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Old 02-23-2021, 08:42 PM   #1
Etxnoodler
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Default Habitat management

How many do habitat management on their place or where they hunt? If so what do you do? I’m not talking about feeders or food plots. But stuff like disking, burning,Tsi, tree planting grubbing. in general not just stuff that benefits deer, but many animals. Obviously different areas of the state benefit different practices. Reading on here and other places it just seems like most hunters think that filling feeders is management and that’s as far as they go. So I’m just curious how many others do habitat management.

I’ll start.
I’m in northeast Texas. Native grass planting, burning, brush piles, timber thinning and tsi. Planting and promoting native tree/ vegetation.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:47 PM   #2
Johnny44
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On our family property in Alabama:

We set aside about 200 acres out of 1,200 as a sanctuary. Have 18 very small green patches in heavily wooded areas with shooting houses for the nasty days and old folk. Oh, some of us have slipped into the sanctuary over the years.

We tried different supplemental feed but stopped it because the deer are healthier without it.

We do have a big creek that borders the whole west side and several small streams and creeks scattered.

None of the properties and farms around us hunt for some reason.

Maybe 5 of us hunt it.

Timber management is the only thing we do other than a feeble attempt at managing beavers.

We do keep the camp area trimmed and thinned like a park.

Last edited by Johnny44; 02-23-2021 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:03 PM   #3
merlin
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get rid of some mesquite and cactus every year
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:34 PM   #4
bowhuntertx
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Default Habitat management

I probably spend more time doing habitat improvement than anything else. I really enjoy it. My main activities include hack n squirt for invasive trees or non-mast producing trees. Ive been working to get my oaks freed from the many other species filling up the canopy. I also enjoy prescribed burns, our last was in April and have another that should be going within the next few weeks.
Weve been mechanically removing cedar as well. Ive got more ERC than youd ever want.
Food plots in the spring for soil improvement, followed up with cereal grains and turnips for the fall.


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Old 02-24-2021, 08:28 AM   #5
Razrbk89
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Try to plant about 25 acres of food plots, fertilize pasture and spread clover & lezpedeza, thin timber, disc & burn on rotations.

In the last few years I’ve really noticed an impact on the turkeys and we’re holding more deer, too. Lots of rabbits and I also notice a wide variety of songbirds in the summer time. I try to focus on creating edges and creating early successional habitat. It makes a big difference & puts 100x more food on the ground for all types of wildlife than you can pouring it out of a feed sack.

Edit: forgot to mention that we’re seeing more quail, too.
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Old 02-24-2021, 08:39 AM   #6
El Paisano
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East TX. As I thin the pines I am seeding native grass and burning. Actually, the seed bank contains a lot of native seed. My place has been in timber since before the influx of exotic grasses for cattle, such as bermuda and bahia.
If you have such a place, often times getting sunlight to the ground will get them started.
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:19 PM   #7
bgleaton
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We clear cedars on our place in Menard County, TX and reseed native forbs and grasses. We try to keep some cedars but want to increase the amount of forage grown per acre while still providing escape cover. We are not grazing cattle this year to get enough grass/fuel and will do a prescribed burn next March (2022).
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:20 PM   #8
bgleaton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razrbk89 View Post
Try to plant about 25 acres of food plots, fertilize pasture and spread clover & lezpedeza, thin timber, disc & burn on rotations.

In the last few years Ive really noticed an impact on the turkeys and were holding more deer, too. Lots of rabbits and I also notice a wide variety of songbirds in the summer time. I try to focus on creating edges and creating early successional habitat. It makes a big difference & puts 100x more food on the ground for all types of wildlife than you can pouring it out of a feed sack.

Edit: forgot to mention that were seeing more quail, too.
Your place looks great! Keep up the great work.
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:23 PM   #9
Calrob
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I have 20 acres on one end of my place that is 100% untouched by humans. Its not enough but the deer pile up in it. The rest of the place we keep cactus free, we leave mesquites though. Deer seem to mostly want a safe place to bed and browse.
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:51 PM   #10
Etxnoodler
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If more people did stuff like some of the responses we would still have quail, rabbits and turkey in east Texas. Not to mention way better habitat for deer.

