In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Jim Ward (Jim Ward’s Whitetail Academy) discuss equipment for building the best whitetail habitat. Jim and Jon explain recent client trips and how frequently he works on client properties. Jim details places he has worked and how he travels across the country improving hunting properties.
Jon and Jim discuss equipment that is essential for doing habitat work. Jim explains the best equipment options for landowners. Jon explains the equipment that they bring to clients to ensure work can get done timely. Jim explains equipment that seems to provide the most efficient means to organize your ATV and UTV. Jim explains the importance of trail size and how to design a property for doing habitat work
Jim walks through the process of cutting each area and how he organizes a trail system in concert with designing in food and bedding. Jim explains the importance of smaller trail systems and managing the timber in concert with the access and deer trails. Jim explains the type of chainsaws he uses and how to remove stumps in and around the trail systems and food plots.
Jim explains how to design food plots when removing trees, and when to remove trees and/or leave stumps. Additionally, Jim explains the importance of leaving existing root systems when establishing food plots and how excavation can be a detriment to the plants you ultimately will grow to attract deer. Jim explains equipment options when using a skid steer and what attachment will benefit your equipment and layout.
Jim explains the best equipment option for most applications. Jim discusses why he uses and recommends this key implement more so than others to reduce erosion, put in ponds and waterholes and food plots. Jim explains the use of a dozer and how he personally setups properties using a dozer for ideal bedding and movement. Jim breaks down a bedding area and how he cuts timber. Jon explains his perspective on bedding and criteria he uses to improve deer interest and ensure deer use bedding areas. Jon and Jim discuss the importance of light equipment and specific equipment options that will save your bank account and back.
[00:00:00] Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management habitat improvement and hunting strategies that will help you maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe whitetail deer, share their secrets to success.
And now the founder of Whitetail Landscape. Your host, John Teeter.
Hi, I'm John Teeter, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back everybody. Let's see, uh, on the docket this week, I had, I just got back from a client visit yesterday. I am in the office. I am working on. Drawing up a bunch of consultant plans, so that's fun for me. I get to go back in the field in a day or two tonight with my headlamp.
I'm going to [00:01:00] spray a couple of my fields, my switchgrass fields on my own property. So I'm trying to work when I have the chance and work on my own property. I actually had fortunate for me, a client that I, I consulted with before and I do contin, continue consulting with him, come and actually cut timber with me.
So I actually had a hand the other day, which is really nice. Uh, that doesn't normally happen. I usually like to work kind of by myself and, uh, think through my property layout and design. But it was kind of nice to have a client helping me. So that's really pretty much been on my docket here. I've been quite busy.
Um, I've got a couple trips on the road planned, uh, in the next few weeks and I will be cutting more timber and consulting, so at least, uh, everyone knows where I'm at. I'm happy because we have, uh, Jim Wardback, and if you remember, Jim and I talked last time about kinda layout, we talked about walls of cover and kind of how he, you know, delivers, you know, his, his ultimate design for his clients.
And, and we're gonna talk more about kind of a few different topics today. Uh, let me get him on the [00:02:00] line. Hey Jim, are you there? Yes, Uhhuh. Okay, great. Uh, it's nice to have you back. What's been, uh, what's been going on with you? What have you been up to? Well, um, today I've been spraying a pasture in Missouri and I'm gonna be putting down Roundup ready Alfalfa.
Got about 120 pounds of seed with me, and so, uh, I'm gonna put it down about 12 pounds an acre tomorrow. Um, so yeah, staying busy. So are you, uh, you doing that all by hand? Um, yes. Uh, actually off of a four-wheeler, so not by hand, but so, uh, four-wheeler seems to be my best piece of small equipment that I can use.
Just gets around through the timber better, you know, and, um, and I got several pieces of equipment that I attached to it, uh, orchard Fogger that I have, that I do a lot of spraying with. Um, and then I got a couple of different deals where I can hold my chainsaws and, and my [00:03:00] spray containers and whatnot.
So, well, let's talk about that. I think this is a good topic. We're, we're gonna get into equipment today, but I wanna talk about the basics. And Sunday I was on a client property, it was a repeat client for me. He bought a bigger parcel and he had two, four-wheelers and we're, we're going down the trail. And he doesn't have a chainsaw.
He doesn't have any boxes set up or anything like that. How is your ATV set up? Like, it sounds like your utility vehicle for you. How, how is this set up? Can you go through some of the tools, equipment, how you've got it laid out? Do you have I use a tool called the Saw Hall, um, anything like that? Um, well actually I have a buddy that.
He developed this, this, uh, quick change, uh, system for me. It's, uh, I wouldn't even know how to explain it. It's got two rails that have been welded to my rack and then all my equipment has a a half inch. Heavy plastic plate that's attached to the bottom of them. And so then that'll slide right in those two rails that are, are welded there on [00:04:00] my rack.
And so I can change out to my seed spreader, to my orchard sprayer, to my, um, my chainsaw, haul and rack or you know, I got several different things I can put on there. And it takes about, uh, about a minute to change it out that way. And so, Either put my seat spreader on the front or the back. Um, just real handy deal.
So yeah, it's good. I think, I think an ATV is, I had this Honda Rancher, it was a 2004 Honda Rancher, and I tell you, you could not beat that thing. It was incredibly, yeah. You know, it was, it was probably one of the best utility vehicles I could ever had, and I like to make sure on any property where I'm working, I'm able to get.
