In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Eric Lance (Hunt Science) discuss waterfowl and deer habitat and land management tactics. Jon discusses his recent client visits and struggles he is evaluating on his own property and his strategy around drought proofing his property. Eric explains his business and podcast that listeners can consider when selecting a more in-depth discussion on the science side of hunting. Eric explains his expertise as a wildlife biologist, and his emphasis on game species such as predators, birds, and deer. Eric explains his expertise on upland birds and waterfowl and where he is headed with his career.
Eric explains the benefit of wetland habitat and resources like Ducks Unlimited. Eric explains the different wetlands systems and the differences of each and the benefits on the landscape. Eric explains the number one problem as it pertains to our habitat for waterfowl. Eric explains how to evaluate your wetland for quality. Eric discusses managing water in an easy to do manner that will amplify interests. Eric discusses the soil and the related plants that create preferences of ducks and deer.
Eric provides a layout and explanation of engineering of wetland areas for waterfowl. Eric details the benefit of duck ponds and explanation of what he prefers and how a small amount of water can go a long way. Jon and Eric discuss nesting areas and ideal cover for waterfowl and deer habitat. Eric suggests using artificial intelligence apps to evaluate plant life and consider the benefit of the respective plants to the animal that the landowner is trying to promote. Eric discusses managing existing vegetation (i.e. dogwoods) and how to promote those on the landscape.
Eric and Jon discuss hemorrhagic disease and suggest how to reduce these concerns on your property. Eric provides real life examples of how to think on a larger scale on disease and how to widen the habitat preferences to reduce populations around water resources. Eric explains why he does not use waterholes and why they may be unnecessary on your property. Jon explains the nutrient profile of plants and the difference in utilization in aquatic areas. Jon provides an aquatic plant that will provide excellent resources to deer on the landscape. Eric discusses the differences on why certain plants are eaten and a geospatial study on why deer may use certain areas over others.
Eric Lance: [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.
John Teater: Hi, I'm John Teeter, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back everybody. Hopefully everybody's doing well. I am in the middle of working on some layout and plans for clients. I'm on the road next week, again with a client and I've got some, my, my own projects. I'm working on my own property.
I was consulting with my partner today and we're dealing with a lot of drought across the [00:01:00] northeast and. I want to try to drought proof my property. I've got some ideas and things I've recommended when I've consulted, and I need to apply some of those same recommendations on my own property, so to behold myself to a higher standard or at least a standard that I recommend, I'm trying to make some changes on the landscape.
It's water management is a huge piece of the puzzle. And emphasizing, drought tolerant properties and thinking about this over the multiple podcasts we've done is thinking about the utilization of water that could be, creating ponds. That could be managing water with swales or ditches, or trenches.
It's just utilizing that resource and when you need it. And it's available to you, that makes all the property that much better. And I think most of us could say, and Perry Batten was on this previously and we talked about, applying about, 30 to 40,000 gallons per acre to get, adequate, water across his food plots for the jury, boys, that just seems [00:02:00] like a whole lot of work and resources and there are alternatives to that as well.
So I may talk a little bit about how to drought proof your property. It's not just plants, plants obviously help the water retention and moisture issues, but it's thinking more about, landscape shaping and I can provide some examples and actually maybe some of the stuff we'll talk about today.
I have a new guest on Eric Lance, and I'm gonna let him introduce himself. I wanted to have somebody with a science background, but has practical application that has some real world experience, has done a lot of projects. All across the board, whether they're wetlands, any type of project related to environmental changes and thinking more about the ecology of things.
And he's a great guest. He has been on multiple other podcasts. He has his own podcast we'll talk about, and I'd suggest everyone listens to that, but we'll get him and we'll get him on today. We're gonna talk, we're gonna go left on you. We're gonna talk about Waterfall today, but we're gonna integrate some deer stuff into that conversation as well.
Hey, Eric, how are you?
Eric Lance: [00:03:00] Good
John Teater: man. How you doing? Good, good. Hey, I wanna just quickly, have you introduce yourself to the audience. This won't be our first go around. We'll have multiple conversations, but I kinda want to have them just quickly about your background and then maybe talk a little bit about what you wanna talk
Eric Lance: about today.
Okay? Sounds good. Yeah, okay. Yeah, so my name's Eric Lance. I am a wildlife biologist here in northeast Ohio. Thes pretty much, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, the surrounding states is kinda my primary footprint. I have my own company called Land Source Consulting, where I do not only private landowner habitat work and consulting, but I also do a lot of.
Large scale environmental permitting work for utility companies, development companies, other construction companies. Pretty much anything that needs environmental permitting or anything like that, I pretty much handle. I also have the Hun Signs podcast, which I'm the host and the creator of.
You can find it on the video portion of the podcast on YouTube, of course. And then the audio platforms all your major ones, apple, Spotify, Amazon, Google. All those different types of platforms. You can find us there if you'd like audio versions of the [00:04:00] podcast themselves. Or you can go find more information about us on our website, hun signs podcast.com.
And yeah man, that's pretty much the best way to get ahold of me. Gives all avenues for people to reach out to me and find all stuff that I'm doing. Yeah.
John Teater: That's awesome. Thanks for sharing that. And please, folks follow along, with Eric and let's get into the topic and this.
Okay. We've done a bunch of different conversations you and I have had offline, but we've also, we, in, in this podcast, we've talked about different areas and focus points. We've done, grouse, we've done Turkey. We wanna talk a little bit about waterfall and. I want you to give a little bit of background on, on your experience with Waterfall and then, diagnose some of the concerns and issues that you're seeing across the landscape and your perspective on how to either remedy those or evaluate those further.
Yeah, for sure.
Eric Lance: I'm a wildlife biologist. I'm not a, I don't really specialize in one thing. I know a lot of people, will say, Hey, I specialize in whitetail, I specialize in upland game birds or forestry, or, whatever. It's, so as biologists, it's like the medical field.
You're [00:05:00] a biologist that, okay, that's that's great, but what's your kind of niche? What's your specialization? For me, I started off early in my career. I was involved working for a company out of undergrad where, I was the diversified guy, I was the gray man. I would go over, I would be doing, fish shocking, macro invertebrate studies.
