Last updated: February 20. 2013 4:47AM - 485 Views

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For years the members of the North Mountain Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association worked tirelessly to improve wildlife habitat on State Game Lands 57.

Now they are helping another group with the same mission.

Last month the branch purchased a no-till grass drill – a machine used to plant grasses, legumes and grains for wildlife food plots – and donated it to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The machine, which cost approximately $12,000, is 6-feet wide – narrower than the machine previously used by the PGC on area game lands – and can be used in more remote areas to establish food and cover for a variety of wildlife.

This will make it easier for us to plant food plots on narrow logging roads and smaller openings, said Jim Jolley, PGC land management supervisor for the Northeast Region. It will be easier to get back into these remote areas and improve habitat for deer and a host of other wildlife species.

Steve Germick, vice-president of the North Mountain QDMA branch, said the no-till drill eliminates a lot of the work that normally goes into establishing a food plot. Because an area can be planted without having to be plowed or disked, he said, it will save PGC Food and Cover employees time and fuel. As a result, more food plots can be planted in less time.

Germick said the North Mountain Branch will work in conjunction with the Game Commission to establish food plots. Branch members will spray fields to kill weed growth, and PGC employees will come in with the drill and plant crops such as brassica, clover, winter wheat and oats.

It's going to be a great tool that will benefit all types of wildlife, and it will allow for more acreage to be planted, Germick said. This will make a positive impact on Game Lands 57 for decades.

The North Mountain Branch has planted and maintained food plots on SGL 57 for the last six years, Germick said. Last year the group planted or maintained 27 acres of food plots on the game lands, and the results are evident by an increase in deer and bear signs, he added.

Now that the new drill will allow the PGC crews to plant more food plots on SGL 57, it will also free up the North Mountain Branch to improve habitat on other areas.

Branch president Chris Denmon said the group is planning to create food plots on game lands in the Forkston, Beth Run and Beech Lake areas.

There are so many places on Game Lands 57 that we haven't gotten to yet. We'll be partnering with the Game Commission and the National Wild Turkey Federation to tackle areas that haven't been touched in years simply because the Game Commission doesn't have the manpower to do them all, Denmon said. This drill can triple the amount of food plots they can put down in the same amount of time.

The money used to buy the drill came from fundraisers conducted by the branch, such as its annual banquet. Germick said the funds go back into habitat improvement projects on public lands that benefit hunters and wildlife enthusiasts.

But the biggest benefactor, he said, is the wildlife that inhabit Game Lands 57.

These food plots provide a benefit from early spring through the winter with the variety of crops that are planted. It provides a protein source for pregnant does in the spring and gives deer and bear a nutrition boost heading into winter, Germick said. These aren't established just for hunting purposes.

More help needed

   A number of groups work to improve wildlife habitat on state game lands in addition to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, such as Quality Deer Management, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited and the Ruffed Grouse Society.

   Still, Chris Denmon said more help is needed in the form of volunteers.

   We're getting the same people every year and it's becoming tougher to keep up with it all, he said. We need some new people to put some time in for wildlife and give back a little bit.

   Denmon said many of the volunteers who help with the food plots don't even hunt the areas where the work is done. They do it, he said, for the satisfaction of improving wildlife habitat and giving back to the sport of hunting.

   Whether its seeding, applying fertilizer and helping cut trees for a border cut, Denmon said any time would be appreciated.

   You don't need to bring any equipment and you don't even need to be experienced in doing this. We have plenty of knowledgeable people that will work with you, Denmon said. It's just a matter of manpower.

   For more information on helping to create wildlife habitat on game lands, call the Pennsylvania Game Commission at 675-1143 or the North Mountain Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association at 477-2238. You can also visit the branch's website at http://www.northmtnbranchqdma.org.

Acres for wildlife

Number of acres planted for wildlife on state game lands in Wyoming County by the Game Commission:

SGL 57


Corn - 4 acres

Forage soybeans - 3 acres

Turnips/Rape/Kale - 5 acres

Clover mix - 4 acres

2013 (projected)

Corn - 3 acres

Oats/Buckwheat - 9 acres

Turnips/rape/kale - 4 acres

Clover mix - 15 acres

SGL 66


Corn - 2 acres

Sorghum - 2 acres

Turnips/Rape/Kale - 2 acres

2013 (projected)

Corn - 2 acres

Sorghum - 2 acres

Turnips/Rape/Kale - 2 acres

Clover mix - 3 acres

SGL 206


Corn - 1 acre

Forage Soybeans - 1 acres

Turnips/Rape/Kale - 1 acre

2013 (projected)

Corn - 1 acre

Clover/Brassica - 2 acres

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