If you have thought about harvesting timber on your property, now is the time! Winter is perfect for meeting your wildlife management goals and having fresh growth this summer, you can use those new skid roads for new food plots with just a little prep work.
By using the skid roads created during the logging process, a land owner can gain several acres of cleared food plot space. If your loggers are, like ours, avid woodsmen, they understand the importance of wildlife and woodlot management. Our team was very receptive to my plans and they went out of their way to assist me when it fit in with their operations. Creating skid road food plots is one strategy that works for them and for land owners.
Use What the Loggers Left
In a previous post, I mentioned a whitetail bedding area I had created near our current home. The skid road food plots I am planting this spring are adjacent to this bedding area; located on the west edge on a flat piece of skid road. I ask the timber cutters as they top dressed the skid roads to double the width of the road in two areas approximately 50 yards apart.
I also asked that the loggers push the remaining tree tops up into a windrow along the south and north side of the plots leaving entrance to each end. This created two 20‘ x 100‘ food plots areas. In areas there were no tree tops, I used the hinge-cutting technique to complete the screen of trees and brush leaving only a few trails into and out of the food plot.
The screen of trees leaves a barrier to not only guide the deer in and around the food plots, but it also serves as a screen to make the deer few safe when using the food plot. By limiting access into the area and allowing the screens to grow up with brush, the deer will begin using the plots during the daylight hours and feeding at their convenience throughout their day.
The windrow brush piles resulting from the area’s cleanup serves a secondary purpose as well, it provides birds and small animals like turkey, grouse, squirrels, and rabbits, some security during their food plot use. For your smaller ground game such as rabbits, it provides a new home option near a food source to winter and raise their young come spring. Your squirrels will weave in and out of the tangle hiding nuts for the winter. All and all, it creates another win-win situation for your wildlife management plan.
Other Strategies for the Skid Road for both Loggers and Homeowners
Additionally, most logging operations are required to use erosion and sediment control techniques. Over seeding the skid roads with new seed and cutting erosion control ditches on the steeper grades are two examples. By talking with my timber crew up front, I was able to work out which seed they would use to re-seed the remaining skid roads. Not only do I get to plant several new food plots, all the skid roads will have a wildlife seed blend broadcast on them also. This seed blend will benefit all wildlife throughout the property and not be whitetail specific. Another example of finding common ground with your team and working it into your timber contract.
Partners in Wildlife Management
Whether you are timbering your entire property or just creating a clear cut or two to support your wildlife management plan, using skid roads to add food options for your wildlife is a win-win. Discussing your goals and desires up front with your timber team will make this an easy endeavor and you are likely to find that the loggers are more than happy to assist with your little projects as long as it is on their timeline and fits their plans. Not only do you get a couple new food plots for free, you also get several acres of additional plantings free as well.