I would be doing some timber work, I'd be doing some environmental permitting, some avian surveys, you name it, the list went on. From a very early on in my career, I became a, more of a generalist now as I've. Gotten older and as I've, gotten into, more of the wildlife world myself, I would say that my emphasis is on gain species target species that are, popular for hunting.
So that could be, large mammals like whitetail deer. It could be, going after predator management. But also, I'm a big bird guy, so I would say overpass. Five years or so. I've really gotten into, upland game birds. I've got my German shorthair pointers that are a couple years old, and that really solidified my interest in the upland game bird, [00:06:00] side of things with pheasants and quail and growls and things like that.
But that also moved me into, getting into more waterfowl hunting that I. Tended to stay away from early on because I knew I knew like most of us, we start hunting something new and we're like, oh my gosh. It's super exciting and you get into it and I knew it was gonna consume me.
A buddy of mine invited me out first. Waterfall hunt, smacked a couple mallards. And it was just on from there. I've been pretty involved in our local branch of Delta Waterfowl. I'm a member of Delta Waterfowl, a member of Ducks Unlimited all the different conservation organizations I support.
But that got me more into the habitat side of waterfowl. I. Working closely with, mallards and their habitat and nesting needs here in Ohio. Yeah, that's kinda where the thing started with waterfowl. I'm probably gonna be starting a PhD program here pretty soon to be doing something more specifically related to waterfowl, but that's still in the work.
So that, that's kinda where, the Cliff notes version, if you will, and how I got into
John Teater: waterfowl. Yeah, no, it's very interesting and [00:07:00] it's good background for everyone to kinda. Recognize, your vast experience and I appreciate that. And your practitioner as well, right? You're in the field, you're making recommendations and that's huge.
And that's why I wanted to have you on the podcast. In addition to that, we're gonna, hopefully in the future have you diagnosing more of some of the papers we wanna look at. The educational side of things and taking some of that information and applying it and giving people kind of some real life, examples of, this is what was learned, this is what was studied, and then a part of that, this is how you apply it.
And that's where we think, you could add a lot of value to the overall podcast. All right, so let's get into some of the issues widespread. And then let's like drill it down to the landscape scale and then let's look at, maybe some specific opportunities for clients that have water resources or don't have water resources and how they can benefit their property from the standpoint of habitat design development for ducks specifically.
And obviously it's gonna be, species dependent, et cetera. And you can caveat and [00:08:00] provide your explanations. But that's what I want to go with on this combo.
Eric Lance: Yeah. Yeah. So I would say if you narrow it down when it comes to waterfowl, one of the biggest issues that we have is a reduction of wetland habitat of quality wetland habitat.
So I mentioned that, I do a lot of environmental permitting, so I spend a lot of time on the pre-project planning for, construction projects, whether it's a utility project, whether it's a big commercial development project, whatever. It's, and. The good wetland habitat is really hard to come by.
You've got a lot of organizations out there, like Ducks Unlimited, for example, does a great job. As far as building and restoring wetland habitat, across their range. They do a lot of those things and anybody that, follows an, any Ducks Unlimit member or staff member on LinkedIn or those other social media profiles, you're gonna see a plethora of projects that they're getting involved with.
The reduction of wetland quality wetland habitat. I'm not gonna go crazy. Cause I know, we're time constrained on this episode, when it comes to a wetland, [00:09:00] wetlands are not, they don't have to have water, they don't have to have visible water. So you can have, basically there's three types of wetlands.
There's emergent wetland systems. There's scrub shrub wetland systems, enforced wetland systems, and those are the three that we'll talk about. Emerging wetland systems are those wetlands that are non woody vegetative in nature. So those are the wetlands that you're gonna see maybe in a field, that's got some standing water and it's got wetland vegetation and things like that in it.
Then as you start getting a little bit closer to, timber stands, you start getting some brambles, you start getting some shrubs and things that are more conducive for wetland environments, you start getting what we call scrub shrub wetland, right? So that one's gonna have a little mix, a little mosaic of some woody vegetation mixed.
In with that non woodier basis, vegetation that you would see in an emergent wetland. And then you're gonna have what's called a forested wetland, which obviously as it describes, is gonna be within a forested complex. You're looking at those areas are gonna be, highly beneficial for wood ducks as an example, right?
Cuz wood ducks, roost and stuff in and nest and trees. [00:10:00] And then, obviously the water resource for food and things like that. Forest and wetland habitat is the highest quality. If you get a category three, Because all the wetlands are rated between one, two, and three.
So I would say the number one thing is a reduction of quality wetland habitat. And there's a lot of resources out there depending on what state that you live in. So in Ohio, you know you have the H two Ohio program. That's I I. If I remember right, I think it's starting to get revamped a little bit to have a larger emphasis on wetland ecosystems and restoring wetlands.
But you have other programs through the NRCS and things like that, that if you're a landowner that has, a wetland on your property or maybe you want to construct a new wetland, right? There's, you can reach out to those agencies. I would suggest, cause I know your listeners are probably in multiple states and because I'm not all that familiar with all the states, I would just say reach out to your local nrc s office and they can help you out, get you towards some programs that can help mitigate some of the costs and get you some technical oversight as far as how to build these things [00:11:00] and what your goals are and things like that.
John Teater: Yeah that's really good information. And you did mention something in regards to forest and wetlands and their classification, and is it what's the value of that across the landscape? Because you, you said that was a
Eric Lance: priority I. Yeah, so wetlands are categorized. They go by category.
So you can have a category one, category two, category three. Category three is the highest quality, and there are biometrics that get used to look at what a wetlands category rating is. So here in Ohio we use, what's called the oam, the Ohio Rapid Assessment Method. Some other states also use R O A, but not all of them.
And what that takes into account is, it basically takes account into the size of the wetland, the location. What's the boundary of the wetland? Is it, in the middle of an ag field? So is it all, monocrop agriculture around the periphery, or is it surrounded by mature timber? So it looks at what's, or is it, in I did one for a developer.
