This Tioga County, PA landowner has over 120 acres, and farms 25 of it yearly into corn and food plots strictly for wildlife. While food plots are a great addition to any hunting property, they are only one component in managing for deer habitat. The rest of this acreage was a desert of pole sized timber. There was little to no low or mid story, no real cover, and no native browse. Working with industry partner 150 Whitetails, some timber stand improvement cuts were implemented, and 8 acres of warm season grasses were established in a way that ties key habitat components together. These tall, native grasses offer great cover for deer, ground nesting birds, upland birds, small game and more. The wooded edges were heavily thinned to create additional thickets and young forest transition zone. As the grass matures, prescribed fire will be used on regular intervals improve the health of the grasses and control competing weeds.
Yield hundreds of pounds of browse per acre
Exceptional cover for does with fawns
Can be used as screens for hunter movement
Are areas deer move too when hunting pressure elevates
The next crop of trees better than what was removed
These are just a couple of projects we've handled, but there are countless ways to improve the habitat on your property. From opening up the canopy and improving crown health in your oak trees, to clearing for cabin sites, food plots, warm season grasses etc, BTM has the tools and experience to help you achieve your goals. If you are ready to get a jump on your neighbors, and create that oasis the big bruisers congregate too when the pressure increases contact BTM today!
This next series is a couple before and after photos of a clear cut performed on a property in north central PA in Jan-Feb of 2011, and the after photos were taken in Feb of 2015. If you notice in the before pictures this stand does not offer much for habitat value. While a conifer component is great to have, these spindly white pine in this reverting pasture area just weren't cutting it as good winter cover. There were some hardwood saplings already established, and enough aspen to feel confident this area would grow back in to a decent thicket.
To say this area has come back would be an understatement. The aspen averages 8-10 ft tall, there is a healthy stocking of brambles and other native deer foods on the ground, and the seed bank planted by the squirrels has emerged as a pile of little white oak seedlings. Now this landowner has a thicket tucked in behind an area of food plots, and this little 5 acre patch of low quality timber generated enough income to invest back in to other projects on this hunting property. This series of photos illustrates perfectly the fact that even small areas of unproductive woodlot can be managed in ways to benefit your hunting property!
It's a simple but often overlooked fact: Woodlot management and effective forestry are critical components in managing and improving wildlife habitat. While often viewed as separate entities, better habitat cannot be had without understanding the forest dynamics, and the role diversified forests play in the overall landscape.
At Berndtson Timber Management, our goal is to help you make informed decisions regarding habitat management, and create a plan specific to your property and future objectives. Much of the habitat work handled by B.T.M. is geared toward recreation and hunting opportunities, but woodlot diversity benefits more than just game species.
Below are a few snapshots of different projects B.T.M. has handled for our clients, with brief descriptions of what the goal was and the outcomes. Again, most are related to whitetail deer habitat, but provide food and cover for many other species as well.
Here are some after photos of the project above. In places the Swtichgrass and Bluestem are better than 4 feet tall at 3 years old. Warm season grasses take a bit of time to get established, but these are in good shape. If conditions are right next spring these areas will be burned off. Grasses will come back with a restored vigor after the fire, and weeds should be all but eliminated.