Trimming Time

B. Wikman

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July's fore coming green foliage sprouts like the roots of my shaggy blonde hair. It is time to bust out the handsaws and head into the woods for some serious trimming. Typically, my friends and I hit the woods during this time for pruning, clearing, and cutting. Trimming shooting lanes, scraping debris from ATV trails, and marking tree stand entry/exit routes is important to do within the coming weeks.

My property has a few scheduled light cutting appointments throughout the year. It's a perfect time to unsheathe my Hooyman handsaw and go to work on the early summer's growth. I’ve always been told that a little goes a long way. It makes no difference what activity or event I’m partaking in, portion control is key; hence the phrase. Many have taught me hunting partners to snip, cut, and bust as few branches, shrubs, or undergrowth as needed.

I’ve witnessed several neighboring property owners crank up their sleeves, rip out their chainsaw and do work on the canopy near their tree stand. By the time they finish sinking their chainsaw into trees and piling brush, there's not much cover left! I’ve seen them literally clear an entire 20x20 yard spot in the forest. The once thick and tangled vegetation that the deer loved transformed into a mini-sized field in the middle of the forest. This is poses a problem for several reasons.

You may be doing more harm than you realize when shaving your tree stand's hot spot completely bald. When you stricken the ground cover, you are taking away the privacy deer feel in the forest. Mature deer depend on weaving through thick cover and tangled brush in the cloak of sunset. It's what makes them feel safe, secure, and invincible. By removing their cover, we’re actually convincing them to skirt the clear cutting and change travel patterns.

The process of regeneration aids in boosting the habitat for wildlife. That is why it's so important to make select and strategic cuts on timber. It opens the canopy and sheds beams of light to the ground, which in turn lift seeds from the soil into the air. If we slice into trees and brush hog the woodland's floor intensely during the summer, new plant life nearly always takes longer to grow. Summer is known for serious droughts and there's no telling the random rainfalls we may or may not receive. The spring seems to shower the gifts of water to our crops and forestland. The time the new vegetation takes to lift and the plant life turns thick takes years anyway.

Before you decide going cut-crazy and altering your honey holes’ effectiveness, make a few select openings that will improve your shooting capabilities. Chomp into the branches with a nice pair of shears or let the bite of a handsaw eat and do the work. As you begin piling brush comprised of tree limbs, shrubs, and bushes, use them to your advantage. I like to construct brush fences along certain deer trails that manipulate movement to my benefit. Trails that intertwine down wind of my stand location are always choked by heaping piles of limbs or tipped trees. I’ve learned the technique from listening to several leading hunting professionals and land managers during seminars.

During archery season last year I was able to slip an arrow into a wily whitetail by persuading it to move according to my direction. Hunting is all about trying new strategies that will improve your odds of success. The fact of the matter is that there's no secret magical black box that rein monster whitetails every time we use it. The field-testing, first hand experiences, and trial-and-error are what ultimately make us better hunters. Tag two techniques with one job by making select cuts and using the excess debris to your advantage.

Posted by B. Wikman under Deer Hunting on June 29, 09 12:59 PM | Permalink

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