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This is actually one of my pet peeves and something I complain to anyone in the Game Commission I can get to listen.

I fully understand and support the establishment and maintaining broadleaf fields, wildflowers and forbs in areas that are being managed for and supporting populations of farmland wildlife, such as rabbits, pheasants, woodcock and/or grassland bird populations. But, I am a big advocate of the concept of managing for the species that actually live in the various game lands habitats.

I was around when they spent millions upon millions of dollars to create herbaceous opening, actually what food lots in the middle of the big woods forested habitat are called.

For a long time after establishment those herbaceous openings, food plots, were planted to clover, winter wheat and other crops valuable to and for big woods species, such as deer, turkeys and bear. The grouse also used the edges of those opening, especially through the summer months when they had chicks in need of insects. Usually the forested edges around those food plots also had the ideal brushing areas that were preferred for the nesting needs of ground nesting birds such as turkey and grouse. Since those were the species that you would normally expect to find in big woods settings it only made sense to manage those herbaceous opening for the wildlife that actually living in those areas.

With the clover and winter wheat those food plots would be the first places the deer and turkey headed to following a long and harsh winter, or for that matter even after a mild winter. Those ideal and nutritious food supplies in the early spring allowed the deer and turkeys to recover weight they lost in the winter which then resulted in a better recruitment rate of that year's young. Then the Game Commission crews mowed those fields in the summer to keep the clover in good condition. That keep those fields in ideal condition and also in heavy use by turkeys raising poults and also by deer raising fawns or growing antlers. Those fields allowed the deer to go into the next fall in better condition and thus better able to survive a harsh winter.

That worked well for a long time. But, then the big austerity program where the Game Commission was trying to save money came along. At the same time there were some upper level habitat management personnel within the Game Commission that pushed for allowing fields and woods opening to revert back to old growth and more brush type habitats. That was partly to save money by not mowing the openings or just mowing a few strips through them but in my opinion it was also because some of those upper level management personnel were really only species specific focused. Their focus was all on grouse and woodcock with little to no management incentive toward other species and especially not for anything that would possibly increase deer or bear numbers. What has been even worse is that they trained an entire force of local land managers to focus their management practices on those narrow species objectives instead of a full range that included all wildlife populations and habitats.

Now those same food plots that cost millions of dollars to establish get little to no maintenance with little to no mowing or planting. It is also rare to ever see a turkey, deer or bear making any use of them. But, since they are deep woods areas they don't typically have rabbits, pheasant of other farmland game species using them either. And even if they did they are not located where small game hunters are going to go looking for farmland game species. In my opinion we have take a giant step backwards in forest land wildlife habitat management.

If we could just influence the Board of Commissioners and upper management personnel within the Game Commission perhaps we could once again get back on track to managing for the species that already live out there instead of trying to manage for a few pet project species that fall into their special interests.

At least that is my opinion on the subject based on what I have observed and experienced over the past couple decades.

Dick Bodenhorn
This is in 4B and they mowed the field at the top of the mountain and the small field across from the parking area 3 years ago during the summer. That was the last time they mowed that area but thanks for all the input on this subject. I talked to the food crop guy when he was mowing 3 years ago, i didnt ask why but he said they wouldn't be maintaining those fields anymore. Like you mentioned could be funding or other reasons.
 

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Don't one have to show proof of property damage before red tags are offered or how does that work..
same way they do DMAP. call the regional office an Officer comes out and checks for the deer damage, over abundance of deer or what ever, and then uses a pre determined formula for how many tags the land owner gets.
 
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