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Some of us either own, or know someone who owns property in a rural area. If you do, is it possible to develop wildlife habitat on or around that property?

We are talking squirrel, deer, raccoon and rabbit habitat.

January 2017


Several years ago a lot of the pine trees were cut off the property. There a lot of old growth that were too large for the loggers still here. Over the past couple of years I have made it a point to replant and reseed the area in pine trees.

November 2014


Some of the seeds I planted in 2014 took and are now a couple of feet tall.

I have a couple of persimmon trees I am growing from seed that will be planted at the back of the property to attract wildlife. I might even plant some fig trees on the tree line for wildlife.

The goal is the have a balance of oak, pine and other native trees to provide habitat and food sources for various wildlife.
 

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In Memory
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Our isolated off-grid 18.86 acre is surrounded by thousands of acres of timbered National Forest.
All of which is prime wildlife habitat (Bear, Deer, Elk, etc.).

Even though we have invested around $10K in 8 foot fencing around our orchard, vineyard, pasture & garden.
It is a continuous annual battle to KEEP THEM OUT.

This year we going to install a gate, into a fenced feedlot area.
Intent, is to let a few deer/elk IN, so we can harvest them on the spot, without hunting (if need be).
 
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Listen to the ghosts
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A word of caution.

My wife's best friend married an inordinately wealthy man. One of the first things she purchased, like before the wedding, was a sizable "ranch" outside of Sealy like was fashionable back in those days. Now that she had a great deal of time on her hands, she began looking for projects. One idea she had was to turn part of the ranch into a wildlife habitat as your described. (Not all of it...don't want to lose the agricultural exemption.)

Being a smart woman, she did her research. One of the things she found out was that a protected species of bird had recently started being spotted in the area. She was warned that if that bird started nesting on her property, then the federal wildlife laws would kick in, thereby greatly restricting her use of the property.

And I can see other complications of this type, too, such as the Wetlands Protection Act.

I find the idea of creating a wildlife habitat enormous appealing. Just be careful about giving the feds license to take control of your property.
 

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In Memory
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A word of caution.

My wife's best friend married an inordinately wealthy man. One of the first things she purchased, like before the wedding, was a sizable "ranch" outside of Sealy like was fashionable back in those days. Now that she had a great deal of time on her hands, she began looking for projects. One idea she had was to turn part of the ranch into a wildlife habitat as your described. (Not all of it...don't want to lose the agricultural exemption.)

Being a smart woman, she did her research. One of the things she found out was that a protected species of bird had recently started being spotted in the area. She was warned that if that bird started nesting on her property, then the federal wildlife laws would kick in, thereby greatly restricting her use of the property.

And I can see other complications of this type, too, such as the Wetlands Protection Act.

I find the idea of creating a wildlife habitat enormous appealing. Just be careful about giving the feds license to take control of your property.
Sage Grouse

https://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/sagegrouse/documents_and_resources.html
 

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The best way to wildlife is through their stomachs. Plant food plots, have feeders, even till up the soil and plant some earthworms. They'll come running. Especially if you cater to them for winter feeding...

Providing shelter for the animals at the bottom of the food chain will bring the others in...
 

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A word of caution.


I find the idea of creating a wildlife habitat enormous appealing. Just be careful about giving the feds license to take control of your property.
What do you mean "take control of your property"? What can they do? What are the limits? I'm not arguing, I am genuinely asking. This is disturbing.
 

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Listen to the ghosts
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What do you mean "take control of your property"? What can they do? What are the limits? I'm not arguing, I am genuinely asking. This is disturbing.
Well, I did state that a bit strongly, and I apologize. But there are some federal regulations and laws that permit the feds to very, very heavily regulate your property.

For example, under the Endangered Species Act, if that bird settled on her property, she would not be permitted to do anything that would disturb that habitat. So, she couldn't clean out undergrowth, for example.

In some coastal communities, people living on the shoreline are not permitted to turn on lights at night to avoid confusing newly hatched sea turtles on their way to the sea.

There was a fellow down in Galveston who bought a property to put a beach house on. When he did, he filled in a shallow depression that filled with rainwater whenever there was a heavy rain. The EPA ruled it a protected "wetland" and ordered him to stop building. He told them to pound sand and kept building. When it was all done, he owed several hundred thousand dollars in fines and attorney fees. The EPA wanted to make him tear down the house, but the federal judge contented himself with forcing the landowner to install a very, very large billboard that said something like "I depoiled a wetland".

It's not that they get TOTAL control of your property, but they can regulate all the perqs, joy, and rights of ownership right out of it.
 

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I think there is an article in American Frontiersman about this very thing. They showed laying down of small trees to grow shelter areas for deer. They made a chainsaw cut at breast height and pushed the tree over with a section of bark still connected to the stump. The lain tree will send up vertical branches everywhere creating a perfect tangle for deer.
 

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Well, I did state that a bit strongly, and I apologize. But there are some federal regulations and laws that permit the feds to very, very heavily regulate your property.

For example, under the Endangered Species Act, if that bird settled on her property, she would not be permitted to do anything that would disturb that habitat. So, she couldn't clean out undergrowth, for example.

In some coastal communities, people living on the shoreline are not permitted to turn on lights at night to avoid confusing newly hatched sea turtles on their way to the sea.