That was in a park system. So it's like manicured [00:12:00] lawn, right? So it looks at the boundaries or the perimeter of the wetland. What's surrounding it? It looks like I said, at the vegetative communities, that's within it and around it. It looks at the biological markers, is there, quality habitat there?
Do do you, are you out there and do you see, did you see a salamander? Do you see, all these different types of things. So there's a big, there's about a three or four page metric. That goes on there and really outlines a lot of different things, and as a biologist will go out there and measure.
I, I would encourage, if anybody's interested to, you can just Google search oam, o r a m. The PDF is easily viewable and anybody interested in seeing what goes into that criteria, you can look at that as well. That'd probably be the easiest way for your listeners to understand that because it's a pretty in-depth document.
But just know that when we do the categorical ratings, that's how they're rated between a category one, category two, category three, because when you're done with that sheet, it's gonna give you a numeric value. And depending on what the numerical value is gonna give you the range, whether it's a category one, two, or three.
Now, as far as the wetland type I'm, there's other subtypes of wetlands, but I'm [00:13:00] going broad here with the emergence, the scripture hub and the forest did Yeah. When it. Comes to restoration and things like that because if you impact or damage a wetland during construction, you have to provide that wetland back either onsite or at a mitigation bank.
So the emergent, I don't wanna say lower quality, but as far as restoration goes, you for an emergent wetland, you don't have to replace as much as you would've forced the wetland. Lemme give you an example. If you damage, let's say a half an acre of a forced wetland, you have to put that back two to one.
So you're gonna, you're gonna increase your restoration value based on your project. So that's how they look at, the emergent, the scrub shrub, the forest. It's not so much, obviously a forest in wetland is gonna have a lot more resources in it. Yeah. Comparative to the others, because you've got the timber component, you're gonna get bird species, you're gonna get other, mammals and. Things like that, they're gonna be utilizing those areas, reptiles, things like that. Not to say that a good quality emergent wetland, is invaluable because it is ecologically, [00:14:00] but a really good high quality category.
Three, forced in wetland. Man, those are special, and I've got a property, a client of mine that has one. His property is a waterflows, just heaven. He's got. A thousand plus acres, here in Ohio, and they'd go out there during the spring the migration where the birds are moving.
I think I was out when I was last out there. I think we identified almost 16 species of ducks. Wow. Just out there, just running the property, making, notes of what we wanted to do this year. And we just were out there at the right time and they were everywhere, and it is.
You look at these forced wetland complexes that he's got and you're like, oh my Lord. Like it's just it. It's special when you come across a good one like that, but those are far and few between.
John Teater: Yeah, and it's interesting to think about, you've got the small mammal component, you've got the birds, right?
You've got this, we're talking whitetail deer mostly on this podcast, and you're just thinking about these riparian areas. Adjacent to some of these, wetland areas and how they're managed and treated, and it's this, [00:15:00] these corridors are opportunities to enhance them. And then on top of it, you're talking about the, I guess the red tape side of things, right?
Just having awareness of what you can't and can't do in these different areas is really critical. The benefit I typically see, at least in the wetland area is particularly if there's hammocks or terrestrial sites like located within them is, that dry ground does provide a lot of opportunity for bird nesting or, even deer bedding for that matter.
At least people on this podcast probably think about that. But the volume of cover that's in those areas is incredible. And when we're talking about ducks specifically in layout, I think I follow this one person on, on Instagram and I pay attention to his post. He does a lot of habitat work in the south and he, creates these, big flooded fields and, artificially creates interest areas.
And I think that's really cool on a property, if you have, you have the scaling opportunity, like you own a thousand acres, right? But basically water is your resource. In those moist. Ground areas in concert with kind of these wetland [00:16:00] described areas, how do you manage the combination of that for ducks specifically, because you've got a resource that you can potentially utilize, right?
I guess you have limitations on disturbance, but you wanna utilize or move that resource, water resource into other locations without creating, havoc to your, classed areas that are categorized as critical. How does that
Eric Lance: all work? Yeah. So there, there's a lot to unpack. I would say trying to keep it, again, trying to keep this as, as short as possible here, just for your listeners, when it comes to, creating wetlands and things like that, even if you really have to understand what you have on your property because you can get into some trouble.
If you inadvertently impact an existing wetland, with the Army Corps of Engineers. So there are rules against that, even in on private ownership. So I would, first and foremost, I encourage people to reach out to a consultant if you want to do any type of water work on your property, such as building a pond, maintenance on an existing pond, [00:17:00] expansion, things like that, because depending on what you have out there, you could get yourself into a little bit of trouble.
I'll leave that there. The Army Corps of Engineers, like I said, not a bad organization by any stretch of the imagination, but. There are rules and regulations on managing and, doing work in and around water resources within the United States. So I would always encourage people to do that.
At least have a consultation to talk like, Hey, this is what I'm thinking about doing. And you can be, informed of what your steps would actually be. In some instances, you might not need to do anything, but I always tell people as a caveat, make sure you're doing that due diligence first.
Now, when it comes to, the multi-species aspect, the thing with ducks and thing with managing water that makes it really good for other species is that when you're looking at like the dabbling ducks for instance, or the puddle ducks that people call 'em, they're called that because they really don't need a whole lot of.
Depth to the water, right? So most ducks, are typically dabblers and they really like shallow water in order to feed [00:18:00] right. If you look at a species of, let's say, a blue wing or green wing teal, you know you only need a few inches of water. And you'll find those birds out there, now again, it's gonna depend on what's out there, what type of resource are you in, what type of vegetation, are there, MacRoberts and things like that. So you can't just throw water in the field and think the ducks are gonna come. So you gotta do a little bit of investigation, maybe some planting things like that.
But as far as the water goes, you don't need a whole lot, other species of ducks, if you're talking about mallards and some, some of the larger, puddle ducks, six, six to 1218 inches, something like that. I really tell people you don't really need to go much more than two feet.
Not that you won't find 'em there, what I'm getting at is you don't need a whole lot of depth to the water. So a lot of times you'll see when people are building these things, they'll still have a much shallower end, and then they'll have a smaller portion of it that will get a little bit deeper.
