Old Man Winter
Many ranchers or farmers associate winter with mundane activities such as feeding livestock or catching up on the small chores put off earlier in the year. However, if they also happen to be interested in wildlife management, it can be a busy time. Let's look at some of the wildlife management chores that can be done in January, February, and March.
January - February
- Prepare bare-soil fireguards and burn the area around them, or burn previously designated areas.
- Prepare to conduct woody plantings.
- Construct and install nest boxes for purple martins, wood ducks, Eastern bluebirds, and other cavity nesters or install previously constructed boxes.
- Perform maintenance on existing purple martin, wood duck, and Eastern bluebird boxes.
- Have purple martin and Eastern bluebird boxes ready for nesting season by February 1.
- Cut Eastern red cedar or bois d'arc trees for fish structures in ponds.
- Monitor turkey populations.
- Strip-disk to encourage forb production.
- Fertilize mast trees to increase production.
- Assess wildlife food abundance.
- Burn areas with excessive thatch or woody cover to improve deer and quail habitat.
- Wrap up burning program for wildlife habitat management.
- Plant native forbs and grasses for habitat improvement.
- Monitor water level in wetlands.
- Develop a preliminary grazing management plan that considers needs of targeted wildlife species.
- Plant woody plants for habitat development.
As you can see, there is plenty to keep a wildlife enthusiast busy during the winter.