Aquatic Furbearers Biology & Management

South Carolina’s furbearers are a diverse group of 14 species that have been or are currently valued for their pelts, which in the past have been used for making clothing or felt. Most people prize the opportunity to observe a mink, fox, beaver, or any other furbearer in the wild, and trappers, hunters, and photographers spend many hours pursuing these elusive creatures.

Attracting Doves Legally

Planting and cultivating dove fields is a popular and successful technique used by sportsmen, landowners, and land managers to attract and concentrate doves. Careful planning is essential to producing a successful and legal dove field.

Backyard Wildlife Enhancement

The first step in enhancing a backyard habitat for wildlife is to assess your yard or outdoor areas as they are right now, identifying habitat elements that already exist for wildlife. Some plants that provide seeds, fruits, and nuts are important to many species of wildlife. A dense shrubbery area or stand of evergreens will provide cover for many animals, and protection from wind and predators.

The Basics of Population Dynamics

All forms of wildlife, regardless of the species, will respond to changes in habitat, hunting or trapping, and weather conditions with fluctuations in animal numbers. Most landowners have probably experienced changes in wildlife abundance from year to year without really knowing why there are fewer individuals in some years than others. In many cases, changes in abundance are normal and to be expected. The purpose of the information presented here is to help landowners understand why animal numbers may vary or change. While a number of important concepts will be discussed, one underlying theme should always be remembered. Regardless of whether property is managed or not in any given year, there is always some change in the habitat, however small. Wildlife must adjust to this change and, therefore, no population is ever the same from one year to the next.

Biology & Management of Eastern Wild Turkey

Prior to and during early colonial times, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) occurred in large numbers over most of South. As settlement increased, detrimental land-use practices and market hunting resulted in the near extinction of the wild turkey. Because of the aggressive trapping and restocking efforts by state wildlife agencies, wild turkey populations have reached historical high levels in most states, including South Carolina.

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush?

You know the old saying. Well, believe it or not, you too can have a bird in the hand! All it takes is patience, persistence, and well, MORE patience. If you regularly feed birds in your backyard, you might want to try getting to know some of them up close and personal. The songbirds in your backyard can soon be landing on your shoulder and eating nuts and seeds straight from your hand this winter!

Bobwhite Quail Biology and Management

The bobwhite quail has long been considered the game bird of the South, and South Carolina’s past quail population has made it known as one of the best quail destroyed or abandoned prior to hatching, they will attempt to renest until a successful hatch or until the nesting season is over.

Converting Planted Loblolly Pine (or Slash Pine) to Longleaf Pine: An Opportunity

Many private forest landowners in the South are interested in restoring native longleaf pine forests because of the higher wildlife, recreational and aesthetic values associated with longleaf compared to other southern pine species. The appeal of the open, park-like longleaf woodlands typical of lands managed for bobwhite quail is strong for many landowners. In addition, longleaf has: greater insect, disease and fire resistance; and longleaf yields higher forest product values compared to other pines.

Cottontail Rabbit Biology and Management

The cottontail rabbit is one game species familiar to virtually everyone. Its requirements for life are relatively simple and this, coupled with a high reproductive capacity, enables it to hold the title of the most important game animal in North America.

Developing a Wildlife Management Plan

Who would consider building a house without a blueprint or taking a trip without a road map? Land managers and landowners who are successful at managing wildlife carefully plan and target management activities to accomplish their objectives, minimize expenses, and ensure the long-term productivity of their property for wildlife and other resources. Wildlife management plans are simply written guides for how, when, and where to implement habitat improvement practices. Developing a management plan yourself, or contracting a natural resource professional to develop a plan for forest or farm land, is a wise investment of time and money.

Estimating Wildlife Numbers

The landscape of diverse habitats across South Carolina provides many of the survival needs of wildlife. The diversity of vegetation provides excellent cover for wildlife; however, it greatly eliminates the ability to directly count all wildlife in a given area. In addition, most wildlife species are secretive by their very nature, and usually will not not hold still long enough to be counted. Therefore, the task of determining how many wildlife are on a particular tract of land is difficult. Yet landowners most frequently ask the question: “How many deer, quail, turkey, or other wildlife do I have on my land?”

Fee-Fishing Considerations

Fee fishing, paying for the right to fish and/or paying for any fish that are caught, is rapidly becoming popular among anglers. As fishing pressure on our public waters is increasing at a rapid rate, many anglers are looking for alternative places to fish. Fishing in private ponds could help fill a portion of this need and could provide a source of income to landowners. There are approximately 100 fee-fishing operations in South Carolina today.Considerations in Developing a Fee-Fishing Operation Successful fee-fishing operators market more than just fish. The value of the recreational experience received by the angler far outweighs the value of the fish. Fee-fishing experiences, as with other types of

Going Batty??? …What to Do About Bats in Your Belfry

Have you encountered a stray bat flying around in your house? Bats that fly into human living quarters are usually lost youngsters whose primary goal is a safe escape. They often will leave on their own if a window or door to the outside is opened while others leading to the rest of the house are closed.