When you're looking at shallow water, obviously shallow war water is easy, accept accessible for other species. If you're talking about. Everyone's favorite, nest rating species, raccoons, and other, mid-grade or mid-level, mammals and things like [00:19:00] that.
You talk about if you've got a good quality area that's got some fish in it, right? You've got some fish, you've got some reptiles. You've got all different types of. Things you're gonna bring, the the great blue herons are gonna come to your property because they're gonna be able to wade in that water.
It's gonna be from the ecological value, you're gonna ha you're gonna touch the ecological needs of a wide variety of species, including whitetail deer. If you've got, most deer get their water from preformed water from the vegetation that they eat. But of course, they're gonna take up, water resources that are out there as well.
It's just. Common sense. So if you got, water out there, it's gonna be utilized. And with water, you've got more clay sub soils that are underneath there that are gonna hold water more, that are gonna produce, other types of vegetation. You look at.
Species that I really like in favor is ju weed, ju weed, the impatience family. Is that little, that plant that has like a orange bulb that looks like it's on there. And you're gonna find that in a forested system, that has more marginal wetland, components to it.
And now actually, if I remember correctly, I think in [00:20:00] patients are a wetland obligate, which means they're only found in wetland areas. Those things get hammered by whitetails. I go through my woods and I'll find, I know where these pockets of these patients are, and as soon as these things start blooming and flowering out, they are hammered.
Yeah. And it's, it just goes to show that. Not everything that a deer Eats is what you plant. It's not a clover, it's not an oat, it's not a wheat, it's not a, brassica. It's not only those things. There are these native plants that are out there that deer are gonna utilize whether they're traveling to and from, like you said the cover component.
These wetland areas can provide a lot of cover. If you're looking at grasses like Polaris and things like that, that are around wetland. Areas, they can be very dense and they can be a good area for a buck to lay down in. They don't have to be saturated in those areas to grow. And that vegetation can get pretty high.
And they, like I said, they can nest pretty good in there. It's really good for, nesting waterfowl, mallards as an example. Going into the dense grasses and things like [00:21:00] that in these areas make it very difficult to do surveys, especially if you're trying to do brood surveys, which is why we use thermal drones now.
Because it's a lot easier. So the ecological value, even though whitetails aren't gonna, use wetland areas, a vast majority of the time, they use them more than what people think.
John Teater: I gotta back you up for a second. And you brought up the point of the depth to the wet area or the pond, or.
Depending on the size of the area. So I wanna get a dimension of what you typically see in the landscape where folks are creating these areas and what, when we talk about depth and the purpose of that depth, the deeper area, what's the benefit?
Eric Lance: So I would say that most of the time when I deal with wetlands, whether it's most of my wetland stuff is not on the private side.
It's on the development side. And we really don't, for a wetland, we really don't target the wetland as a depth for the water. What we're targeting for wetlands are the vegetative communities that are in there and the depth just [00:22:00] happens now, if you are engineering a wetland, you can absolutely do that.
There are geotechnical environmental engineers out there that do this to where depending on the soil media and the mixtures and things like that, you can artificially create a water table and say, Hey, I want to have this area to behold, two feet of water. Because I wanna, I enjoy seeing the ducks out there.
I en enjoy, I enjoy the mallards and. And things like that, that are out there on my property. So maybe it's just a, an aesthetic thing or whatever. But as far as the wetlands go, there are people that build, duck ponds, right? And they're creating ponds, so really it just depends on what they want to do with it.
If your target is a hundred percent ducks, I don't care about anything else. Like I said if you go within the, two, two to three foot range, you really don't need much more than that. My, my good buddy of mine who lives down the road from me has a farm out there, and I've hunted and I've harvested, God, I can't even count how many ducks.
That's just literally in a puddle of a low lying area [00:23:00] in a cornfield. It rains hard and there might only be three to four inches of water out there. I'll set up out there and I'll smack a daily limit, out there. I can't do it every day, but they're out there obviously feeding on the corn and stuff that's there and down.
It's very, I. Opportunistic as far as the timing, but just goes to show that they're also out there feeding on insects and things like that, that are caught out there. I've gone out there and I've seen those ducks. I've shot those ducks. I've opened 'em up and seen what, they're feeding on and, you see these things.
They picked up some things. Otherwhere. Yeah. Of course, but they're there every day, every morning, and they're not gonna do that unless there's something there for them. I tell people, it's if you build it, they'll come, if you've gotta, and it goes back to the wetland or to the, excuse me, the consultant, right?
Taking a soil sample and looking at the soil component and what the soil tells us, how compact it is, it, how much does the soil ribbon. What are the geomorphic features that we're seeing in there? Is it oxidized? Is it, is the iron being reduced in the soil? I can look at this soil and tell you a lot about the soil just by looking at it.
So you know, you can look and say, Hey, [00:24:00] here's my water table, right? So I tell people like the depth will come and it's all be obviously gonna depend on the rain too, right? How much rain? We're in a drought here in Ohio, so it's you gotta. Being wetland right now, you're not gonna have a whole lot of water there, but during the rainy season, you know how much is enough, how much do you want to have there? Depending on what your depth is that your target is, maybe you have to put an outlet somewhere so you can drain that water off so it stays at that two or three foot level. I follow guys on YouTube all the time that are building these duck ponds and stuff in the south, and I'm.
Super jealous because they look awesome. You know what I mean? But when you listen to them talk, they have a reason for everything that they're doing, right? They're putting a culvert here, they're putting an outlet here because they don't want the water level to get above this certain height and things like that in this location.
Okay? It's lower on this end. The water's gonna come here and drain off. It all depends on what their. Property is like what the topography is like, what they have to work with and what their overall goals are.
John Teater: Yeah. The very interesting and you, the good thing talking about water flow and movement, I think that's critical.
I've got another question for you [00:25:00] in a second, but I wanna get back to l thinking more about the vegetation in these. Kinda wetter areas and, what's your opinion on introducing cattails of course, the, the aquatic wildlife the animals that present themselves in those areas are going to bring seed sources in, right?
And so you're gonna get some naturalized and un naturalized seed sources just respectively, depending on the areas that you select and the animals that come to those locations. But subsequent to that, when you're talking about building those locations, and I don't know why cat tells just came to my mind and they have a tendency, at least on the, I guess I would say like the, they're on the emergent end of plants, right?
