Habitat Brush Piles by Larry Weishuhn
Habitat Brush Piles
With any work should come some fun. We had been at it all morning. It was time for a break. Around our place that usually means doing some shooting, rifles and handguns. A few days earlier I had received a new Trijicon Huron 2.5-10x40 with BDC Hunter Hold reticle. The night before I mounted it on one of my favorite Ruger No. 1s in .257 Roberts.
Properly outfitted we used Hornady’s 117 grain SST to sight-in. With only one minor adjustment we had it shooting sub-MOA groups. It was time to get back to work.
We, my two son-in-laws, Greg Johnson and Lance Tigrett, and I returned to cutting cedar trees which died during a severe drought several years ago. The trunks to be used in building a log shooting house for our range, the limbs used to create brush piles to help encourage wildlife habitat recovery.
Before stacking dead cedar limbs in the form of a teepee, we planted acorns, pecan and persimmon seeds in what would be the pile’s center. Stacked limbs provide protection to developing seedlings from being browsed by livestock and wildlife, at least until they grow to be sizeable and their limbs spread beyond “the woody teepee”.
These type of brush piles provide cover for rabbits and ground nesting birds. Too, they provide roosting sites for a wide variety of non-game birds. Birds that have been eating an even wider variety of grass, forbs, shrub and tree seeds which pass through the bird’s digestive system and be dropped to the ground. These passed-through seeds tend to have increased germination rates. The “deposited” seeds grow quickly under the cover of the stacked limbs and create more food and cover for wildlife.
In most of the area where we erect habitat piles we graze cattle, cow/calf. These piles prevent cows from feeding on the seedlings growing under the pile. Our habitat brush piles are built to insure there is sufficient room for growth under them. They are 8 to 12-feet in diameter. We generally build 4 or more such structures per acre, depending upon our supply of limbs.
Erecting these type of brush piles can truly help improve the wildlife habitat in terms of plant diversity for forage and cover on your property regardless of size. And, they are inexpensive!