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Author Topic: DSI  (Read 6723 times)

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Offline mike_belben

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DSI
« on: February 17, 2018, 11:41:04 PM »
The Deer Stand Improvement thread.  I encourage you to hijack it into your own info/image dump and show what youve done or want to do.

I started almost 2 years ago.  Ive only got about 4 forested acres to play with but there are several thousand unfenced acres of timber around it. The hunting could be great.  Poaching and coyote predation of fawns are the biggest issues, sanctuaries are needed to counter them.  Im trying to make my patch provide as much cover and browse as possible for fawning season.

On the timber side of it, the goal is to reestablish the dominance of oaks and hickories in the top canopy, make up openings for the best seed trees remaining to regenerate, and handicap the shade tolerant rubbish until new hardwoods regain an advantage.  I have no forestry credentials, just my own research, experiments and observation.  If i can fix this mess, so can you.

 The whole "neighborhood" was one timber tract with the typical case of sequential highgradings, subdividing and new landowner non-management that really defines my region as a whole.  Compounding the issue was a severe ice storm about 5 years ago that snapped off maybe 20-30% of the tops, pinning down sapplings into arches that vined in. 

Some random before shots.  This is what local realtors call "some timber."














county extension forestor said cull 70% of it.  I think he was being kind!


I started with this patch shown below, lets call it 'Clearing 1.'  I am standing on dozer roof looking south on the main skid trail which will one day be a driveway to my final home. The seed trees shown are about 11-13" dbh white oak.  Not perfect form but best i had. 





Panning to the right in place, is a clearing i made for an eventual foodplot.   just natural regen so far but it works. This section was almost entirely red maple sapplings, any oak was a waist high bushy runt starving for light so they all went. Limbs come out for firewood, brush tips get piled for critter housing.  I find that the squirrels will plant seed for you and the brush keeps deer off them when they do finally pop out.  They dont like the loose noisy footing very much.






This is the same clearing a few months later in spring 2017, looking north across it now instead of south.   The antler shaped trees above are actually one of my hunting stands, its a very sloped tree with a limb staircase and railings up the back..  Left side sourwood right side gum.  Its a great illustration of how both species will serpent all over for any patch of light. 





This is the stump regen in the clearing that brings the does in.  Shows that sourwood and red maple are very prolific coppice sprouters with a fast growth rate.  Today those are pushing 10 to 12 feet.  Straight up.  I am using the clumps for sidelight shades so that my hardwood sprouts must go straight up to compete.  The deer also love the visual wall it provides while they munch.




Its a little hard to tell here but this black gum coppice patch was mowed down to hard stems from 3ft tall. It appears to be a favorite flavor, ill be keeping tabs this year.  Havent seen them browse on the sassafras at all.

 


This is an image of a transition zone from feeding area to bedding thicket taken from the antler stand looking north.  Ive hinge cut the worthless sun hogs so that theyll live on the ground and provide cover and browse.  It gets much thicker a little further in and ive created one guardrailed trail around my stand  from here to the clearing with great shooting lanes.  That spot pictured has water flowing under ground, with drinking holes throughout.  In winter it floods.





Closer look at the white oaks to the right of the antler stand.  Someday.





This is my main skid trail and future driveway.  Image is also from spring 2017 after dragging logs a few months prior during a very rainy winter.  Its why i advocate dozer skidding if one can tolerate it.  Much easier on our very thin topsoil.  Summer logging is horrible with ticks, snakes and heat, but winter is all rain without much freeze if any.  A skidder will wreck a place fast under those conditions. My machine has 24" pads and weighs 16k or so.  Its like 4psi or something crazy low.  That jap paddy pusher sinks less than my foot in mud.  Compaction round here is already bad enough with all the sharp sand mixed into our clay.





More recently i cut the area back further.  I had left some cull trees standing to reduce windthrow on the keepers until they acclimated. 



Id found that bigger openings with a long photoperiod really hatched the hickory and oak much faster and straighter in single leader format vs the spots i thinned more mercifully.  The shady thinnings seem to favor the shade tolerant species so ive been cutting with a heavy hand where shade intolerant is what i need to promote.  Lots of straight hickory stems coming up.  Stave hickory is bringing 850/mbf here.







Thats all for now. I hope these images can raise some awareness and encourage a few others to grab a saw and go fertilize even a little patch of their own woods.  The response is pretty quick and results are fulfilling. Its a fun way to make sure the grandkids arent allergic to dirt or meat.  Ill try to get phase 2 pics up fairly soon.
Revelation 3:20

Offline Ianab

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Re: DSI
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 04:16:56 AM »
While our forests are very different, I can see what you are trying to achieve, and long term it should pay off well. The "leave" trees are the ones that should produce some useful sawlogs, some time in the future, without the competition from the "junk".