Gray Squirrel Biology & Management

The gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) has been a part of South Carolina forests for thousands of years. Native Indians and early settlers used the squirrel for food and its fur. In turn, the squirrel raided cornfields and other farm crops during periods of extremely high squirrel populations when thousands of squirrels would leave their normal range and emigrate many miles in search of a new home.

Hunting Leases

Recent statistics indicate that more than 1.7 million South Carolinians (68% of the population) enjoy some type of wildlife recreation every year. The demand for high quality hunting and outdoor recreational experiences has tripled in the last 30 years. Some landowners have found that by developing lease hunting enterprises, they can not only control access to their land, but they may also gain a financial reward for themselves in the process.

Introduction to Prescribed Fire

Naturally occurring fire has shaped Southern ecosystems. It was the major ecological process in the development and dominance of longleaf pine forests, which once covered more than 90 million acres of land in the region. Longleaf pine developed several of its unique characteristics because of naturally occurring fires, started by lightning.

Introduction to Wildlife Management

The term wildlife means different things to different people. To a backyard wildlifer, it may mean chickadees, nuthatches, and cardinals. To a hunter, it may mean white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, and gray squirrels. To a sheep producer, it may mean coyotes. To a poultry producer, it may mean mink, weasels, skunks, and raccoons. To a gardener, it may mean hummingbirds and butterflies.

Invasive Plant Pest Species of South Carolina

Invasive, or exotic pest plant species are a growing problem in South Carolina. Nonnative plant invasions can be seen in natural areas, croplands, rangelands, pastures, forests, wetlands and waterways, wilderness areas, parks and refuges, and highway rights-of-way.

Landowner Alternatives & Considerations for Developing Fee-Access Recreation

A variety of traditional and non-traditional income opportunities exist for rural landowners, many of which directly or indirectly involve wildlife. These include charging for access, developing unique services or products, altering marketing strategies for existing products or services, and harvesting and marketing natural landscape materials. Most of these income alternatives can be integrated into current farm, forest, or other existing land management operations. Alternative sources of income seem to be limited only by an individual’s imagination and creativity. However, the market potential and resource requirements vary considerably among enterprises, so having a “good idea” is no assurance of being able to develop it into a successful enterprise. This is why each available income option must be carefully evaluated prior to making a decision on their implementation.

Management of Bottomland Hardwood Forests in South Carolina for Wildlife Using Green Tree Reservoirs

Bottomland hardwood forests occupy the floodplains of many large and small rivers of the southeastern United States. These forests are productive systems and contain a variety of wildlife habitats. Many of these areas have been leveed and are flooded to make food, such as acorns and benthic organisms, available to waterfowl. The forested areas within the levees are called greentree reservoirs (GTRs). Flooding normally occurs during the winter dormant season and drainage when foliage begins to develop.

Management of Lowcountry Bottomland Hardwoods Using the Crop Tree Management System

Many landowners today are interested in managing their forests to accomplish a number of goals other than just for timber production. These goals may include fish and wildlife habitat improvement, aesthetic enhancement, and water quality maintenance. To meet these multiple demands, the Crop Tree Management System was developed focusing on selecting and releasing trees that will yield multiple landowner benefits, but can also be used to accomplish a single objective.

Managing Farm Ponds for Fishing

South Carolina has numerous farm ponds that are used for irrigation, watering livestock, and recreation. Even though most of these ponds are not used for recreational activities, they could provide excellent fishing opportunities if they were properly managed. Plankton, the microscopic and near-microscopic organisms that are suspended in the water of a pond, are important because they are essential to the creation of oxygen in a pond.

Managing Lowcountry Forests for Wildlife

Many Lowcountry landowners have existing natural stands of pines, hardwoods and pine-hardwood mixtures. Most are not interested in practicing intensive, plantation-based forest management but have a keen desire to maintain existing stands and improve wildlife habitat. The following management recommendations are based on years of management activity on Lowcountry plantations that are managed primarily for wildlife with timber income of secondary importance.

Mourning Dove Biology and Management

Pioneers settling in South Carolina during the 1600s encountered a small pigeon-like bird in and around forest openings. Although the passenger pigeon was larger and more numerous, mourning doves (Zenaidura macroura) were abundant enough to provide some source of pleasure with their low, mournful cooing and a limited amount of variety in table fare for our adventurous ancestors.

Protecting Soil and Water Resources

Landowners who wish to practice stewardship on their lands need to assess the potential negative impact of their management activities on soil and water resources, both on and off their property. Soil and water conservation is focused on the prevention of erosion and off-site movement of sediments, nutrients and pesticides, the maintenance of normal water levels in wetlands, and the reduction of flood flows into estuaries.must adhere to minimum standards that include BMPs for soil and water conservation. These standards also promote timber, wildlife, recreational and aesthetic values. Landowners who have environmentally-sensitive forestlands with high erosion potential should design their management plans primarily to protect and enhance the soil and water resources. This includes lands

Providing Habitat Needs for Wildlife Through Forest and Agricultural Management

In general, good habitat conditions for wildlife can be created while managing timber or farming operations. In some cases, no additional costs are required. Information presented here will help in planning for an integrated land management program that optimizes timber growth, crop production, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities on private land.

