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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Every year I tell myself “this” is the year that I’m going to take down a bunch of trees and make my woods thicker. I probably always end up only taking down maybe 50 each year. The property is mainly a pass through and I’m hoping that eventually deer will bed on it and hang around at least some.
I bought the property about 12 years ago and it was logged right before I bought it, but it was still waaaay too open. About 4 years ago I had 100 trees logged and that helped a ton.
Is it possible to have too many trees on the ground? I think most areas the deer can find a way through year round, and I have cut trails to help, but it sure looks like in some places all I see are logs down.
Plant Snow Ecoregion Natural landscape Natural environment

Snow Plant Natural landscape Wood Twig

Plant Snow Natural landscape Wood Twig

Plant Wood Natural landscape Trunk Terrestrial plant

Snow Plant Natural landscape Wood Branch
 

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Every year I tell myself “this” is the year that I’m going to take down a bunch of trees and make my woods thicker. I probably always end up only taking down maybe 50 each year. The property is mainly a pass through and I’m hoping that eventually deer will bed on it and hang around at least some.
I bought the property about 12 years ago and it was logged right before I bought it, but it was still waaaay too open. About 4 years ago I had 100 trees logged and that helped a ton.
Is it possible to have too many trees on the ground? I think most areas the deer can find a way through year round, and I have cut trails to help, but it sure looks like in some places all I see are logs down.
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I have several-a dozen trees over fencepost diameter.
Lots of small stuff.

Elsewhere not far from home is/was a jackstrawed storm downed mess.
Stuff from around fifteen feet to the ground , with early on in winter a very short sight range through it.
Been almost two decades and it's mostly on the ground now.
But for many years seeing mid day deer stretching or briefly browsing was not unusual. In a low deer area...
That use of structure by deer has not been forgotten.
Long after buds and twig ends were browsed off deer kept using it.
A guy on leave walked in there one year to find a buck waiting for him. A quick hunt.

The other night deer came through the mature forest to browse quite close to the house and shed on second growth maple on the edges. Been a couple months since the last time ...

Oak logging just beyond , left structure they are not using.
Last sighting was on the edge skirting it. Too many homes near or human noise maybe given the options beyond..
 

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Nice work. And nice deer genetics to build on! Just keep going. Cut it all. “When in doubt, cut it out” I always say. Actually I’ve never said that even once before but it does sound cool.

The good thing about stuff on the ground is that it breaks down eventually. I have a lot of natural blow downs and I don’t like it for impeding traffic but I cut lanes thru it (lovely….more chainsaw work…). But I don’t think a downed tree can do half as much harm as a standing tree in full foliage.

I’m in the same boat. I’d like to take your 50 tree average and make it my all time record. We’ll see what I can manage this cutting season. Just picked some target areas today.

good luck and don’t be shy when it comes to making the decision to drop one.
 

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Nice work Big CC! What are you cutting? Looks like maples and at least one cherry, maybe. ;) What else? What are you leaving behind? What is growing up in regeneration?

I've got one last deer to cut and then it will formally be "habitat season". Yay. I'd really like to start by trimming shooting lanes because right now is the best time to see what it will look like from the stand next December.
 

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I'd certainly clear pathways (perpendicular to the downed trees) in areas where you prefer the deer to move.
 

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Only thing I’d be worried about is the barber chairs in the photos. Nothing I see is stopping movement and nothing I see says over cutting or thick…yes, sunlight will help, but it’s not enough of a haircut if you are really hoping for good whitetail habitat. Best advise I ever heard was…go thru and cut what you think….when done, go back and cut twice as much…and maybe, maybe at that point you’ve done enough! The crown refills in way faster than most think (and cause for most failures). Yes, you may/will need to open trails depending if you are hinging or conventionally falling…no biggie…dump first, open trails second
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think that the main reason why I only cut about 50 trees per year is because of safety. Usually I’m there working alone, and I am generally a safe distance from the trees when they fall. I cut a ways and then walk away. Then cut more if needed then walk away. Not efficient at all, but I feel better about it and I’m not taking chances. I also spend time cutting my planned escape route from each tree. Time consuming, but safer.
I would love to have probably 80% of those trees down, and I’m working on it. Just really, really slowly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nice work Big CC! What are you cutting? Looks like maples and at least one cherry, maybe. ;) What else? What are you leaving behind? What is growing up in regeneration?

