Coyotes are here, and they are everywhere. While most hunters did not grow up with coyotes on their list on animals that they hunt, they are now present in 49 states. Which means hunters from all across the country are diving head first into the world of coyote hunting. If you’re new to hunting coyotes, own land where they are becoming a problem, or are simply interested in the future consequences of this species, then this blog is for you.
Why Hunt Coyotes
The first and most pressing problems with coyotes is there lack of natural predators, causing their population to grow every year. They are usually unaffected by things that would destroy a different animals population. For example, if a food source has been depleted a coyote is willing to migrate to where the food now is. For a coyote food could mean anything from food waste to a full size buck, making them extremely resilient. The lifespan of a coyote is also 10 years, with mating being possible after the first 2 years. Which just adds to the ever growing population that is costing land owners and hunters some serious coin.
One of the most serious and wide spread danger of coyotes is the diseases that the animal is often associated with. Canine hepatitis and canine distemper are the most popular disease carried by coyotes. These are dangerous things to have spread around because they greatly effect domestic dogs, distemper has even been shown to be fatal. They also have the normal wild animal diseases like rabies that can be spread to both other animals and humans. Overall the entire species is prone to disease. They are actively spreading it to all surrounding wildlife through feces and urine. Making them extremely dangerous to animal populations as a whole.
Outside of the fact that coyotes are a nuisance to wildlife, hunting these things is just fun! Many states have year round coyote seasons, and those that aren’t have multiple legal seasons. Making this a viable option to scratch your hunting itch during the off seasons. Going out in the off seasons for other species is also a bonus when it comes to scouting. Giving you a different look at how the animals are acting which will make them easier to predict later on.
Future of Coyote Hunting
Hunting Coyotes is something that is both a fun challenge and completely necessary for the healthy survival of wildlife. Their population numbers growing annually. So you can expect the trend of coyote hunting to continue on for years to come. If you are a farmer or landowner, especially in the Midwest, there are specific tactics that you can use to keep coyotes off of your land. Which can stop them from cutting into your profits.
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Those of us in the hunting community understand all the great things that hunting does for environment. From raising conservation efforts to providing a brighter future for the wildlife. Hunting has an extremely positive effect on nature for as long as it has been around. However not everyone knows the benefits of hunting. Which is why Purdue University has started a Conservation Management program over hunting education. In an effort to better educate the public on the benefits of hunting . As well continue the amazing conservation efforts that are funded by hunting.
Purdue University, located in West Layfyette, decided that wildlife conservation through hunting is extremely important and should be spread to the greater population. They launched a course titled “Hunting for Conservation”. A class that focuses on multiple aspects of North American Hunting.
It also breaks down a more detailed look of public lands and wildlife resources in the US and Canada. A focus is put on the lands proper management as well as detailing hunting’s crucial role in wildlife diversity.
The Future of Hunting Education
Currently the class, Hunting for Conservation, is a part of the schools wildlife major program. However, Purdue is looking towards the future and making it into an online class that will be available all over the country. Purdue has a long standing history with hunting education, often sending their top students to different conservation workshops.
“The pandemic thrust us into pushing ahead,” said Zachary Lowe, national coordinator for Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow. “The partnership with Purdue was a natural fit. There’s no way we could have done this without Purdue’s expertise in distance learning.”
Previously only available to wildlife students, Purdue expects this class to be helpful across multiple majors. Things like forestry, biology, and agriculture can all benefit from the information taught in this class.
“It makes people who are going out to manage our natural resources aware of hunters and how they interact with those resources,” said Andrew DeWoody, a Purdue forestry and natural resources and biology professor.
Helping Hunting Education Grow
The class is centered around the idea of wildlife management. Specifically, population management and making sure animal populations will be safe in the future. They use hunting as a prime example of proper population control. Past just the fact that hunters are sim;ply hunting the animals to keep the numbers balanced, the money made from hunting is huge for state departments and wildlife funds.
Purdue’s wildlife course also does an amazing job of including all aspects of hunting education into the course. Going over things like:
How firearms work
Hunting Safety Principles
Basics of Hunting
As well as many others important and interesting things! This program is a great step forward in showing the public all the amazing things hunting does. Purdue hopes that Universities all over the country will adopt this class. Which will further spread awareness on wildlife management and conservation!