Glad I’m not the only one. But we seem to be very few in number.
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Old 02-24-2021, 06:19 PM   #11
RCDuck
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I'm in my 3rd year of significant Habitat work in southern Oklahoma.... like many, I started with food plots, but have learned that the rest of the habitat is more important and I now spend more time doing that than I do hunting.... and I really enjoy it (most of it). TSI, crop-tree release, edge feathering, old-field management, bermuda elimination, burning, invasive control, bedding thickets.

I'm really just starting my 2nd year of all of that, and have barely scratched the surface of what I would like to get done. For those interested in the topic, check out the Land & Legacy Podcast and website. I had them do a thorough habitat plan for my property last spring... it really helped me prioritize my work and give me a probably never-ending list of projects. The plan was not cheap, but for me I think it will be far more valuable than anything else I could have spent the money on to improve my habitat.
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Old 02-24-2021, 06:38 PM   #12
DUKFVR
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I cut cedar on our old place & my wife baited ant beds. We also seeded in some native grasses. Did bird houses & enjoyed watching them being utilized. We just got another place & looking forward to doing what I can to help the habitat. We do as much as we can ,because we like seeing the wildlife benefit.
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Old 02-24-2021, 06:48 PM   #13
tlh2865
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razrbk89 View Post
Try to plant about 25 acres of food plots, fertilize pasture and spread clover & lezpedeza, thin timber, disc & burn on rotations.

In the last few years Ive really noticed an impact on the turkeys and were holding more deer, too. Lots of rabbits and I also notice a wide variety of songbirds in the summer time. I try to focus on creating edges and creating early successional habitat. It makes a big difference & puts 100x more food on the ground for all types of wildlife than you can pouring it out of a feed sack.

Edit: forgot to mention that were seeing more quail, too.
That place is awesome! It looks like you have done some great work.

Up here we are able to do a lot of work with fruit trees: apples, pears, & persimmons are my big planting projects. We have 2 orchards planted for predominately animal use. Natural management revolves around getting light to the ground as others have said. It gives you food and cover for deer, turkey, and small game. And as far as food plots are concerned, turnips and clover are king for small plots.

Like a lot of others I find just as much enjoyment managing the land for wildlife as I do hunting them. And I can do management work all year!
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:21 PM   #14
armadillophil
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My favorite part about owning land. Spent all day today planting 200 lives stakes

Wore out. Projects for this spring include start converting 8 acre Bermuda pasture to native, hinge a 3 acre area for a staging area next to food plot and clear a 2 acre spot with forestry mulcher for a food plot.


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Old 02-24-2021, 09:17 PM   #15
toledo
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Originally Posted by armadillophil View Post
My favorite part about owning land. Spent all day today planting 200 lives stakes

Wore out. Projects for this spring include start converting 8 acre Bermuda pasture to native, hinge a 3 acre area for a staging area next to food plot and clear a 2 acre spot with forestry mulcher for a food plot.


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Tell us more about the live stakes. What species does it work with? Locations that they're going in?
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Old 02-24-2021, 09:25 PM   #16
toledo
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Im doing a lot of the same stuff. One thing Im doing, I havent seen mentioned. Rabbitats. Hope to be able to beagle hunt my property for cottontails. I use my cut cedar to build brush piles. I also try to place them as line of site blocks for deer in areas where my property is too open.

https://youtu.be/JdiX34Ksww0
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:06 PM   #17
Etxnoodler
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Originally Posted by toledo View Post
Im doing a lot of the same stuff. One thing Im doing, I havent seen mentioned. Rabbitats. Hope to be able to beagle hunt my property for cottontails. I use my cut cedar to build brush piles. I also try to place them as line of site blocks for deer in areas where my property is too open.

https://youtu.be/JdiX34Ksww0
You run rabbit dogs? A lot of my stuff also creates rabbitat. Love running beagles.

Last edited by Etxnoodler; 02-24-2021 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:13 PM   #18
ThisLadyHunts
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We have 600 acres in Central Texas. 400 acres are managed pasture land for growing livestock. We picked up another 200 adjacent acres about ten years ago; at the time it was entirely organic, had been neglected, and was overgrown with non-native, invasive species, especially Yaupon.

We have mechanically cleared three wide swaths of the non-native trees and Yaupon over-growth, leaving occasional copses of preferred trees (mostly Black Jack- or Post Oak in that area) for cover and protection of wildlife. We left a few "legacy" cedars and continue to have to beat back the Yaupon.

