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4 Reasons To Start Planting Trees

Tree planting has played an important role in improving wildlife habitat for ages. As GameKeepers, we know how effective “tree plots” and reforestation can be for attracting wildlife to a property, but let’s take a look at some of the other great reasons to go out and plant some trees!

Reliable Food Source

Everyone loves fresh fruit! Planting fruit bearing trees for wildlife can become a “hot spot” for game traffic when the trees are producing. These same trees can also offer up a tasty snack while in the field or at the home.

Improve The Environment

Trees improve the environment by preventing and controlling erosion and help to clean the air and water. Trees in urban areas provide shade and block cold winds, which in turn keeps heating and cooling costs down. The benefits of trees far outweigh the costs, making them a wise investment for the future.

Create Lasting  Habitats

All trees are beneficial to wildlife in some form or fashion. Food, cover and water are the pillars of necessity for all walks of wildlife, and trees can provide both food and cover. Acorns from oaks and leaves and fruits of mulberries are favorite foods by many, and a long row of mixed trees in a barren landscape of the Midwest can provide enough cover to provide safe travels to feeding areas. Advanced tree planting techniques and superior stock means nuts and fruits can mature in a hurry. [Read more…]

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Understanding The American Persimmon

Many of us know how attractive the American Persimmon can be to wildlife, especially whitetail deer. But how many of us have spent numerous hours in the field scouting for these fruit-bearing trees only to find a large persimmon tree with no fruit on it at all?

Understanding Persimmon Production

What many people are unaware of is that the American Persimmon tree can be either a male or a female; females produce fruit, and males produce pollen. Determining a persimmon tree’s sex until it actually begins flowering and producing is impossible. So it’s important to do some scouting during the right time of year to figure out which trees are male and which are female.

When To Scout For Persimmons

Late summer/early fall is a great time to let persimmons tell you whether they’re male or female. Pre-season scouting will allow you to flag the fruit-bearing persimmons so you can come back to the “flagged” trees during hunting season. You can also look for calyxes on the ground. The calyx is the woody portion that’s attached to the mature fruits. [Read more…]

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More Habitat = More Wildlife Gary Howey

  The latest pheasant outlook for South Dakota just came out and I do not want to say it is a Doom and Gloom report, but they are indicating that the states pheasant numbers are down significantly.

  To some, especially those who do not live in the upper Midwest, those that travel a long ways to hunt the state bird may think twice about making the trip.

  Well, let me tell you, if I were those individuals, I would not let the report alter your plans as even if the numbers are down, which they could be, there are still more pheasants in South Dakota than in any two or three other states in the U.S.

   In South Dakota and other upper Midwestern states, there has been a huge acreage allocation of Conservation Reserve Plantings (CRP)  land and because of this new habitat, wildlife will not only survive, but also should eventually increase in numbers.

  In my neck of the woods, we are seeing a few more birds and the reason for that is because of the low commodity crop prices and the new CRP bill, which allows good quality land to be pulled out of production and planted to native grasses.  These fields that once produced row crops are now in the CRP program where trees and bushes are planted as well as native plants and grasses. These native grasses; Switchgrass, Indian Grass, Sedgegrass, Little Bluestem or Side Oats Grama which grow best in the heat of the summer will take longer to establish. The first year CRP plantings may look as if there are few grasses and wild flowers with a lot of weeds, but once these grasses start to grow, they will eliminate many of the weeds found in the field the first year. These grasses provide excellent wildlife habitat, giving not only pheasants, but also all wildlife a place to live.

  Some plantings are not huge, maybe just the irrigation pivot corners, while others could be a hundred acres or so, no matter what the size, every little bit helps. [Read more…]

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6 Ways Wildflowers Play a Vital Role in Wildlife Management

1.They Attract Insects
Wildflowers are the host plant for all sorts of insects, therefore your wildflower plots will be loaded down with Lepidopterans (moths and butterflies), Orthopterans (grasshoppers and crickets), Hymenopterans (bees, wasps, and ants), and others. Benefits resulting from having more insects include better pollination and fruit/seed-set of crops and trees, beneficial insects to combats unwanted pests, insects to feed your wildlife, and…honey!!!M.O.-Game Keepers (1)

2.They’ll grow on poor sites you’d normally leave idle
Many of the more common and popular wildflower species will survive and thrive on areas that just don’t seem worth the effort to establish a traditional food plot. Log loading decks are often left scalped of their top soil layer and compacted. These setbacks are no big deal for wildflowers. In fact, the little wildflower sprouts won’t have near the weed and grass competition compared to being planted in better soils, so they’ll have a much greater chance of survival and persistence.

3.Soil Improvement
By establishing wildflowers on previously underutilized, poorish sites, your soil will likely improve enough in time to become usable for lush food plots. Wildflowers often have aggressive root systems that penetrate deep to mine moisture and nutrients. As a result, hard soil layers will become loosened and aerated, levels of organic matter and top soil will increase, and soil microflora will flourish. [Read more…]

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Half a Tree Can Be Worth More Than a Whole

Winter months offer a great time to do woods-work on your property. One of the techniques that pay off during this time of the year is hinge-cutting (Video) maples, poplar and other softwood species. Hinge-cutting refers to cutting partially through a tree and felling it or pushing it over so that it remains connected to the stump and root system. This becomes an immediate browse source for your herd, but because you leave it connected to the root system it will continue to produce browse and cover for years to come. Other species can also be hinge-cut, it’s just the soft wood species offer some of the best browse available. [Read more…]