Brouha Property, Caledonia County, Vermont

About the Brouha Property

This old hill farm, in the town of Sutton in northeastern Vermont, borders Calendar Brook Wildlife Management Area. The Brouha property totals 430 acres, much of it pasture that has reverted to forest.

As committed conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts, landowners Paul and Carol Brouha have been creating and maintaining young-forest habitat to benefit woodcock, grouse, and other birds and mammals for 35 years. Black bear, moose, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, foxes, fishers, and a wide range of songbirds use the land. Forested areas include a mix of northern hardwoods and softwoods; the property also has ponds, streams, wetlands, and hayfields.

Improving the Land for Woodcock

The Brouhas manage and improve their land through commercial timber sales, apple-tree release, brush-hogging, planting and renewing grass-and-clover food plots, and planting trees and shrubs that provide food for wildlife. They have put many of their wooded acres into a 40-year cutting cycle, with commercial logging taking place on different parcels at intervals of approximately 10 years.

In the 1980s, around 80 acres were harvested; in the 1990s, another 80 acres; and in the 2000s, about 60 acres. Another round of cutting is planned for 60 acres. Altogether, some 300 acres of woodland yield income from the sale of forest products while providing different age-classes of trees, including mature forest that yields an ongoing selective harvest of high-quality hardwood sawlogs.

Near the Brouhas’ farmhouse lie 50 to 60 acres of old pasture grown up in young hardwoods and abundant apple trees. Paul Brouha keeps the apple trees productive by pruning them; he also uses a chainsaw, a brush-hog pulled by a tractor, and a smaller walk-behind brush cutter to hold back the surrounding hardwoods. Woodcock feed on earthworms in the enriched soil beneath the apple trees. Nearby patches of softwoods provide thermal cover for timberdoodles during inclement weather in spring and early autumn.

Photo of landowner inspecting woodcock habitat.

Landowner Paul Brouha and his German shorthaired pointers inspect young-forest habitat on his farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Brouha has mowed paths through a 4-acre patch of recently cut hardwoods scattered with apple trees; here, the hardwoods will be allowed to grow back for the next 10 to 15 years. A nearby food plot provides springtime singing and breeding habitat for woodcock. Hens can nest in adjoining areas of 10- to 20-year-old hardwoods, then take their broods into the dense hardwood-and-apple plot to feed on earthworms while sheltered from hawks and other avian predators.

During winter 2009, Brouha oversaw logging on an adjoining 100-acre tract owned by a family member. There, a string of patch cuts totaling 35 acres were made along a central logging road. All logging was done on frozen ground to minimize soil compaction, and water-bars were cut into the roadway to prevent erosion. The whole-tree-harvest operation yielded sawlogs, pulpwood, chips, and firewood; because most tops were removed during logging, the area ended up being fairly clean and thus should grow back quickly and with vigorous regeneration.

Along the edges of the cuts Brouha planted apple seedlings, hawthorns, and highbush cranberry shrubs. The patch cuts will offer singing and roosting cover to woodcock in the near term; as the trees grow back densely, the cuts will provide a network of feeding and brood-rearing habitats.

Brouha has also cut back older aspen and birch stands to let these trees resprout densely, creating more feeding and brood-rearing cover.

The Brouha property is an excellent example of how a private property can be intensively managed both to yield a financial return and to help a host of wildlife, both game animals and nongame species.

Funding and Partners

Paul and Carol Brouha, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Wildlife Management Institute.

How to Visit

To arrange a tour, contact Paul Brouha at