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Thread: 175 acres.. what to do?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Cunningham, Kansas
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    2,286

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    In any management plan you have to look both inward and outward, micro and macro. From the view you have provided with the supposition that we can readily discern the boundary, it looks like you own most of the perennial cover in that vicinity other than the continuation of the riparian corridor and a limited number of waterways and borders. If you recognize that you need nesting, brooding, escape, roosting and feeding covers, you can start checking off what your area (inward) provides and what the surrounding land (outward) provides. Nesting cover would include both native and introduced grassland, any wheat, and any legume that can be left for the duration of the primary nesting season. To better evaluate your nesting cover, we would need to go micro and discuss plant species included and how it is being managed. Next, is brood-rearing cover. This is usually best if low on the plant succession continuum in the form of native forbs and weeds as well as legumes that could either be crops or wild. Again, how those are managed during the nesting season is of utmost importance as well as is their distribution and juxtaposition to the nesting and escape cover. You have indicated you have plenty of thick shrubs, ironweed, and slough grass. This can sure fulfill the niche of escape and roosting cover. Some of this would be dependent on management and successional stage, but management is easier and cheaper than establishment. The feeding cover is possibly covered on the "outward" adjoining land dependent upon how clean the harvesting is, what tillage is done post-harvest or overwinter, and what crops are provided and how they are managed. The decision has to be made if you are going to rely on the outward habitat for any certain niche, knowing that those provisions will change annually, if not seasonally. Also, how any perennial covers adjoining are managed will also modify how you manage your own and/or if you want to establish your own habitats inwardly. Overall, from the small glimpse of the adjoining habitat, the local population is largely dependent on your habitats to fulfill the total need of that population. You have to maximize the limiting factory for this local population inwardly in order to maintain a stable population. In as much as riparian habitat is often as good or better habitat to predators as it is for game birds, you must also do some management to maintain some balance there. The removal of raptor roosts, furbearer brush piles, old buildings, deer feeders, etc that will increase the predator population/fecundity will need to be considered. Before I blow any of your cerebral veins or arteries, please let me know what questions you have. It will be harder to speak to the micro where we don't have that ability to judge your habitats. Do remember, food plots do not "make" more birds. Nesting and brood-rearing habitat does that. Food plots may carry over more of the birds you produce or carry them over in better condition. However, they may also make them more susceptible to harvest and there is a loss there. The fact that most hens are protected will balance some of that.
    Trust the dog!

    Troy Smith

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Cunningham, Kansas
    Posts
    2,286

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    I'm guessing that there are no immediate questions. If we look at micro, I probably need comment further on what is present. Is there a serious cool-season exotic component? Is there any NWSG? How much of the perennial portion of the tract usually floods during the nesting/brood-rearing season? What tree species are present? What management is ongoing, grazing, haying, fire? What are you doing on your crop acres? Do you rent out the ground, or do everything yourself?
    Trust the dog!

    Troy Smith

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Cunningham, Kansas
    Posts
    2,286

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    Back to micro. A significant benefit could be achieved, drawing nests up out of the flood zone, by planting native grass strips on your eastern border in the existing crop fields. These could be enhanced with significant forb components and some "pollinator" plots could be planted alongside as brood strips. In your neck of the woods, I would avoid overzealous grass species like Big Bluestem, Indian grass, and Switch grass, concentrating on Little Bluestem and Side-oats Gramma. If your wooded area has lone trees in what might be used as nesting or brooding habitat, I would turn those into brush piles designed for birds. A bird brush pile would be built by cutting 1 tree 4-5 feet off the ground, then cutting all the limbs and placing their butt end up on that stump. The final result would be a ring of limbs that are dense on the perimeter and more open in the center. It does look like there may be some brush components in the property lines that might be good to maintain. You can plant food plots if you choose but, from the look of things, you may have that in surplus dependent upon how that is managed in the winter.
    Trust the dog!

    Troy Smith

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Cunningham, Kansas
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    If you want more information than just me typing, go to: www.bringbackbobwhites.org . Lot of good info there in written form as well as video. Might even see me on a few videos if you look! Might want to wear eye protection! Of course this is more oriented to quail, but many facets of it will discuss appropriate habitat development and maintenance.
    Last edited by Prairie Drifter; 12-08-2017 at 06:10 PM.
    Trust the dog!

    Troy Smith

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    rural Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,345

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    I am often heartened or refreshed by the comprehensive information, offered freely, on this forum. So much knowledge is shared, inquiries made to elicit more precise information, and potential problems not-yet in evidence discussed, that it becomes a practicum on land management, and other hunting-related issues.

    Salute to you folks, you help me balance out some of the rest of the world.

    Kis
    For hunters, Fall is the island towards which we swim all year.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    359

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    Thanks Troy for your input. I always enjoy reading about what/how to improve cover.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Cunningham, Kansas
    Posts
    2,286

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    Thanks Kismet, Rusty! Folks have limited $ for management on their ground. It is important that they make the best use of it toward their goals. Too often folks get caught up in what's popular or what's being advertised as the cure all and end up providing more of what was already there in abundance. Giving them the tools to make better decisions and the techniques to accomplish their manipulations helps the birds we all love and the sport we enjoy! If I can do that here, more than just that one person can benefit from the knowledge and, hopefully, our upland bird populations will be the beneficiaries!!!
    Trust the dog!

    Troy Smith

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