- Jul 15, 2005
The areas that I only bushhog once a year, my main objective was to increase cover. They are close to foodplots, so I was trying to give them various habitats. Thanks for the info!Boom, easy fix.
I think we hunt pretty close to one another, so I bet your land is similar to mine.
Change your bushhogging rotation from May to late July to early August. Doing so will give you about 12 inches of new palatable growth (assuming it's buckbrush and blackberry briers if like my farms) by deer season, whereas bushhogging in May nets you nothing but cover, but no food. Plus the 12 inches of new growth has hardened by Jan/Feb and the deer can still utilize it for food. Simple and easy way to increase late season food, with no extra expense or time.
IF you have the time and are willing to spend a little more in diesel.... the very best option would be to bushhog the entire fields in May, then come back and bushog another 1/3 in strips in late July, then bushhog another 1/3 in strips lat August.... the third bushhogged in August will be extremely palatable come November and will be a primary drought resistant food source as the new growth is young and tender. The problem is... its also very susceptible to freeze kill since it's young and tender.... BUT, you have the third bushhogged in late July which (although not as palatable) is much cold hardy and deer can browse on all winter long. The third bushhogged in May remains as good cover (both thermal on sunny days as well as security cover).
But don't feel bad your deer are leaving in January to head to crop residue.... that just means other folks are feeding your deer for a good part of the year at no expense to you!