Have you ever heard someone tell you that harvesting trees ruins deer habitat, or negatively effects deer behavior and movement? I would argue that to be incorrect. This video is only one of many wildlife encounters of my own which clearly demonstrates how deer are not bothered by a timber harvest or harvesting equipment. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Deer are curious animals for one, and also are drawn in by the leaves, buds and fresh twigs on the harvested trees. A timber harvest could be likened to that of a dinner bell for deer just waiting to come to the buffet. Such was the case in this particular encounter.
In this video, I was checking a pine harvest on one of the properties I hunt in West Michigan. I popped into the opening that you see in the video just as the logger had headed out for the day. In fact, you can hear the logger loading his truck in the background noise of the video. Click play below to see not just one, but two trophy bucks wander in and check out the area. At his closest, the deer was about 10 yards from me. He catches my wind at the end and runs off.
Timber harvesting is one of the best options a landowner has to draw deer into their property and benefit the long term health of their forest. The tops of the harvested trees provide shelter and forage for the deer during the actual harvest. Openings made by the absence of the harvested trees allows sunlight to reach the forest floor. This sunlight stimulates new growth of seedlings and other vegetation which will be right at eye level for the deer to munch. Deer and all sorts of wildlife utilize the renewing forest for cover and forage.
The beauty of managing timberlands in Michigan is that there are so many benefits which are associated with the harvest. Deer hunting and wildlife habitat is only one of many benefits of sustainable forest harvesting and management.
Good luck in the woods this fall and remember it is never too late to manage your woodlot, or start planning for a sustainable timber harvest. Managed forests are healthy forests; contact us with questions about how to better manage your forest hunting property.