There was a fellow down in Galveston who bought a property to put a beach house on. When he did, he filled in a shallow depression that filled with rainwater whenever there was a heavy rain. The EPA ruled it a protected "wetland" and ordered him to stop building. He told them to pound sand and kept building. When it was all done, he owed several hundred thousand dollars in fines and attorney fees. The EPA wanted to make him tear down the house, but the federal judge contented himself with forcing the landowner to install a very, very large billboard that said something like "I depoiled a wetland".

It's not that they get TOTAL control of your property, but they can regulate all the perqs, joy, and rights of ownership right out of it.
Thanks for clarifying. Growing up near the coast I have heard of the Sea Turtle regulations before.
 

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Our isolated off-grid 18.86 acre is surrounded by thousands of acres of timbered National Forest.
All of which is prime wildlife habitat (Bear, Deer, Elk, etc.).

Even though we have invested around $10K in 8 foot fencing around our orchard, vineyard, pasture & garden.
It is a continuous annual battle to KEEP THEM OUT.

This year we going to install a gate, into a fenced feedlot area.
Intent, is to let a few deer/elk IN, so we can harvest them on the spot, without hunting (if need be).
There is a problem with wildlife that you can't control. Deer being one of them. If you could shoot all you wanted to it wouldn't be so bad. Not being able to any is a disaster.
 

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[96] wks to off-grid esc
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Wildlife (big game) management is my lifelong professional occupation, and the answer to the OP question is a definite yes. There is much discussion on this site in reference to the notion shared by many that they are going to go to the woods and hunt and live off the land- and it's often pointed out that game populations will not be sustainable in a SHTF scenario where a good portion of 300,000,000 Americans are forced to attempt the same scheme. Also important to realize that the huge numbers of white-tailed deer that exist in the east is a direct product of the fact that the vast majority of acres have been converted into commercial farm, and any SHTF event worthy of being called a SHTF event would likely see most of those acres not planted.

What is rarely discussed here is that game and wildlife populations don't exist in a vacuum, that they can be created, grown, developed, and protected in the same way one would keep livestock. As was mentioned, all it takes is food/water/cover/protection from predators (including hungry humans), but like most things in life it's always a little more complex than it sounds.

Since we're really talking about creating habitat, it's very difficult to affect much of a change in the short term, and if you want lots of game around after SHTF, the time to start working on it is now.

A good model to study to understand what wildlife management would likely look like after SHTF is the "King's deer" or "King's Forest" of middle aged England. Many of us, if sufficiently isolated, could realistically manage a sustainable herd of big game, but it would require a hard line held on outsiders hunting your ground and the collected effort in common interest of everyone in the area. Smaller game like pheasants, rabbits, wild or hybrid turkeys, would be much more achievable on the smaller scale.
 

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I've been on the same piece of land(58 acres) for over 50 years and I've watched a crop field transition into a woodlot and woodlots mature and get harvested.

In a deciduous forest the best tool for wildlife management is a chainsaw. Mother nature plants what grows best in the area, the canopy just needs to be opened up to let things grow.
 

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When you go to do things like this a little stealth can go a long way. I had a client with a small 15 acre ranch that she owned for 35 years. She finally decided to put irrigation lines in one of her pastures after she got a flyer from the water resources board saying that they would pay 75% of the cost. In the process the army corps of engineers was involved. They declared her property a wetlands which prevented her from doing anything including continueing to breed and raise horses on the property. Now heres the thing that caused all her problems. Her neighbor built a pond 6 years before. The pond overflowed into a natural drainage to her pond. After a few years cat tails and willows started popping up and the ground got a little marshy. Before her neighbors built their pond, the land was dry as a bone. The entire time she owned the property it had never been anything close to being a wetland. So before you get any government agencies involved with your plans, see if theyre going to give you problems first. Food plots are one thing, but here in calibendmeoverfornia, building a pond technically requires a permit. With all that being said, ive seeded my long unused olive orchard with rose clover and my migratory deer herd has turned into a year round herd that has been increasing in numbers and size. The cotton tails have been outnumbering the jacks and i got 4 fox pelts last year. All from planting a little clover. True i did have the alabama swamp tangle of olives already in place but its not too difficult to do.
 

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[96] wks to off-grid esc
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I've been on the same piece of land(58 acres) for over 50 years and I've watched a crop field transition into a woodlot and woodlots mature and get harvested.

In a deciduous forest the best tool for wildlife management is a chainsaw. Mother nature plants what grows best in the area, the canopy just needs to be opened up to let things grow.
Agreed, but in this context of maximizing the land's value as habitat, it certainly wouldn't hurt the situation to convert a few of those 58 acres to provide food calories in excess of what Mother Nature otherwise would.
 

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Duck weed on ponds and such encourages all sorts of wildlife. Stream management and development (clearing it, widening it, etc) can also be beneficial in forming habitat. Promoting certain low lying shrubs, trees, and the like can also promote wildlife moving in.

Also not to be neglected is personal propagation of wild food sources. If you have blackberry, strawberry, or the like growing wild then spread them around on your property. Same goes for medicinal and otherwise useful plants. You can take cuttings (stuff like blackberry just needs chunks cut off and spread around), transplant saplings, etc.

Not only will such things attract wildlife, but you can make use too.
 
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