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#3049942 - 11/26/12 03:23 PM Browse Line Definition??
Hunter 257W
10 Point


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3522
Loc: Franklin County

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I hunt on my farm of 235 acres - consisting of about 65 acres of continuous woods, 10 acres of "overgrown field" with new oaks and fruit trees(planted 2yrs ago), various fence rows, sinkholes etc. while the rest is pastures and row crop fields. It is surrounded by similar farm land. Point is that there is an abundance of Summer feed for the deer with the row crops(beans or corn) but as soon as the combines leave the fields in the Fall it all changes drastically. I plant about 10 acres of food plots - about half of which stay green through the Winter trying to keep the deer fed year round.

My concern is that in my woods you can stand anywhere and see evidence of deer browsing. The tip of every greenbriar, bush, every young tender plant has been nipped off by a deer. I don't think it's a browseline as I've heard it described before where you can actually see it across the woods as a void of all greenery below a certain point but I'm afraid I'm getting close to that. I'd like to practice QDM as a whole as much as possible but at the same time, I don't want to excessively shoot does if it's not warranted because I like seeing deer when I hunt! And I'm still not to the point where does are seen everytime I hunt.

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#3050045 - 11/26/12 04:06 PM Re: Browse Line Definition?? [Re: Hunter 257W]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65979
Loc: Nashville, TN

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A property's biological carry capacity (maximum number of deer the area can biologically support [feed]) is not based on summer food sources, but is based on the food sources available during the lowest food resource time of year, which in much of TN is late winter. That is the question: how much of the best food resources are left at the end of winter? How much of secondary food sources are left at the end of winter? From your description, I would suspect your food plots are the highest quality foods available in late winter. Are your food plots eaten to the ground by late February?
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3050643 - 11/26/12 08:59 PM Re: Browse Line Definition?? [Re: BSK]
Hunter 257W
10 Point


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3522
Loc: Franklin County

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No, my food plots so far have come out of Winter looking pretty good. The 4 acres of Whitetail Institute Alfa Rack especially has stayed green and 4 to 6 inches tall all Winter the previous 2 years. I guess that does indicate the deer aren't going hungry.

I have another plot of Imperial Clover that gets chewed down pretty good by Spring but there is still good grazing left.

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#3050933 - 11/27/12 05:45 AM Re: Browse Line Definition?? [Re: Hunter 257W]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65979
Loc: Nashville, TN

Offline
If your food plots are still productive in late February, I wouldn't worry about it. The browse pressure you see on virtually everything in the woods is normal. Even when agricultural food sources exist, more than 50% of a deer's diet will still be natural browse. And as deer wander through an area, they take little nibbles of just about everything they walk past.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3051473 - 11/27/12 11:58 AM Re: Browse Line Definition?? [Re: BSK]
Hunter 257W
10 Point


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3522
Loc: Franklin County

Offline
OK, guess I should still go easy on the does and try to get more total deer. Thanks.
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#3064678 - 12/05/12 12:38 PM Re: Browse Line Definition?? [Re: Hunter 257W]
String Music
8 Point


Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 1731
Loc: Knoxville

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You may want to put out some utilization cages in your annual plots next year to better guage the browse pressure.

Also, look at the plants the deer are browsing on. It's normal for higher quality browse to get hit hard by deer. For example, we have a relatively low deer population, but you can't find a single honeysuckle bush that has not been heavily browsed on. I would only begin to worry if deer are browsing heavily on lower-quality browse like cedar.
_________________________
"For I know the plans I have for you..." Jer. 29:11


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#3064714 - 12/05/12 01:09 PM Re: Browse Line Definition?? [Re: String Music]
Hunter 257W
10 Point


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3522
Loc: Franklin County

Offline
I have a lot of honeysuckle around the border of most of the farm that stays thick year round. My more secluded Winter plots don't need cages so far - they stay so tall that it's obvious there is nowhere near enough deer to eat them down.

It's just my woods that make me nervous. One thing that I know I need to do is some logging because the woods are too mature without much undergrowth. They have lots of white oaks but not that much else. Those same woods 25 years ago were totally different. There was one briar thicket that humans could NOT enter regardless of what you might want to do. Now it't hard to even tell exactly where that spot was because the mature trees have shaded the briars out.


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