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Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

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Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby docpoco » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:44 am

One of the things I have realized is that the ideas of having a pretty green food plot to draw mature bucks is a bit of a fantasy, and I haven't put enough emphasis on cover.

The properties we hunt are 90% open woods, and I'd like to go in and start creating bedding/fawning areas.

I've got this idea in mind, but basically goes like this.

1. Use a dozer or tractor rake to clear the ground of a lot of leaves and debris over, creating open seed bed in 2-4 acre patches.
2. The I'd like to over-seed with a really tall growing grass like egyptian wheat, sorghum and millet in early spring.
3. Then clear cut and hinge cut heavily.

Possibly swap the order of 2 and 3 depending on how access appears.

Has anyone ever done anything like this? Does it sound like a decent plan?

Thanks!
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby JCDEERMAN » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:59 am

1. Using a dozer to rake the ground could damage some of the acorn producing trees' root systems - A prescribed fire would be much more beneficial.
2. I wouldn't over-seed with anything. I'd much rather have natural grasses and growth for wildlife.
3. I would not hinge-cut - I would hack & squirt - much better for establishing and maintaining ample sunlight hitting the ground.

Check these links out below...

https://www.growingdeer.tv/#/improving- ... ack-squirt

https://www.growingdeer.tv/#/deer-manag ... food-plots

Spend some time on this site. A LOT of very valuable information. Good luck...

We do many of Dr. Grant Wood's techniques on our property
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby DoubleRidge » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:35 am

Absolutely agree with JCDEERMAN's recommendation ^ and you are correct...in addition to good food...they need good cover....and allowing more sunlight to reach forest floor you can get the best of both.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby diamond hunter » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:36 pm

I wouldn't overseed or bring in a dozer,I would hinge cut yes yes yes spots 1-2 acres at a time and create sanctuary cover and stay out of there.Keep what you want in there and cut it if you don't think in benefits deer.I personally cut down beech,sycamore,hickory,elm,ironwood,ect and now I keep poplar cause I raise honeybees.Build you a place a squirrel cant walk through.
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby DoubleRidge » Sun Dec 08, 2019 2:36 pm

Diamond hunter makes a great point:

"create sanctuary cover and stay out of there"

This is something that many land owners struggle with (staying out of a given area).

People look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that there is one portion on our farm that I hadn't walked on since I was a teenager. (I'll be 50 this month).

I run cameras on the outskirts of the sanctuary...but I don't put any pressure on it what so ever. Deer need a place to go without feeling pressure.

The sanctuary on our place is made up of cedars, broom sage, old field growth, etc.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby FTG-05 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:56 pm

DoubleRidge wrote:Diamond hunter makes a great point:

"create sanctuary cover and stay out of there"

This is something that many land owners struggle with (staying out of a given area).

People look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that there is one portion on our farm that I hadn't walked on since I was a teenager. (I'll be 50 this month).

I run cameras on the outskirts of the sanctuary...but I don't put any pressure on it what so ever. Deer need a place to go without feeling pressure.

The sanctuary on our place is made up of cedars, broom sage, old field growth, etc.


Good advice, thanks! [insert beer icon here]
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby JCDEERMAN » Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:58 pm

DoubleRidge wrote:Diamond hunter makes a great point:

"create sanctuary cover and stay out of there"

This is something that many land owners struggle with (staying out of a given area).

People look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that there is one portion on our farm that I hadn't walked on since I was a teenager. (I'll be 50 this month).

I run cameras on the outskirts of the sanctuary...but I don't put any pressure on it what so ever. Deer need a place to go without feeling pressure.

The sanctuary on our place is made up of cedars, broom sage, old field growth, etc.

Agreed.

We have 7 sanctuaries on our property all spread out. They are all 3-15 acres a piece. We have plans this coming spring to create 5 more.

I’m hoping I get selected in January to become a certified prescribed burn manager. We will start burning all these locations on a 3-5 year rotation. Our instructions for loggers on our select cuts are “cut every tree but the white oaks and red oaks” -we have a lot of them. Essentially, you have whites and reds dropping acorns and everything else is native forbs and grasses...you have food and cover all in one

We also do not enter these areas unless to retrieve a deer.
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby DoubleRidge » Sun Dec 08, 2019 10:01 pm

JCDEERMAN wrote:
DoubleRidge wrote:Diamond hunter makes a great point:

"create sanctuary cover and stay out of there"

This is something that many land owners struggle with (staying out of a given area).