It as close as I can to the areas that I'm working and bringing as much equipment in there as possible. So I'm not back and forth. I'm not inefficient. Right. And that's, that's one of the things I think you and I talked about when we, we were talking the other day, and, uh, I think that's really, really important.
I, and I guess the [00:05:00] advent of having UTVs with these boxes in the back now when we're going to clients, when I show up, we got a, basically a enclosed trailer. We've got all our equipment in the con enclosed trailer, we got extra, um, you know, habitat hooks or. Chain saws. We, you know, we've got four saws with us, you know, cuz things break.
And we basically, and the, the last client we're around, we, we blew a tire out. We didn't have a backup tire, which those things happened, but just pulled it out of the u, you know, utility. And we had all our stuff in there. And then we go and, and we try to get as close as we can to the, the landing sites or wherever we're working.
And, uh, seems to be most convenient that way. Are you hauling around a trailer? Are you throwing in the back of your truck? Um, I'm hauling around a trailer, but I'm using an open trailer now. I had in a closed back in the day, but this aluminum trailer, um, just a little easier to mess with. And then, um, I got a metal topper that I put on the back of my truck, so, um, that's where I got my chainsaws and everything in there.
But [00:06:00] yeah, Josh sometimes sleeps in the back of the, uh, The enclosed trailer, my partner sleeps in the enclosed trailer. I, I prefer not to sleep in the trailer, but, you know, that's it. It plays its part, you know, save, it saves sometimes on, uh, I guess expenses for hotels, but most of the time I don't mind spending time with the clients because usually they'll make us dinner and, and I always appreciate that.
Um, yeah, for sure. Right? Yeah. Yeah. So let's, uh, let's get into some of the topics that we're talking about. We, we started talking about equipment, and I think equipment's a big piece of this and trying to be efficient in the field. Kind of want to kind of drill into some of the things, topics, things that you've been thinking about lately in the field and, and what you're, you know, what you're gleaning from it, or what things you see that can be, can be done better from the standpoint of efficiency, type of equipment to use, et cetera.
Right. Um, so back in the day I was pretty much, you know, by hand and, um, as I've got older, you know, getting wore down and [00:07:00] whatnot, I've definitely seen equipment been a real handy thing, even in the bedding areas. Um, so like, like for instance, I was up in Buffalo County, Wisconsin a couple weeks ago and, and we was doing bedding areas for the client and, um, And so.
Typically what I like to do, uh, these be areas were on terrain features. There's a lot of high ground, and then the short points off of that high ground and the high ground was crop ground. And so on the edge of the crop ground, we'd done a, um, feathered edge there. And then we had two entrances that came around behind that feathered edge so that we could have our 20 yard back buck sneak trail, um, is what I have called it in the past.
But there's always a trail. Parallel on a open field, 20 yards back. And so what I was able to do, I'd done the feathered edge and then had the skid steer come in and improve that trail. Um, [00:08:00] and one thing that I typically do is cut those trees off at ground level there. And then, uh, you know, you could just slide 'em across the ground instead of trying to remove stumps or anything.
And then, then my next thing that I do in those short point bedding situations is drop the next, uh, trees. And another wall there. And then if there's enough space in the point, then we take the piece of equipment and come around and make another trail behind that. And so in the future, what we can do is come in there on my four wheeler and I use a backpack fogger sprayer, and um, I'll put a half gallon of Roundup in that.
And, um, I can drive that trail then and knock out invasives or just any type of plant that the deer do not like to eat much. And, uh, what I mean is ferns, um, oh, iron wood. Um, [00:09:00] Just all that stage, the stuff that they do not like, because in the vet area, what they typically do, they're in their browsing a couple times a day, and so they selectively take out the good stuff.
So about year three, I can run through there real quick and knock that stuff back, or any invasives that I don't want around, you know? So anytime you get sun anymore, you're gonna get some invasives. And it's real nice to have a four wheeler wide trail to be able to get in there and attack 'em. So I'm just thinking about this layout and um, you know, it's, it's sections and layers and we, we spoke about that, you know, before.
Yes, exactly. You mentioned two things. You mentioned cutting trees down and getting yourself into an area. So are you constructing the trails first? So you can get into an area, them building your walls of cover or, you know, your segregated areas. And then you also talked about, you know, removing or cutting stumps.
Rather low so you can get equipment in there. Is that kind of how you're processing this? What? What's your, [00:10:00] well, It, it, it really just depends on if I, some, if I'm working by myself or somebody else is with me. You know, if somebody else is with you, my first thing I'd like to do is to go ahead and, and paint out those trail systems, right?
So then we can get separated and they understand a hundred percent what we're up to, right? But if I'm working by myself, And I just have a piece of equipment or somebody's gonna come in with you, a piece of equipment. I actually put my walls down first because my method is I'm typically trying to get.
You know, a lot of the canopy removed and I'm trying to do it with the junk trees and um, so some of 'em will be leaning to where they're gonna go across this trail system that I want in there, right? But I still need the canopy opened up. And so the nice thing. So, so I'll put my walls down first, and then I'll chunk up those pieces that are across my trail, you know, and like eight foot pieces or [00:11:00] whatever.
So a piece of equipment can move that outta the way for me. And then also, as you mentioned there, I'm gonna go ahead and, and the trees that are in the way, now I'm gonna, I typically want just like a, a crooked trail through there. You know, I'm not trying to make a big. A big, uh, wide 12 foot wide logging road or something.
And so I'm gonna go around the nicer trees or stuff I want to keep, but just to get the piece of equipment through, I'm gonna cut the stumps off right at dirt level, right? And so they do not have to get down in the dirt at all, and they can just skid this wood right across the top of the ground without destroying anything.
