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Behind an ATV Habitat Management

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Published on: Feb. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

Missouri's landscape is changing. In the last 10 years, land ownerships have become smaller, and the number of landowners has increased. This is due to a desire by many families to move away from the stress of urban life, purchase land and a home in the "country," and raise their families in a more rural, relaxed setting.

In some cases, people just want recreational land, a place where their families can enjoy hunting and fishing, hiking or photographing and watching wildlife. Recreational landowners usually aren't very interested in raising and selling crops or livestock. However, recreational landowners often want to do whatever they can to attract and produce more wildlife.

Landowners often believe they need an expensive tractor and implements to improve wildlife habitat on their property. That's not always the case. They can also take advantage of the all terrain vehicles (ATVs) they use for hunting and fishing or other recreational activities. Properly equipped, an ATV allows landowners to manage habitat on their land in ways similar to their neighbors who have tractors, discs, cultivators, planters and other farm equipment.

Many new kinds of equipment are made especially for use behind an ATV. These implements can do the same jobs as those pulled by a tractor, except on a smaller scale. In fact, the ATV is much more versatile than a tractor because it can maneuver in smaller, isolated pockets that may be the best locations to manage for wildlife.

The kinds of habitat management an ATV owner can perform include:

  • Controlling undesirable vegetation with herbicides.
  • Plowing, discing, cultivating, harrowing, planting and fertilizing food plots.
  • Mowing and discing firebreaks for conducting prescribed burns.
  • Controlling prescribed burns using a water unit pulled behind an ATV.
  • Planting warm-season and cool-season grasses, legumes and wildflowers.
  • Mowing between rows of newly planted trees and shrubs for maintenance.
  • Light discing to improve brood-rearing habitat for quail and turkey.
  • Overseeding legumes and forbs in warm and/or cool-season grass stands or on glades and other areas.

Controlling burns

When conducting a prescribed burn, you should first prepare a proper firebreak or fireline around the area to be burned.

A Plotmaster or a flip-over disc works great to disc in the line. If the grass around the perimeter of the burn area is too tall and thick to pull a disc through, you can use the ATV bushhog. The ATV bushhog cuts the grass short and

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