Forest Habitat That Attracts Wildlife

Forest Habitat That Attracts Wildlife


Forest dwelling wildlife like white-tailed
deer, turkey and ruffed grouse are an important part of Michigan’s ecosystem. The importance of these animals to the state,
and to the people of Michigan, fuels the passion of DNR wildlife biologists to develop habitat
that promotes sustainable growth, so they can be enjoyed
by all. Whether your interest is wildlife viewing,
photography or as a source of food for your family – we want you to be successful at developing
forest habitat on your property! Wild animals like deer, turkey and grouse,
all need three things: food, cover and water. These three animals thrive on the forest edge
in a mix of woodlots, brushy stream banks, abandoned fields and agricultural areas. The more welcoming the habitat is on your
property; the less distance they must travel to get what they need. The key to good forest habitat is keeping
the forest young. This means you must hit the reset button every
so often in forested areas. Timber sales, especially for aspen, provide
both food and cover for deer, as well as nesting and feeding habitat for grouse and turkey. Oak and Hickory forests provide food, referred
to as mast, that is important to deer, turkeys and grouse. Selective logging of oak and hickory ensure
that there will be a balance of young, medium and older trees in the same forest. Most of southern Michigan oak and hickory
forests are too old to be considered ideal habitat for turkey and deer. Prescribed burns beneath the canopy of mature
forests helps regenerate oaks by eliminating fast-growing competition that shade out young
oaks. Burns also help us wipe out invasive species
in woodlots and stimulate plant growth that is a benefit to wildlife overall. Forest openings provide green plants, brush
and edge, that give deer and birds food that is close to a hiding place. In the spring, turkey and grouse feed heavily
on insects found in openings, and food plots within forested areas are a magnet for deer. Annual plants like corn or beans, or perennials
like clover make for attractive food plots. Even just mowing existing grasses and weeds
can offer seasonal foods and habitat that attract deer, turkey and grouse. The key to good forested habitat is diversity
of trees and plant life of varying ages, with mixed forest openings, all close to each other,
preferably with a source of water nearby. Create this, and you are sure to have abundant
wildlife! For more information or assistance managing
your private land, visit mi.gov/wildlife to find a DNR wildlife biologist near you.

One thought on “Forest Habitat That Attracts Wildlife

  • If you want an awesome hunting spot in Michigan, grab a chainsaw and do some hinge cutting. We went from seeing bucks about 3 times a year to seeing them about every other time that we go out hunting. Lots of information on it on YouTube! People that hunt small Michigan parcels and shoot Pope and Young bucks consistently every year!

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