One of the primary goals is the re-establishment of native grasses. We first planned to re-seed but, like several of you have mentioned, once the thick overgrowth was removed and the dirt was turned, the sun took care of the rest and native grasses began to come back on their own.

Don't have pics but will be going up this weekend and will try to remember to take some.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:35 PM   #19
El Paisano
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Good quail habitat is also good rabbit and turkey habitat...and a lot of other critters. Manage for quail and the rest come as a bonus.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:58 PM   #20
Etxnoodler
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Originally Posted by El Paisano View Post
Good quail habitat is also good rabbit and turkey habitat...and a lot of other critters. Manage for quail and the rest come as a bonus.
For sure! They are a great indicator species.
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:05 AM   #21
toledo
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Originally Posted by Etxnoodler View Post
You run rabbit dogs? A lot of my stuff also creates rabbitat. Love running beagles.
Not yet but I have a good place for it. Just need to find someone with dogs.
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Old 02-25-2021, 01:40 PM   #22
bgleaton
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Another good thing is to go on Web Soil Survey and find your property. It will give you the historical plant community that lives/lived there (forbs, grasses, shrubs, trees). You can then get a good idea on the condition of your property and figure out if you have any of these preferred plants. We have a lot of live oaks, cedars, and mesquites on our property so we ended up planting around 20 or so trees from Nativ Nurseries (see link below).

https://www.nativnurseries.com
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:47 PM   #23
toledo
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Originally Posted by bgleaton View Post
Another good thing is to go on Web Soil Survey and find your property. It will give you the historical plant community that lives/lived there (forbs, grasses, shrubs, trees).
I found my property on the soil map but where is the info on vegetation?
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:54 PM   #24
Ksbowhunter
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Native grasses with forbes. Drill clover and soy beans into the grasses in spring and plant wheat / turnips in plots for winter. Free choice corn/DDG mix for Jan-March for carbs and energy.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:05 AM   #25
armadillophil
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Originally Posted by toledo View Post
Tell us more about the live stakes. What species does it work with? Locations that they're going in?
These were for a erosion control project. Most of the cuttings are willow species. You cut them while dormant and place about 2/3 of cutting in ground. It will form a tree from the cutting.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:12 AM   #26
camoclad
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"Life is on the edges" and "the axe, cow, match and plow" are two phrases I manage by.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:37 AM   #27
tdwinklr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etxnoodler View Post
How many do habitat management on their place or where they hunt? If so what do you do? Im not talking about feeders or food plots. But stuff like disking, burning,Tsi, tree planting grubbing. in general not just stuff that benefits deer, but many animals. Obviously different areas of the state benefit different practices. Reading on here and other places it just seems like most hunters think that filling feeders is management and thats as far as they go. So Im just curious how many others do habitat management.

Ill start.
Im in northeast Texas. Native grass planting, burning, brush piles, timber thinning and tsi. Planting and promoting native tree/ vegetation.

