In the world of effective deer and wildlife habitat management, one concept stands out as indispensable: stems per acre. This critical metric significantly influences the well-being of deer and various wildlife species. So, do you know the stem count per acre on your deer hunting parcel? Let’s get into it and unravel the importance of stems per acre, shedding light on why it's a vital component for both you and the diverse array of wildlife that calls your land home.
Stems per Acre - The Foundation of Successful Habitat
  • Fawning Habitat: Successful fawning habitat is characterized by a high number of stems per acre. This abundance of stems, whether briers, hardwood regeneration, or grasses, provides ideal cover for fawns and does, contributing to a lower predation rate.
  • Scent Dispersion: High stem count aids in scent dispersion, crucial for the survival of wildlife. Areas with low stem density often face higher predation rates due to a lack of hiding and scent dispersion cover.
Food - Creating a Year-Round Buffet
  • Brows for Consistent Nutrition: Unlike seasonal acorns or other sporadic food sources, managed cuttings provide consistent brows throughout the year. This includes hardwood regeneration, grasses, and other vegetation that deer, as well as other wildlife, rely on for sustenance.
  • Diversity of Food Sources: By combining cuttings with high-quality food plots, a property can offer a diverse range of food, ensuring a nutritional balance that lasts from September to March or April.
Cover - Daylight Bedding and Holding Areas
  • Daylight Bedding: The managed cutting serves as daylight bedding and holding cover, essential for deer movements and patterns. This cover provides a strategic area for deer to feed, bed, and move through, maintaining consistent patterns during the fall and winter.
  • Diversity Equals Wildlife Diversity: The stems per acre resulting from managed cutting create a habitat that supports not only white-tailed deer but also various other wildlife species such as turkeys, pheasants, rabbits, and more.
The seemingly chaotic aftermath of a cutting operation serves as a foundation for successful habitat management. Through understanding the importance of stems per acre, the provision of consistent food sources, and the creation of cover, landowners can establish a renewable resource for wildlife diversity. By implementing these practices, a property can maintain its appeal to wildlife for decades to come.
Article Credit: Information sourced from Jeff Sturgis of Whitetail Habitat Solutions