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sticknstring

Creating bedding cover

23 posts in this topic

I've been interested in doing this for awhile but lack of know-how and I question its effectiveness being a small woodlot. Does anyone have any experience in establishing thick bedding cover for whitetails on their property?

The property in question is a 40 acre woodlot bordered by ag fields on two sides, park land on one side, and small plotted residences on the other. It's old timber taken over with buckthorn. There's a small swamp with cattails that provides bedding cover at times but nothing that really holds deer a majority of the season. Every December, the deer vacate the property to yard for the winter. My goal isn't to keep the deer around year-round but rather provide a sanctuary on the property to help keep them around during the season rather than having them make their "rounds" every few days. I've got a few food plots that help but it's not enough. I'd rather stay away from the controlled burns and keep it budget friendly if possible.

Any suggestions?

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I just got done reading an article on planting bedding cover at my Grandma's yesterday. Problem is, I can't remember what they planted and I can't remember the name of the magazine. It may have been an old edition of field and stream. I won't be over there for awhile. Sorry I couldn't give you more detailed info. I do remember it saying it takes about 2 years to fully develop.

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Sounds alot like what I have been working on for a few years now. Hinge cutting, and brushpiles are what you may be looking for. It sounds like you have trees, figure out which ones not to touch (oaks), which ones to remove (buckthorn), and which ones you want to hinge cut. Use the direction you bend the tree while hinge cutting, and the placement of your brushpiles to help direct the travel of your deer near your stands.

If you do need to plant bedding cover evergreens, shrubs, or spreading crabapples are some options.

Good Luck!

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we hunt an 80 that has about 3 acre of long grass which I thought would be great bedding areas. Hunted the property for 10 years now and have never seen a bed in it. They bed in the thick brush. Northern Mn

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You MUST eradicate the buckthorn first and foremost.

Getting rid of that will allow other species to have a chance to grow.

I have seen some wood lots where its a canopy of buckthorn.

Cut all that stuff and apply Cleanout to the stump(a chemical you get at Fleet Farm). It'll kill it good and dead.

You also want to look for Box Elder. That stuff is like weeds when it gets going.

All this stuff outcompetes natives, and doesnt add anything for wildlife.

I have not done any hinge cuttings, but I have read a lot of stuff on the QDMA forums about it, and the big time wildlife managers around the country push it pretty hard as a very viable option for creating cover.

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Have it logged out. Not stripped of everything of course.

We had our property logged and the loggers left all of the tree tops which I find beds around all time. Removing some canopy will create new growth.

We have a bunch of willows in our river bottom property. It is awesome cover but at times I have to trim it to keep it in check.

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I had asked my forester buddy about buckthorn and he told me that you must treat it for I think three years or else it will come back. just a thought

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Quote:
I have seen some wood lots where its a canopy of buckthorn.

Precisely what this is. Some of the stuff is approaching 4". It would take years to get rid of it all. My old roommate in college worked in wildlife restoration and told me you'd have to cut every one down and put the chemical on the stump - very long process. If it weren't for buckthorn there'd be asbsolutley zero cover in the woods. That stuff stays green into December - the leaves are just starting to wilt now. There's nothing in there worth timbering either, mainly mature burr oaks. We had property up north logged off 3 years ago and it was a deer haven the first 2 years. They definitely hit the tops hard. Chainsaws are dinner bells to whitetails.

Rather than do the whole woods, my focus would be to work on a few different smaller patches and turn them into bedding cover. Get rid of the buckthorn and plant something else. Or hinge the buckthorn? Anyone know of a good resource to learn more about hinging?

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i have also put alot of thought into this but just dont know were to start. hopefully we can get more ideas.

why dont we have a special forum just for food plots? this would make it a lot easier to look back at all the food plot and land ideas

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We can't even get an archery/bowhunting forum by itself... let alone one devoted to land restoration and wildlife food plots! But I agree, I'd like to see one. I know of a few members that can share a plethora of info on the subject.

Hopefully others can chime in and give us some more ideas on the subject. I don't mind putting in the time, I just need to figure out what to do.

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hey stick- what you got on your avatar there? is that a button buck?? long nose 2.5 yo button buck? lol

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S n S,

You can make major dents in buckthorn much faster than you think.

Get 2 people. One cutting and one treating.

You can make big time progress!

Slab,

Thats not true. You cut any tree off, and treat the stump with proper chemicals, and its toast. Period.

There is nothing needed beyond that.

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I think one of the major problems with buckthorn is the god awful amount of seeds that it produces. And when you cut a thick patch and open the forest floor to some much needed sunlight, boom, you get a fast regrowth of sprouting seeds.

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That is a problem. But the young trees are a breeze to yank out of the ground by hand too.

We have made a tremendous impact on the invasives.

It is surprising in some areas how much pops up each year. But its nothing compared to what we had before we did the removal.

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If you have some mature popple trees (bigtooth aspen) on the property, you can create thick cover by logging those out. When a popple tree is cut down, the roots will sprout upward and create a thick stand of new trees.

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Like I said, there is no aspen. Clear-cutting is not an option. I'll make a stand this winter. What's the name of the chemical you treat it with and where might a guy find some?

Once the canopy is lifted, what can a guy plant that'll create a thicket-tangled mess? Willows, evergreens? I'm also looking for late-season food plot ideas. I'll start a new post for that.

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Chemical to use for treating buckthorn and box elder removal is called Cleanout. Its at Fleet Farm.

There are others available, but the Forester we worked with recommended it. Reasonably priced compared to other options, and does the job just fine.

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Make a "wand of death" by puttingtaping a sponge in the end of a pvc pipe. Fill the pipe with chemical and you don't have to worry about overspray or using an unwanted amout of chemical in places you don't intend. You don't have to buy an expensive sprayer nor bend at ground level all day. Hans

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We took a broom handle and cut it off about 3 ft or so.

Took a sponge chunk, and a part of a towel and wrapped it on the end of the handle.

Just dunk the sponge/towel in a bucket of the mix and does the same thing. not quite as sophisticated, but works.

Lots less waste, as compared to spraying for sure.

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stickandstring,

Do as everyone is saying and get rid of the buckthorn. Also call the local NRCS office. They may be able to help you with cost sharing and planting new cover trees and provide technical advice. We had the DNR do a forest management plan for us and the DNR and NRCS has cost shared with us to plant 5000 seedlings on our hunting property. It is a lot of work, but seeing the improvement of habitat quality from an old pasture is priceless. We did not have any buckthorn (thank god) but I have been using a similar approach on the ironwood to improve the understory on our oak ridges.

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Great ideas. One question: Can the chemical be applied in the dead of winter? I wouldn't think the temperature would slow down the absorption on the stumps too bad.

Ironwoods are pretty gnarly... I'd have a difficult time cutting them down. smile

camdu - What seedlings you did guys focus with on the oak flats? Or even the pasture for that matter - this woodlot was pasture I'm sure 100 years ago. Still half-burried machinery and remnant barbed wire laying around.

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