Deer Browse

Discussion in 'Indiana Whitetail Hunting' started by Scott Werstler, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. I have a 2 acre swamp/wetland/low spot that is surrounded by woods. It is full of canary grass. If you don't know much about canary grass it grows waist to chest high, chokes everything out, then dies and flattens out in the late fall. It does little for wildlife. I want to spray the area and plant shrubs and trees in there to hold deer. Soil is mostly wet with periods of standing water less than 6 inches deep.

    For the moisture level I know swamp white oak, silver maple, river birch, buttonbush, sycamore, and bald cypress will do well. Swamp white oak is a given, but I want something I can enjoy in my lifetime too. Charles Alzheimer stated in his book deer prefer to browse apple, ash, sugar maple, and basswood.
    I don't think apple and sugar maple will grow here and ash is marginal. Not sure where I could buy basswood if I wanted to. Anybody see a wet site species I am missing that could be great browse in addition to just cover?

    This is not limited to armchair biologists, you real biologists are welcome to respond too.
  2. I read an article in Traditional Bowhunter Mag about black locust being planted in old strip mining pits. They usually did a fly over and just dropped the seeds from the plane. Might be something to look at if you are looking for something to add some dense cover in there. If you can drop the seeds from the planes and they will grow im pretty show they will hold in a wet land kind of situation. I am guessing that you could try to plant some wild apple trees on the out skirts of the swamp area too. Youll have cover and foriage. The apple trees use a pretty decent amount of sunlight to grow though I believe. I am definately no biologist though...

  3. Black locust is good for quick cover no doubt about that. I have planted a lot of it and some are over 20 feet tall within 6 years. It does send up root sprouts, forming a thicket. Everything I've read on it says that it likes uplands and well drained areas. I've even seen warnings that it can be quite invasive on sandy sites too. I planted mine on washed clay hills where I have had trouble getting other trees or shrubs to grow. I also have planted rows to connect my fragmented woodlots with a quick travel corridor. I also have planted groups of 5-10 in clumps where I would like a stand. That way, within 5 years I can atleast get a tripod stand in there to hunt a new area. (The place I bought had a 104 acre rolling CRP field in it, so cover is key to me).

    What do I know though, Deer Demon pointed out that I should do something to improve my habitat since I "can barely kill one buck per year." Not to mention I'm on the 4 year old Indiana mature buck welfare program. Looking for the right little pac-man to put in here, but can't find one that has a middle finger:biggrin:
  4. Cottonwood Would Probabally Grow There, Although They Do Not Do Much For The Deer. I Personally Prefer The Bald Cypress For Looks In A Wet Area. Cattails Might Provide A Little More Cover Than The Canary Grass.
  5. yeah if you plant cattails though those bastards would get so damn thick nothing could walk through them. If you cant tell i hate cattails. They get knocked down and get all tangled up in there, piss on that stuff. What about malberry trees... Do deer eat those berries when they fall??? I dont know where they grow though im just trying to throw some stuff out there... Does this place hold a ton of water?? or is it just a wet land with soft soil?? I guess you seem to be the best armchair biologist ive had the pleasure of talking too so now im asking you the questions where is Mr. Mitchell when you need him>?> hahahah
  6. Good luck w/ the canary grass, a buddy has about 20 acres of it in Steuben and has been having a heck of a time getting rid of it. Round Up a couple times a year will do it, but it is extremely expensive. about the only thing that has been choking it out has been planting willow stakes. Put them in correctly and they will grow, you can even angle them to block out more sunlight. After the willows take and choke out the canary grass, you can start working on planting something that has a nutritional value. Just some thoughts.
  7. Hey, Scooter...if it makes any difference, I planted some five-foot silver maples in my yard (which stays pretty damp) about four years ago, and they are now 25 ft.+ . I know the deer will eat the leaves as I have trimmed branches in the woods when putting up new stands, and the deer flocked to the dropped limbs.
  8. Rowdy


    Why did that post kinda turn me on?
  9. Keep em coming guys, I know what to plant for quick cover and what to plant for acorns 50 years from now, just looking for nutritional ideas right now. Maybe red osier dogwood would work, not sure if the deer browse it much. I know it will grow there.

    My sentiments exactly on the degreed biologists. They are quick to jump onto the OBR and tell you all about how it doesn't work or is a nonfactor at best, but ask an honest question in their field and you never get a reply.

    Reminds me of trying to stock my pond. Even though my taxes pay their salaries, you can't get a state biologist to even take your phone call on stocking it because it doesn't have public access. They just refer you to a pamphlet/book they have.

    Maybe we wouldn't have so many armchair biologists if the ones doing it for a living would help a guy out a little, huh.