Buying Land

Clear-Cut Land: Nature’s Food Plot and Good Investment Land

Clear-Cut Land: Nature's Food Plot and Good Investment Land

Clearcutting, or clearcut logging, is a forestry/logging practice in which most or all trees in an area are uniformly cut down. It is a common misconception that clear-cutting is a death knell for serious hunters. In the Southeastern U.S., many sportsmen lease land to hunt and quite often clubs or partnerships are formed as a way to pool resources to lease, manage and hunt properties. Much of the hunting land for lease in the Southeast is owned by a large timberland company or private owner who have invested in the land for the purpose of growing and selling trees. The time will come when it’s time to harvest the timber on the hunting land. At the end of the day, clear-cut land is nature’s food plot. It is good for deer, good for hunters, and makes good investment sense if you’re looking to purchase land. Unfortunately, many recreational land buyers fail to understand the benefits and importance of clear-cuts.

Clear-Cuts Are Like An Enormous Buffet Table for Deer

Clear-cut land is excellent deer habitat and a valuable wildlife management tool. The reason deer love cutovers is that in the South, within 6 months of being clear-cut, a property will be completely re-stocked with young, vigorous, thick growth. And, you don’t have to lift a finger or spend one dollar! The soil will begin to germinate and stumps of hardwood shrubs or trees will begin to resprout, which will be just a matter of days if it’s during the growing season. Clearcuts might not be pretty, but they are the reason deer thrive in many places in the South.

Why Do Deer Love Clear-Cuts? 

For deer, this does three things: 1) it puts food down where the deer can reach it, 2) it increases the protein content of available food, and 3) it provides excellent sanctuary. So, deer have highly nutritious food and bedding cover all in the same place. Something they do not have in a mature hardwood stand.

Importantly, the plant communities that grow back after a clear-cut have much greater species diversity and have much higher protein content than the mature forest that was there before. While there will not be as many mast-producing trees (for example, mature oaks, beeches, etc.), there will be much more to eat than before and it will be much more nutritious (mast is high-carb but low protein).

Hunting Clear Cut Land

One of the only downsides to hunting clear cut property (for the first 10-15 years) is that the vegetation is very thick, making it hard to see deer (which is why it’s good sanctuary). A good way to handle this is by installing a network of stalking trails and shooting lanes organized around strategically placed ladder stands/shooting houses (like the hub and spokes on a bicycle wheel). 

When hunting a clear cut, stay flexible. If the deer browse one part of the cut heavily, they might switch to another section the following day. Another swath of timber might be cut nearby, drawing them over the next ridge. Take the time to uncover their movement pattern and monitor fresh droppings, tracks and chewed branch tips to make sure you’re in a hot spot.

A clear cut forest is a blank canvas. With a spray rig mounted on a 4-wheeler, you can quickly and cheaply turn a clear cut property into a great deer hunting property.

Buying Clear Cut Land Make Good Financial Sense

Clear-cut properties are always much cheaper because the value of the trees are removed. It will be unsightly for a while, but an eager buyer with a vision can turn the sad sight into something beautiful again.

Of course, these tracts are cheaper because the value of the trees are removed. But they are also cheaper because the “dirt value” of a clear-cut property is almost always less than the “dirt value” of the same property with the trees present- call a land agent in your area and they can discuss why.

Whether or not clear-cut land is right for you depends on what you want to do with the land and what your tastes and goals are. It’s good for hunting and timber investment. Replant it in pines that you want, where you want. and bring in a dozer in to make some food plots and clear some wide shooting lanes. It’s a double win! Clear-cut land makes great deer-hunting sense and land investment sense.

This content may not be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, in part or in whole, without written permission of LANDTHINK. Use of this content without permission is a violation of federal copyright law. The articles, posts, comments, opinions and information provided by LANDTHINK are for informational and research purposes only and DOES NOT substitute or coincide with the advice of an attorney, accountant, real estate broker or any other licensed real estate professional. LANDTHINK strongly advises visitors and readers to seek their own professional guidance and advice related to buying, investing in or selling real estate.

About the author

Tom Brickman

Tom Brickman helps people buy, sell and care for rural land. Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Tom has 40+ years of experience in the timberland investment & management businesses across the United States and Central America. He is a Registered Forester (and son of a forester) and Real Estate Broker.

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