and spray is the easiest method.

From: blue spot
13-Jan-23
Goyt, I would second WV Mountaineer for the recommendation of a heavy de-crapping/crop tree release. This will improve the growth of future high value timber and or mast trees. Any stem you want to grow and cut everything else. Undoubtedly there will be some spots with none to very few desirable crop trees. The bigger openings will give you a better variety of regrowth for cover and browse. Some 2-5 acre patch clear cuts will certainly swing the pendulum to even better habitat but will sacrifice any crop trees. This will give you the best of both worlds by enhancing habitat and maintaining/improving your timber growth.

If I was doing the cutting my self I would do it over a span of years so the habitat would remain optimum over many years rather than go through a boom and bust cycle. If you manage to sell the trees to be cut, you will undoubtedly need to cover the entire area to generate enough economics of scale.

Not sure what your tolerance level is for dealing with government bull shit is.

If you signed up through NRCS to get a forest management plan done you could get subsidized to do any of the cutting you describe and sell the wood if you could find some one to cut it.

First you apply for the plan, the plan gets done and recommends the work you are describing. Then you apply for the funding. The more "conservation need" you have the more likely you are to get your projects chosen. Normally there is just a single application and selection period per year. However, with the extra millions of dollars being spent through the American rescue plan Maine and New Hampshire are anticipating having more than one selection period for plans and practices so they can shovel out all the $$$$$ hey have to give away.

Lastly, I recommend hiring a consulting forester to help you sell the timber. Specifically, a forester who is an Association of Consulting Foresters (ACF) member. Membership will guarantee they will act as your fiduciary agent as opposed to others who profit by buying wood from you. Only a local will be aware of the potential markets and how best to sell into them. And the market for wood, like any commodity, is in constant change.

I don't want to pick a fight with Mr. WV but in my area, there are a raft of both procurement foresters working for mills and loggers giving "free " services and people advertising themselves as consultants who buy stumpage from their clients. I have seen numerous people get shafted with such arrangements. On face value the land owners get below average prices. Second, they get shorted indirectly by over cutting the forest and or high grading the above average timber for the below average prices. The second might be the worst because it hurts the forest long term productivity.

I am a consultant and an ACF member. And for the record, I recognize foresters are particularly guilty of having opinions and they are just like __________________ and they both stink.

Erik

From: fuzzy
13-Jan-23
WV and blue spot are both giving great advice

From: blue spot
13-Jan-23
Goyt, I would second WV Mountaineer for the recommendation of a heavy de-crapping/crop tree release. This will improve the growth of future high value timber and or mast trees. Any stem you want to grow and cut everything else. Undoubtedly there will be some spots with none to very few desirable crop trees. The bigger openings will give you a better variety of regrowth for cover and browse. Some 2-5 acre patch clear cuts will certainly swing the pendulum to even better habitat but will sacrifice any crop trees. This will give you the best of both worlds by enhancing habitat and maintaining/improving your timber growth.

If I was doing the cutting my self I would do it over a span of years so the habitat would remain optimum over many years rather than go through a boom and bust cycle. If you manage to sell the trees to be cut, you will undoubtedly need to cover the entire area to generate enough economics of scale.

Not sure what your tolerance level is for dealing with government bull shit is.

If you signed up through NRCS to get a forest management plan done you could get subsidized to do any of the cutting you describe and sell the wood if you could find some one to cut it.

First you apply for the plan, the plan gets done and recommends the work you are describing. Then you apply for the funding. The more "conservation need" you have the more likely you are to get your projects chosen. Normally there is just a single application and selection period per year. However, with the extra millions of dollars being spent through the American rescue plan Maine and New Hampshire are anticipating having more than one selection period for plans and practices so they can shovel out all the $$$$$ hey have to give away.

Lastly, I recommend hiring a consulting forester to help you sell the timber. Specifically, a forester who is an Association of Consulting Foresters (ACF) member. Membership will guarantee they will act as your fiduciary agent as opposed to others who profit by buying wood from you. Only a local will be aware of the potential markets and how best to sell into them. And the market for wood, like any commodity, is in constant change.

