Turn Your Logging Deck into a Food Plot
Landowners—planting food plots is an excellent way to bring more wild game to your property and a great time to begin establishing a food plot is right after you cut timber.
Using a logging deck — an open area where trees are collected for transport out of the woods — is a great place to start a food plot.
Its not a difficult task to plant a food plot, but its important the timber harvester leave the logging deck clean so the landowner can properly plant the crop they want, said Mark Hatfield, NWTF director of strategic conservation planning.
By following a few helpful hints from the NWTF, landowners can get the most from their timber harvester:
Get assistance from NWTF land management programs: Take advantage of the many programs available through private organizations to help establish quality habitat and to make sure you have a plan in place on what you’re wanting to accomplish with your land.
Get an aerial photo of your property: Review the photo with your wildlife manager so they can help you decide what trees to cut, where to put food plots and how large to make them.
Know what wild game you want to see on your land: identify the primary wildlife species that you are interested in attracting.
Be upfront with the timber harvester: Make sure the timber harvester is aware of what you’re wanting to accomplish with your logging deck.
Number of logging decks: Discuss how many logging decks you will need to accommodate the harvested trees that will be taken from a particular area and where the decks will be put in (both the landowner and the timber harvester will need to compromise).
You mark the spot: If possible, flag the logging deck so you can determine the size food plot you want after the timber crews are gone. Try to make the plots as large as possible to maximize the amount of sunlight for better plant growth.
Youre the boss: In the contract, state that during clean up, after all of the timber is harvested, any debris, stumps, leftover logs and limbs in the logging deck must be pushed out of the way. In addition, the contract should request that as much top soil as possible should be left to accommodate a food plot. Make sure you’re happy with the job.
Leave it pretty: Ask the timber harvester where the slash pile will be located. A slash pile is where all of the wasted limbs and other forestry raw materials are piled. You dont want it to be an eye sore for your property. Be sure to keep it free of dirt so you can burn the pile later on.
Once the timber harvester has left the cutting site, its time to begin preparing your wildlife opening. This, however, can be expensive, and requires some knowledge of planting and proper use of farm equipment. To be sure to yield the best, most cost effective results from wildlife openings, it is essential to prepare the seedbed properly before planting.
Many landowners forget about one of the most important steps in planting food plots. There is no way of knowing how much lime and fertilizer an area needs without a soil test.
Keeping the soil pH at a suitable level is critical for plant growth. To assure that the soil pH is at the appropriate level in your food plot, use lime to help establish and maintain the plant that you want to grow.
Before you begin planting your new food plot, be sure to follow these steps provided by NWTF experts to ensure the best results:
Know what you want to plant.
Conduct a soil test to determine the soil’s pH level and its fertilizer needs.
Spread and work the lime into the soil at least four months before planting.
Fertilize the opening just prior to planting.
Plant the seed according to recommendations.
Sit back and enjoy the benefits of a properly prepared and planted wildlife food plot.
To learn more about wildlife management and the programs the NWTF offers to help landowners reap the benefits of their land call (800) THE-NWTF.