They're the edge of these kind of water areas, the structure and benefit to the overall concealment. You talked a little bit about brooding cover, et cetera. What are you thinking about when it comes to vegetation in these particular areas? At least from a, like a more permanent structure, not just like a temporary, like we're talking about flood flooded fields, et cetera.
Eric Lance: Yeah. When it comes to the vegetation, again, it depends on what my goals are. Now you bring [00:26:00] up cattails and obviously there's some invasive species that are out there that, inherently you're gonna deal with, right? You, Polaris is another, one of 'em, the Polaris and or the, excuse me, the fra mighty, which is what alongside roadways and stuff like that.
When it comes to, cattails, I don't get. I don't get too bent outta shape with cattails, to be honest with you, because they do provide some cover, red Wing Blackbird, they're gonna utilize 'em like crazy even though those birds grab me nuts. Especially during the, and the males will follow you and they'll hover over top of you and they're just a.
It just goes to show that, I don't mind having some of those in there because I see ducks utilize those areas. I see muskrats utilize those areas. I see, turtles utilize those areas. I see a lot of species that utilize those areas. Whether or not you like muskrats or not, they are a species that, that, utilize those areas.
So from an ecological benefit though they provide. Some benefit. You can look at frag mighty's. Frag Mighty's is an invasive species, but that stuff grows 10, 12 feet tall. It provides some cover. The problem with invasives is that they are invasive in nature and they [00:27:00] are very successful because of it.
They outcompete for resources for native species and they can really take hold. So when it talk about vegetation, I tell people again, understand and it. This goes for anything, whether it's a wetland system or just a, an early successional area. Know what you have out there. There are a lot of apps that are out there that use ai that are actually really good in identifying plant species.
Is provided you give it a good picture, right? So you can go out there and catalog, to a pretty accurate degree what you have out there on your property. And I would say, hey, if you're talking about, an early successional area, right? Understanding what my goals are.
I wanna manage for whitetails, I want my covered equal food, right? I don't want grasses out there cuz deer only grasses, right? So I want to go out there and I want to have, native Forbes that are six plus feet tall. Good cover for deer, but it's also really good food resources. Same thing for my wetland areas, right?
What's my target species? If I'm looking at ducks, I don't. You don't need this tall vegetation so I can eradicate it, but eradicating [00:28:00] it comes with additional costs, right? Herbicides that are, used around water resources, are expensive, right? And things like that. If, and if hire somebody to do that, those individuals, because you're hiring them, have to have special licenses to work with aquatic herbicides and it's gonna cost more to do that.
When it comes to managing the vegetation, knowing what you have out there on an existing area, first and foremost, if it's a, if it's a wetland that you have on your property already, then, like I said, un understanding what you have. Do you have a bunch of dog woods? Dog woods are phenomenal.
Yeah. There's. Endless amount of species that utilize dogwoods deer being one of them. So it's Hey, do I have a predominance of dogwoods? The other great thing about dogwoods is that you can livestock. You can livestock those, you can cut off those things and plan them, live 'em in other areas and start, generating other densities of dogwoods.
Yeah. No people.
John Teater: Yeah, I think those are great additions. And thinking about some of the height, the density, the volume, the ver variety that you just identified and [00:29:00] thinking about the species you're trying to at attract. Let me ask you this question, and I don't mean to go left on you, but I wanna bring up something.
And this comes up quite a bit with various clients, particularly right now dealing with drought and the concerns that people are having hemorrhagic disease, Mitch, that bites the deer and eventually, we have some death as a result of that. How do you design those well enough where, there isn't those, we'll say moist areas that promote that.
Midge what are your thoughts about steep banking and, access? Again we're talking about ducks, but then other animals are gonna access these areas and what would be your way to manage that particular issue? Yeah
Eric Lance: that, that can get a little bit broad. So when he, when it comes to e h D, Midge is, the really what.
Larger bodies of water are not really the areas that the midges are going to breed in. They really like the smaller, pocketed, stagnant, kind of areas of water and those types of [00:30:00] diseases, E H D C W D are what we call density dependent diseases. You know what you're gonna run into.
And when it comes to E H D, obviously E H D is a big concern in a lot of areas, especially in a drought. I don't. Overly get too concerned about it. I know it's a problem in a lot of areas. I have not run into it in all these years. I've been involved in years where, here in Ohio we've had hds, h d issues.
I have not seen it on my property. Now my properties are really spread out. I've got a lot of different habitat areas throughout a wider range of property. I've got, neighbors that get involved. I've got, things like that to where I. These deer aren't all hunkered down in one smaller property location, which is, you can run into some issues that way.
And I don't know it, I don't, off the top of my head, I don't really know of any I'm sure it's been studied, you can imagine having a smaller property, let's say a 30 acre property, 40 acre property that's heavily managed for whitetails. Real [00:31:00] nice, dense, lush, early successional habitat, things like that.
It's surrounded by, here in the Midwest agriculture. You're gonna have pocketed areas of water that's being held along the landscape. It's going to, these midges are gonna breed, they're gonna, reproduce and thrive. If you have deer localized, the one or two smaller properties it's a density dependent disease.
If it happens to be in close proximity to a breeding area, then you know, you might run into more of an issue. But if you I think, having, larger scales of ecologically beneficial, habitat spread out a lot. Wider. If that's a possibility, then I realize it's not a possibility for everybody.
But you're not gonna get the densities of resident herds, on a property as, as localized as you would if they were spread out. E h d would, not to say you're not gonna see it become an issue, but it's gonna be less likely of an issue because you, you might find a deer here and there, I don't always get excited.[00:32:00]
When I see people, I, and I get people that send me photos all the time about a dead, buck or something in the stream, is it my first guess? Something like e h D? Yes. But I'm just a data guy, until I know for sure, I it could be, it could have been an abscess, from a sparring accident or something like that, that caused an infection, infections caused fevers, so it's, it's one of those things to where I don't get too excited.
