How Quail Habitat Management Can Help Your Deer Season

Published on: Nov. 5, 2009

the Missouri Ozarks.

On the study I learned planted food plots are very nutritious and are a great way to attract deer for hunting or wildlife viewing. However, a landowner could also produce a lot of high-quality food by managing old fields and woodlands. Here are a few quail management practices that can help deer hunters produce more food and cover for whitetails.

Old Field Management

I stumbled across a great article from the Quality Deer Management Association that does an excellent job of explaining the benefits of old field management for whitetails. Read the article and replace "white-tailed deer" with "bobwhite quail." Old field management for bobwhites provides ideal cover for fawning and browse habitat for whitetails.

Strip-Disking and Prescribed Burning

These disturbance practices are two of the most effective and cheapest ways to maintain and improve old field habitat for wildlife. Strip-disking is often described as the “poor man’s food plot” since there are few inputs (you just disk part of the field). The end result is a carpet of annual plants and legumes (green browse). Prescribed burning and strip-disking will encourage a variety of herbaceous plants including clovers, annual lespedeza, asters and native lespedezas. All are great quail foods and important deer browse. Strip-disking can also be used to funnel deer past your stand. The disked strips are much easier to walk than thick, rank grass.


Timber Stand Improvement

The Quality Deer Management Association had another good article on the value of timber stand improvement. Think of your forest or woodland as a garden. With Timber Stand Improvement you are simply "weeding out" the unwanted and poor developing trees. A healthy tree means more soft mast (persimmon and dogwood) and hard mast (acorns) for deer and turkey. A thinned forest also means more sunlight on the woodland floor, which will result in a green buffet of native plants like green briar, wild grape, dogwood and wild lettuce. These plants provide excellent deer browse during the early summer when antlers are growing and lactation peaks. A healthier forest usually means faster growing trees and bigger trees, which equals more money at harvest time. Yes, timber harvest is an excellent management practice and something landowners need to consider.

Other management choices include temporary forest openings and edge feathering. Both practices result in a flush of green browse and excellent hard cover. I know

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