And, um, it's easier on the equipment. And then when the stuff gets thicker, um, you know, I don't wanna run into a six or 10 inch stump in there with my four-wheeler when I'm trying to spray. And so that's the reason I'm cutting those off at [00:12:00] ground levels. I agree. We do the same, very similar, very similar principle just to get stuff out of the way so you're not, you know, bailing out your ATV or utv, whatever you're using or, or whatever piece of equipment you're trying to get back in there.
I think the other thing I'm, I'm wondering is if you're, you're cutting these stumps super low. You know, I, we've talked before, I know you run pretty small chainsaws. Are you, are you running to cut larger stumps? Are, do you have a bigger saw with you and you're running the smaller saw? How, how do you kinda work that out?
No, I'm, I'm running the same saws. Um, I've cut a whole lot of stumps off in my life, right? Yeah. Um, it, it's the cheapest way to do it, you know what I mean? Uh, yeah. You, but again, typically we're not talking. You know, the, the logger stumps to where it's gonna be a 30 inch stump. You know, I mean, what I'm talking about is usually taking down trees for the piece of equipment to get through there.
That's gonna be, it might be a 15 inch stump, you know, [00:13:00] and, and I'm using a 14 inch bar. And so I'll go on the downhill side of that stump, and usually I might even take my hatchet. And, and bust the bark off of it and actually kind of cut out some of the dirt because my small saw can set down. I'll, I'll bore the, the bar in there and then my saw will be set down in that hole and I just take it back and forth.
And, um, then I'll go around the other side of the dump and cut down at an angle to meet that line that I've already put in there. And, and most stumps that are 15 inches, I can have 'em cut off in about. Three minutes, right? Um, it's an easy process, uh, and if you have a vigor stump and you have more equipment, like a sledgehammer and a wedge, Soon as you undermine that piece of wood, depend on how tall the stump is.
Say it's a 12 inch stump, you undermine it. Well, now you can split those pieces off of there, you [00:14:00] know, because it's just gonna bust down to, to your cut. And again, if you got a wedge, you can knock those off real fast and then get your saw back in there and cut out a little down angle and, uh, you gotta take it out fast.
In my food plots, you know, I cut all my trees off at four foot up and um, and then it's best to have an excavator, picks them up out of there and moves 'em to the wall that I have around the outside. But now that stumps gonna sprout all the way up. And, and I know you're aware those stump sprouts are the most nutritious thing that they can get.
And, uh, So I think it was, uh, Mississippi State said that are 10 times more nutritious than any other thing that they can eat, period. And so I want that in my food plot. And I want those sprouts there. But what they'll do is eat 'em all and kill them stumps. And so in the future, now what I do, I can see the stumps if my vegetation gets up high so I can go around there and spray and all that.
But when it's dead, now I cut it off [00:15:00] below ground level and leave the whole root system in the food plot. And it's my opinion that stump under the ground's holding a lot of moisture in there. And then it's also, what it's doing is feeding the fungus and the bacteria in the soil and, um, So, I mean, and it's not hurting your equipment because it's right below ground level.
Yeah. Yep. And so yet, those timber soils where I'm doing most of my work, they're so shallow when you take out five or six dumps and then you take the top, so, and shove it into those, those stump hose, those spots that you, you know, you gotta fill in, man, you could destroy the, the health of the, of the food plot quick that way, you know?
And so, But, so yeah, I kind of went from, from bedding area to food plot there. But you know, the whole idea is, is, is the stump removal. And, and you can do it obviously with a dozer and, and a, and a backhoe. But I would rather use my doll chains and, uh, [00:16:00] and a bar that's, you know, not my brand new bars and, and, and cut 'em off a little at times.
So, yeah. That's interesting you say that because you know, The topic of, of main maintenance and, and chainsaws and the criticality of having super su superstar saws to make sure you're kind of flow flying through, cutting timber. There's times where I'm cutting really fast and there's times where I'm.
I'm kind of slowing down. And, and a lot of times it's, you know, there's an overwhelming, you know, you're there, you're on a job for a couple days, right? And you want to feel like you can get the maximum amount. They're paying you a fair amount of money and you wanna work as hard as you can, as fast as you can.
Um, and you brought up a point earlier, painting out areas, and we don't do that. Um, typically, you know, I'll have a, I'll have the layout on. Paper and I'm applying it, it gets bigger, smaller, but I'm looking at the resident trees and making some decisions. And uh, we had, we had talked about this personally the other day of just kind of thinking about your walls, your layout and kind of mapping it out.
And if you're working with like really small [00:17:00] areas and you're doing these kind of precision cuts, you're looking at a trees lean, you're looking at the, the health of the tree. You know, even when I'm looking at the trees, I'm looking at the deformities or, or bark layers to see how well a, a tree would hinge.
I'm thinking about the moisture levels, the time of year. I mean, there's a lot of things that go into actually the cutting that individual tree. And then sometimes you're just trying to get, you know, tempered down and, uh, you know, the expediency of that having, you know, good equipment and. In this case, sharp change is really critical.
And then we're just talking about, you know, busting them up when, when we're, uh, we're kind of stumping or, you know, cutting into the, the ground layer. At least some at some point, because of course, you know, you're gonna get dirt on that and that's gonna, that's gonna kind of dull out your saw. I guess the other piece of this is just having that other person or having equipment, and I guess you brought up the point earlier and we've used mulchers and, and uh, skid steers and, and all sorts of equipment, you know, and the biggest thing is for me is using that equipment to your advantage.
