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"Tips for Creating the Perfect Habitat for Wildlife on Your Property"

Creating the best habitat for your property should be your number one priority to maintaining and growing your wildlife for years to come.

Switchgrass Screen
Switchgrass Screen

When it comes to maintaining and even growing wildlife on your property, you should focus on the most important thing in an animal's world - Where they live. By implementing the best habitat practices, and maintaining those habitats, you are giving wildlife the best opportunity to survive and lowering stress levels in their high stressed environments.

Early Successional Habitat

Creating early successional habitat has numerous amounts of benefits to animals like bedding, nesting, brood rearing, fawning, forage, thermal cover, and ultimately, sanctuary. All play pivotal roles and provide the necessary needs for game species like deer, turkeys, and upland game like quail and pheasants. This can lead to higher survival rates among juvenile wildlife, more food options, and lower stress levels. It can also improve your hunting property because you can support higher number of wildlife and help influence travel to certain areas.


From creating early successional habitat to disturbing the plant community within it, we can offer and maintain ecosystems that animals need to survive and thrive. Here are a few practices that you can use on your property

  • Prescribed Fire

    • Using prescribed fire is a natural disturbance that has been around for thousands of years. It's how plant communities have been maintained and helped wildlife with new cover and forage. Using it as a landowner can improve your forbe and native communities, help create cover and provide food, and help maintain areas like early successional habitat, restore native plants, and offer structure for poults and fawns.

  • Timber Stand Improvement (TSI)

    • Oftentimes used in a mature hardwood setting, it can offer new hardwood regeneration, briars and brambles, and even woodland forbes, wildflowers, and sedges to grow up that have lied dormant in the seed bed for years. Like many properties, there are many settings with huge ag fields adjacent to mature, unmanaged hardwood timber. This provides food and cover from summer to fall, but nothing from winter to spring. Using TSI provides structure on the ground for bedding and nesting, regeneration of hardwoods and structure, and accessible food during those pivotal late winter and early spring times for wildlife.

  • Planting for Wildlife

    • As landowners, we have the ability to plant desired habitat for wildlife. Whether planting native communities, oftentimes through programs like CRP and EQIP, or planting food plots for forage, we can help ensure they are getting enough to eat and reaching their full potential for population and overall health. Always keep in mind the animals and the living soil beneath it. Native plantings help enrich the soil with the nutrients and minerals that feed it and their deep root systems, helping the microorganisms within the soil, controlling erosion, and providing suitable habitat for animals. Food Plots can offer forage for a numerous amount of animals as well as build up the soil profile.

Native Wildflowers
Native Wildflowers


When it comes to terms of diversity, we can view it in two ways: Diversity of habitat on a landscape and diversity of the plant community within each habitat.

  • Landscape Diversity - Landscape diversity is having multiple, different habitats within the same landscape. This could be open ag adjacent to mature hardwoods, which is adjacent to early successional growth, adjacent to prairie, adjacent to a wetland, etc. We often think more ag and more mast production (mature hardwoods with thick oak density) is best, but we forget about how much forage the other habitats can produce, as well as year-round thermal and fawning cover. Having more diversity and greater habitat interspersion (how habitats are situated next to each other) will greatly increase how much wildlife you can support as well as maximizing their potential on your land.

  • Plant Diversity - Having greater diversity among plant communities increases the amount of forage available game animals need, different peak forages at different times of the year among the different species of plants, and different levels of structure and cover. The greater the diversity, the higher levels of survival you will see among your wildlife.

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