And I think I. People get a little too excited on a larger scale. Not that the pop or excuse me, not that the e h D is not an issue, it can be, I think if you have and focus on, good quality habitat and especially have these larger bodies of water for water access that are again, not these little pocketed stagnant areas and shaded areas.
You can imagine a little pocketed hole of water that's maybe two inches deep in the middle of a woods that's under, canopy coverage. It's cold, it's moist, it's wet. Like these are thriving areas for [00:33:00] those types of insects. So it's, I. I when I see those on my property, I just, I go over with a tiller and just, get rid of it or I'll fill
John Teater: it in.
I just, I don't want that stuff there. All right. So let me ask you a more direct question and these are. Good topics really to bring up. I guess unrelated to where we're going, but we're, if we're creating these pools large is obviously critical. We talked about water management just there, for example.
Creating good flow and movement and then having dry areas adjacent to those. And then sunlight obviously is critical in that equation. Steep banks would be another symptom or strategy. I've heard people recommend and just thinking through this waterholes can be a resource for deer.
That doesn't pertain to what we're talking about earlier with ducks. Creating kind of these swath or swallow areas where deer may prefer maybe eliminate those in some capacity. It's also adding vegetation into those areas as well, that would actually. Consumer utilize that water and minimize the volume, open water.
And then in some of those areas we're seeing are moist. It's minimizing the [00:34:00] terrestrial sites adjacent to those if kind of the water edge isn't managed correctly. And as you pointed out, this density dependent issue, this disease issue that you know would affect that populations is spreading them out across the landscape.
Same thing with food plots or other resources. It's giving them, vast opportunities in larger scale rather than smaller. And so I would just, from a, I guess a practical standpoint, a lot of people are putting these pools in and they're leveraging, water as a resource for deer.
And obviously it's time dependent. I think you can manage water across your landscape a lot better and have the resources in the plants, at least for deer, for that matter. Yeah. And I think we can do a better job and that should really be the promotion that I'm trying to get across here in, in just my little monologue.
But, what do you think about pools and all that kind of stuff that they're doing? Water troughs, all that kind of stuff for deer and the concern, I just brought up. Any recommendations or thoughts on that?
Eric Lance: This might not be popular opinion, and I really don't care.
It's what I, go ahead, what I do be contr controversial. [00:35:00] Like I don't fo I, I don't really utilize water troughs and stuff like that a whole lot. Now, a lot of that could be, where I am, right? Where I am in Ohio. I'm about an hour and a half depending on where you start, south southeast of Lake Eerie.
So in my proper, in my. Here in Ohio, in northeast Ohio, we have no shortage of tributaries. We have no shortage of perennial on intermittent streams that have water year round. And with those comes some semi, again, wetlands don't have to have water. But what happens is in order for. A wetland to be a wetland or a riparian area, floodplain area, those areas like that, you're gonna have the vegetative benefits of a wetland there.
But you're not gonna have the standing water, right? But you're gonna have water in the ground and the groundwater, because that's, those plants need those resources, right? They need those types of things. So when you have. Those areas are typically in, the forest systems, right? The flood plains as a tributary moves through [00:36:00] the woods.
Those are cooler areas, right? Those areas are gonna have, not as stunted of vegetative. I, if vegetative growth is what we're dealing now with the hot temperatures. I always had a property, on my behind my house. I was just walking around the woods with my dogs and the one tributary there it's, pretty still green, back there on the floodplain because, it's a cool moist area back there.
It's, closed canopy system. It's not my property, but, it's shaded and, there's things back there and as I walk around, I see plenty of, brows and browse impact I see from Deere and even from, Rabbits and things like that, that are back there. I see those things back there.
And again, you would deer, it's that preformed water. I try to not use water holes or TRSs as much as possible because, it's just an issue that if I do run into something like e H D and I do have an H positive beer coming through my property, I don't want them drinking out of the water hole that maybe.
4, 5, 6, whatever other deer you're gonna be drinking out of that could [00:37:00] potentially cause a problem. Now, if I'm in a place that absolutely needs water because it's just always a drought or, Hey, I want to use water. Okay, that's fine. Just have a pla You, you need to have a maintenance plan forward as well.
You need to change that water. You can't let that water sit for eh, I'm just gonna go out there and let it sit for two, three years and, just not touching it. It's, you gotta maintain the water, otherwise you're gonna have. Issues and things growing inside that water.
Now, maybe it's not a big deal, but you don't want your dog getting into it either. You don't want a neighbor's dog getting into it either, example, my sister's got a really small pond in her backyard. And it's probably literally, I'm not kidding. Probably literally only 20 yards long by maybe, 10 yards wide.
It's basically a depression that's back there, but it's got stagnant water and algae on top of it. You start worrying about bluegreen, algae and things like that are growing that'll kill your dog in a heartbeat. Things like that. Going in there and, places like that and removing that water, doing a little bit of excavation, [00:38:00] and maintaining that area and getting rid of that.
Yeah. There's water on that property. If I see it from an aerial of view, oh, look at that. Good. There's water there. But if I go get boots on the ground, look at that. I'm like, oh, we got a problem. This is not good. This is not a good water source. Now, are there species of reptiles and things living in there?
Absolutely. But I. I'm not interested in that. If I'm managing my property for Whitetails, I want to have good water source. I have dogs. I wanna be able to enjoy my property with my dogs. I don't want them getting sick. There's all these different things that for me, I have goals with and I'm not limited on water.
Like I said, I've got streams and intermittent streams and perennial streams running through. Multiple areas surrounding my property, my deer getting water. So right now, even though it's drought, I mean there are small perennial streams and intermittent streams that have water, that they're getting water.
So it's, for me, it's not a huge emphasis. It's an emphasis, but it's lower priority for me.
John Teater: Yeah, no that's good. One point I wanna bring up, and you. You brought this up when you were talking about [00:39:00] going for a walk and an observatory thing and something that I've paid attention to, and I know there's been studies on it.
But taking a look at the vegetation preferences, you could have a plant that's on a terrestrial site and a plant that's on aquatic site, and it's eaten in the aquatic site. More times than not as compared to the terrestrial site. It's thinking a little bit more in depthly about that. Greenbriar is a good example.
