Belladonna and I were hunting out at the deer lease tonight.
I was eyes-and-ears. Bella was the designated shooter. She saw seven. I saw zero. The seven were too far off for any kind of shot.
I was thinking about something I had recently read:
In different studies separated by nearly the span of the last decade, Dr. Marcus Lashley from UT (2011) and Mark Turner from AU (2020) showed us the value of opening the canopy for beneficial deer forage. They learned that girdling and spraying trees and large shrubs with a mix of herbicides with a goal to reduce the canopy by about 30% can realize more than 500% increase in biomass of deer forage! Both studies included low intensity fire at different intervals. SourceThe lease is about 25% wooded. Much of that is subject to flooding. The primary species is Silver Maple. A sixty-foot tall Silver Maple is not very attractive to deer. The female trees do produce seeds at a time when young wood ducks are foraging...if there are any wood ducks nesting nearby.
Some of those trees are "wolf trees". That is, they have huge crowns and are probably hollow. Basically, widow-makers.
In a perfect world, I would be able to convince the land-owner to cut those trees for firewood and to allow me to plant species in the newly opened up, sunny spots that offered better timber or more wildlife benefits.
One option would be to plant shade tolerant species ahead of time and let nature take its course. Unfortunately, most of the best mast producers are light demanding. Beech and pawpaws are exceptions and some sources claim that persimmon is not light demanding as a young sapling.
Beech nuts are difficult to come by but I have an abundance of persimmon seeds. Persimmon has the additional benefits of dropping fruit during Michigan's firearm deer season and being tolerant of wet feet.
Hope springs eternal.