People look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that there is one portion on our farm that I hadn't walked on since I was a teenager. (I'll be 50 this month).

I run cameras on the outskirts of the sanctuary...but I don't put any pressure on it what so ever. Deer need a place to go without feeling pressure.

The sanctuary on our place is made up of cedars, broom sage, old field growth, etc.

Agreed.

We have 7 sanctuaries on our property all spread out. They are all 3-15 acres a piece. We have plans this coming spring to create 5 more.

I’m hoping I get selected in January to become a certified prescribed burn manager. We will start burning all these locations on a 3-5 year rotation. Our instructions for loggers on our select cuts are “cut every tree but the white oaks and red oaks” -we have a lot of them. Essentially, you have whites and reds dropping acorns and everything else is native forbs and grasses...you have food and cover all in one

We also do not enter these areas unless to retrieve a deer.


Sounds like a great management plan. Really like the idea of multiple sanctuary areas verses one or two large ones. We actually have the opportunity to do this in the coming months.

I say this because we just completed a select cut where the poplar, beech, hickory and ash were cut pretty heavy with very select cut on white oak and red oak.... estimate from Forester was that we left 2/3rds of the White oaks.

In addition to this select cut we were fortunate to qualify through EQIP to hack-n-squirt the majority of the property. For the hack-n-squirt we targeted the smaller beech, ironwood, gum, etc.

So while there is going to be alot of new growth and thicker areas develop....your comments have motivated me to define two more areas as sanctuary.

Also both loading decks are having stumps removed next week followed by lime ....hope to have them ready to plant by spring.

Hadn't got up the nerve to do any controlled burns yet but we do rotate bush hogging strips in grown up field area...... several acres of honeysuckle , briars & native grasses...deer and turkey love it.

Ok I'll stop rambling.... habitat improvements for wildlife is very interesting to me and I enjoy the process....and I really like the idea of multiple sanctuary locations....it makes sense...thanks
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby JCDEERMAN » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:38 am

We have a huge project we are trying to tackle before spring as well. In addition to those 5 new select cuts, we are also clearing roughly 18-20 acres for more and larger food plots. Clear-cutting, stump removal - piling them - burn, leveling, fertilizing and liming....all before planting in the spring. A lot of work ahead!

It took me a lot of nerve to build up to burn, as well. I was pressured by a buddy that works for TWRA to burn for years and I just shrugged it off. Didn't want to do anything that dramatic and dangerous. Once I started watching videos and learning about all the benefits, I was sold. The deer and turkey will reap all the rewards, and ultimately, us hunters.

Keep us updated on your progress, DoubleRidge!
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby DoubleRidge » Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:41 pm

JCDEERMAN that plan sounds great....clearing 18 to 20 acres is certainly a big project... wow! ...gonna be nice though....for the area we are removing stumps from - one is around 2 acre and the other is 3 to 3½ acre....very excited about finally making some progress....trying to take pics along the way to show before and after.

But I will certainly share progress as we move along into spring......you please do the same....I really like following others progress and learning all I can along the way!

Actually these are the type conversations that motivated me to jump in and join TNdeer....lurked and learned for some time....hope to share some experiences now.
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby docpoco » Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:14 pm

Thank you everyone for the input! I've been taking lots of notes, listening to more podcasts and management presentations than I'll admit, and I'm excited to get started.
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby docpoco » Mon Dec 16, 2019 5:59 pm

JCDEERMAN wrote:1. Using a dozer to rake the ground could damage some of the acorn producing trees' root systems - A prescribed fire would be much more beneficial.
2. I wouldn't over-seed with anything. I'd much rather have natural grasses and growth for wildlife.
3. I would not hinge-cut - I would hack & squirt - much better for establishing and maintaining ample sunlight hitting the ground.

Check these links out below...

https://www.growingdeer.tv/#/improving- ... ack-squirt

https://www.growingdeer.tv/#/deer-manag ... food-plots

Spend some time on this site. A LOT of very valuable information. Good luck...

