GameKeepers Emag

Gamekeepers Winter 2015

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Page 113 of 155

112 As we both squinted to see each other through the vegeta- tion I managed to snap a picture before he bounded out of the area. What a thrilling experience that wouldn't have been possible had I walked the easy path around the newly burned CRP. As you can imagine, confidence in my new hunting area rose from the close encounter. It's the very rea- son why these habitats are so important to a property. Deer and other wildlife can stack in like cordwood and still make a living. Early successional habitat comes in all shapes and sizes. Does the shape and size matter? That depends on why you encouraged or allowed it to grow. Any is good, but larger blocks can be better. An important location for early successional habitat in agricultural country is allowing it to grow in the corner of fields and in fence lines. Fence lines and field corners create corridors between larger habitat blocks and allow deer and other wildlife to spread out across a property to efficiently utilize resources while minimizing energy use. They are also frequently disturbed by tillage, herbicide and harvest tech- niques that continually kill or remove the vegetation which allows pioneers such as ragweed and pokeweed to maintain a foothold. Since these plants are utilized by a variety of game species and they do not compete well with other vege- tation, disturbance is essential to their existence. Early successional habitat isn't only in CRP or along an agricultural field, it is present in, and around our forests and woodlands as well. It can be created by many natural and manmade events ranging from one monarch canopy tree falling in a forest to floods, tornados and timber harvests. Creating and Maintaining Early Successional Habitat There are many methods to maintain early successional habitat. The biggest question is whether you want to have it in the same place year after year or if you want it to move around your property as you complete other management activities. Both require disturbance done by tools like disks, fire, herbicide, chainsaws, and in some situations mowing. Since succession is the transitioning of habitats from one Here you can see what can happen by simply opening up the canopy. This is only one year's growth after the cut. © Todd Amenrud

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