So, You know, we were talking the [00:18:00] other day about skid steers and their advantage in the woodlock, but also their disadvantage. They, they help you move around kind of the, the, the trees that you're bucking, trees that are, you know, on the ground, that you wanna move in other areas so you're not breaking your back.
And this could be a tractor as well with a loader on it, but you're using those to your advantage. Um, you know, how do you use equipment like that when you're doing your cutting? And what's the benefit of that, whether it's a mulcher, a skid steer, a loader, you know, loader on a tractor? What's your opinion?
Right. So I'd done a field day in Indiana this last weekend with Mossy Oak properties and we'd done one of my hubs that I would typically do. Um, and what that consists of is a small food plot and hopefully five trails coming into that. And so I went out a couple weeks before that with Jeff Mahalick, and we had painted out the travel corridors that I wanted right over top of the Deer Trail.
And then the Malter came in before I got there and, and done the [00:19:00] food plot and the travel corridors. Right. And it was through multi-floor rows and um, and Blackberry and you, we couldn't hardly walk, you know, when we were in there painting it out. And, um, It didn't take him very long at all because he knew exactly what we wanted because it was all marked out.
And that's one of the big benefits too, when you take bring equipment in, if you can go around for a couple days and get all ready for it, then there's not near as much downtime when the equipment is there and. And so, but back to, um, AUL is awesome for that, but one of the problems with the maltar is you get all that organic matter ground up on your trail, right?
And, and so I like to put seed down on those trails. And, and the problem with that is, is that organic matter's going to consume all the nitrogen in the soil, right? And so you gotta pound it with a whole lot of fertilizer to get any success at all off of it. So, [00:20:00] but again, the first year, it's the fastest method and best method that you can come up with, right?
And so, Um, there is other piece of attachments that you can put on that. One of 'em is a Harley rake and that Harley rake. I've seen a couple different versions of it. One's got like a one inch nub on it, and then one's got like a five inch, half inch thick. Plate that sticks out and that Harley rake will move rocks.
But it also basically tills the soil, but you can move all the debris off that trail with that also. So the beauty of those skid steers, whether you have a grinder head on it or all the other attachments, is that, but you know, in the, in the time that I've done this, now I'm not an operator. I mean, I run some equipment, but I've seen guys that are unbelievable at it and, but I would tell you, About 80% of the time that I see somebody bring a skid steer in the timber, they'll have the track off of it by the end of the second day, for sure.
Um, I, I rarely [00:21:00] see any, I mean, I'm saying 80% of the time within the ti two days I'm there, the tracks off of it, or probably 20% of the time they bust out the front window. Right. And, but it's just a rough environment and they're in there turning and there's rocks and, you know, and, and it's just so much to look at, uh, to pay attention to, you know, it, the equipment's getting beat up in there.
And, um, you know, I bought a little dozer a few years ago and I go into bedding areas. I make my little flat benches in there. You know, and, and push the, the timbered tops around. And then every year what you have is trees that fall down on your trail, you know, that need to be moved. And, um, but yeah, I tore that dozer up.
Unbelievable. Right? Just not having the knowledge. I had the track off of it the second day I had it in the timber, and that track was hard to get back on, you know? Yeah. But, you know, and then I, I tore the whole blade off the front of it. And, uh, a guy said, well, man, you're a little rough. Well, I've seen one of the best [00:22:00] operators that I have seen ever on a dozer rip the front blade off in the timber.
You know, um, running into those short stumps, not seeing them, you know, it's rough. A dozer is to push dirt, you know, and, uh, so. You know, you need to use the piece of equipment for what it's meant to do. You know, the excavator, as far as I'm concerned, a small excavator with a thumb on it. I mean, I haven't seen anything better for food plots, period.
You don't tear up your soil. It's got a blade on the front. You can make your walls, um, you make your travel corridors with the excavator. You know, if you're talking roads in there, I'd go back, you know, back to using a dozer or a skid steer. But yeah, every piece of equipment's got its spot. Um, I think that the next piece of equipment I'm personally gonna buy is gonna be a small excavator with a thumb.
And, uh, you know, as far as drainages and erosion [00:23:00] problems and. Water hose by your tree stands and there's just so many benefits to a small excavator. Um, so I, I agree. I agree. I think so. You know, the dozer, we've done food plots with dozers. We've had Brendan bigger dozers. Um, we had a client recently that had a, a ginormous dozer and it really depends on the material you're working with.
And Yeah. You know, we had a mulcher come in, I had a mulcher on a client's property for 10 days. That tells you how big the property is. And uh, you know, we cut trails and we had everything marked out and laid out, and we ribboned everything and we ribboned it really high. And we, you know, so the operator, we actually had a drawn up plan.
He went through, he cut all our trails, he put all our food plots in. But again, the status of that was a lot of, you know, short brushy vegetation and you know, in a hardwood setting, you know, typically around here we've got a lot of hard maple. That's not the best selection. Yeah. You know, you're better off using an excavator with a thumb.
And recently we just did [00:24:00] driveways and food plot areas with one of those, and I was. Super impressed that the expediency, instead of having the dozer, you know, we could, our placement. It's no different from having a feller buncher versus, you know, an individual out there cutting with, you know, traditional equipment, having a feller buncher lay out all the treetops in a certain way, and there's an efficiency with that.