I don't want to pick a fight with Mr. WV but in my area, there are a raft of both procurement foresters working for mills and loggers giving "free " services and people advertising themselves as consultants who buy stumpage from their clients. I have seen numerous people get shafted with such arrangements. On face value the land owners get below average prices. Second, they get shorted indirectly by over cutting the forest and or high grading the above average timber for the below average prices. The second might be the worst because it hurts the forest long term productivity.

I am a consultant and an ACF member. And for the record, I recognize foresters are particularly guilty of having opinions and they are just like __________________ and they both stink.

Erik

From: Hilltop
13-Jan-23
On mine, I did two clearcut areas, 2 and 5 acres about 8 years ago. Couldn’t find a logger to do it even with the help of an independent forester, until the logger in the neighbor’s needed access through mine to get saw logs out. They cut it for the access and because they were there. The money I got was enough to smooth out the logging roads. Try to find someone doing work near you to offset the trucking costs of the equipment. Clearcuts were conducive to my forest type and avoided any issues with high grading.

My next cut will be in 2 years with more small clearcuts and TSI throughout. Rotating areas of disturbance will provide a substantial food source and cover in perpetuity if planned correctly. In my stand, 25% is clearcut every 20 years. Some areas will be old age, some will be clearcut. Diversity and edge. If only I could live the next 80 years to see the rotation.

I didn’t buy the land for timber revenue. I’ll likely have to give away the next cut or pay to have it done. That’s ok because the savings is in WI tax program for managed forests.

If you have high pressure during the gun season, you will be amazed at how relaxed (and safe from others) the deer will be.

I vastly prefer bow hunting but do go with the gun. This year I let the biggest buck ever that I didn’t shoot walk into the 8 yr old clearcut at 8am on the opener. Came back out at 4pm. Let him walk again. In WI, if they make it past the first day, they are 85% of the way to the next year. Pulled cards last week (a month after gun season) and he’s still going. It’s very rewarding to see your land management work.

From: goyt
14-Jan-23
Thanks again for the input. It is great to hear from people who have firsthand experience.

Blue spot, I really appreciate the time and effort you put into your response. Here is some more background. On 12/15/2020 I bought out my land partner. We started buying land together in 1997. The next winter and spring were spent trying to get a better handle on what the status of everything was. Due to his poor health and the expectation that he would buy me out not much had been done in recent years. I walked the land with three consulting foresters, a state forester and the state wildlife landowner consultant. The state forester and the wildlife consultant convinced me to work with the NRCS for funding. I applied for funding for a plan for all of the property and for performing a TSI and invasive species control on the 28 acres under discussion on the tread. With the support of the state forester and state wildlife consultant I was able to apply for funding on the 28 acres using their reports. The funding for the plan was approved but the work on the 28 acres was not. I have hired a consulting forester to prepare the plan. The application for the work on the 28 acres has been rolled over to the next funding period.

I showed the consulting forester around the property and we discussed the 28 acre application. He should complete his field work in the next two weeks and have the report completed in 4 weeks after that. His experience lies more in forestry than wildlife management. However, he is fulling onboard with my objectives. Input that I get from bowsite will be used to develop the next steps. Once the plan has been submitted, my chances for funding should increase. Also, once the plan is complete, I should be able to do some work to thicken the area while I wait for approval with the understanding that I will not be paid for that work. I would like to get some trees cut this winter.

From: blue spot
14-Jan-23
Goyt,

sounds like you are well along a well thought out plan. I always hesitate to recommend NRCS because for me it has been a very cumbersome and slow process to accomplish an end goal. It is best to strike while the iron is hot to achieve a land owners goals. Waiting 3 plus years to meet a goal can often have a land owners interest or goals change or cool over that time span. But when there are considerable out of pocket expenses it can be the best pragmatic way forward. It is absolutely necessary to complete your management plan before applying for the practice funding when dealing with forest land (non agg land, farmers are exempt from that requirement) I feel blessed to work where we have markets for any tree bigger than two inches so long as you put the project together correctly. I certainly understand other areas don't have those markets or the management options they allow. I also understand not everyone has the same goal, needs or financial constraints. But we have some clients who are very financially comfortable and manage their lands pretty idealistically from my perspective, but they also would rather get two nickels than one if they can.

