Among the easiest and most used wildlife management tools are clipping, mowing or bush hogging — whichever name you choose to use.
Clipping, in my opinion, is the second best tool in wildlife management if preformed correctly and in a timely manner.
Most landowners start clipping in September or October before hunting season starts. They want that neat, clean look as well as nice trails to ride on and pretty, open fields to easily see wildlife moving across.
While all of this is beneficial to the landowner and hunter, it is not beneficial to wildlife.
Late clipping is the most used and the most destructive tool in wildlife management and here is why: Some of the most beneficial plants for deer, quail, and turkey are annuals and perennials that are producing seed from July to November. If these plants — such as partridge pea, ragweed, honeysuckle, wild plums, blackberries, etc. — cannot produce a seed, they will not be present next year. Basically, late clipping destroys habitat and decreases available browse and forbs for all wildlife.
I am not telling landowners and managers to stop late clipping. Instead, I’m suggesting you just change the way, amount, and timing of your clipping.
Remember, the golden rule is to keep browse below the 3-foot to 4-foot range where wildlife can reach it and also keep the browse young, tender, nutritious, and palatable.
What is the proper clipping method for wildlife?