But there's also the negative of, you got a 60,000 pound machine out there, 70,000 pound machine out there, and you got a lot of compaction issues and they can't get into every nook and cranny and cut every tree because the. Machine has to physically get in those locations. So there's a lot of trail maintenance.
So there's individual work that happens initially, then the machine either can get in there or not. And then they traditionally fell in those, you know, steep hillsides. It, it all depends on the application. But I'm with you on equipment. I think, uh, excavator where the thumb, and you brought up another point with the dozer, you know, dozers for mo moving dirt, right.
That's, you know, and, and a smaller dozer can sometime be a little bit more agile and there's, there's a lot you can do with those little dozers. But you're [00:25:00] talking about getting in areas and creating mounds or benches, et cetera. You, you used your dozer for probably trail maintenance. I mean, that's what I see most people using 'em for, but actually going in and creating bedding areas with it.
Can you just kinda explain a little bit about that? Yes. Uh, so the first place I seen it was years ago up in Buffalo County. And it was just a regular logging road. Um, that it was a bench. I mean, that's what it was basically. And the deer were just beded on like crazy and I thought, Man, I've been running around with a shovel making these flat spots and, uh, and man, look at all these beds on this, on this here, manmade bench, right?
And so I told a couple people over the years, and so I've had, I don't know, half dozen guys, um, bring their equipment out there and, um, and do just that. And so I bought a D two Komatsu. Um, Dozer and it's a small one little dresser, dozer, [00:26:00] and uh, I mean, it's just perfect for that. Right? And, um, you know, I'm just talking about, what I like to do with them is just a small area, right?
I'm saying, I'm saying that. Just big enough for basically the dozer to set there. Right. But it's just a flat, nice little bench right next to the drop off where they're gonna get that swirling wind. They get to overlook everything. Now I don't really want 'em to, so I'm gonna try to hinge, cut some trees out in front of 'em a little bit to reduce their site vision, some, um, so they can get closer to that vet area, depending on the direction I'm coming at it.
But, but yes. Um, so if I can, Explain this well enough on the phone. So I'll do my feathered edge or my outside edge, first outside edge to cut the point off from the ridge if I can. Mm-hmm. And then, so then I'm gonna have that trail right behind that wall, which I always put a trail behind a wall and, and that trail, depending on the [00:27:00] situation, I don't usually see the deer bed close to, you know, that first.
Behind that first wall covered, that'll usually be my travel trail there. And then we'll lay down another wall, and behind that is where I'm gonna make my bench or construct my flat spots next to the drop to the ravines on each side of that point. And then if I can, again, I'm gonna go out there and make a couple more.
What I want on a point in a bedding area is I want three sets of beds in there that's got three to four beds. And so I'm wanting about a dozen beds in a bedding area. And, um, I mean, depending on the size of it, obviously I see usually one family group or one bachelor group using that. Um, I feel like they want to be about 75 yards apart.
And so if you can get something made that's an acre and a half or two acres, you know, I would wanna have more beds in it than a dozen. But yeah, I wanna have three to [00:28:00] four beds in about a 10 yard circle and, and that piece, that size of it, that D two can, can do that or a skid steer. And, and even the excavator's good in that situation, right?
Yeah. Um, Excavator. I mean, it's just such a versatile thing and you have something in front of you. Uh, you're always working where you can see it, you know? Um, so often with that dozer, I'm going through briars and, uh, you know, Modello Rose. Well, man, it's easy to run into something. Yeah, it is. You know, it's funny.
You're right. You gotta be careful, like, and it's interesting your layout on these knobs and points and visual screening and having, It was just funny. I was, I'm just thinking about some of the, the things that I have, rules and requirements when we're doing, you know, my mind works very simple, right? I look at the vegetation, I look at how I can manipulate it.
Then I think about, you know, what rule sets I can apply and, you know, I have like certain criteria based on. We'll, [00:29:00] we'll say a knob and you're talking about how many beds you can fit in there. We're trying to maximize the amount of bedding, but also in some cases food. And you brought up the point earlier, these deer get up, they mill around, right?
They're kind of loafing these areas. You want to give 'em food availability, uh, concert of food cover. Visual advantage, yet you wanna segregate them. There's a lot to think about when you're kind of doing these layouts and compartmentalizing different areas. I think people have heard, Jake and I talk about this on the podcast, but to your point, getting there and being strategic, one of the problems we run into nine times outta 10 is mismanaged timber.
And you've got like really large timber and. Not a lot of smaller timber to work with kind of that, you know, codo tree or trees, you know, where, where they have, you know, multi-age species, so they don't have a lot of that. So it's, it's basically kind of like a, a mono crop of trees and, and usually, you know, they're, they're a poor form and you're trying to just get debris down and just trying to create structure and make it a little more uneven age.
And one of the things that I've always struggled with is, you know, picking those right locations. [00:30:00] Somebody reached out to me today and said, Hey, every time I clear out a a, a bedding location, the deer won't bed there. And, and I said to him, you know, it's probably the location that you're selecting is not good enough, you know, based upon.
Kind of what, what I would assume are the preferential areas where they'd bed. So when you're starting to look at your layout and stuff like that, forensically, you're gonna pick key spots where the deer are gonna bed. Like back in the day, you know, there may be a Windrow area, and in that windrow tree tipped over.
And it created a mound. And that mound would be an ideal location for bedding, assuming it has the right structure in concert with that mound. And it's picking a lot of those out in the landscape. And I say to most clients, you know, on an acre I want at least 70 beds. And they're like, well, that's a lot.
