Small Game Habitat - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Small Game Habitat

I am curious what hunters are seeing. PGC and other groups (RGS, NWTF, WCLofPA) seem to be doing habitat projects throughout the state. In your opinion, which types of habiat projects are working best. If you were in charge of the money, which projects would you do? Target Aspen cuts, food plots, plant hawthorne, controlled burns, plant hemlock for thermal cover, etc.

One thing I don't see enough of is cutting old/mature woods surrounding food plots/fields. IMO, this would be very beneficial. Use the cut limbs, etc. to make brush piles between the cuts and food plots/fields. 5-7 year old cuts are great for woodcock, grouse and deer. The brush piles are great for rabbits. It seems like a win-win.

Also, not to get on rabbit hunters but where are your organizations helping out with habitat projects?
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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 02:36 AM
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Re: Small Game Habitat

I think I would cut, make brushpiles and plant some scattered small 3 or 4 tree clumps of evergreens instead of large blocks of evergreens in rows. Planted in more open areas without overstory so that the limbs stay on the trees clear down to the ground. For food plots I would think smaller plots with thick edges planted in something like birdfoot trefoil might be a good choice.

I'm not sure what all some of those groups are doing but would like to hear about it too.
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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 07:46 PM
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Re: Small Game Habitat

I just got in from an aspen cut and making brush piles

wmu 3A
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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-07-2012, 11:36 PM
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Re: Small Game Habitat

After doing alot of habitat work on a nieboring farm, both me and the landowner have seen a much greater number of hawks and owls. And so far this year we have killed only a few rabbits,even though the habitat is much improved from years before. In te spring and summer there were many baby rabbits. The habitat we created has not increased the rabbits that are there at this time of the year. Even the hawks and owls are seen less as they have really cleaned the area out. After talking to the man who was working at the cwd testig area I learned he works with the wild pheasant program and he offered advise on types of cover to plant. He also said though that with the pheasants, they try to keep track of what predators kill the pheasants. As would be expected he explained that the majority are killed by the hawks and owls. Probably the best thing that can be done for rabbits is to try to cut down anything that can be used as a perch.
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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 01:04 AM
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Re: Small Game Habitat

your talking about a couple differnet groups.And they all do there own thing. What works for say RGS doesnt work well for the NWTF.

Aspen Cuts help grouse and woodcock alot.But say would help Pheasants at all.

But we all need to do our part.

Im not going to talk bad about any group thats out there.
sometime i really think there should a new group start for all wildlife.
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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 02:29 AM
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Re: Small Game Habitat

A good practice to increase rabbit numbers is to lay 6" plastic drain pipes on the ground and build brush piles over over the pipe. That way rabbits have a better hide in the winter.
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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 02:38 AM
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Re: Small Game Habitat

I planted a few wild plum trees this spring and they seem to be doing well.

I read small game likes to hide in plum thickets
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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 01:16 PM
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Re: Small Game Habitat


lay 6" plastic drain pipes on the ground and build brush piles over over the pipe

I agree with cmrosko,
building a few<span style="font-weight: bold"> Air Raid Bunkers</span> sure couldn't hurt.

If it weren't for Bird Dogs and Upland Game Birds I would be just another Bored Old Man!
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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 04:29 PM
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Re: Small Game Habitat

For pheasants, we are finding large thick switchgrass fields are critical to winter survival. If hawks and owls are cleaning your rabbits out your habitat needs work. Brush piles and briar thickets will work along with pine tree plantings.

"The wildlife and it's habitat cannot speak for itself. So we must and we will." Teddy Roosevelt
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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 07:34 PM
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Re: Small Game Habitat

Gentlemen,
I have to agree that habitat is very important to
all kinds of animal life, especially Grouse, Woodcock and Pheasants.
In Pa's wild Pheasant hay day we had all three in Lancaster County, and rabbits also, especially around the Elizebethtown area. The habitat was just incredible, a couple of the old farms in the Middletown area across from the Big M were so good that on any given day you could limit out on all three wild birds, and shoot a couple rabbits also. Ofcourse we shot hawks and owls on sight in those days to keep our small game numbers high.
In reality a Great Horned Owl has little limits when it comes to taking small game no matter the habitat. Now the 6' plactic pipe burried in the brush might slow him down a might, until the big bird learned to dig the pipe up, fly up in the air with the pipe in his talens, and shake the bunny out. These big birds are the ultimate flying predator, they can do just about anything to survive, especially when they are feeding their young. In reality once the Great Horned Owl reaches flight age, almost nothing except a man with a gun and the lack of food can take its life.
Pine Creek/Dave


Never care about what other people believe, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

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