The first day I was able to walk a parcel that I had walked last year at this same time and WOW what a change! Timber harvest, Egyptian Wheat screening, travel corridors…this parcel is well on its way to major hunting and habitat improvements for 2012. This picture is of Egyptian Wheat used to screen hunter access…it is only a 10′ wide strip but it really packs a punch and when combined with a more permanent screening of spruce or pines it offers both immediate and long term solutions.
The EW gets very tall…and the rows of young white pines that you can see on the right side will offer a great replacement to the annual planting of EW within just a few more years. And why rows of planted pines instead of staggered? Because rowed plantings of conifer discourage bedding and the last thing you need with an access screening is a quality level so high that you invite deer to your feet when accessing stand locations. I like tight rows that offer a great visual barrier of 2-4 layers of screening…but with long open rows between so the stress level is high for any deer that is seeking cover to bed within.
The landowner had already planted honeysuckle screening over 10 years ago…again, a nice tight row and the good thing is that the honeysuckle holds it’s leaves well into fall to offer a good visual barrier during the season.
Good bedding equals a great spot for bucks to rest…although this one found a little too much rest in this particular location! Its amazing how many dead bucks I run into while canvasing high quality bedding locations….bucks will travel a long way to find secure cover to hide in when wounded.
I love the history of hunting! Old stand locations always tell a tale…many stories and many mature bucks passed by this location throughout the years. How many of you ever sat on a bucket while hunting? I know that I did!
Natural deer beds always tell a consistent tale…good ground cover, elevation, some type of canopy, and higher surrounding stem counts of growth were evident within this “big buck” area.
Man-made bedding areas are hard to beat…a few large trees cut to offer high horizontal “bridges” to hinge cut and tie young growth too…a level platform, and for the “icing on the cake” a few scattered spruce or pine within the cutting will add yet another one of the 4 components of deer bedding habitat.
And when you put it all together…GREAT HABITAT designed and hunted correctly EQUALS MATURE BUCKS!
Look for more property visit pics to come in the near future in many different states and property types.
To visit 1000s of my hunting and habitat posts for additional info, please visit the whitetail forums at www.michigan-sportsman.com
By Jeff Sturgis, www.whitetailhabitatsolutions.com