With fall comes apples, cider, donuts, oh, and hunting!! While summer is typically the time of year many groups like to have habitat days, early fall can be another great time to get people outside learning more about making habitat more viable for wildlife. This past weekend, I had the privilege to promote wildlife cooperatives at a Forestry and Habitat Workshop put on by the a couple of the Conservation Districts in the Kingsley area.
The event was held on Mark and Deb Jackson's tree farm. After an overview, I shared with the group what a cooperative is, and what some of the benefits of living and hunting within a cooperative are. There was some good feedback, and some great questions. Most of this crowed was drawn in by the Conservation Districts, so the group represented mostly a non hunting demographic. It was a great opportunity to talk about the benefits of hunting, and including hunters in management of an area. The group was really receptive and interested in cooperatives. From the sounds of it, a cooperative is likely to form around the property we met at.
John Webb, one of the Conservation District Foresters talked about some tree farming practices, including types of herbicides to use, and what planting spacing should look like. He also outlined basic cut practices of these types of pine stands. For example, after about ten years, each third row should be cut. Then, after another 10 years, about 30% of the remaining trees need to be thinned out to encourage better growth of the premium trees.
Andy Milliron (wildlife habitat consultant) and Ryan Rataczack, board member and president of the Northwest Michigan QDMA Branch talked about habitat and food plot development. Regardless of what you are planting, they both reiterated the importance of a soil test.
The importance of habitat diversity and providing quality food at times when deer need it the most (winter and spring) is important to make sure that the deer come out on top, even after a hard winter.
Eric Ellis, the Roughed Grouse Society regional biologist, talked about what quality grouse habitat looks like, and how to better manage young aspen stands to provide better cover and food for grouse. Early successional habitat provides valuable food for a variety of critters, including deer, turkey, rabbits, and of course grouse!
Scott Erickson and Daniel Scillinger, both foresters in the Northwest part of the state, talked about the benefits of forestry management, as well as discussed some of the current threats to trees in Michigan today. Click here to learn more about tree diseases and insect problems.
This coming Saturday, September 19 at 2:00 pm, 7125 Thornapple Lake Road, Nashville, MI 49073 the local Barry County QDMA branch is hosting a pig roast. If you live in the area, and want to know more about QDMA, wildlife cooperatives, and habitat improvement for deer, pheasants, turkey, etc., please come check us out!