And I said, actually, that's the minimum. And, and I throw that number out as just kind of an artificial number, but it gets them thinking about, you know, how many locations am I gonna start to in place within these bedrooms areas, and how do I create these bedrooms And. A lot of times when we're architecting it, we, we use like [00:31:00] a, a similarity to a home build and, you know, the size of a kitchen, you know, what amenities do we want in there?
And we think about food, water cover. And then we think about, you know, how to create the right volume of debris so they're not too controlled or they feel like they can't escape an area. And so it's like thinking about all those in concerts. Uh, I guess, uh, Jim, it sounds probably pretty crazy, but I have kind of rule sets with that each time I go in and I think about the distance between debris.
And picking those bedding locations out first, even before we get equipment in there. Cuz I don't want some of the big equipment to destroy kind of those key locations because you can flatten out in a destroying area and if you fell a tree wrong, then you gotta remove it because that was a key location where you could get a deer to kind of lay out, oh, you know what you're saying, what you're saying.
A hundred percent right. And so when I first started building bedding areas, I don't even know for how many years ago that was now, probably 17, 18 years ago. [00:32:00] I didn't know about those key locations, right? Yeah. So I was going in, making a hut, making a flat spot, putting a log behind it, making sure they can get straight in and out, um, each side on the same elevation or terrain features straight in, lay down, and then straight out if they want, and.
So I went along for a while, going back to properties and looking at that. Right. Well then just like what you're saying, um, there's key locations in there and so real quick, uh, I mean it took me, you know, like just a couple of years of realizing, my goodness, here it is. Right. And so I can't remember if, if it was a podcast that we'd done or another one, but there was a map guy that got a hold of me, his name was Russ Guthrie.
And, um, What he done, he's got a way of, of making a two to 4% slope, one color, and then like a four to 20% slope, a different shade. Hmm. [00:33:00] And, and so these here drops. So what it is, what I see, especially in, in any, um, terrain features, hilly it, the, the ideal location is where it comes out flat and drops super fast.
Yeah. And, uh, they're there. I mean, I'm saying, If you have the, the population there, they're going to be there. And, and so anyways, since Russ sent me a map of my property, he'd never been on it. And, uh, he was 75% right on my beds, on my property. Never been on it. Just listened to me talk and then threw that map out there, right?
And, and I was blown away by it. And so I got ahead and we talked for, and I met him down Florida actually, but, Back two. It's really that simple. It's those terrain features. Now, don't get me wrong, they're gonna bed in other spots too, depending on your dear numbers. And just like you said, you know, if there's a log laying there in the way, or a bunch of brush [00:34:00] laying there, or a rosebush in the premium spot, they can't do that.
Um, years ago, Tony Le Pratt. He was building beds and, and I'd follow up behind him and Chris was the guy that was doing it and just an unbelievable, um, good guy. Uh, Chris is, but they were putting in, um, ground clear to keep the bed open from, from vegetation growing. Right. And I was like, man, that's silly.
Well, I'll tell you what, The guys that kept doing it on their properties, that worked really well. And, uh, I mean, it's one of the things that I definitely recommend, but, um, in those key locations, um, It's even a better situation, right? But a visual open spot with no vegetation in it is definitely an attraction as long as you got cover around that also.
And typically your beds are go, uh, your dough are gonna use those beds that aren't associated with the terrain feature. The reason that the terrain feature is so [00:35:00] critical, it's the same spot that we dug our fighting hose when I was in the Marine Corps infantry. It's the safest location and that's what the buck is after.
And, um, So yeah, if, if I go into the vet area, I'm looking at those locations from a distance, whether I'm painting it out or not. But if I got somebody else with me, I've even started painting the ground exactly a five foot line on the ground and saying downhill from that line is where the bed is, and laying those beds out that way.
So again, No, you know, and, and you got a smell there and all that, but I'm telling you why it's not, they're gonna be there. Right? It's not long that it's messing with the deer and uh, but it keeps those spots open and it helps us move faster and, uh, it's that effective really. So, and I think the point you're making here is just observing, and you bring up a point where I'm looking at the landscape, I'm looking at the slope.
I'm looking at the type of soil, the species, like [00:36:00] the whole nine. You're and, and I can tell you this is the greatest thing in the world. I'm having this conversation with a client. And, uh, I said, there's gonna be beds. You know, we were a ways away. There's gonna be beds up here on this particular area, and they're gonna be isolated beds.
You're gonna see a lot of fecal matter. You're gonna see a lot of fecal matter in the beds, like within the bed. And, um, you know, I'm kind of pointing this all out to him and I just, he sends up there and he goes, John, I found it. I found it. And all it is, is observation. It, it's not me being. You know, a, a, you know, a, um, a psychic, I'm, I'm able to observe what Deere are doing and we're replicating it, and maybe we're adding a bit to it.
You know, we, I talked to you recently, Jim, about a client property that I was working on where there was a ton of windthrow trees. They had a microburst, and it was by far, I mean, not even a question. I've been on. I can't tell you how many properties, but by far it was the densest, most well-managed vegetation that I had seen.
And basically when a windthrow tree gets knocked over, the root system stays [00:37:00] intact. One of the goals we have in kind of maintaining some of this vegetation is the trees live well. Yeah. Ultimately, That root system survives most times during the year because it, it's still ConEd. The, the stem is still obviously whole and then you get a lot of shoots as this tree kinda lays over.
A microburst came in through there and a lot of times, depending on where that microburst came in, it could be on contour. So those trees fell on contour, which this just happened to be this way. And you know, and some not totally on contour and you just cut out some of the tops, but, You know, you'd get stem shoots off 'em and it would just be unbelievable.