Recreational Access and Liability: What Landowners Should Know

Increased demands for recreation by the public have prompted many landowners to develop recreational access programs, such as fee hunting operations, which provide limited access to the public and help supplement landowner income. One of the primary concerns of landowners who are interested in establishing a recreational operation like fee hunting is liability.

Rules, Regulations and Laws Affecting Wildlife Management

For some private forest and farm owners, complying with government mandated rules and regulations and fearing legal penalties for failure to do so can cause a good deal of anguish. In most cases, private landowners are more than willing to comply with regulations that protect their land. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of regulations, many landowners are left confused. Adding to this confusion are the continuing changes to regulations. The information presented here will address important laws that affect private landowners, agencies that administer the laws, and the responsibility of landowners under the law.

Stewardship of Longleaf Pine Forests: A Guide for Landowners

This book is written in an easy-to-read format for the private landowner in the deep South, the heart of the range of longleaf pine. Longleaf pine was once part of the single largest forest area dominated by a single tree species in North America, covering as much as 90 million acres. Today, about 4 million acres remain and much of the ecosystem associated with the longleaf forest is in poor condition. The future of longleaf as a viable economic and ecological component of our Southern landscape rests in the hands of private landowners. Well-managed longleaf forests can provide high-value forest products, excellent wildlife habitat for game and nongame wildlife and scenic beauty all on the same property with few or no trade-offs. As you read through these pages, you will get some ideas about how longleaf forests can fit into the landscape on your property.

Terrestrial Furbearer Biology & Management

Terrestrial or upland furbearers are called terrestrial because they require some drinking water but are not associated with water as a general habitat requirement. They include species like the opossum, red or gray fox, coyote, striped or spotted skunk, long-tailed weasel, and bobcat.

The Pine that Fire Built: Burning Young Longleaf

Prescribed fire can be a useful and relatively inexpensive tool in managing southern pine forests. As increasing acreage is planted with longleaf pine, many landowners are either required to burn their young stands to comply with cost-share programs or wish to burn to achieve various management objectives.

Timing of Prescribed Fire in Longleaf Pine Management: Benefits, Risks, and Roles by Season

Land managers in the Southeast have traditionally set fire to low vegetation in their pine forests every few years, chiefly during the winter months. Recently a variety of ecological considerations has generated interest in burning during the growing season in longleaf pine stands; but many experienced managers have expressed concern about the safety and effectiveness of summer burning. To assist forest managers facing practical decisions about when to conduct burning in their longleaf stands, this publication summarizes many of the principal insights provided to date by scientific research findings on the effects of season of burn on longleaf ecosystems.

Waterfowl Biology and Management

South Carolina provides migratory and wintering habitat for about 18-20 different North American waterfowl species which can be commonly found in the state at some period during the year. Breeding habitat is also provided for resident wood duck and geese.

Wetland Ecology: Value and Conservation

Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. In spite of the efforts of the federal government, individual states, and private organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, wetlands (and consequently waterfowl and other wetland wildlife species) have declined at an alarming rate. A report to Congress estimated that 53 percent or more of the original wetlands in this country have been destroyed in the past 200 years.

White-tailed Deer Biology & Management

The flashing of a white, flag-like tail along the edge of a field and into the woods signals the presence of the most popular game animal in the South. Hunting the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana) is a form of recreation that is steeped in tradition and tremendously popular.

Wildlife Damage Management

Wildlife damage management, regardless of the problems species, has four basic components: 1) problem definition (identification and assessment of damage), 2) an understanding of the behavior and ecology of the problem wildlife species, 3) selection and application of control techniques, and 4) evaluation of control efforts.

Wildlife Economics

Referring to wild animals as economic commodities has created controversy among some individuals in the wildlife profession, as well as among various groups of wildlife users.

Wildlife Food Plantings

There are 3 ways that landowners, managers and sportsmen can improve the quality and availability of wildlife foods. One method includes protecting existing high value native wildlife food plants that already exist. Secondly, managers can enhance and stimulate the growth of native vegetation by mechanical (timber thinning, strip disking, mowing, prescribed burning) and chemical (herbicides, fertilizers and lime) means. A third way is to propagate desired wildlife food plants by direct seeding or seedling planting, which is often called supplemental planting with food plots.

Wildlife and Wildlife Management

The term wildlife means different things to different people. To a backyard wildlife enthusiast, it may mean chickadees, nuthatches, and cardinals. To a hunter, it may mean white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, and gray squirrels. To a sheep producer, it may mean coyotes. To a poultry producer, it may mean mink, weasels, skunks, and raccoons. To a gardener, it may mean hummingbirds and butterflies.

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