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Old 11-28-2017, 04:47 PM   #1
Casey
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Default Cedar Removal and the Impact to Deer Herds

What is the prevailing wisdom on the effects of cedar removal from property with regards to whitetail numbers, management and quality?

Discuss.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:52 PM   #2
Red_RaiderHTC
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It will remove bedding cover but significantly improves available forage... you will notice a change in travel path.
Also depends what you plant or what grows back in place of the cedar?
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:54 PM   #3
bobc
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Also, if you have a tank, etc. that is spring-fed, removal of the cedars will help the spring.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:55 PM   #4
Puncher51
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There’s a million factors involved. Our property is in Mason County, has rolling hills and draws, and about 10 other shrub and trees. We cut as many cedars as possible and have removed around 350 Acres so far which is about 1/3 of the ranch. We also use rotational grazing and prescribed fire, therefore we have great grass cover. We have not seen any decrease in deer numbers and surveys are actually showing that we have more deer now than before. We now have more food available for deer and livestock because of the removal of juniper. If it were up to me I’d remove every one on the property, but that isn’t feasible. We will continue to leave those thickets in the roughest rockiest terrain.
That being said, if you have a flat property without much other woody species you can really decrease deer numbers by removing too much juniper. So keep that in mind.
If you have any questions I’ll do my best to answer them.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:57 PM   #5
Big Mike M
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Good friends family owns the West Kerr Ranch. They remove as much cedar as they can yearly on the 10k acre ranch. Every year they kill about 100 bucks and 100 does along with numerous exotics. I donít think it changes the quality of the game but it will definitely open up more browse and grassy areas for them to feed on. Google the Ranch and you will find a lot of information about how they manage the land.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:59 PM   #6
Perkins7581
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I wouldn’t do I*t* the last place i hunted was covered in deer. Could find beds in tall grass next to Ceder’s all over that place. If I*t* came to clearing i would do very little and let grass grow up 4 foot tall.
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:23 PM   #7
bgleaton
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We have a ranch in Menard County and have a lot of cedars. We can't afford to clear every cedar but we like to clear strips of cedars around 20ft wide by 100 yards long every year to help improve the habitat. We only do these strip clearings on flat ground. We leave the cedars on the rocky hill sides. It's amazing to see all the forbs and grass growing in these areas in just one year.
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:40 PM   #8
2coolforschool
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If it’s the dominant cover species on the place, you don’t want to clear it all out, but you’ll certainly want to thin it out to improve habitat/allow more valuable forage to take its place. Deer should improve with better/more forage available.
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:47 PM   #9
BrandonA
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Cedars are considered invasive. Clear and replant with more beneficial hardwoods
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:52 PM   #10
texashunter56
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I would look at what other species of trees or shrubs are on the place first. If I were removing cedars I would do pockets here and there in the better soils. I would cut cedars or use a shear and leave the lay on the ground where the fall or in small open piles to allow new plants a place to grow. Birds will set on them and "plant" new seeds for you giving the seedlings a place to grow without browsing pressure.
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:54 PM   #11
WBT
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I spoke to a TPWD biologist about this a couple years ago. His recommendation was to leave all of the large, mature cedar trees with peeling bark. Apparently threatened black capped vireos and golden cheeked warblers like to use the bark in their nests. He said to selectively keep the 6-12' tall cedars I like and get rid of anything under 6' tall.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:17 PM   #12
Mastro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WBT View Post
I spoke to a TPWD biologist about this a couple years ago. His recommendation was to leave all of the large, mature cedar trees with peeling bark. Apparently threatened black capped vireos and golden cheeked warblers like to use the bark in their nests. He said to selectively keep the 6-12' tall cedars I like and get rid of anything under 6' tall.

I received similar advice last spring from a USDA NRCS rep that evaluated our place. He said old growth cedars should not be removed. They are native and healthy for the ecosystem.
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Old 11-28-2017, 09:17 PM   #13
Patton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puncher51 View Post
There’s a million factors involved. Our property is in Mason County, has rolling hills and draws, and about 10 other shrub and trees. We cut as many cedars as possible and have removed around 350 Acres so far which is about 1/3 of the ranch. We also use rotational grazing and prescribed fire, therefore we have great grass cover. We have not seen any decrease in deer numbers and surveys are actually showing that we have more deer now than before. We now have more food available for deer and livestock because of the removal of juniper. If it were up to me I’d remove every one on the property, but that isn’t feasible. We will continue to leave those thickets in the roughest rockiest terrain.
That being said, if you have a flat property without much other woody species you can really decrease deer numbers by removing too much juniper. So keep that in mind.
If you have any questions I’ll do my best to answer them.
Well put per usual in regards to this topic. We do the same as you described as well as leaving select larger cedar trees. It’s a slow and steady process but rewarding and gets easier with time, particularly the burns.
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:12 PM   #14
JeffJ
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Got the county Gubment coming out next Friday to look at some cost sharing options. Hoping they will give us some monetary help we plan to attack all the "bad" stuff on our creeks and flatter areas. With or without them we are always working on the cedars. My theory is areas that wont grow grass or increase water on the property will probably not have the cedar cut off it. Only caveat to that is around oaks. All cedars get cleared from under and about 1 1/2 times the diameter of the oak canopy. Even the large mature oaks explode with growth after doing this.

In a nutshell our cedar cutting program is:

- Everything within 20' of a road or fence.
- Everything under and around oaks.
- Everything near creeks and areas that feed the creeks.
- Anywhere that we can grow grass.
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