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3/31/16 – Lucky Buckeyes

by Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist

It is a common folk tale that buckeyes bring good fortune to those that carry one around. That may be so, but the tree itself does not bring good fortune! Aesculus pavia, or red buckeye, is a common understory tree that is native to this region. The rich soil along the coastal plains is part of this tree’s native geographic area. Right now, these trees are producing long, red flowers that really stand out. They begin producing “buckeyes” in the fall. The fruit is named buckeye because some believe they actually look like a buck’s eye. However, do not let the beauty of this small tree fool you; it is not wildlife forage. Hummingbirds and bees are attracted to this tree, but the red buckeye has no importance to mammals or game species from a browse standpoint. The family to which this tree belongs (Hippocastanaeae) contains a toxin that is poisonous to humans and livestock (making it unpalatable to deer). With that being said, this may be a perfect tree to plant on the edges of food plots to provide a “curtain” for skittish wildlife. This tree also grows really well along fence rows and may be a good deterrent to keep deer and other wildlife out of particular plots. The ornamental tree does not get very tall, but it does provide nice aesthetics. Next time you are walking through your land, take a look through the pine or hardwood stands. If you spot a red buckeye, transplant it to better benefit your management needs. I have spotted hundreds of these trees along county roads and under the shade of forest canopies so I thought I would shed some light. Do not fret if you lose these trees in the next thinning; if you would like to find a use for them, plant them somewhere to either deter wildlife or to attract hummingbirds and bees. Otherwise, collect the buckeyes in hopes of good luck!

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I hope everybody is busy on their food plots and having a great season for those that are busy turkey hunting!

“Meaghan English is available to help with any of your wildlife planning needs.  Call us at 800-200-LAND for Meaghan’s help and/or for help with forestry services and buying and selling land in Georgia, Alabama & Mississippi.” – John Burnham, TrueSouth General Manager

By: Meaghan English

My name is Meaghan English, a wildlife specialist with TrueSouth. I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management and I have grown up with a passion for hunting. I knew from an early age that I was not only interested in the harvesting of wildlife, but I was also very interested in their biology and management. I decided that I not only wanted to be a wildlife enthusiast, I want to be an educated wildlife specialist. I will be using that grand education as a member of the TrueSouth team contributing wildlife blog articles!

My first hunting memory flashes back to when I was six or seven years old. Like any other Saturday during deer season, my dad had told my mom to get me ready because we were going hunting. Of course I was ecstatic! I was not ecstatic about the hair bow my mom made me wear with my camouflage (she wanted everyone to know I was in fact a fashionable girl). The entire way to Perdue Hill, Alabama, my dad told me that today would be the first day I would actually shoot my first deer and I knew I was ready. We pulled up to the camp, unloaded, and fed all the “camp cats”. Before we headed to our stand, I had spotted three kittens that I simply could not leave behind so I stuffed them in my jacket. After walking what seemed like five miles, we finally made it to the “Pressbox stand” (with my smuggled kittens) and sat down. Dad continuously pestered me to be quiet, but I wasn’t that worried about shooting a deer, I had kittens! Eventually, the sun began to sink behind the trees and a spike (without olfactory senses) entered the field. When it was safe to quietly move, dad handed me the gun and I handed him my three kittens. I slowly pulled the gun up and placed my cheek against the stock. Dad told me to breathe slowly and pull the trigger when I was ready. Sure enough, I pulled the trigger and the spike hit the ground. We high-fived, exchanged kittens again, and climbed down to see the kill. It certainly was not a wall hanger, but a huge chapter in my life was started that night. My dad and I still hunt together to this day and we practice quality deer management at all times.

My ultimate goal is to provide clients with a survey of flora and fauna that currently inhabit a specific tract of land and, if desired, how to properly manage that land for the species that are found there. All feedback is greatly appreciated and I look forward to working with you!

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