We do many of Dr. Grant Wood's techniques on our property



I've been watching a bunch of those videos. I've also been watching Jeff Sturgis (Whitetail Habitat Solutions).

Seems to be positives and negatives to both types.

One thing I don't like is the idea of a whole bunch of dead trees falling down on top of me. In one of his videos, Jeff says that falling limbs and trees can even push deer away.

Anyhow, thanks for the input. So much good info out there.
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby DoubleRidge » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:19 pm

JCDEERMAN wrote:We have a huge project we are trying to tackle before spring as well. In addition to those 5 new select cuts, we are also clearing roughly 18-20 acres for more and larger food plots. Clear-cutting, stump removal - piling them - burn, leveling, fertilizing and liming....all before planting in the spring. A lot of work ahead!

It took me a lot of nerve to build up to burn, as well. I was pressured by a buddy that works for TWRA to burn for years and I just shrugged it off. Didn't want to do anything that dramatic and dangerous. Once I started watching videos and learning about all the benefits, I was sold. The deer and turkey will reap all the rewards, and ultimately, us hunters.

Keep us updated on your progress, DoubleRidge!


Update: Dozer was delivered yesterday and they started today. Working on road going into the property and started removing stumps in the first plot area....he's making great progress.

We've been waiting two weeks to get started and the rain just wouldn't let up...... talking with the dozer operator this afternoon and he said he likes pushing stumps out when the moisture is up some (not muddy) verses bone dry ground....he said it goes quicker.

Another day and plot 1 will be ready to lime/disk. Hoping by Saturday he will start on plot 2 which has allot more stumps. In-between the farm entrance , plot 1 and plot 2 he is making road improvements as he goes.

So....we have "before pics"....will try to take some "after pics" when he's done....and "finished pics" once planted....and post some pics to show examples.

Excited to finally get the ball rolling!
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby JCDEERMAN » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:56 pm

DoubleRidge wrote:
JCDEERMAN wrote:We have a huge project we are trying to tackle before spring as well. In addition to those 5 new select cuts, we are also clearing roughly 18-20 acres for more and larger food plots. Clear-cutting, stump removal - piling them - burn, leveling, fertilizing and liming....all before planting in the spring. A lot of work ahead!

It took me a lot of nerve to build up to burn, as well. I was pressured by a buddy that works for TWRA to burn for years and I just shrugged it off. Didn't want to do anything that dramatic and dangerous. Once I started watching videos and learning about all the benefits, I was sold. The deer and turkey will reap all the rewards, and ultimately, us hunters.

Keep us updated on your progress, DoubleRidge!


Update: Dozer was delivered yesterday and they started today. Working on road going into the property and started removing stumps in the first plot area....he's making great progress.

We've been waiting two weeks to get started and the rain just wouldn't let up...... talking with the dozer operator this afternoon and he said he likes pushing stumps out when the moisture is up some (not muddy) verses bone dry ground....he said it goes quicker.

Another day and plot 1 will be ready to lime/disk. Hoping by Saturday he will start on plot 2 which has allot more stumps. In-between the farm entrance , plot 1 and plot 2 he is making road improvements as he goes.

So....we have "before pics"....will try to take some "after pics" when he's done....and "finished pics" once planted....and post some pics to show examples.

Excited to finally get the ball rolling!

Thanks for the update!

I am definitely jealous. Still waiting on our logger to finish up another job so he can start on ours. Then, just have to call to get the dozer delivered at our convenience so that work can start. I too plan to do before and after pics...love to see progress!!!

What size dozer are y’all working with?
How long would you say it has taken them to do say, 1 acre with the dozer?
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby DoubleRidge » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:21 pm

The dozer they are using is a D6 with the rippers on the back....for him a "full day" is a 10 hours.....he said he got started late today and didn't get in a full day....so when I arrived this afternoon I'd estimate he had 1½ acre of plot area stump free plus several hundred feet of farm road improved....I know that's not a straight answer to your question.....so I'll try to get a better feel what progress he's making going forward.

His estimate was 4 days minimum 5 days maximum and that's to clear all stumps from a 2 to 2½ acre plot and a 3 to 3½ acre plot.... estimate also includes making improvements to road going into farm.

