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Don't you dare make "this" improvement on your property!

Written By Brett Smith

Sadly, whitetail season has come to a close in most parts of the country. The upside is, when one season ends, another begins. It’s more likely than not that your season didn’t go well as planned. Hunting mature whitetails, or whitetails in general can be time consuming, mentally draining, and just plain old tough sometimes. Now you find yourself thinking, “how can I ensure our next season is better than the last?” The answer is simple, kind of. It’s all about creating the ultimate habitat when it comes to holding more deer. But what is the single most important thing you can do to ensure your property is better than it was in the past from a habitat management standpoint? Let’s dive in…

You’ve seen the videos, you’ve read the articles. There’s about a million ways to “Improve” a whitetail parcel. Personally, I believe that there’s one improvement that rivals them all. And we can accomplish this task or improvement RIGHT NOW! Timber stand improvement, also known as TSI, is hands down the best way to create better whitetail habitat on most properties. What is TSI? TSI is all about removing the mature timber on your parcel to ultimately create more habitat at a deer’s level. Once timber gets too mature, it blocks sunlight from hitting the forest floor, and therefore, no regeneration takes place and there becomes less quality habitat.

There are a handful of different strategies used when it comes to opening the canopy on a whitetail parcel. The almighty hinge cut is one of the most common, but being totally honest, after hundreds of property visits across the country, it’s one of my least favorites. Hinge cutting is basically cutting though a partially until it tips over, but stays intact. This strategy creates instantaneous side cover, which technically, creates more habitat. There are a couple of downsides when it comes to hinge cutting, and they’re pretty significant. One, hinge cuts require maintenance every couple years. The second one is the real dagger. Hinge cutting can actually cost you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars! What do I mean?

Let’s say you buy your dream property and you instantly know that the timber is far too mature to hold a significant amount of deer. What do you do? You go in there and start cutting a bunch of timber, most times, hinge cutting due to misinformation on social media. Next thing you know, you cut down some Oaks, Walnuts, Maples and who knows what else. Those types of timber could have brought in a significant amount of money if they were to have been logged by a logging company. In the current market, a good Oak stand alone could be worth 3,000 dollars per acre. Yes, PER ACRE! You actually could have made money creating better habitat! Do yourself a favor, bring in a local forester, a professional habitat manger or even a handful of loggers to help identify what type of timber is on your property.

At the end of the day, it’s most important to hold your horses, do you research, and recognize exactly what types of timber are on your given property. Don’t be the property owner who makes that 5, 10, or even 50,000 dollar mistake. Get rich, and build the ultimate whitetail parcel!


May 11, 2023

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Brett Smith


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