Pine Management and Deer Hunting

Pine trees dominate the landscape in the south and pine management is a way of life. People rely heavily on them for income just as farmers do on corn and soybeans in the Midwest. Like it or not, pine plantations are here to stay and as wildlife managers we have to learn to deal with timber production and harvesting. The good news is the two can co-exist and both aspects can reach their maximum potential. Correctly timed pine thinning for pine management can promote productive wildlife habitat. Plants such as Partridge Pea and BlackBerry are already present in the seed bank. Thinning of pine trees allows sunlight to reach the forest floor and these plants can germinate.

To further enhance stands of native vegetation in pine stands, you can apply fertilizer to increase their benefits to wildlife. Studies have shown an application of 13-13-13 fertilizer can double the productivity of these plants. Native vegetation comprises 80% of a deer’s diet. Food plots are important and beneficial, but they are just a piece in the puzzle when it comes to a healthy deer herd.