I've got one last deer to cut and then it will formally be "habitat season". Yay. I'd really like to start by trimming shooting lanes because right now is the best time to see what it will look like from the stand next December.
In this area….I am cutting trees. LOL. No discrimination here. If it is standing and I feel comfortable cutting it, then it’s going down. I have mostly maple, red oak and beech on my place with lots of other types mixed in. Good question on what is regenerating. With little sunlight there hasn’t been a ton back there, but hopefully next year, and I will look to see what is coming up.
My property is sideways L-shaped. The bottom of the L (short side N-S) is along the road and is about a 10 acre field. Have probably planted about 3,000 trees in that field since I owned it, and add 100-200 every year (Norway and red pine).
The long part of the L runs E-W and is perpendicular to the road. Area that I’m cutting now is the farthest point from the road. Surrounded on 3 sides by 2 neighbors ag fields. Difficult to access without alerting deer so I don’t hunt there until the rut. I’d prefer to have it thick bedding and maybe never hunt it. I did see several beds in the light snow last weekend in the “thickest” areas, but thick because of down tops and only a little regeneration…..and I don’t think it is even close to thick enough. I think the deer are/were bedding there because I had not been to my place in a month so not being bothered.
Hoping to head back out there Saturday to get a little more done. Fun times!!
 

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In this area….I am cutting trees. LOL. No discrimination here. If it is standing and I feel comfortable cutting it, then it’s going down. I have mostly maple, red oak and beech on my place with lots of other types mixed in. Good question on what is regenerating. With little sunlight there hasn’t been a ton back there, but hopefully next year, and I will look to see what is coming up.
My property is sideways L-shaped. The bottom of the L (short side N-S) is along the road and is about a 10 acre field. Have probably planted about 3,000 trees in that field since I owned it, and add 100-200 every year (Norway and red pine).
The long part of the L runs E-W and is perpendicular to the road. Area that I’m cutting now is the farthest point from the road. Surrounded on 3 sides by 2 neighbors ag fields. Difficult to access without alerting deer so I don’t hunt there until the rut. I’d prefer to have it thick bedding and maybe never hunt it. I did see several beds in the light snow last weekend in the “thickest” areas, but thick because of down tops and only a little regeneration…..and I don’t think it is even close to thick enough. I think the deer are/were bedding there because I had not been to my place in a month so not being bothered.
Hoping to head back out there Saturday to get a little more done. Fun times!!
Pic 3 and 5 have lots of seedlings! I think your plan is working. Get a clear close up of the buds Saturday and take note of how many are browsed.
 

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Ironic how we cut to improve deer habitat and then fret when they suppress or eliminate the very species that we most wish to regenerate. FM
If by "fret" you mean "pull the trigger", then yes I agree! 🤣

I'm no expert, but I do have a fair amount of "tree hugger" in me. It's worth knowing what is coming down and what is growing up. Don't you agree?
 

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If by "fret" you mean "pull the trigger", then yes I agree! 🤣

I'm no expert, but I do have a fair amount of "tree hugger" in me. It's worth knowing what is coming down and what is growing up. Don't you agree?
Absolutely agree and would go one step further, it is essential. One needs adequate knowledge of woody vegetation, not just the ones desired but also potential competitors, in order to properly manipulate the landscape for whatever benefits are desired. Without saying, a good working knowledge of herbivores is also absolutely necessary. FM
 

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I think that the main reason why I only cut about 50 trees per year is because of safety. Usually I’m there working alone, and I am generally a safe distance from the trees when they fall. I cut a ways and then walk away. Then cut more if needed then walk away. Not efficient at all, but I feel better about it and I’m not taking chances. I also spend time cutting my planned escape route from each tree. Time consuming, but safer.
I would love to have probably 80% of those trees down, and I’m working on it. Just really, really slowly.
Being overly cautious is a bad thing just as being under cautious when cutting trees imo. There are cuts that need to be made quickly to make the cut safe as possible. Also when cutting you should learn species. Some are brittle and and some are soft. Knowing this helps you read the tree and how it should be cut. I hate to say but I learned real quick that most grandpas didn't know $heet when it come to using a chainsaw safely. Or your buddy with the hold my beer and I'll cut it.

I have a fair amount of experience now to give me confidence, but know enough to never be to cocky when it comes to felling trees. But I didn't start out that way. I learned by reading things like this old thread on these forums...... Hinge cutting--Safety and Control. This past thread is just the tip of the iceberg on what Bioactive and others have put out there in regards to safety and deer habitat work. Bioactive later wrote a book that compiles a lot of info and can save a lot of time. Great to have that around to refer to.

One of the best ways to fell trees is to get together with other like minded habitat guys and trade cutting days. I have learned so much by cutting next to others. Meeting people at Deer habitat events, on line, co-ops, etc... has put me with some great people with the same interests. We have had up to six guys meet up to cut trees, sometimes pairing off or sometimes sticking together. Talking about what cut to use, what kind of trees we are cutting and why. After the cut we will examine the cut, holding wood, hinge or grain of the tree and how it fell. I don't care how many trees you cut, it is always worth the time to to examine what happened after the cut. One thing we always do at the end of the day is thank each other for the safe day in the woods and celebrate gratefully that nobody got hurt. That is the main goal!!

As far as cutting alone. Its not the best situation of course, we all know that. Just make sure someone knows where you are at check in with them from time to time...... and be careful.
 

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When cutting by myself I ONLY cut with my Silky saw. Keeps me in the smaller 4-8 inch range. Majority of those cuts have been hinge cuts.
 
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