Timber Stand Improvement for Deer

Ben is out marking a timber cut for deer on a client’s property. While doing so he stops to explain why this property needs timber stand improvement (TSI). The landowner indicated that deer movement across the property is not satisfying. Put simply deer are not staying on the property and instead merely moving through it. Ben’s first impression and assessment after walking through the property is that several areas of the property consists of big timber, timber which shades out the understory growth that deer favor for cover and food.

For this property, Ben is marking a 10-15 acre cut. Ben is targeting the bigger timber but plans to leave several smaller white oaks, red oaks, and even some larger white and red oaks for mast production. This timber cut area or TSI area will become exceptional deer habitat. The landowner plans on making this a substantial bedding area on the property for hunting, but Ben explains that this cut will also lead to another great timber stand for harvest 30-40 years from now.

While this type of selective timber harvest might produce slightly cricked trees (as they compete for sun in the holes of the canopy), it is one of the best for deer habitat. Ben explains that there is a place for select cuts like this property, and a place for creating deer bedding or clear cuts, It just needs to fit with the goals and best interests of the landowner and/or hunter. A timber harvest that produces nice thick habitat combined with food sources on the edge of the cut or transition areas coming off the cut creates ideal areas to catch big bucks.

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