Fire Up The Chainsaw for Better Whitetail Habitat

by Scott Bestul

Food plots are all the rage these days, but if you really want to make deer happy, cut some trees. Recent studies show that 41 percent of a whitetail’s diet consists of browse, which is gleaned largely from young trees that sprout up following logging operations, or natural events, like fire, windstorms, or tornados. Also, deer seek out second-growth cover for bedding and security cover.

In short, young trees equal prime whitetail habitat, and I spent the better part of my March spare time working on a small clearcut in the woods behind my house. My neighbor owns the property and lets me hunt there. We didn’t fire up chainsaws and just start randomly whacking trees. We focused our effort on a rugged ditch where a mature stand of aspen (we call them “popple” here in the Midwest) grew, along with a smattering of other species.

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