Similar to yours but EQIP program. Haven't planted the native grass yet but soon. Cleared several acres of cedars and burnt the piles but now left with black, cedar poles everywhere. This summer I will have to keep it knocked down with the disc and spray till I plant next fall/winter.
How did the native grass mix work for you? Hard to get started or did it take right off?
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Old 02-26-2021, 05:57 PM   #28
toledo
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Originally Posted by armadillophil View Post
These were for a erosion control project. Most of the cuttings are willow species. You cut them while dormant and place about 2/3 of cutting in ground. It will form a tree from the cutting.
I have some spots this would work well on. So does it matter what part of the willow you use?
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:28 PM   #29
armadillophil
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It works best with last years growth but on willows they grow pretty easy. Any spot that has a bud will turn into a root if underground. You want most of cutting underground so energy goes to root growth and not leaves on what is above ground.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:55 PM   #30
ThisLadyHunts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Paisano View Post
Good quail habitat is also good rabbit and turkey habitat...and a lot of other critters. Manage for quail and the rest come as a bonus.
Id be curious to know if anyone here has been able to successfully re-establish quail as a part of your habitat efforts?
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:19 PM   #31
Etxnoodler
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Originally Posted by tdwinklr View Post
Similar to yours but EQIP program. Haven't planted the native grass yet but soon. Cleared several acres of cedars and burnt the piles but now left with black, cedar poles everywhere. This summer I will have to keep it knocked down with the disc and spray till I plant next fall/winter.
How did the native grass mix work for you? Hard to get started or did it take right off?
If everything goes perfect you will see them the first summer. Usually it will take 2 years, 3 before they take off. They are pretty particular as far as planting depth and timing.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:21 PM   #32
Etxnoodler
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Originally Posted by ThisLadyHunts View Post
Id be curious to know if anyone here has been able to successfully re-establish quail as a part of your habitat efforts?
I doubt it, not near enough people doing habitat work on a large enough scale to be effective. It would take thousands of acres. Now if you are already close to native quail populations or low populations it would be possible.
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Old 02-27-2021, 08:45 AM   #33
SNKETR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisLadyHunts View Post
Id be curious to know if anyone here has been able to successfully re-establish quail as a part of your habitat efforts?
When i was talking with the guy that did my wildlife plan, he said he had one minimally successful attempt at it. Like noodler said, probably easier if you're already bordering a population.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:05 AM   #34
Darton
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Originally Posted by ThisLadyHunts View Post
Id be curious to know if anyone here has been able to successfully re-establish quail as a part of your habitat efforts?
I have made an order every year for 50, out of OKC, and turned them loose on my place for the last three years. Currently I am confident that I have 4 coveys maybe 5 that seem to be doing very well. My predator control, trapping, efforts were initially put into practice to bring up my fawn recruitment numbers, but I think is also aids the quail in establishing themselves. This will be my first year in not stocking to see if my numbers remain stable! The first quarter of the year usually yields 20-40 bobcats and coyotes through trapping so only time will tell if this venture will prove to be successful, but so far it appears to be working.

My place is broken up into four management areas that have been put on annual rotations for various habitat improvement practices. Currently the state forestry service is about to burn management area 2. Other TSI techniques I employ are timber crushing with my dozer, hack/squirt, and hinge cutting. Here in Oklahoma fellow TBHer Booner Sooner, turned me onto using a hatchet to pierce the cambium on the 12/3/6/9 o'clock positions instead of doing a full 360 cut with a saw when employing the girdling technique. Keep in mind this is effective because of the size of most of our trees, so it may be different in your area! It also allows you to move quicker as a one man crew. My go-to mixture for my squirt applications are as follows:

50% Garlon 3A
40% Water
10% Arsenal AC

My go-to place for herbicides is a company called Keystone Pest Solutions and they will ship it straight to your door!
https://www.keystonepestsolutions.com/

I employ these techniques to maintain a basal area of 40-50 leaving plenty of open canopy to foster new growth. Tree planting is not something I do to a great extent because of the time it takes to produce a product.

For my old field management I practice fire and use of a heavy disc to invigorate the natural seed bed to maintain the early succession needed for browse and fawning cover. Proper old field management will yield 3000-3500lbs of forage per acre while the bare under story of closed canopy woodlands will only produce 500lbs. When you take into account that a 150lb deer will eat 8k lbs of food a year it is easy to see how employing habitat management techniques to your place will increase your carrying capacity

Great thread! Nothing like working your own place

Last edited by Darton; 02-27-2021 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:27 AM   #35
ThisLadyHunts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darton View Post
I have made an order every year for 50, out of OKC, and turned them loose on my place for the last three years. Currently I am confident that I have 4 coveys maybe 5 that seem to be doing very well. My predator control, trapping, efforts were initially put into practice to bring up my fawn recruitment numbers, but I think is also aids the quail in establishing themselves. This will be my first year in not stocking to see if my numbers remain stable! The first quarter of the year usually yields 20-40 bobcats and coyotes through trapping so only time will tell if this venture will prove to be successful, but so far it appears to be working.

My place is broken up into four management areas that have been put on annual rotations for various habitat improvement practices. Currently the state forestry service is about to burn management area 2. Other TSI techniques I employ are timber crushing with my dozer, hack/squirt, and hinge cutting. Here in Oklahoma fellow TBHer Booner Sooner, turned me onto using a hatchet to pierce the cambium on the 12/3/6/9 o'clock positions instead of doing a full 360 cut with a saw when employing the girdling technique. Keep in mind this is effective because of the size of most of our trees, so it may be different in your area! It also allows you to move quicker as a one man crew. My go-to mixture for my squirt applications are as follows:

50% Garlon 3A
40% Water
10% Arsenal AC

My go-to place for herbicides is a company called Keystone Pest Solutions and they will ship it straight to your door!
https://www.keystonepestsolutions.com/

I employ these techniques to maintain a basal area of 40-50 leaving plenty of open canopy to foster new growth. Tree planting is not something I do to a great extent because of the time it takes to produce a product.

