Help Creating Bedding Cover

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by tlh2865, Oct 17, 2018.

  1. tlh2865

    tlh2865 Active Member

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    How would you all recommend going about creating bedding cover from an area of planted pines? My planted pines have gotten to a point now where they have choked out the understory, and I can walk and see fairly easily through what was an impenetrable jungle 3 years ago. I would like to get that thicker, deep bedding cover back because it is what I feel made my property so appealing to mature dear in years past. At this point my only thought is to go in and aggressively thin areas where I want to encourage bedding, but I am not sure if that is the best option. What do you guys think?
     
  2. weekender21

    weekender21 Active Member

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    Conventional wisdom in a pine plantation would be a first thinning. How old are your trees? I think it's common that you would have a few years of poor cover and no commercial value prior to the first thinning. Growing conditions, stems per acre, and other factors will determine if your trees are ready to be commercially thinned. This usually happens when they are 12-15 years old.

    If your pines have no current commercial value and you don't want to wait, you could do a "pre commercial" thinning and take out a few rows. Another thought would be to completely clear specific acres where you want the deer to bed. An acre here or there vs. thinning rows. Really just comes down to your priorities, future timber harvest value or bedding.
     
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  3. tlh2865

    tlh2865 Active Member

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    Priority for me is bedding. I’m focusing my efforts on maybe 3 acres worth of pockets placed in strategic places. Any input on what size area is best for bedding? Are a bunch of small places better than a few big ones or vice versa?
     
  4. tlh2865

    tlh2865 Active Member

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    Pines age I believe is between 7 and 9
     
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  5. OkieKubota

    OkieKubota Moderator Staff Member

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    Sunlight to the ground where you choose to thicken it up. I have always tried to create bedding in areas deer tended to want to bed anyway. It has never been an instantaneous success and usually takes 2-3 years to actually seeing them use it as bedding...

    They also will like the “edge” you will create and I have seen that happen year 1...
     
  6. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Here is what I try to do in managing my poplar stands that might be applicable to your pine stands. Your pine stands apparently took 7 to years to go from planting size to too tall for bedding size. That is probably about right for my poplar stands, in fact they may take even less time to go thru the cycle. I like to divide the stand up into six or so pieces in my mind and hinge cut one of those pieces each year with maybe 1/2 of the stems left. How many to leave is a guess for me on the poplar. If it borders open ground then a 1/8 acre cut bounces back pretty quickly like by year two or three; If it is surrounded by woods then an acre cut at once is better to get ample sunlight to the ground. The poplar cutting payback is not just bedding but also browse from cut trees as well as poplar shoots that come up the next spring.

    Once the amount is decided then the shape comes into play and as Okie said having as much edge as possible is good. Possible is determined by the amount of sun it will get;for example a strip 1 mile long and ten feet wide (very roughly 1 1/4 acres) would give lot's of edge but not enough sun light. Thus the correct amount of edge lies some where between a square or circle shape and a long and skinny,winding shape. Shape can also come into play regarding the travel patterns it will create. For example two cut areas 100 yards apart would likely have deer moving between them as well as back and forth to them (Your entry and exit of course comes into play here).

    Location of the cut comes in regarding where do you want the deer to move to there and from there. For example on the border of your property against a neighbors food plot would make for some great shooting FROM THE NEIGHBORING LAND.In cutting poplar I am pretty certain that poplar will be the main plant sprouting whereas in cutting planted pines I'm guessing that what will come up will depend on the location being cut so some locations might be better choices than others due to that. Sun orientation of course could change location as well, ie; north slope versus south slope.

    These are just some of the things I consider when attempting to create bedding areas. It is by no means a complete list of things to consider but rather just a start. And the reason I say "try" to create bedding areas by doing some each year is that some years the winter weather which makes sense to cut then for here is too tough, or I don't fit it into my schedule for whatever reason.
     
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  7. tlh2865

    tlh2865 Active Member

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    Thanks for the advice Chainsaw, I have already mapped out locations based on availability of access for me, and easy travel through my favorite choke points for the deer.
     
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  8. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    the chainsaw and sunlight can be your best friend when it comes to creating cover... Make the areas as large as you can in my opinion but ensure they are spread out as well. This "should" allow you to hold more deer. Keep in mind buck bedding and doe bedding tends to be different...at least it is here. I don't have much experience with pines....all I know is that canopy creates shade and the understory dwindles away regardless of the tree type.
     
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  9. tlh2865

    tlh2865 Active Member

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    When you say that buck and die bedding is different, what do you mean? I know that they don’t usually bed together, but does that mean bucks and does are looking for different things when it comes to bedding habitat?
     
  10. TreeDaddy

    TreeDaddy Active Member

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    Conventional thinking is that bucks are loners and solitary in number preferring military crests of hills

    Does are communal and bed in families

    Both want to be high and dry in hinge cut areas with multiple exit routes,etc

    bill
     
  11. weekender21

    weekender21 Active Member

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    I would use terrain to determine size of bedding. If I was going to clear cut pines for bedding I'd make them at least 1/4 acre to ensure sunlight was hitting the ground in a large enough area. An acre would be nice if you don't mind cutting that many trees down. Thinning rows during your next pine harvest can create excellent bedding too although at 7-9 years old it will likely be several years before a logger will thin them for you. I have heard of pines being thinned at 10 years but that's pretty early in most areas. You could have a forester cruise your stand and offer advise.
     
  12. ALwoodsman

    ALwoodsman Member

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    I’m no expert but it sounds like cutting pockets an acre in size in the right places would do the trick.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. Brushpile

    Brushpile Moderator Staff Member

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    The mix of open grown pines and tall grass creates ideal bedding. NWSG planted in pines is awesome cover.
     
  14. snowracerh

    snowracerh Active Member

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    What species of pine and spacing? Do you have a picture of them?

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
     
  15. tlh2865

    tlh2865 Active Member

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    Loblolly Pine, I couldn't guess on spacing with any real accuracy without going to look, and that won't happen until I get in there to hunt. Same with pictures
     
  16. JDunham

    JDunham Active Member

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    Drop some of those pines in pockets. The downed trees and sunlight getting to those openings will create the cover deer like to bed. I have done this several times and it has always been successful for me.
     
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