Left alone it would probably take a couple of generations of trees (centuries?) for things to settle back into some "old growth" scenario.

With a bit of management you can speed up that process  :)
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Offline Skeans1

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Re: DSI
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 08:17:49 AM »
Mike roughly how many sides of the canopy are open? What kind of spacing are you shooting for?

Offline mike_belben

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Re: DSI
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 09:18:48 AM »
Skeans, I dont have a fixed recipe.  Most of the woods had a closed canopy of mature hardwoods, some with not one sawlog in the whole tree. Other patches had a previous clearing bush in and then turn into archy tangles. The black cherry is particularly bad when mixed with SM and Sourwood. Not one straight cherry yet but i think i can eventually recover them.   

Anyway whole place all kinda differs from one patch to the next and im treating it in different ways for the education of it all.  I cant add trees, i can only subtract them to reveal what good specimen may be buried in shade.  Where there is no good hardwood specimen there is bound to be a pile of my 4 problem children.. Sourwood, red maple, gums (mostly black) and sassafras. So what i do is kinda clearcut that box to let all sprouts pop even aged, then hinge cut a wall around it.  This makes a feeding room.  The experiment is, if i bring in a bunch of deer, what do they eat the most at a sappling buffet?  And which hardwood sprout do they bother?  If they always mow down the gum and sometimes bug say scarlet oak, then i will know to lop off every gum for max sprouts, and brush fence any scarlet oak.   The idea is how to do best TSI and best DSI at the same time with only a saw.  No fence, no chemicals, no feed.  Just sun.


 The sun is actually out today for a change from rain.  After church ill probably go play for a few hours and get more pictures of my current work.  What i really need is to draw out a sketch of parcel boundary and topo/water features.  It has taken me many many walks to understand the forest pattern and the deer pattern, then how they intertwine which im trying to maximize.
Revelation 3:20

Offline teakwood

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Re: DSI
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 10:13:44 AM »
Congratulations Mike! That looks like you're doing a excellent job
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Offline Stephen Alford

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Re: DSI
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2018, 10:40:23 AM »
   Nice.. for what it is worth, can offer a few observations. If ever a man needed a good clearing saw you would be nominated in a heartbeat. Just an awesome tool for your task.   When we were thinning looking up was crucial. Storm damage always leaves threats in the canopy. General rule for spacing ...when we look up at the canopy imagine being able to walk between the tree tops and not get wet. May sound simplistic but seemed to work well. Cannot understate the positive impact on the stand through the use of "the edge" effect and leaving snag trees. A healthy bird population really helps with insect problems. If they have feed trees they tend to leave the healthy trees alone. I think they would also serve as a warning to the deer when  a predator was in the area. We had a 64/65 pound coyote snared here last summer.  Are there any apple trees  on your property ?  They sure are a favorite  hangout here for coyotes . Not sure if its the apples or voles but if they are around they will always stop at an apple tree.  The biggest problem used to be caused by farmers dumping livestock. That practice has all but disappeared.      Sure enjoy this type of thread... :)

Offline Autocar

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Re: DSI
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2018, 12:31:29 PM »
Steve nice pictures I always enjoy thoughts on wildlife cover. Her in western Ohio our sections are one mile square with roads running north to south or east to west pretty hard to get lost. In my section sense I was a boy we have lost close to fifty acres of woods now in some sections it is 640 acres of bare ground. Most sections anymore if there are two woods then that's a lucky day. My little eight acres some years will hold a fawn most every summer now and then a few turkeys, fox squirrels and about every kind of native bird specie. I have large white /red oaks Hickory/  Walnuts plus a under story of a million white ash seedlings coming up plus six inch hard maple. I use to have a 4H club on forestry and we took a post hole digger and dug a half dozen holes around three feet deep when fall came we checked and found one that held water all thur the summer. So I took my skidder and dug out a medium size wetland that brings in wood duck and mallards I hauled in tad poles from all over western Ohio and think I have about every frog that calls it home in Ohio here. Ive seen a few snapping turtles and this past summer a red belly turtle about the size of a quarter. I would give my left well you know where I was going with that  To have more ground I love logging and wildlife  :D . I talk with landowners that tell me they wish there woods wasn't there to the kids that are not interested they just want the money. Makes me sad there is nothing better for a man then the sounds and smells of a hardwood forest. Our logging chapter is trying to educate landowners on the importance of western Ohio woods for wind and soil erosion and wildlife in general. Monday evening I am giving a talk in Edon Ohio about our chapter and what we require of our members I pray in time we can chance the mind set on clearing for more farm ground and folks will see the importance of woods in general. I could go on and on but for now I will cool my jets  ;D.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: DSI
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2018, 08:24:59 PM »
You are doing a great thing.
My step son lives next to a city. They are losing hunting ground to houses development. In one develpment looks like the trees are being left and good size lots. The deer will probably still be there,but you can't hunt there.
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Offline ohiowoodchuck