The great thing about managing a forest is you don't have to manage exclusively for timber or wildlife. The shelterwood or clearcut to regenerate your forest will also give you fantastic browse and thick cover. How you describe the project and outcome depends on which hat you are wearing. Probably the hardest thing to convey to landowners is forest age class and type will be ever shifting and moving around a property and the corresponding wildlife habitat will as well. But I get the sense that some people think a certain area of a property will always be dedicated to a certain habitat type. Or that you can keep it in a certain size class. In your case is there any reason your sanctuary and bedding thickets have to continue to be on that 28 acres ? As a forester I probably get to spend more days a year walking in the woods. As such I get to see and be distracted by deer sign on a very regular basis. Interestingly, where I see deer bed, dense thick cover is not the common denominator. But I also admit my deer hunting skills are far from the best. When I was young and dumb I managed to bumble into a reasonable number of older bucks and deer in general. As I get older and "smarter" my success seeing or killing deer seems to continue to decline. I do get to eat venison occasionally, maybe more than Jordan at home, but my skills would land far out on the wrong side of the bell shaped curve!

From: goyt
14-Jan-23
blue spot,

There are numerous bedding areas and several sanctuaries on the property. As the age classes of the timber progress the willingness of the deer to bed in certain areas change. There has not been a major timber harvest on most of the property since 2004. Once the plan is complete, I plan to have a series of timber sales. This will create additional bedding areas and will probably require me to change how I hunt the land. The 28 acres is part of about 63 acres with a strip pit in the middle, spoil piles on one side and benches and old access to the pit on the other. It twists and turns making the wind there very unstable. Regardless of the age class of the timber it is probably best left as a sanctuary. Having better cover will increase the number of deer that bed in it. I think that as long as it is a sanctuary some deer are going to bed there. I also need more wintertime browse.

From: blue spot
14-Jan-23
It would be interesting to see some before and after pictures. But I know how hard it is to capture. I keep trying to document things and it never fails to impress upon me just what a skill photography is to do it right.

From: fuzzy
16-Jan-23
Blue Spot I know what you mean. I've been working on my current place for 3 years now and it's starting to look like I want. I wish I'd taken some "before" pics. I do have the Google Earth image. I'll post before and after when it updates. Should be soon.

From: Pat Lefemine
16-Jan-23
When you guys say hack and squirt, what chemical are you squirting?

16-Jan-23
If the forest canopy has reached closure, which it likely has due to the OP’s description, hack and squirt is not the best option. Remember, you are now selecting what you want to keep. Squirting a stump sprout you cull is going to kill a preferred stem if it’s off the same sprout.

From: blue spot
16-Jan-23
Hack and squirt can be done with a several herbicides. Glyphosate can be used for cut stump treatments so it should also work fine. I have use it at 100% strenght but been advised it works down to 50% strength. I also like to use 19% Garlon XRT in either metholated seed oil or diesel fuel carier. The garlon in oil/diesel can be applied directly to the lower stem/root crown with no cutting so long as the bark is still young and absorptive. But as WV alluded to, trees of the same species can be root grafted together. And as such, applying herbicide to one will kill the root grafted neighbors. So it is not an acceptable method to thin stems of the same species. Basal treatment directly through the bark does not work on birch. The benefit to killing the weed trees on the stump is the released tree is gradually released. The killed trees gradually decay and give a tall spindly tree some support for several years until the crop tree becomes more stout and able to handle the additional growing space. Cutting weed trees is better as it provides stump sprouts providing an immediate source of browse as well as cover/thicket. for cutting trees less than 4 inches in diameter it is hard to beat a big clearing saw.

From: NCK
16-Jan-23
"When you guys say hack and squirt, what chemical are you squirting?"

You can buy all the expensive stuff you want but Gly at 75% will kill a tree dead but you have to do it from Oct to March otherwise there will be a flow upward.

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