I've seen that on multiple properties where it's been adjacent to more, areas that are a little more moist. So water management or moisture management is critical and it's thinking about how to in place maybe these intermediate streams or, small areas that have more water resources available to 'em.
Or in my example, wetting the landscape and thinking, how you. Leverage ponds in order to propagate, water, in this case across different areas that may, have more preferential plants to those riparian areas, et cetera. And then you'd brought up a another point of just taking taking note of these stagnant areas and recognizing, the problems that they create, at least water [00:40:00] wise.
And thinking, if you're gonna create like a water resource, I can think of a client that I worked with a year or so ago, and We developed a a water kind of retention system in an area that was specifically for deer. It was a water trough area, and it collected water. We ditched out a bunch of, small stream beds into this particular area and we damned it up with rocks, but it had good flow through it, and every single deer in its brother hooked into that area.
And I was just like, this is an easy Easy, manageable, area where you're not putting this, black, I guess pond liner in the ground that you're gonna, utilize and you can always throw a pond liner in an area like that just to retain if you don't have clay soil.
But I just was thinking about, your example there of, what water does across the landscape and you know how it may make. The opportunity for certain nutrients to be more available, through the plant to the deer in this case, obviously the preform water, it's, is benefit to the individual, animal species, et cetera.
So I, I guess I just want to add my 2 cents into that. Yeah, I, I have, I got another question for you. So in, [00:41:00] in these open water areas, and I remember. Watching probably a lot of people have paid attention to this is duck potato. I see duck potato being planted. It's an emergent species, so it's on the edge of the water.
I think it's resom or, yeah, I think that's what it is. I've not planted, I have done some recommendations on client properties, but, putting it on the edge of the water. Planting this for I think ducks and deer. Is there any like crossover species that you're thinking of that may be a benefit to, to duck and deer that, that you could plant in, in?
What are areas like
Eric Lance: that? Off the top of my head, not really. I'm sure there are. Not really. Cause a lot of the stuff. Yeah, I, it's an interesting question. I don't know, like duck potato and species like that, more of the herbaceous type of stuff.
The broad leaf wetland and aquatic plants. I don't I don't imagine that deer are going to eat a lot of that stuff. If you look at, if you look at duck potato and things, that that's a really aquatic plant. Yeah. Yeah. Things along the [00:42:00] outer edges of the marginal areas of wet.
A deer's not gonna go waiting into a wetland to get food. They're not gonna, they're not gonna do that. Yeah. Ducks will. Yeah. As far as that goes, I'm trying to think.
John Teater: I can tell you one that I've seen on multiple properties is yellow marsh marigold.
Dear Hammer, that plant. Oh yeah. But those are in like little stream ways that are like, kinda leading to maybe more of a wetland area. The, that's where I've seen them across landscape. Yeah.
Eric Lance: I'm just trying to, I'm just trying to think in, in my area with all the ducks I've killed and opened up, what they're feeding on.
Obviously the ducks around here are real grain heavy. Just on the landscape we're packed with grains, over here. Not to say there's not grasses and stuff in there and stuff like that too. There is. And deer generally don't eat grasses. Like an example I gave with ju weed I don't think I've ever seen a duck eat ju weed.
It just gets pretty tall and when those bulbs pop out I'm just trying to think here. Yeah. Off the top of my head, no I'm not. No. Yeah, I can't think of any. But yeah it's, talking about the different types of [00:43:00] vegetation, when you're outletting areas, again, when you talk about wetlands, they don't have to have standing water and you can outlet an area of water, standing water, to a wider dispersed area and.
You could form, a change in the soil there. That's what really what a wetland is. A wetland, in the most broad description is an area that holds water, I think the number 70 or 80% of the year. So that water doesn't have to be visible water. It could be held in the soil, right in the aquatic or in the water table.
So you've got a higher clay soil, higher clay component soil. It's got a much smaller pore space, therefore it's holding water for longer periods of time. If it holds that water for 70% of the time, you're gonna start seeing a change in the soil chemistry. You're gonna start seeing the oxidation reduction of iron in the soil.
And then with the increased nutrients, you're gonna see these, what we call hydrotic plants that are gonna grow in these wetland areas. So when you see species like jewel weed and other, wetland obligate [00:44:00] plants, those are what we call hydro function. Those are plants that can tolerate the influx of nutrients from a, from the landscape.
That's why wetlands are called the kidneys of the landscape, just like our kidneys filter out bo stuff in our body and excrete it. It's the same thing that wetlands do ecologically. They capture the stormwater runoff in the nutrients that it's carrying across the landscape. Higher phosphorus, higher nitrogen, potassium, whatever it is.
And those plants can grab that water, filter out that nutrients, and utilize those nutrients to grow. They tolerate the higher excess of those nutrients. So that way when the water gets filtered back to, let's say the stream it's been filtered by that ecological wetland on the floodplain, capturing that runoff.
That's why a lot of those species are, I think, are more preferable or get hit by deer, as an example because they do have higher, components of micronutrients and stuff in there just based on the natural ecology of what wetland actually does across the landscape.
John Teater: Yeah and let me add my 2 cents to this.
This is a [00:45:00] non-science bit of data, but really important to people. After a heavy rain. You'll notice in a lot of these areas, at least, I've noticed this a lot in the landscape. I use that as a means to diagnose where deer gonna be. And particularly if it's very dry. Certain plants that they prefer obviously in the landscape would be their go-to.
We're talking native natural plants on across the landscape, but in moist areas or when you have a lot of rain and it collects in these areas, you'll notice movement cycles vary for deer. One of the things I've seen over the years is you've got a drought and then heavy rain, and you'll notice the movement increase, just after that rain in a large scale, and it's plain, that rain benefit to the plant life and the food, food takes up some of those water elements and obviously the animal now is able to digest a higher water concentration in that leaf, et cetera. And so that's as it evaporates or whatever is going on with that particular plant.
So its utilization may change depending on the type of plant, how accessible it has to water [00:46:00] resources. And obviously deer's preferences. Some will have more toxicity than others. So regardless of the water state, they may not prefer a particular plant. But it's thinking a little bit more about the water benefit, I think.
