Maintaining Cover for Deer

By GrowingDeer,

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Dr. Grant,

I live in Orangeburg County, South Carolina where we recently purchased 90 acres. 45 acres are planted in corn and 45 acres are 2 year cutover with great bedding and early succession browse. My plans are either to establish longleaf or continue to manage the cutover for bedding and browse.  If I continue to burn the cutover, will that be enough to maintain this early succession habitat, or would you recommend planting some of the property in longleaf, say 25 acres?  I really have enjoyed using your website.  It is too often people are concerned with hunting and not managing.




I would recommend establishing a longleaf stand in the cutover.  If the appropriate herbicides are applied during the site preparation they will actually encourage the growth of many native species that are beneficial for deer.  These include, but are not limited to, several herbicides in the imazapyr family.  In addition, it is usually much easier to hunt pine stands, as long as the spacing is at least 10’ x 10’, than a cutover that is not managed.  Cutovers in your area typically are composed of 70+% sweetgum which is of very limited value to wildlife and won’t provide much of an economic return in the future.  A longleaf pine stand that is established and managed will provide some quality food, excellent cover, and excellent hunting opportunities for decades to come, while providing a source of income when the stand is thinned or by adding value to the property.  In addition, I think a well designed longleaf stand is much more aesthetically pleasing than most cutovers.

Thanks for the kind words and for watching!  By the way, I’ve worked a lot in the Orangeburg area.

Growing Deer together,