Marking Boundaries, Managing Wildlife

Below – boundary trees are often the biggest trees.

I don’t really do much useful around the farms, but I enjoy being there and I have assigned myself tasks.   One of my repeating tasks is marking boundaries.    I squirt new paint on the markers each year.  It was a challenge the first time just to find them.   Most of the markers are on old trees.  Boundary trees tend to be the biggest ones because neither side can cut them down.  Beyond that, surveyors tended to choose long-lived species such as white oaks.   The most interesting markers are old signs.   My property was owned by Union Camp and there are metal signs telling people that.   In some cases the trees have grown almost completely around the signs.    On two sides I have the remains of a barb wire fence.  In the old days the fence divided two pastures.  It is very old and the trees have grown around the wires in many places.   The wires are mostly down, but they still provide a straight line to follow.  The southern boundary is Genito Creek … or it WAS the creek.   In 1962 the creek changed course and cut a new channel through my property.    The line is now the old creek bed.  There are no clear markers there.  The eastern border is also moved.  It used to be the road, but around 1970 they moved the road, so now I have around 100 yards on the far side of the road too.  This strands a couple acres, but I am glad to have both sides.   Nobody can build anything I don’t like along my road.   The plat map has precise longitude and latitude that these days you can find with GPS.   In fact, you can find everything with GPS.    I like the precision but I enjoy the exploration more.   

Below – The tree swallowed the barb wire fence.

Below My trees are growing very well and I expect that the thinning and biosolids will make them grow even better.   The property was clear cut in 2003 and replanted the next spring.   The site index is good.

I met the guys from the Reedy Creek Hunt club.  They seem a nice bunch of guys.   They told me that my new property has been in forest since as long as anybody can remember.   They knew a lot about the local forestry business  and I was glad to share their expertise.  

There is no shortage of deer in the area.   In fact, deer have become pests, destroying crops and becoming road hazards.   The hunters shoot as many as they can, but it doesn’t make a dent on the herd.  They speculated, however, that the deer may be a nuisance also because they have to search for food farther from the forests.   We agreed that the club would plant some food plots on the eight acres below the power lines that cross my new property.    High protein diet would not necessarily increase the size of the herd, but it might keep them closer to home and make the herd healthier.  That is the theory, at least. 

Above & below are some of our healthy trees. I am 6’1”, so you can see the comparison with the trees.  I didn’t know trees grew that fast.  Back in 2005 when I first got the place, none of them were even knee high.

Some still hunt individually, especially those who hunt with bows or black powder but hunting in this part of Virginia is a usually a communal affair.   They send dogs into the woods to drive out the deer.  Theoretically they coordinate to get the deer.   Evidently many still get away.   They move fast and the guys assured me that it is a lot harder than it sounds.  

We talked about the various other sorts of animals the live around Brunswick County.   I was not happy to learn that bears are becoming common again.   I have not seen any bear tracks yet on my land.  Good.  I prefer to avoid encounters with any animals that can do me serious harm.  As few as ten years ago there weren’t any in Virginia except in the mountains and in the areas of the Great Dismal Swamp.   I heard from a different source that a guy near Brodnax killed a bear last year, a big bear … with a bow and arrow.  I am not sure I would shoot at a bear with a bow.   A near miss would just make him mad and you might not get a second shot.  Hunting for bear is still restricted to bow and black powder.    Of course there is the usual menagerie of animals, such as beaver, turkey, bobcats and recently coyotes.   I understand that beavers have been trying to dam up one of the streams on the new property.    You just can’t get away from them.    They are kind of cute but they breed like rodents, I suppose because they are.

Above is the place where the club plans to plant some food plots.

Above – my new property came with appliances.  The hunt club guys tell me that they have been there a long time.   It is a Sears Kenmore washer and range.   Despite years of exposure to the elements, they are in decent condition.  I guess Sears built to last.