And deer movement, because there's a correlation there. Yeah. That I've seen over the years, at least. At least from observatory. Circumstances. I don't know if they've studied that but I've certainly seen that. I'm sure somebody
Eric Lance: has, man. Yeah, you think about it. That's why Deere, we categorize them not as browsers or foragers, we call, they're concentrate selectors is really how we categorize them is because, if you're talking about, I tell people, you talk about observation data, right?
So I tell people, alright, you see a bunch of deer in your bean field, right? Go out there when they leave and look well, Why isn't every bean hammered? You go through there and you're gonna see some that are still standing, some that haven't been touched in, some that areas have gotten nailed.
It it's curious. I know there's been studies on some of this, they look at. The nutrient density, like at that plant. Like they can sense these things and it's extraordinary to watch them because you'll [00:47:00] watch through, areas of the impatience like I was talking about.
I'll see areas where, they are just absolutely, like this whole five foot has just been, I. Nuked, and then there's a couple here and there that's not, and then it picks back up again from another two feet and it's nuked. It's why didn't you eat those ones that were right there? Why are those dozen plants not touched?
And you start looking at it and you're like it's amazing how they can tell. You know what to eat when you know timing. You look at the old research study, I forget who did the study, when doing the telemetry study of doe every year I, the springtime or whatever it was, Earlier, early spring mids spring, I can't remember, but they would see this dough that just would take the, this long excursion every year.
And I'm trying to remember off the top of my head, so I might be getting some details wrong here, but enough to get you the gist of the story on how good they are. It's like they're, they, this dough was picked up this long excursion and the researchers like, what heck's going on? This is totally not normal for this.[00:48:00]
And then they investigated and they found a spring, a natural spring that was high in, in, in nutrients, right? Just from the ground. And they would go there. It was like basically like this big mineral lick. This big mineral site. And every year, this dough must have learned from her mom because then they started seeing as the other do and thing, the fallen started getting older.
They started doing the same thing because they learned from their mom like, where to go this time of the year. Here we go. Like they go here. Their ability to sense things are just absolutely extraordinary. I've always told people, if dear Randy smarter, we'd never kill '
John Teater: em. Yeah. I agree that associate education that you're talking about with deer, and I've seen this over time, where a deer teaches a deer something else.
You, you get to see, you get to see the lineage of that. We just had. Yeah, man. We just had a cool podcast previous to this one about remineralizing the earth and thinking more holistically about your property. And so you're like nailing some key topics. So I'm just wanna reinforce that prior podcast that we did myself and Dan Kittridge did.
And that was pretty interesting. We're way past our time. [00:49:00] I am, I'm really enjoying this conversation. Eric, you're so interesting and intelligent man. This is so great. I want to ask just one, one more thing about ducks and I think, yeah. You know what we, we talked about. Managed sites with a little more moisture.
We're talking about species specifically seed species or plant species that you would like to have on the landscape planted. What do you typically, the millets what do you typically put on the landscape for docks? People like to plant adjacent to these water areas that we talked about earlier?
Eric Lance: Yeah, militar are a good one. I, I look at like duck weeds and things like that, like the aquatic plants, there's a lot of them that are out there and there's not really a whole lot that. To be honest, I don't plant a whole lot for waterfowl. Okay. I've got some commercial blends that I've, there's a seed distributor that's here local.
They do a lot of different species and they've got a really good let me see if I can look it up here. Species and I haven't planted it in a couple years to be honest with you because it's stuff that's already been taken hold of, but, so merit seed merit seed [00:50:00] company. Okay.
Here in Ohio they actually have a mallard mix. That's the one, I typically use. I can't remember what's all in there. It's a multi-species, but I know there's mill, there's sorghums and things like that in there. Most of the companies won't put their entire mix that's on there.
I'd have to pull a bag to see exactly what's on there. But yeah, a lot of the, a lot of the sorghums, the millets. The aquatic plants like duck weed and things like that. But, you don't have to go crazy with these species. But if you had a good mixture of the millets and the sorghums, it's always done well and it's gonna be good for other species of avian species other than just waterfowl.
Turkeys are gonna hit that too and things like that because of the seedheads and everything like that, that are gonna establish on those plants that are pretty hefty and obviously a good nutritional resource. Yeah, sorry. Anybody interested? You feel free to reach out to me. I can give you some more.
I have notebooks full of things that I put down, but off the top of my head, I just haven't planted for a waterfowl in a little while. Cause I haven't had to. So I just, I can only keep so much information in my head. I tell people, it's like I don't, if I just specialized in one species, it'd probably be a little bit easier, [00:51:00] but I'm like, my God man, I'm doing waterfowl, predators, environmental permitting, like rules cha, just.
Oh my God. The amount of information that I consume every day, I'm like, I gotta my hard drive. I start pushing stuff out. I'll come back to
John Teater: that later. Yeah, no, understandable. I'm, yeah I thought you added quite a bit to this conversation and we got more to come from you and I we're, yeah. We're just hitting the high notes, getting everybody introduced to you and I think this is a great start.
I think a lot of good information in here and certainly I'm excited to have you back on and in a bit and talk more about whatever we decide.
Eric Lance: Yeah, man, for sure.
John Teater: Anytime. All right, Eric. Again, let me just push your podcast. So why don't you just, where can people find you, get ahold of you and your podcast?
Eric Lance: Yeah, so the podcast name is Hunt Science Podcast. You can find us on YouTube, our YouTube channel where we do all of our episodes are both audio and video. So if you want to, if you're like me, I like to do my podcast. I like to view my podcast as well as listen to 'em. So you can go to our YouTube channel, you can find all of our [00:52:00] episodes on there.
If you're only, audio, then you can. Find us in all the major podcasting platforms. Just type in Hunt Science podcast and you'll find us, like I said, on Apple and Google podcast, Amazon, Spotify. Yeah, we're pretty much found everywhere,
John Teater: so yeah. That's awesome. And I'm happy to have you on this podcast as well.
And it's great to share good information and we'll talk again soon. Yeah,
Eric Lance: man, I appreciate it. Thanks. All right, see ya. Bye. Maximize Your hunt is a production of Whitetail Landscape. For more information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out whitetail landscapes.com.