OTG Volunteers Have Big Impact on Small Game Habitat in Clare County

On Saturday, March 13, the OTG program returned to Clare County to build small game brush piles on public land near Harrison. A group of nine volunteers met at the project site to limb and buck trees that were then used to assemble five new brush piles.

Brush piles are a critical component of quality small game habitat, and volunteers with the OTG program have contributed countless weekend hours across the Lower Peninsula building what we call “rabbitat” (rabbit habitat). Despite the name, these brush piles also benefit other small game like ruffed grouse and squirrels while also benefiting an abundance of nongame species. These brush piles can provide immediate shelter from predators or inclement weather, and serve as a location for nests and dens. Wildlife like songbirds and reptiles utilize these structures as well.

The entrance gate to the hunter walking trail that leads to the small game habitat improvement efforts OTG completed on Saturday, March 13. This sign highlights the funds that made this piece of public land possible, including the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and fees collected from hunting license sales.

This was OTG’s third consecutive year improving wildlife habitat in this area off of S Rogers Avenue near M-61, and it is exciting to see the young forest regeneration increasing each year around the brush piles. As the young aspen stands continue to thicken and grow taller, more and more wildlife will begin to utilize the area as habitat. Adding brush piles to this young forest habitat diversifies the landscape and serves as an excellent source of supplemental coverage for wildlife while the vegetation matures.

We appreciate the volunteers that continue to help enhance habitat for wildlife on public land in Clare County! We look forward to returning to the area for future habitat improvement efforts.

To learn more about OTG and upcoming volunteer events, please visit mucc.org/on-the-ground or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/muccotg.


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