Prepping for the New York archery opener
For the past few weeks I’ve been hanging my treestands on the land I have permission to hunt, and this means clearing shooting lanes. It’s amazing how quickly an area can become overgrown and, if the ground cover isn’t cut or mowed regularly, the area could quickly become an impenetrable jungle of autumn olive and multiflora rose canes.
One such place I hunt is a 900-acre dairy farm and one of my favorite sections of that farm is a 200-acre cow pasture. The pasture consists of open fields, a large swamp, mature woods and lowland with two creeks running through it. To top things off, there are dozens of apple trees scattered around the property and because of the food and cover available, I’ve found deer love the area.
In the past, the landowner kept about 90 young cows in the pasture, and that proved to be mixed blessing. The cows kept the unwanted vegetation to a minimum but they had the audacity to move past me at the most inopportune times. There were times I would spend several hours in my stand only to have the cows move through just as the sun set in the evening or just after it popped above the horizon in the morning. It was aggravating to say the least, but on those days when the bovines fed in a different part of the pasture I saw deer.
Earlier this year, my farmer friend said he cut back on the number of cows he put out to pasture this past spring. The news made me happy because I figured fewer cows would mean fewer interruptions. But all things come with a price. A few weeks ago, when I went to hang a treestand I was astonished to find how overgrown the area was. With fewer cows to keep things in check, my favorite hunting location was a jungle of multiflora rose canes.
Most hunters are familiar with this invasive plant because it is extremely prolific and, if left unchecked, forms dense thickets. From the look of things, the pasture was perfect for its needs.
If the cows couldn’t do it, I would. With a pair of pruning shears I set about eliminating as much of this plant as I could. For the time being, at least, I cleared most of the offending sprouts from around my stand. My hands were bleeding and my arms were scratched but now I’m ready for opening day. The area is thick and I’m confident deer will come out of the swamp to feed on the apples in the pasture. If they do, it could prove to be a good season.