Early Spring Habitat Management Activities

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Ok, so its early spring and still cold here in Pennsylvania. You have already done your frost seeding, right? Frosty nights and snow are over and we are in for some rainy weather this time of year in our part of the country. Clover is starting to green up as are cool season grains. Now, you interseeded some forage oats and winter wheat into your soybeans or corn, right, so you are now providing spring greenup forage. Those of you who didn’t do any of the above – you’re missing the boat my friend.

So, what to do in April. Southern guys can go turkey hunting, but we have to wait until May. This is a good time to get out and look for scrapes. The best time to look for good community scapes in now, before the leaves dry out and start to blow around, covering tracks and bare dirt. I even found what has to be a natural mineral site on a client’s property the other day. Make note of these sites for educating yourself on how deer are using your property. Shed hunting can be a good cure for cabin fever if you have the time – find out what sort of bucks made it through to late winter.

Another activity is planning. I am guilty of over-thinking what planting activities I will be doing. Talking to one client, I was rambling and going over possibilities when he stated: “just make a plan and stick to the plan – quit talkin’ about it.” He’s right, now is the time to create a written plan for planting and spraying. If you fail to plan, you will find yourself flailing about in warm weather trying to get your planting done when you haven’t prepared yourself mentally. Have your soil tests done, seed ordered and equipment ready for that short window of good weather and soil conditions.

Use your knowledge of how deer move through your property to do some chainsaw work to create better bedding sites and guide deer movement to stand locations.

Oh, and one other thing – as spring greenup advances, deer will be taking in a lot of high-moisture forage, causing mineral imbalance. Its a good time to set out your Trophy Rock or Redmond Mineral or whatever you like to use. I like the sea salt. Common sense tells me it will have all the minerals found in the earth. Set your cameras up on these mineral sites and you will see what bucks are around.

About the Author:

Wildlife habitat manager and consulting forester from Central PA. Studied environmental Agriculture specializing in wildlife management and Forestry. B.S. Agriculture, Masters degree in Forestry. 30 years experience in land investment, forestry and wildlife habitat improvement. Currently working as a Farm Bill Forester for Pheasants Forever on Game Commission and Golden Winged Warbler Initiative.

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