Blockades for Deer

Blockades for deer

Blockades for deer

Tip of the Week
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Since a lot of people are out on their grounds with chainsaws this time of year, lets talk today about blockades.

There are really 3 ways to pull off blockading with timber. By far the most effective is to bring in a dozer or backhoe and literally stack the trees up. Before one brushes this idea off as ridiculous, the time/place this comes in real handy is when bringing the big equipment in to create access, clear food plots &/or when creating ponds. No, it doesn’t likely make sense to bring that big stuff in to create a blockade, but when it’s already there working… has the capability of creating a true blockade.

blockades for deer
Steve Bartylla on New Stands

As mentioned last week, the idea behind creating hinge cut blockades is to alternate the height of the hinge cuts, making it a true pain to jump over or crawl under. The more of a pain it is the more effective it becomes. The catch is that it’s really, really tough to stop deer from going through an area they really want to.

One way of doing so is to create a tornado zone. In that case, one hinge cuts pretty much every “safe” to hinge tree in an entire area, alternating between higher and lower cuts, striving to make getting through it as much of a pain as practically possible. When one offers an easy way around or through and the area is big enough, very few deer will pass through the blockade, but they can still get in to browse during desperate times and the not quite ready yet does will occasionally try to lose their pursuit by heading in….Still, any way you look at it, that’s a lot of trees to tip. In some cases it’s well worth it. In others, well, not so much so.

The third way to accomplish this is to create a line of hinged trees through the woods. This is the toughest, as the trees are rarely spaced perfectly, all leaning the right way, to pull this off.

However, there are a couple things that can help greatly in this.
One is to widen the blockade. The longer the deer have to fight to get through the blockade the less incentive they have to try.

Another big help is to follow a feature that is already funneling deer to an extent. High banked creeks/rivers and erosion runoffs and cuts can work well. They’re already a bit of a pain for deer to cross. Dump some trees to block the crossings and they are that much harder. This can actually be quite effective. In fact, I did 3 of these blockades just last week.

Regardless of the route one goes (and this applies to edge feathering, as well), they will require maintenance to function at a high level. The does, fawns and bucks with small racks can slip through tangled messes impressively well. They often end up creating trails through your blockades. As more and more deer use them, as some of the trees die, they become easier and easier for all deer to follow these troublesome trails.

Stay on top of that. Around twice a year (sometime over winter/early spring and then again about a month before season opens), get out there and find where deer are crossing your blockades. If there is another tree or two you can hinge to block the new crossings, do it. If not, one can some brush, drag it over and plug the trails with that.

If you go out, drop a line of trees and call it good, you’re likely to be disappointed in the results. If you work on improving these blockades a couple times a year, they can be significant odds tilters.

blockades for deer
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Also, keep in mind that anything one can do for blockading with hinge cutting, wooden snow fence or chicken wire can accomplish the same thing.

As always, be thinking safety when using a chainsaw….Deer just aren’t worth a life or even a trip to the emergency ward.

The videos below are of deer using 2 different openings in funnels from the chip swap I did last week…The night shots are the “easy” spots to cross in a drain blockade. The daylight vids are from an opening in a high creek bank blockade.

Blockades for deer