What can I do to improve the habitat on 100 acres in middle Tennessee?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersHabitat Management
Dr. Grant Woods,

My family has a property of 100 acres 50% mature hardwoods, 50% hay pasture located in middle Tennessee. The timber mainly consisting of GIANT Yellow-poplar, various oaks, and American beech. Hay pasture has very little clover. Field edges are clean so not very good deer habitat. There are two good things: a nice clean creek and tons of acorns. Which acorns are not as nutritious as people think like you have said before.

I want to cut 1/4 of the timber every 5-8 years, have a succession of hardwood maturity and plant the fields in soybeans, but my grandfather owns it and does not like the ideas. I do have an 1 acre brassica/clover plot and am planning on planting Eagle seed soybeans in the late spring this year.

Until I am able to implement major plans like logging and 50 acres of beans, What are somethings I can do to create better habitat for bedding, native forage, and cover/nesting?

The picture shows the property, the creek and the small food plot(colored in green).

Improving wildlife habitat has become one of my passions the last few years and thank you for imparting some of your knowledge to people like me.



You are blessed to have access to hunt family land!  

It is important to honor your grandfather’s wishes.  You might start on a smaller scale and request permission to establish a food plot in an additional acre or two of the pastures.  This would allow you to have multiple food plots to hunt during different wind directions, etc.  

You are correct that acorns are relatively low in nutritional value.  However, deer are certainly attracted to them!  I suggest scouting the timber and knowing when the different species of oaks are producing acorns and select stand/blind locations accordingly.  

You may consider developing one or two Trophy Rock Four65 stations.  Deer will certainly seek a good source of trace minerals frequently. 

Deer certainly seek security daily. I recommend developing a enter an exit strategy for each wind direction. They may mean creating clean walking paths to each stand/blind before season by using a weedeater and/or leaf blower.

Enjoy creation,


January 14, 2016