Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Only Shoot Here with Your Camera!

A visiting moose was called in by Nick Leadley a professional wildlife photographer. This was shot with his hand-held camera. On some of our plots, we can actually see moose beds. If you like what you see, google Nick on his new website Touchthewildphotos.com

I think the Club should donate Nick a pair of deer antlers, so he can learn to rattle antlers!

Please be reminded that we want all hunters to hunt away from the plots. Its the right thing to do! Only shoot with your cameras.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Signs of Wildlife Foraging

We can't prove that the critters are better surviving the winter because of these plots. We can however monitor the plots for signs of usage. When the volunteers visit the plots every two weeks in the fall, they look for different signs:

We use remote cameras. (Deer photos courtesty of wildlife photographer, Nick Ledley).

We look for sign of fresh tracks.


Signs of browsing is observed. The bottom photos were taken from new plots this year:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Turn it Up with Turnips

The first photo as on a challenging winter road planted with the modified Rangeley Mix quite late in August. With a composition of 5% turnips, the dark green is striking with their bold growth of turnip leaves. The clover will take a foot-hold next year after the turnips are gone. On Sept 31, We saw deer and moose tracks, turkey and fox scat.

The remaining photos are of a food plot planted totally with turnips. We were surprised how turnips grew since the hurricane a month ago: From a walnut size to baseball size.

The pink color on the leaves indicate a touch of frost.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reving Up for Next Year

Before and During-- not quite before and after: This new plot donated by Wagner is being prepared by RRG & SA volunteers for "Frost Seeding" when the spring snow starts to melt. It is a progess in work

Below, you see Mark Beuregard's Forestry Company delivering a load of ash. They have to donate approximately a 1/2 day to transfer the ash from Boralex's hoppers in Stratton. Boralex burns biomass to produce electricity. The left-over ash can now go back to the forest and be recylced via the Deer Forage Project. Mark Beauregard becomes another communtiy partner that makes this project the success that it is. Note that the ash is still quite hot.

Volunteers who are prepping the log landing are RRG&SA volunteers Gregg Silloway, Marilyn Brontman and Don & Marge Miller. Thank you folks for your contribution.

New Experimental Plot

Wow, its so much fun this time of year to see the fruits of our labors. These are photos taken of our new experimental turnip patch taken in early September. We are trying these annuals, because they hold up so well in cold weather. In fact, deer normally don't eat the turnip tops until after the first frost. The leaves turn into a delicious-tasting carbohydrate for the deer. Sometimes it takes them awhile to learn to eat them. The leaves stand up in the snow and are accessible up to a foot of snow--I am told. Hopefully, the deer learn to paw up the bulbs which will last up until spring greening. We will keep you posted.

The deer are already hanging around, but we haven't caught them browsing yet. Thanks goes to Nick Ledley, our wildlife photographer, who is monitering wildlife use with trail cameras.

Ron Roy, our moniter now claims these turnips are 2-3 inches in diameter. Remember, just as we ask you not to hunt on our plots, we ask you not to eat the turnips.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Living on the Edge: Part II

I would like to introduce my first guest writer P. Jaine Jacobs. She and her husband George Ebbinghousen recently moved to Rangeley to live full time at their previous vacation hideaway on a 40-acre lot. They developed their land for wildlife habitat, wisely cost-sharing with NRCS, a federal program. Land is managed to encourage wildlife.

In Photo One, "these brush piles were built to protect rabbits. While the rabbits can fit in the smallest spaces at and near the bottom, their larger predators, such as coyotes, cannot fit between the base logs. As the smaller brush at the t op decomposes, we will replenish it to prolong the useful lifespan of each 'bunny bolt hole.' There are three similar brush piles in a two-acre section of timber stand that has been thinned, or improved under the Program."

Next, in photos two and three

"The snag trees were created to provide habitat for woodpeckers and other wildlife. (Note the cut-mark below the W showing the girdling by a chainsaw). How the feds taught them to read the 'W' is a subject for another blog. There are four such wildlife trees in the same two-acre section. Each tree has been girdled with a chain saw so it will die standing, becoming a potential home for woodpeckers.

Our wood lot was part of the approved clear cut at the time of the spruce bud worm infestation about 30 years ago. When my husband and I bought it, it was clear to our untrained eyes that it needed some help. We have not stopped asking questions since then. Our sources have included neighbors, foresters, arborists and others who do the tree work. Other valuable resources has been the Small Woodlot Owners Association of Maine (SWOAM), officials for the WoodsWise Program, and the NRCS personnel out of Farmington 778-4767. We are both artists, pleased to be full time residents of Rangeley since 2009. You can see a sampling of our art work at www. ebbyjake.com"

Thank you Jaine for your contribution!

Like Jaine and George, please contact NRCS via internet or join SWOAM if you are interested in developing your property.

If you have a dead tree out back that is at least 3 feet thick and 6 feet high, LEAVE IT ALONE! Many amphibians, reptiles and mammals use cavities for nesting as well. At least 35 bird species in the Northeast use these snags for food and help to control unwanted insect pests. The more woodpeckers and birds, the better for our insect control. Also, decomposing logs on your property provide a source of food and lodging for critters.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What Landowners Can Do to Help Wildlife

We have to live more on the edge.