For my old field management I practice fire and use of a heavy disc to invigorate the natural seed bed to maintain the early succession needed for browse and fawning cover. Proper old field management will yield 3000-3500lbs of forage per acre while the bare under story of closed canopy woodlands will only produce 500lbs. When you take into account that a 150lb deer will eat 8k lbs of food a year it is easy to see how employing habitat management techniques to your place will increase your carrying capacity

Great thread! Nothing like working your own place

Wow! Thanks for the detailed information! Youve practically handed me a primer on habitat improvement.

We tried the reintroduction of quail on our place, but only once. We purchased either 25 or 50 pair from someone out of San Saba who raises game birds for stocking local hunting preserves. However, due to their lack of instinct development, we knew it would be a crap shoot as to whether or not they survived. Most all of them became fodder for predators within 24 hours. Merde!

Weve considered trying it again but werent sure if wed be throwing good money after bad, and then, as it usually goes in life, we became overtaken by events...yada, yada.

Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed response. If you ever find yourself in Central Texas, Id love to show you our place.
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Old 02-27-2021, 06:53 PM   #36
Darton
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Originally Posted by ThisLadyHunts View Post
Wow! Thanks for the detailed information! Youve practically handed me a primer on habitat improvement.

We tried the reintroduction of quail on our place, but only once. We purchased either 25 or 50 pair from someone out of San Saba who raises game birds for stocking local hunting preserves. However, due to their lack of instinct development, we knew it would be a crap shoot as to whether or not they survived. Most all of them became fodder for predators within 24 hours. Merde!

Weve considered trying it again but werent sure if wed be throwing good money after bad, and then, as it usually goes in life, we became overtaken by events...yada, yada.

Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed response. If you ever find yourself in Central Texas, Id love to show you our place.
Absolutely, I have enjoyed reading everyone's experiences and how they apply certain aspects of habitat management to their own places! Will definitely take you up on that offer if I ever find myself down that way! Love riding different places and seeing different techniques in action

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Originally Posted by Calrob View Post
I have 20 acres on one end of my place that is 100% untouched by humans. Its not enough but the deer pile up in it. The rest of the place we keep cactus free, we leave mesquites though. Deer seem to mostly want a safe place to bed and browse.
I am in total agreement with you on this! I have 90 acres in the middle of my place that I use as a sanctuary. Hunting the perimeter and performing TSI projects within have proven it is worth its weight in gold to me
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:24 PM   #37
Etxnoodler
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Originally Posted by ThisLadyHunts View Post
Wow! Thanks for the detailed information! Youve practically handed me a primer on habitat improvement.

We tried the reintroduction of quail on our place, but only once. We purchased either 25 or 50 pair from someone out of San Saba who raises game birds for stocking local hunting preserves. However, due to their lack of instinct development, we knew it would be a crap shoot as to whether or not they survived. Most all of them became fodder for predators within 24 hours. Merde!

Weve considered trying it again but werent sure if wed be throwing good money after bad, and then, as it usually goes in life, we became overtaken by events...yada, yada.

Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed response. If you ever find yourself in Central Texas, Id love to show you our place.
Turning out tame quail for restocking purposes is proven not to work. As you said, their survival instincts arent up to par. And the very few that do survive dont successfully reproduce.
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Old 03-21-2021, 08:11 PM   #38
armadillophil
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Hired a skid steer with a tree saw to clear about 3 acres. Making a 1 acre plot and rest will burn next couple years for native grass/ forb




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Old 03-21-2021, 09:09 PM   #39
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Hired a skid steer with a tree saw to clear about 3 acres. Making a 1 acre plot and rest will burn next couple years for native grass/ forb


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Looks great Phil! Is the lone big tree in picture 2 the proposed ambush site
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Old 03-22-2021, 08:23 AM   #40
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Looks great Phil! Is the lone big tree in picture 2 the proposed ambush site
I wish that tree was on the SE corner of the field!
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