Ton of choke cherry chokecherries by far. I don't care what anybody says in our area. Like the northeast choke cherry is my, my absolute 100% favorite plant, period. Great cover, great food. It's a great resource for deer. Um, it'll, I'll compete, you know, everyone focus on roers or dogwood. I'll take a choke cherry thicke any day of the week.
And, uh, no kidding. Yeah. Not even close. And, uh, and I've been on, you know, hundreds of properties at this point. Absolutely not even a question. And, and [00:38:00] I, and I saw that replication in that area, and I just told the client, I said, this is the 10 best acres of betting I've ever seen in my entire life. You know, he spent a lot for the property, but you know, now we gotta go in there and manage it.
And it's going in there and creating kinda the right space and kind of things we were talking about earlier. And I just was super impressed and I'm like, boy, can I, can I replicate this? Can I replicate this with an excavator? You know, can I, can I knock over trees in a certain way? And, and you can, and we can do it in small increments if we have the equipment in, but it's, it's way too labor intensive to make.
You know, an entire area, an eight 10 AC area, a windthrow like that. And it's just right. It's too, too way, too hard to do. But you can do it in, in some capacity that that could give you guys some ideas who are thinking about, you know, the next generation of strategy. That's one of my strategies that I'm, I'm thinking about now, and great elevation block.
You can change your elevation as you tip that tree over, depending. You know, again, what, what trees are adjacent to it. But you, you've gotta think about what you leave residual and, and how you create that visual blockage, or how do you keep these trees alive [00:39:00] or whatever you're trying to do. Um, and most times when I'm hinge cutting trees, you know, there's a strategy with each line that I'm cutting.
Do we want it to live? Do we want it to die? What's the structure? What's the elevation? You know, what's the benefit? It's not always. You know, for bedding purposes. So, you know, I just, I'm thinking about each one of these cuts and you're whole painting things out. You know, I talked to Josh about that the other day and I was just like, we gotta slow down and paint these areas out.
Cuz we're, we're dealing with a lot of clients that are like 60 to 80 acres and, and they're bedding areas. 20 to 30% of the areas are gonna be be, but when we show 'em what to do, we want to take our time with them. And I think that would help, you know, the layout, you know, kind of construct a little bit better, at least in my mind.
Well, When I'm trying to take multiple trees down at one time, um, to where I'm, I'm keeping them more attached and I'm making, I'm making 'em tangled together to where they're making my wall. Yeah. Um, arrow and more dense. Um, that's one of the big benefits [00:40:00] of doing the painting, you know, because I could sit there and study and even paint an arrow on it, um, to where you know how it is you get working.
A long day you get tired and you could just forget, you know, you look at the tree from the wrong angle or whatever, and, um, take it the wrong direction when you're in there and, and cause yourself a, a 20 minute cleanup job, you know, uh, to make yourself real tired at the end of the day. But, uh, no, that painting, it, it has, it's made a big difference, especially like I mentioned earlier, when I have other guys working with me.
And, um, you know, it's dangerous when you have three or four guys working in a, in a, in a area and, um, and your trees are 30 to 40 foot tall, so, yeah, no, it is, it's good to stay together and it is tough when you have three guys versus two guys, or four guys versus two guys, and the two guys are working together.
I, I like the concept of [00:41:00] working with a partner and then talking through the issue and trying to resolve, like, What's the best way to approach this when we're doing kind of our layout, you know, and I just, you know, I kind of work off sticks in the woods. I'll clear out the, the area, we'll, we'll lay it down.
We'll say, okay, this is what we're working for, trees. These are economic crop crop trees. You know, these are non valued trees. These are future value, okay? This is where the deer are preferably gonna be. What are we gonna do here? What are we gonna do there? And that we take the map design and kind of apply it in real life.
And sometimes you can take the map and say, okay, it's relevant to a certain point, but when you get really specific, You know, you're picking out these key areas that we were just kind of discussing, and you gotta place trees in the right way, otherwise you're creating more work for yourself. And the last thing I wanna do is get equipment in there and have to move trees treetops around.
I wanna be able to do it with hand by hand. And, uh, that's why this is sole labor intensive, you know? And, and we're trying to get away from using the hook as much and, and knocking trees into trees to make it a little bit easier on us. Because, [00:42:00] you know, I, I get tired wedging trees. I mean, there's, you know, there's, there's only.
You know, if you take a, a three and a half pound ax and you're smashing a 12 inch wedge, you know, hundreds of times during the day, and, uh, you know, it reverberates and your hands are hurting you by the end of the day. And, uh, well, shoulder and elbows hurting by the end of the day. Yeah, yeah. You're exactly right.
And, and it's like you mentioned, I mean, it takes more time, right? To pound all those wedges, you know, you gotta set your saw down and, uh, go through the whole process. So, No, um, knocking trees over with other trees. I mean, it's taken me a long time to get there, but the best way to do it is by painting them out.
Yeah. So, yeah, I love that strategy. Alright, we're way past our time. I think we went about 13 minutes over, so I wanted to, you know, anything else you want to talk about, anything else that's on your mind? Um, well, I mean, the last thing talking about equipment. If a [00:43:00] person's gonna end up getting equipment, don't forget to have a shed or something to put it in, because leaving a nice piece of equipment, setting out in the weather and I'm doing it right now, um, causes a person a lot of issues with rodents, chewing on wires, a whole nine yards.
