How Would You Improve This Habitat?
Habitat Improvement
Messages posted to thread:
MilkweedManiac 28-Nov-18
WV Mountaineer 28-Nov-18
MilkweedManiac 28-Nov-18
WV Mountaineer 28-Nov-18
MilkweedManiac 28-Nov-18
drycreek 28-Nov-18
WV Mountaineer 29-Nov-18
1boonr 29-Nov-18


MilkweedManiac's MOBILE embedded Photo

This is my third topic started...sorry if I'm a little overanxious to get some advice! :)

I've been hunting this new farm all fall and my mind is exploding with thoughts and ideas.

The picture above shows an issue that is very common on this parcel. You see a North-facing slope with very scraggly, low value timber that let's the deer see you from a mile away.

I'm trying to figure out how to create cover on this slope that will allow me to access the area without being seen. Even planting Egyptian Wheat in the low area would not cover me from where the deer bed (military crest, upper 1/3 of hill).

Should I hinge cut these hills? Will sun cause more growth or will it take a long time since it is a N slope?

Would love to make it thick and nasty and am not afraid to cut some trees. The sycamores definitely look like they need to go in my opinion.

Thanks for your thoughts and approach!


North slope contains the most nutrients unless it is water leached. So, if you are having soil nutrient problems there and not on other slope aspects, there are only a couple reasons why this could be.

The reason it’s open in the understory is over browsing by the deer once crown canopy closure was achieved. The stem count per acre is high. Crown closure ovurred 4-5 years ago. And lack of light and over browsing have it wide open.

So, it isn’t a soil problem. Cut some timber. It’s a young stand that needs thinned anyway. It will benefit everything.

Sunlight is your friend. I’d look at 40% residual stand and cut the rest. You’ll achieve your objective. Pick trees to be left wisely. Good form, good for wildlife, good for stands etc...


Thank you so much WV Mountaineer!

I had no idea N slope carried most nutrients.

I know absolutely nothing about cutting timber for wildlife.

Would you care to elaborate on the kinds of trees you would leave?

Yes, oaks are staying and a couple of deer stand trees based on wind directions...but any other thoughts would be appreciated on the subject.

Hinge cut or clear cut?

Should I let nature take it's course after or try to plant shrubs/bushes to make it thick?


Release your oak trees. Mature oaks need 30% canopy room in relation to total height. If your stand is composed of a lot of oak, only release co-dominant or dominant trees in the canopy. Favor your hard mast trees whether they be beech or oak. If you have soft mast producing trees, they get second preference unless they are persimmon or honey locust. Deer love them so they deserve top priority if the are present. Black Gum, maple, ash, etc... are the ore common soft mast you deal with an a forest though

Plan on cutting 5-6 out of every ten trees. They aren't likely to be distributed evenly throughout the stand. So, understand many of your choices of trees to be left will require a compromise. So, set an over all goal species composition in the residual stand and look at every acre as an individual to reach that goal.

Deer love many soft mast species that reside in the under story as well. I don't know what to tell you that might be in your region. But, your local state wildlife biologists and/or forester could. Give them a call. If you have any, spare those species the felled trees and damage when possible.

As far as planting, I'd stay away from that in the under story. Simply because it cannot compete in a deciduous forest against natural regeneration. However, to further increase your feed portion of management, look at planting chestnuts and apple trees through out your food plots. Just mow around them.

As far as cutting technique, just cut the trees down. Best way I know to kill you and turn that hillside into a disaster is to go half cutting trees every direction in the name of creating cover. Cut them, get sunlight to the forest floor, develop a better feed and cover situation, and enjoy is my advice. And completely cutting them is the best way to do that from the looks of that stand. Stem count is to low, and the trees to big for hinge cutting to be practical or as effective.

It is really impossible to tell you exactly what to do without seeing it first hand. But, this is a pretty good guideline. The only other advice I will give you is be mindful of cost sharing programs. Your state may offer some that are right up your alley. But, they require compliance to their plan and that may have long term consequences that don't align best with your goals. Tread carefully.


Thank you very much! That gives me a great place to start! I don't have a ton of oaks on the property, so I will definitely need to release as many as I find.

I will be planting hybrid oaks, chestnuts, apples, and other food for the deer throughout the property. My dad even has a few stray young persimmons he told me I could relocate, so that's going to be cool.

I just didn't know what I could do with those wide open hillsides and you gave me some great advice.


WV’s advice sounds spot on to me. I thinned my place two years ago selling all pine over 12” diameter and all gum and elm. The whole place has grown up quite thickly since. On my other place I had about 20 acres of mostly tall skinny trees of all types. I chose to clear cut 12 acres of it and plant pine trees back. It’s wet natured so it didn’t take long to become a jungle. It has made an excellent bedding area. Good luck


Forget digging up established persimmon and using them. They will never survive unless they are in the first year or so of sprouting from a seed. Then only if you dig far enough away from them. Which is too far on anything a couple years old to be practical. Use nursery trees or trees you successfully started from seeds or forest regens.

Not trying to be the authority. Just trying to maximize your efforts and dollars spent. You start slinging that saw cutting those trees and you’ll be very appreciative of that.

Good luck and God Bless

By: 1boonr

Buy the surrounding 1000 acres and make it a sanctuary

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