I was just thinking about the discussions we've been having about what percentage of Pennslyvania State Game Lands are in young forest as opposed to what percent should be. The more I think about it, the more I wonder why we shouldn't be pushing to have more than 50% of the SGL in shrub or young forest. Most game species do better in Early Succesional Habitat (ESH) than in pole timber or mature forests. Think about it. The obvious benefactors would be grouse and woodcock, but Deer, Bear, Snowshoe Hare, Rabbits all do better in the young forest / shrub habitat. Turkeys and Squirrel sometimes take advantage of it as well.
I found the following quote regarding the carrying capacity for different forest types for deer.
The PA Game Commission has determined that early successional, or young forests, with a lot of young trees and shrubs, can support 50 deer per forested square mile over winter. Pole-timber stands, or forests in which the trees are between 5 and 11 inches in diameter, provide very little habitat for deer, supporting as few as 5 deer per-forested square mile over winter. Mature forests, which provide good cover for deer and moderate amounts of browse and mast (food), can support about 20 deer per forested square mile over winter.
If the primary purpose of the game lands is the management of habitat for wildlife and provide opportunities for lawful hunting and trapping then why isn't the majority of the game lands property in ESH?