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Re: DSI
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2018, 10:45:41 PM »
Thats neat Mike, Im doing the same thing on my place. Im doing 8.2 acres of clearing. The only trees Im leaving are the oaks and hickory. Im going to plant clover in it when its all cleared. I only got about two acres left. My land was cut hard back in 2002 before I bought it. Ive been doing it all with a couple ms460s a ms250 and a John Deere 440b. 

 

 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: DSI
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2018, 08:53:31 AM »
Youre getting lots of sun in there, itll green up and draw the critters in fast.  My buddy frank once said a chainsaw is like a dinner bell for deer, he was right.  If you scratch up some fresh dirt does will find it in a day or two and come put their paws in.  Best way to get them on camera during summer is swipe the leaf litter away and flip over a shovel or two.

Autocar, feel free to carry on as much as you want.  I like the stories and incorporating little pieces of other fellas findings into my own procedure. 

Thanks for the pointers stephen, id love a clearing saw but it isnt in the cards for now.  Someone gave me a broken stihl 55r i think it is and ive been hoping to get it fixed and put on a saw chain cutter head but no money for the parts it needs right now.   I use a ms192T exclusively, really isnt bad.  Little slow but the flip side is precision, i grab most every stem i cut with one hand, and that closeness pretty often spares the life of a white oak or cherry hidden in the clump that i wrote off as all maple and woulda otherwise decimated.  If im ever hired for this work then yeah, it would be a necessity.  I couldnt afford to be liesurely about it like i am here at home.

I reckon you're right about the standing deadwood.  I leave most of them for the woodpeckers, to keep them out of my other trees.  No apple trees around that ive encountered.  The snow this winter revealed a lot of rabbits as the primary food source for the coyotes and bobcats.  Id say its just a lack of coyote hunters and their fast reproduction rates.  We have 3 distinct packs and its something to hear them in a turf war.. 40 coyotes yipping then the 30 domestic dogs it sets off puts a smile on my face.  The whole night will switch from tree frogs to a transylvania eruption of barks howls and screams.  Never heard that in the city.  The problem though is they eat a lot.  Barn cats dont last long so the house mice can get bad.  The mice bring the fleas and fleas bring the worms, etc.  I found a nice 8pt coyote kill last year.  Few dog carcasses.   Im gonna start hunting them pretty soon.  Season is all year with no limit. 

Anyways thanks for all the kind remarks guys. 
Revelation 3:20

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Re: DSI
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2018, 12:13:10 PM »
They dont mind a bit. Usually see a bunch bedded down in the mornings when I drive the skidder back the holler and up the ridge then I see them slipping thru the edges all day while Im cutting. Its interrsting to see the tracks the next day, like there checking on my work. Its been hard work and I couldnt imagine what I would charge if I did it for somebody else. I know the morning after I have to roll out of bed because everything is stiff. Its the kind of work that puts a smile on your face because it was a honest days work.
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Offline coxy

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Re: DSI
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2018, 12:59:35 PM »
you guys with large parcels of land make me jealous  :) the trouble around here is the taxes i tried every thing i could to buy the 80a next door to me this fall  but i just cant swing 10,380$ a year taxes my dad then me has logged it the last 50 years and know how the timber grows and iv hunted it since i was 9yearsold so i know just about everything about the land i have made food plots at no charge to my neighbor just for letting my family hunt and ride 4wheelers pretty much it was my land i just didn't pay the taxes  8) I'm just hoping the new guy does the same i like seeing the pics of what you guys do to improve the hunting/land i would like to move down south so i could afford a large piece of land but there is way to many snakes down there for this chicken  :D 

Offline TKehl

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Re: DSI
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2018, 01:22:30 PM »
The black cherry is particularly bad when mixed with SM and Sourwood. Not one straight cherry yet but i think i can eventually recover them. 

Does the Cherry in your neck of the woods ever amount to much?  I ask as a Cherry sawlog in my woods would be rarer than a 20' (straight) hedge timber.   ;)  I leave some Cherry for the birds, but it's never on the save list.  Always neutral or hit list as the best thing I can do with it is sell it as smoker wood. 

