I’m returning from the Kentucky Proving Grounds as I write this. The Kentucky Proving Grounds is a tract of land owned by my friend, Mr. Hamby. His mission is to produce and hunt quality white-tailed deer and turkey and share those experiences with family and friends.
This week we started another project toward meeting Mr. Hamby’s mission. There are about 140 acres of loblolly pines in seven different stands that were planted 18 years ago at The Kentucky Proving Grounds. If pine trees are planted at a normal density (about 750 trees per acre), they will become so crowded that each tree will grow slower, be weakened and susceptible to disease and or insects.
Most critters or plants that are crowded don’t prosper for the same reasons. For example, deer herds that are overcrowded don’t express their full potential and are more susceptible to disease and/or insects.
When deer herds are overcrowded and damaging their habitat the best solution is to harvest excess reproductive units (does). The goal is to harvest some of the population to allow the rest to be healthier and not damage the habitat.
It’s the same with pine trees. By harvesting the excess trees, the remaining trees will grow faster and be less susceptible to most disease and insect threats. However a big difference is that the landowner can generate revenue by thinning trees! So when appropriate, thinning trees is a great way to improve the habitat, maybe clear food plot location, and make some revenue.
At The Kentucky Proving Grounds, Mr. Hamby has had me designate the flat and accessible locations to be clearcut (remove all trees) and establish new food plots. In the other portions of the pine stands, I instructed the loggers to remove the trees with less than desirable form, smaller diameter, etc., and insure that each residual tree has space around it’s crown so it can receive ample sunlight, moisture, and nutrients from the soil.
Good timber management is usually good deer management.
Growing Deer together,