In the wildlife management world, there really aren't any habitat projects you can complete where once
it's established you can walk away from it and have great results for many years to come. The best wildlife benefits come from performing habitat management on an annual, regular basis. Here are a few quick habitat management tips that will produce great results for you.
Edge Feathering: Dropping some of the trees that occur along the edges of your habitat projects can create some "instant" quail and pheasant habitat. In the fall of the year, spray the ground cover where you'll be dropping trees with an application of Glyphosate herbicide at a rate of 2 quarts per acre and then hinge cut the tree so that it falls over, but is not cut completely through. A key here is to not stack the trees in a pile, but drop them and let them lay where they fall. If you have quail anywhere in the area, they find this stuff in a hurry!
Provide a 'Free' Wildlife Food Plot: Have an area where you want to provide a food source but either the soil is too poor to grow the crops you want or you just can't get to it with the equipment you have? Try 'planting' a plot of ragweed instead of sorghum or corn. Ragweed produces seeds that will be highly prized by quail, pheasants and songbirds, establishes quickly in even the poorest of soils, will come back year after year and will also provide great brood-rearing habitat. The greatest advantage is ragweed seed is free! Our natural seed bank provides an abundance of ragweed seed and can be produced through light disking in the fall. Spring disking will produce giant foxtail.
Stay on the Couch and off of the Mower: Each year, some of the best habitat we have for wildlife is lost due to people wanting to go out and mow "weeds" and make the place "look better". Those "weeds" are important to the survival of broods by providing the type of cover young chicks require for movement, cover and food sources. Keep the mover in the shed and out of those great "weed" patches and you'll be doing great things for wildlife.
Unleash the Power of the Plum!: Some of the best wildlife habitat we have throughout the state is being held in check........by grass. Throughout the year, the shrubby cover provided by plum thickets is used by many forms of wildlife, but its especially important to quail and pheasants. Unfortunately, most thickets aren't providing the cover that wildlife need the most because the ground cover is filled in with grass. If those same thickets were regularly sprayed with a herbicide to remove the grasses from them, the thicket would expand and provide much better wildlife habitat. To spray plum thickets most effectively, simply spray in the fall with a Glyphosate herbicide at a rate of 2 quarts/acre. The key to this management activity is to wait until we've had a 'hard freeze' (3 hours in a row of 27° F or less) and then spray when the temperatures are 55° F or more. You'll be very happy with the results from this management activity.
The key is to make sure that you are doing some form of habitat management each and every year. If you do, you can have great results that require very little time, energy or expense.
To learn more about Pheasants Forever in your area, visit: www.iowapheasantsforever.org or contact Chapter President, Tim Haupert at 712-225-2711.