We'll see how close his estimate is....but from the progress he made today I'm guessing 4 days. (weather pending)

Also I forget to mention....the 3½ acre plot has allot of very big red oak stumps which obviously effects the time it takes. Some areas will go quickly....some will take more time.
Last edited by DoubleRidge on Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby BULL MOOSE » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:22 pm

There is a podcast with dr.craig harper on Wired to hunt that is great!

https://ag.tennessee.edu/fwf/craigharpe ... fault.aspx
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby DoubleRidge » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:34 pm

BULL MOOSE wrote:There is a podcast with dr.craig harper on Wired to hunt that is great!

https://ag.tennessee.edu/fwf/craigharpe ... fault.aspx


Looks like some great information.....thanks!
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby BULL MOOSE » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:41 pm

DoubleRidge wrote:
BULL MOOSE wrote:There is a podcast with dr.craig harper on Wired to hunt that is great!

https://ag.tennessee.edu/fwf/craigharpe ... fault.aspx


Looks like some great information.....thanks!


It has been a couple of years since listening to the podcast, but a main takeaway was that you could produce more good browse and poundage with roundup/mower than you can with a food plot for less money. Of course, that was before all these roundup cancer lawsuits. :).
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby DoubleRidge » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:51 pm

BULL MOOSE wrote:
DoubleRidge wrote:
BULL MOOSE wrote:There is a podcast with dr.craig harper on Wired to hunt that is great!

https://ag.tennessee.edu/fwf/craigharpe ... fault.aspx


Looks like some great information.....thanks!


It has been a couple of years since listening to the podcast, but a main takeaway was that you could produce more good browse and poundage with roundup/mower than you can with a food plot for less money. Of course, that was before all these roundup cancer lawsuits. :).


No doubt bush hogging natural vegetation can be a cost effective way to make habitat improvements.... totally agree! Food plots can get in your pocket!

We have several "grown up" areas we plan to bush hog strips in this year....and rotating areas year to year.
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Re: Creating cover quickly - think this will work?

Postby DoubleRidge » Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:33 pm

JCDEERMAN wrote:
DoubleRidge wrote:
JCDEERMAN wrote:We have a huge project we are trying to tackle before spring as well. In addition to those 5 new select cuts, we are also clearing roughly 18-20 acres for more and larger food plots. Clear-cutting, stump removal - piling them - burn, leveling, fertilizing and liming....all before planting in the spring. A lot of work ahead!

It took me a lot of nerve to build up to burn, as well. I was pressured by a buddy that works for TWRA to burn for years and I just shrugged it off. Didn't want to do anything that dramatic and dangerous. Once I started watching videos and learning about all the benefits, I was sold. The deer and turkey will reap all the rewards, and ultimately, us hunters.

Keep us updated on your progress, DoubleRidge!


Update: Dozer was delivered yesterday and they started today. Working on road going into the property and started removing stumps in the first plot area....he's making great progress.

We've been waiting two weeks to get started and the rain just wouldn't let up...... talking with the dozer operator this afternoon and he said he likes pushing stumps out when the moisture is up some (not muddy) verses bone dry ground....he said it goes quicker.

Another day and plot 1 will be ready to lime/disk. Hoping by Saturday he will start on plot 2 which has allot more stumps. In-between the farm entrance , plot 1 and plot 2 he is making road improvements as he goes.

So....we have "before pics"....will try to take some "after pics" when he's done....and "finished pics" once planted....and post some pics to show examples.

Excited to finally get the ball rolling!

Thanks for the update!

I am definitely jealous. Still waiting on our logger to finish up another job so he can start on ours. Then, just have to call to get the dozer delivered at our convenience so that work can start. I too plan to do before and after pics...love to see progress!!!

What size dozer are y’all working with?
How long would you say it has taken them to do say, 1 acre with the dozer?


Update #2 dozer wrapped up last Wednesday....ended up being around 5 ½ to 6 acres cleared of stumps....also Improvements were made to around 600 feet of farm road....crowned road added ditches, etc.

So total dozer run time was 33 hours....wish I knew how many hours were dedicated to only stump removal but I do not.....if I were guessing I'd say 30 hours on stump removal on 5½ to 6 acres....which included back dragging and smoothing entire area.

When I get back on the property I'll post some before and after pics.....next step is getting lime truck scheduled.... progress is never fast enough....but we're getting there.
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