A contributory factor in Western Maine's declining wildlife, is the LOSS OF EDGE. We are gradually losing our Rangeley area fields. Laws passed in the 80's discourage clear cuts by logging companies. A clear cut helps to establish new saplings and shrubs, creating forage for wildlife, including song birds. Fields are turning into forests, and well-meaning land owners are letting their property's woods mature without management. Only a small percentage of wildlife thrives in a mature forest.

Along the edges of fields grow small trees and shrubs that create "soft mast", berries, moutain ash, apple choke cherries and etc. Beech trees and Oak produce hard mast, which are picked by wildlife from the ground. Grouse, deer, bear and turkeys all compete for mast. Buds and catkins of trees and shrubs are eaten later in the fall.

Mast-producing trees and schrubs are intolerant of shade, and need sunlight. Poplar, or big-toothed aspen saplings, a popular winter food source will not flourish if shaded by mature poplar. Most wildlife need a succession of young forest to provide food sources.

The best thing a landowner can do is to identify any schrub or tree producing mast. Much of these shrubs may be on the edge of your lawn You can remove any competing tree or schrub which causes shade. Fertilizing any fruit tree can greatly enhance fruit production. There are many wild apple trees being choked out by competing forest. Rangeley once had abudant apple orchards.

You can also take a chainsaw and create small clearings in your woods. Create a new clearing every year. A chainsaw is a deer's best friend! You can also buy some "Rangeley Seed Mix" available at the River's Edge Tackle Shop and plant it on your septic tank, trails, logging roads or throw in your ditches.

Remember, its good to live on the edge.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Results of Apple Tree Release

Thanks to a great volunteer crew, about 85 % of the apple trees we released are bearing fruit. Photos of these apples were taken last week. This fall, we will attempt to do some more pruning in this orchard. Get your chain saws and pruners ready!

Before and After

Monday, August 15, 2011

Winter Road Conquered


Seven Islands requests Jack Searles to excavate and prepare the mile long winter road for a food plot

And who is this at the Kabota helm? None other than retired minister Bill Carter. Still making the world a better place. But this time, it is for those who without a voice.

Below is Rick Baker spreading seed on the winter road. Note the seeds radiating out of the hopper. This mile long road was seeded in 1/2 hour! Thank you Rick for the many hours you put in this summer.

This is same location as the first photo: Before and After. Although you can't see it, the ash-covered soil is dragged to aereate it and the seed has been laid.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ash Spreading on Woody Hill Plots

Thanks to the 5 Volunteers who helped spread
ash on August 1, 2001. You can't see them but Dave Borman, on Kabota, is dumping ash to Ron Ray's dump truck (Cupsuptic Fabrication).

The ash being transferred to another plot
around the corner
Here you see Dave Borman, Kabota owner, Oquossoc, delicately spreading
the ash across the plot.

Next, Rick Baker drags the ash to evenly distribute it. Just to remind you, ash sweetens and fertilizes the soil, which enables our specially designed seed mix to grow into high-protein forage. Deer and wildlife needs this to fatten up for our sever winters.

Then rakers, Tom Nagel and Albert Ladd,

rake the ash into any empty spots. After that, its seeded. If it wasn't for our volunteers, this project would be nowhere.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

M & H Becomes a Major Partner

We had new challenges this second season. M & H stepped up to the plate in many ways. They donated time and equipment to "scrape off" the debris and unwanted vegetation to prepare the plots for seeding.

M & H Construction drove their bulldossers along challenging gravel roads to prepare these remote plots.

M & H also used their trucks to stand for hours, allowing the ash to slowly fill from Boralex's hoppers. This clean woodash created from biomass was then trucked and dumped to the new food plots. Thanks to Maine Environmental, part of this job was financed. Maine Environmental, a eastern Maine environmental waste company that specializes in beneficial reuse helped facilitate this new relationship.

On the right photograph, is Shannon Giles, from Maine Environmental in Herman, Maine who is helping M&H truck driver to get ready to dump the ash.

Whata Drag!!!

For the second season of the Logging Company Partnership, we have purchased and/or created new devices to meet the demand of north woods wildlife gardening. The magazines don't talk much about deer plots in such rugged inhospitable terrain here in Western Maine.

Rick Baker has designed a 400 pound drag that aerates and smooths the soil before seeding. Thanks to M&H Trucking, who donated these rusty skidder chains, this improvised dragger really does the trick.

We have purchased a new ATV-driven seed spreader and invite any land-owner to buy a share in it. That way we can start a cooperative to develop the habitat on private lands. This spreader has saved lots of man labor in getting the seed on Seven Islands' winter road. This year we have tweeked our seed mix by adding a small portion of forage turnip. Once frost occurs, the leaves are changed from protein to carbohydrate which will help fatten the deer up for their winter endurance.

The Spreader has an adjustable rate of spreading

I bet you are wondering how can 2 people manage a 400 pound drag. . . .

This seeding job only took 2 and 1/2 hours.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Did It Work?

On June 6th, 2011, we walked Two Mile Plot, and were amazed by the lush carpet of clover. This mix works superb for erosion too. Notice the deer tracks. There is no doubt that the forage mix and wood ash are successful to provide forage.