Right. And, um, I had a, a bird nest in my breather, um, on the dozer. You know, there's just so many little things that happen if you got it out, out in the woods or out in the weather. So yeah, that's a good, good bit of advice. If you can keep it indoors, it's gonna last longer. And by the way, do your maintenance at the end, at the time you put your equipment away, not come springtime.
I think a lot of people, you know, now, you almost have to, cuz you don't know when you're gonna get equip, you know, parts in, but, you know, do your maintenance as you put your equipment away. I'm. I'll, I'll laugh at myself today. I, I'm going out with a backpack sprayer after we get off this call and I'm spraying, spraying a hillside and, um, I went up to the hardware store and, uh, I [00:44:00] don't have a g a gasket on the top of my, my, uh, my, my top.
And so I'm just gonna cut out a gasket and throw it in there. Cause I don't, I don't want the, uh, herbicide running on my back. And I'm thinking to myself, well, I could have done that. You know, six months ago when I put that backpack, you know, sprayer away. And it's just, it's little things like that that you gotta be on top of.
Maybe a small example, but, you know, I think maintenance is huge and, uh, a lot of times, you know, it's important. I maintained this chainsaws and some of these chainsaws are throwaways at this point. I'll tell you one thing, Jim, I did work with Steel last year and they sent us a bunch of prototypes and we were, we were, uh, We were bashing 'em.
Our job was to break 'em. And we did. And uh, we didn't drop trees on 'em, but, you know, almost, but we, we ran 'em to, we grant ran 'em to the, you know, to their desks and they were like, ah, I think they were like 180 s you know, steel 180 s Uhhuh, somewhere in that realm. And, uh, it, it was amazing that the ability, you know, cuz I've been running those 2 0 1 t handle sauce and I, I for some reason love a T handle saw.
I've gotten so used to that. But [00:45:00] those little 1 71 80 s I think a lot of people wanna spend a lot of money on saws. You know, you can use these saws and eventually they're throwaways and they're super light. I want the lightest equipment that I can have, and that includes, you know, axes and, um, sometimes I'll bring like a splitter wedge with me to, to, you know, if I really want to get that tree knocked over, uh, with a, with a small, you know, sludge, hammerer.
But a lot of times I'm running two and a half pound. Long hickory ax and I got two 12 inch, uh, Matson wedges with me. And that's pretty much what I've been running for the past six months. Uh, Josh and I have been, we, we fight on wedge sizes and equipment, but that's pretty much what we've been running and I'm trying to stay as light as possible, you know, just, uh, I think a holster for the, for the ax, I can throw up my back and I got my light chainsaw and we're, we've been running those 2 0 1 s, but.
Yeah, there's a lot of options for people out there. I would say stay light light's, I think critical in this, in this, uh, unless you gotta buck up big stuff and you got a lot of stuff on the ground, that, that's my recommendation for p for folks. I think. You think similar to that? Oh no, exactly. Um, okay. You know, [00:46:00] I anymore, I carry a gas bottle with me so I don't have to run back to my gas can too much now.
And as you mentioned, I'm using the, the one 70. Steel one 70, I put a 14 inch bar on it actually, instead of running that 16 inch bar that it comes with. Okay. But I'm using a east wing all metal hatchet. Okay. Because when I'm counting those wedges, my handles keep getting busted out of, out of my hatchets, you know?
And so then I went with a. With the all steel one, but no, I mean, you know what it is, you can carry an extra couple of pounds by the end of eight or 10 hour day, um, up and down those hills, especially out there where you're at. Uh, it's too much. That five and a half pound chainsaw and just a small gas bottle.
I can go out for an hour and a half. And, um, and the clients laugh, Jim, but like, and, and I'm not opposed to walking, but I'm, I don't wanna walk. I want to get as close as I can to the location, you know, without [00:47:00] worrying about smashing the equipment. And yeah, it, it just allows me to be way more effective.
So when you're doing your design and layout, and I think Jim was getting to this point earlier, like, make sure you can get in these areas and make sure that you can work as close as possible and think about. Maintenance. He brought up that earlier. How are you gonna maintain this area over time and how are you gonna get in there with equipment?
I think most people don't recognize that. And in the south, with your, you know, your, the amount of vegetation that you're dealing with, and I know that there's drought periods, but the volume, uh, of vegetation that you're dealing with, your, your length of your season is so great that if you don't have access into those areas, they, they become kind of over overcome by vegetation.
In the north, you have the same issue. You may not have. Necessarily the growing season like that, but after a few years, you're, you're dealing with a lot of woody material and how you're gonna set it back or using a brush haw, you know, chainsaw and end ends up almost being like a weed whacker for most people.
And it's, it's just a lot of work. I think people don't recognize, you know, the volume of work you're getting into and you gotta have good access into those areas. So, you know, so there's [00:48:00] nothing in the. In the outdoors, that's a one and done. You know, I mean, you're going to have to do a maintenance, whether you're doing a food plot, a bedding area, water hose, whatever you're doing, licking branches.
And so the access, just like you're saying, um, is just, and the four wheeler with the, with the winch on the front of it. Has been my best method for that. So that's good. That's a good point. All right. We're way over the time, but it was good catching up with you. Happy to have you back on the show. We'll talk to you again soon and hopefully we see each other soon, so, uh, yeah, we'll talk later.
Look forward. All right. Hey, thank you. Thanks, Jim. Bye. See ya. Maximize your hunt is a production of whitetail landscapes. For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt. Check out whitetail landscapes.com.