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Hear what Tom James, National Sales Manager of Base Camp Country Real Estate has to say on his favorite clover mix, and his tips on managing a clover plot in this clip from The Habitat Podcast Episode #78.
https://www.basecampcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/green-and-yellow-tractor-on-dirt-2889440.jpg34495174basecampcountryhttps://www.basecampcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/logo-1-300x67.pngbasecampcountry2020-04-30 08:50:092020-05-07 09:53:11Pros and Cons of No Till Management (Habitat Podcast #77)
Frost seeding is the surface placement of seed in late winter into early spring. The freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw cycle and spring rains establish proper quality seed to soil contact. This time of the year, the nighttime temperatures are below freezing and the daytime temperatures are above freezing, causing tiny cracks to form in the earth essentially working the seed into the soil. There is no need for disking or dragging and is an effective way to let Mother Nature do your dirty work, ultimately saving you time and money. Before you head out to frost seed, there are a few things you need to know.
When should I frost seed?
Timing can vary from year to year, depending on your location and how long Ole’ Man Winter hangs around. Generally, the best time to frost seed is when there are three to five remaining frosts. Seeding on a thin layer of melting snow is also a common practice.
How do I Frost seed?
Broadcasting seed with cyclone-type spreaders that are mounted on ATV’s, UTV’s, tractors, or hand spreaders are the most commonly used. Broadcasting clover seedinto an established clover field or winter wheat are two very common methods.
What should I frost seed and how much should I broadcast?
Only a select few seeds work well. Species that germinate rapidly and are small hardy seeds work best; clover is the most common seed used in frost seeding. Red clover is the easiest to use due to its good vigor, shade and cold tolerance. A good second option would be ladino clover. Using a good mixture of clover is also a good option. Using properly inoculated seed, having the soil pH in the proper range, and good soil drainage is also needed to be successful. I normally use these seeding rates. Seed red clover at 4-8 pounds per acre, and ladino clover at 1-2 pounds per acre. If combined, seed 3-4 pounds of red clover plus 1-2 pounds of ladino clover per acre.
Frost seeding is an effective, economical way to improve your food plot program; in fact, it may be one of the most cost effective and energy efficient seeding methods. Good quality seed and the proper conditions will yield great results. I have only mentioned the basics of frost seeding as always do your homework and pay attention to the details and you will be successful.
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By: Tom James, National Sales Manager, Base Camp Country
Timber Stand Improvement, or “TSI” for short, is an umbrella term used frequently by professional forestry consultants and woodland managers when discussing methods to improve the quality of a particular woodland property that essentially relies on one fundamental action. That is the reduction or elimination of non-desirable species that are competing directly with the ones that we want to encourage.
The question most commonly asked by a professional consultant to a landowner would be “what is your primary objective for your woodlands, and what use is most important to you?” The 2 most common responses are “to maximize the marketable trees for optimum profits” and “to create the best and most attractive deer habitat as possible.” The third and least common is to create an aesthetically pleasing (to the human eye), park-like atmosphere. Luckily for us hunters and habitat managers the first 2 objectives can go hand in hand and complement each other nicely. Unfortunately the third objective results in a barren landscape, devoid of wildlife food and cover from the eventual maximized shading that a closed-canopy forest creates. Luckily, the practices for optimizing marketable trees by eliminating competitive, low-value species does several things; It allows precious sunlight to the ground floor causing vigorous growth of nutritious forbs, weeds, and saplings, which conveniently double as ideal hiding and security cover for many wildlife species. It also releases water, sunlight and nutrients that would otherwise be used by competing trees to maximize the health and production of trees such as oaks and other mast producing species to put on good annual growth (maximizing market value) and produce high quality and quantity hard mast crops (maximizing wildlife attraction and sustenance).
So, when digging a little deeper into the methods for TSI, and more specifically, competition reduction, we find that there are a handful of commonly used successful practices. Although selective timber harvesting can actually be considered a form of Timber Stand Improvement when the action removes trees of a lower market grade, but still having some economic value, for purposes of this article we will be discussing the maintenance methods used in between timber harvests:
1.) Vine removal; This involves cutting wild grape and other vines by hand or by chainsaw that climb trees and over a period of time can successfully put such a burden on a desirable tree through shading and sheer weight that it weakens the host tree, stunting its growth and potentially killing it altogether. It’s also commonly recommended that the vine “stump” be treated with a herbicide such as Tordon to kill it and prevent it from sending out new sprouting vines.
