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.
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.
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....
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.
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!