Chris Ray wrote:Hi Travis,
I am actually studying this very thing right now. I'm glad I found this post, and will be readying your articles ASAP. Do you have a newsletter for your blog?
I agree with you, I think we can really boost wildlife on our lands with permaculture practices. The common theme I am seeing offered is using roundup ready seeds, fertilizer, roundup, rinse repeat.
If you ever want to bounce ideas off of someone, or exchange ideas, let me know.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:I have bedding areas (thick brush and small trees that I cut half way through and bent over so the growing tips hit the ground) along with scattered feed plot seeding places between the bedding areas.
I do hunt, but only for meat when we want some venison, rabbit, squirrel, quail or turkey. I don't hunt racks, never have because that is how I was taught, we take the old deer that are past their prime and would probably die soon anyway or the ousted lead buck.
I prefer to have bucks that have good genes and those guys are left alone. In Arkansas we can take six deer, does or bucks, I have never filled a limit because I just don't need that much in the freezer.
I have always thought using permaculture techniques was the best way to encourage wildlife, I am currently seeding our tall, seed bearing native grasses to try and bring more quail onto our land because they have lost so much habitat from people trimming their fence lines, so I never touch the ten feet along them.
I also have a new area that is getting meadow grasses and plants that the critters use for winter and summer food.
Tj Jefferson wrote:Travis, I reread my comment and it was harsh. Sorry about that, no excuses.
Why I am not fond of the deer in a nutshell and prefer domesticated animals:
1) they selectively browse, and don't trample like I desire, or move as a mob
2) they are overpopulated and sickly- in most of the country (reference CWD/albinism- all over the place)
3) they are a major tick source (probably THE major one by many factors) and we have terrible tick-borne disease rates around here
4) I can't legally harvest them most of the year, and 5-6 deer take up a ton of freezer space (although I am processing into biltong and salting/curing)
5) they are very lean, and have little usable fat, and in the same amount of butchering time I can obtain more usable meat
and the biggest-
6) from an environmental perspective, having deer mostly predated by vehicles (which is where most deer statistically die in basically every eastern state), they cause a huge amount of pollution. The majority of a vehicles' CO2 cost is in manufacturing, not fuel. I know the body shop guys around here and the deer keep them in business- like tattoo shops around army posts. Yes the insurance pays the dollar cost of the damage (and I pay in insurance) but the unaccounted cost of CO2 is very high. Per our local state patrol, we have about 150,000 deer hit per year, which is the same number as hunting, and we have more hunters here than most states. Depending on the year we have ~20,000 vehicles totalled. My estimate is that the cost of fencing for sheep (for instance) is much lower.
What I like about them:
1) as you say, they are native, renewable, free range, non-GMO etc
2) They have pretty broad palate around here
3) Low maintenance except for the stuff I am trying to establish that they kill
4) predators not a big deal
If we had common sense hunting, where you could harvest on your land in a longer season, I would probably feel different to some degree. I rely more on other meat sources than I would if I could just shoot a deer when we were running low. I end up giving away maybe 4-5 quartered deer a year, limited mostly by the number of people who only want little 1# packages. I am training some people on my street to butcher, and then maybe we can make some serious headway.
What I am doing for soil improvement, deer or no, is to plant future soil fertility. I have big-podded thornless honeylocusts (recommend Hershey or Ashworth) that will drop pods all winter, and gradually feed the soil food web. I am using bulk rock dust to remineralize at a bargain price. I am increasing the moisture holding capacity immensely with earthworks and Dr Redhawk's methods to increase subsurface carbon. This allows me to eat whatever shows up- squirrels, turkey, rabbit, deer, quail- you name it.
The guy who began this was Alan Savory, who is a giant. HE concentrated on the domestic animals, using them as mobs, and the wild animals have increased as the soil increased. This is crucial- the wild animals no longer effectively create soil in most of the world, we don't have herds packed in by predators. I fully subscribe to his hypothesis. At first the wild animals need to be decreased in population, of there isn't enough vegetation to support mobs economically.
Tj Jefferson wrote:
Chris Ray wrote:Hi Travis,
I have been reading a lot at QDMA and Mossy Oak Gamekeepers, to familiarize myself with common methods. They both have good information, but neither uses permaculture practices.
I have a friend of a friend with almost 200 acres here in Minnesota, who is pretty open to my ideas. We've got plans on planting fruit and nut trees, opening up some of the canopy and removing competitor trees where there are oaks. He has several 1/4-2 acre fields that he wants to plant food plots. He's an old-timer and wants to disc, fertilize, round-up everything. I'm still a permaculture newbie, and am still trying to figure out how to handle food plots. so far I'm suggesting things like clover, chicory to improve the soil, and provide food for the game at the same time.
creating bedding habitat, and places for the deer to winter is another area I am trying to study.
I could go on and on. What things are you learning about now?