The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
The Canada goose season is still open and of course predator hunting is an option, but most hunting seasons are closed now or winding down. Now is the time to start scouting for next year and catch up on chores like cutting firewood or brush.
Most timber stands could stand some thinning to allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor. This in turn allows lots of beneficial plant growth and results in more production of timber and mast crops from the trees that have more space when your done. This practice is known as TSI or timber stand improvement.
You should evaluate your property and have a plan when you start. The Missouri Department of Conservation produces a couple of publications to help you know what trees to cut and not to cut. One good one is Wildlife Management For Landowners.
Most of the time you will be cutting green trees and leaving the standing dead timber for the woodpeckers, bluebirds, chickadees and other wild life that either nest in cavities or feed off the ants and other insects in the dead timber.
In addition to most standing dead timber you should always avoid cutting:
Wolf Trees: These are the ones with short trunks but a wide spreading crown. These are especially important if they produce large amounts of hard mast (acorns and nuts) and are in an area dominated primarily by small trees that have not reached mast-producing age. Leave at least one for every two acres
Den Trees: those with an opening leading into a hollow interior. And tall fruiting trees including hackberry, black cherry, mulberry, black gum, and persimmon.
Build a few brush piles while you’re at it for the small game species like rabbits and quail to use. Deer will appreciate the buds on the limbs that you pile on the ground, as well, this time of year.