by Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist
Located down a quaint country road, after you pass a magnificent plantation home that was erected in the 1830s, there is a parcel of land filled with great opportunity. “Wilcox 255” is a tract situated in Vredenburgh, AL with a considerable amount of charm and potential. This parcel is ±255 acres of agricultural fields and mixed mature timber, with a few equipment sheds too. The future landowner is sure to enjoy the land either recreationally or as an investment. Among other things, “Wilcox 255” is home to a very large field, stands of mature timber, and promising wildlife vegetation.
The first characteristic that grabs your eye as you pull up to this tract is the ±25 acre field that is located in the center of the property. This field is essentially a blank canvas; available to satisfy whatever objectives the landowner may have. If you are interested in farming row crops, you can do that! If farming is not your cup of tea, this field would make a wonderful dove field. It is surrounded by power lines (perfect dove perches) and has plenty of room for millet, corn, sunflowers, or grain sorghum. It’s irregular, large shape is advantageous to both hunters and wildlife. The funky shape provides soft edges and makes wildlife feel more secure when entering the field. At the same time, hunters can remain “out of sight, out of mind” while hunting game species that will be occupying the field! In the winter months, deer will be grazing throughout the field. In the spring months, turkeys will be drumming and spinning right in the middle! This large field is unique to a tract this size and has a lot to offer, whether you are an avid hunter or a devoted agronomist.
As I have said before, mature timber screams turkey habitat, but stands of mixed timber is home to more than just turkeys! This tract has a large area of mature hardwoods and pines that are inhabited by many wildlife species. Turkeys thrive in stands of timber such as this one. The large trees offer roosting sites and provide great mast (acorns) during the winter months. They also feel much safer when they can spot danger from the roosting sites, so it is important to keep the understory in check. Remember, some cover is good and will entice wildlife species to stay, but it will deter wildlife when the understory becomes too thick. Whitetails also prefer large stands of timber interspersed with a few shrubs. Rabbits and squirrels will also set up shop in mature trees. However, if you are not interested in managing the timber for wildlife habitat, this property also offers a great investment opportunity.
The former landowner planted approximately 50 ‘Dunstan’ chestnuts. After doing some research, I discovered that this variety has all the great qualities of an American chestnut (Castanea dentata) but is blight resistant! As true with the American chestnut, the Dunstan provides great timber value at maturity and is a huge source of wildlife vegetation. The nut, which is produced heavily every year, is relished by turkeys, deer, bears, and other species. It appeared that if the tree suffered any kind of damage after it was first transplanted, the tree turned into a shrub .This too is a benefit because turkeys use it as cover (and possibly brooding sites) when it is in shrub form. The actual chestnut is especially beneficial to deer in winter because it provides high energy, which is extremely important during the winter months. Although the ‘Dunstan’ is not a high volume producer, the chestnuts are very large. In just 2-3 years, this property will have 3 or 4 different chestnut groves and could play a huge role in luring wildlife onto the property. With a tract of land this size, it is important to provide food for wildlife year round and these trees will help accomplish that task.
If you are looking for a tract with recreational opportunities or investment opportunities (or both) this is the property for you! A tract this size could be easily managed for any objective a landowner may have, regarding timber and/or wildlife. “Wilcox 255” is minutes away from the historic town of Camden, Alabama and in the heart of “big deer country”. With the right tools, this property could be the perfect weekend getaway!
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