Like the pictures.  I'm doing similar work, but mine is a combo of TSI and GFP (Goat Forage Production).   ;D

Any reason not to plant some Black Walnut? 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: DSI
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2018, 04:38:34 PM »
I think i found one, maybe two mature and straight cherry today that i mistook for gums.  Need them to leaf out to be sure but the branch form is subtley different than black gum and there are cherry sapplings near each so im pretty optimistic.  Id love to plant some walnut when i can afford to.   The high price of cherry and walnut makes them nearly extinct here.

Hey coxy i met a little friend today.  Him and 3 lone star ticks already.




Last years notable snakes. 








The one on that gas tank was under a tarp that i pulled off.  I was standing a foot away for like 2 minutes before i noticed.  The copper head on my back porch was another thrill.  Had just leaned down to see why the slider was sticking and there he was right next to my face.  Theres a hole in that board now.  I pet the black snake that was eating the moles around my garden.  It didnt even respond.  Theresa S. was the worst snake of last year though, but that was up your way.  Didnt get her pic. 

My property tax is $193/yr.  I asked them to raise my assessment to increase the equity loan potential.
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Offline teakwood

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Re: DSI
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2018, 06:16:41 PM »
Is the last snake a rattler?   We have lots of them!
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: DSI
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2018, 08:54:55 PM »
No rattle on a copperhead.  Their warning is "a low dose of venom" i.e. no warning.
Revelation 3:20

Offline coxy

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Re: DSI
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2018, 09:11:26 PM »
i wouldn't want that pic in my album  either 

Offline Skeans1

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Re: DSI
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2018, 10:20:53 PM »
You glad can have the snakes all you want I'd take the rain any day over them.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: DSI
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2018, 10:38:52 PM »
Keeps the liberals away  :D
Revelation 3:20

Offline mike_belben

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Re: DSI
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2018, 11:52:59 PM »
Welp, back to deer farming.  I snapped some pics today of trees i pinned over, all about the same time a year ago maybe.  

Hickory:  it does sprout vertical shoots in a kind of random pantern along the whole trunk when hinged or pinned while young.  Deer depend on hickory nuts for sure but i personally have not ever seen the tree browsed before, not the leaves, buds or bark, regardless of season.  Hickory doesnt coppice very much if at all so there isnt much sense in lobbing it off.  I almost never remove a hickory.  Even in bad form its gonna provide hard mast.  I will cull one if its encroaching badly on a prime tree, thats about it.  A hickory sappling thats absolutely never going to make sawlog and wont seed for 20 years, ill usually bend it over and  use for a fence or canopy structure.  The big leaves give a lot of shade from our killer sun and obviously do the same for wind and rain.  Hickory is shade intolerant, it will stunt and die without enough light.  Its never very straight in shady spots and does dramatically better in bigger clearings with fast growing neighbors to keep it from bushing out.  Poplar for example.






Next up, black gum.  A lot of animals depend on these for fruit, the mature tree drops a black round berry that deer love.  Theyre one of the lowest sawlogs price wise i can sell,  but theyre usually a twisty stem.  I never cull a mature black gum.  I will hinge cut it to release some other tree but always put care into landing the top where its accessible on the ground.   That said, i dont want to be in the black gum business so i cull most of the sapplings.  They are very shade tolerant and fan out at any height.  Theyll choke out everything under them.  Good news is they coppice like crazy and deer love everything about them.  Seeds, leaves, bud tips, even the sprout stems.  So i look at these as deer feeders.  Epicormic branching on black gum sapplings is as prolific as hickory, but better.  The hickory is only structure if its too young to drop mast.  The gum is structure and choice food at the same time.  





Moving on to red maple.  Extremely prolific shade tolerant reproducer whose seed has no deer value im aware of.  These things are thirsty and will jam pack any sun beam they can get in clumps.  I consider RM borderline invasive and am working hard to reset them, i only let one grow if its really, really good looking or close to sawlog size already.  Theyre not very sturdy so ice and wind damage are common, theyre full of sugary sap that draws bugs to wounds in droves, sawlog prices arent great and theyre not very rot resistant.  Often wormy, Makes pretty flooring, and poor firewood.  Its a pretty tree but im strict on it becase of all the downside.  I dont treat the stumps because they coppice a bunch and the shoots are another deer favorite.  If you want a big herd you need a lot of food tonnage.  Maple is great for this.  Leaves, stems and in winter, the mature tree bud tips.  It does not tend to epicormic branch much when pinned over in my experience. If i need a living edible hedge i hinge cut it.  If i need food in a certain area to keep deer from eating other seedlings i want grown, i cull to use the coppice regen as a shadecloth around the sides of the oak or hickory that i want to grow straight and tall.  Eventually maple clumps should be thinned to a single stem if you want to keep it, or theyll frequently join together and have rot from water pocketing.  







Revelation 3:20


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