dequate resting and escape cover
is critical to ground-nesting birds,
rabbits, and other small game.
Although living brush is preferable in
most cases, you can build brush piles
to supply immediate shelter where
natural cover is limited.
Artificial brush piles conceal and
protect wildlife from predators and
the weather. They also establish a
medium for seed germination and
plant growth. Construction of brush
piles has most often been
recommended for management of the
bobwhite quail and cottontail rabbit.
Brush piles constructed for game
animals also will be used by many
Cover provided by the brush pile
must be dense enough to protect
wildlife and yet allow animals to easily
Suitable locations for brush piles
include open fields and range land,
fence corners, field edges, gullies,
between a stream and a marsh,
woodland borders, near woodlands
being cleared or thinned, and other
sites adjoining feeding and nesting
Brush piles help to prevent erosion
and provide wildlife cover when placed
along the head of a gully, but never
place them in the middle of an eroding
wash. They may also be appropriate
near impoundments, stock ponds,
potholes, and other watering places in
If you install them adjacent to food
plots, they will make the plots more
attractive and available to both game
and nongame species. Place them at
each end of an elongated food plot or
where the surrounding area is lacking
in natural cover. The optimum distance
between brush piles is from 200 ft. to
300 ft., but will vary according to site
characteristic and target species.
You can build brush piles from
materials available in the vicinity of a
site. Oak, locust, and other rot-
resistant trees make durable bases.
Other suitable materials include large
stumps, cull logs, old fence posts,
large stones, metal grills supported
by cinder blocks, and tractor tires.
You may use small trees and limbs of
almost any species as filler material.
Put the largest material on the
bottom and ad layers at right angles
to one another. Then add small trees,
limbs, and branches as filler over the
base so that the center is very dense,
but the edges are loose. This will
shelter the wildlife and still allow them
to easily come and go. When using
woody material, the base should
consist of sturdy trunks or limbs at
least 6 in. in diameter.
A brush pile for quail should be 6 ft.
to 7 ft. tall and 24 ft. to 36 ft. in
diameter. For rabbits, the brush pile
should be 4 ft. to 7 ft. tall and 10 ft. to
20 ft. wide.
In areas cleared of natural wildlife
cover, it is best to build at least three
or four brush piles per acre. To help
conceal wildlife traveling along
woodland borders, place a brush pile
every 200 to 300 feet.
You may want to keep brush piles
away from your house and buildings as
they will attract woodchucks, skunks,
and snakes - all of which may become
household pests. Brush piles may also
conceal predators. Keep them away
from bird feeders located on or near
WindStar Wildlife Institute
Brush Piles Can
Cover For Wildlife