2.) Girdling, Ringing, Hack and Squirt; These are all methods used to kill a standing tree without actually felling it. The girdling or ringing method involves cutting a groove all the way around a tree well under the bark into the cambium layers where the transpiration occurs moving water up and nutrients down the tree. Many consultants advise creating 2 rings one just above the other to ensure a thorough effective kill. The hack and squirt method involves cutting a notch into that same tissue of the tree with a sharp hatchet in multiple places around the circumference and “squirting” in some herbicide that will be carried to the roots of the tree eventually killing it. There is also a hybrid method of girdling with a saw and introducing the herbicide into the fresh ring to achieve the same results.
3.) Foliar and basal bark spraying; is the practice of spraying a herbicide on the actively growing foliage or applying it to the lower trunk area to introduce a killing chemical. These practices are most commonly used on non-native, invasive brambles, shrubs and trees to eliminate them as quickly as possible. These invasive species are also mechanically removed by machinery if the situation allows.
4.) Finally we are to the method that this article was to focus on and that is Hinge Cutting. This is the practice of cutting partially through a live, actively growing (most commonly competitive) tree and pushing or pulling it over to lay the trunk down horizontal to the ground. When done properly the tree will remain alive and retain its’ leaves and continue to send out new growth causing it to further “bush out.” There are several benefits to doing this, the primary reason is that you have essentially eliminated this tree as being a competitor for sunlight to surrounding desirable trees, but now the tree has just created instant cover and possibly browse for the whitetail deer. To encourage deer to move about under and among hinge-cut trees, the cut should be 4-6 feet above the ground. This will allow enough space under the horizontal trunk to allow movement. In certain situations where you want to influence deer to move a certain direction, the trees can be hinged much closer to the ground to create a fence or hedge effect. It is very important to not cut any further through the trunk than necessary to ensure there is plenty of tissue to support the movement of water and nutrients up and down the remaining trunk. A tool used to hook and pull or push the tree over is invaluable as it is often impossible to push a larger tree over by hand with the lack of leverage the person cutting has. Then cutting the tree further to get it to tip over has greatly reduced its chance of survival. A property that has undergone a well-executed hinge-cut operation will immediately become more attractive to the resident deer offering great security and escape cover. Many trees offer desirable leaves, buds and twig ends that will also put a lot of food within reach where it wasn’t before. But the additional benefit of now having more open canopy to allow the penetration of sunlight will cause an explosion of growth further enhancing the available food and cover on the ground.
Hinge cutting can be done with some very simple basic tools most importantly an easy to operate, light weight chainsaw with a good sharp chain. The “top handle” professional types make this job a lot easier and effective. It doesn’t require a long bar either, something in the 14” range is ideal, but that is a matter of preference. As mentioned above the hooking tool is very important. A commercially available product available online is the “Habitat Hook”. Several models are available at varying prices. Please don’t forget the safety equipment! Chainsaw chaps to prevent accidental leg cuts when you’re tired or lose balance or control will help deter a serious accident. A hard hat with hearing protection is available everywhere and at farm supply stores and chain saw dealers. Safety glasses are also a must for not only preventing sawdust in the eyes but the constant barrage of twigs coming at your face when pulling over a hinged tree. It is also a great idea to have a light weight dead-blow hammer and a couple of plastic tree felling wedges to encourage some of the more stubborn hinge-cut trees to go the direction you need them to fall. Always work with a partner, and evaluate each tree and situation to be sure your action won’t cause a dead limb or a hung-up leaning tree to fall. This is a hugely necessary precaution.
Lastly, if you are new to tree identification it would be a very good idea to get the advice of a professional to help you target non-desirable species (and the good ones!) so that you don’t inadvertently do more damage than good by killing a crop of young mast and timber producing trees. Many species are difficult to identify when they are younger, but with a little guidance to get you started you will soon be able to recognize your targets and the desirables that you need to protect and release from competition. For more information about hinge cutting and other ways you can improve the habitat and hunting potential on your property, check out the online resource “The Management Advantage” where we cover lots of relevant topics concerning land and wildlife management.
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