Bienville National Forest Tallahala Wildlife Management Area

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#1)  Bienville National Forest Tallahala Wildlife Management Area

Postby Larry Tucei » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:44 am

On Oct 15-17th I spent some time in the Bienville NF specifically Tallahala Wildlife Management Area scouting for Deer and big Trees.  The 28,000 acre area is split near the center by three Creeks that run into each other in the bottom of the area. Quarterliah Creek to the East, Cedar Creek in the center and West Tallahala on the west. Hardwoods dominate the creek sites with some mixed Spruce Pine and Loblolly Pine. This area has a ridge that runs from north to south down about 3 miles with Cedar creek, Quarterliah creek on the east and Tallahala on the west. The ridge was cut in the 1920’s - 1930’s and planted back with Pine.  Most are starting to get some age and size on them. Some areas of the ridge may have been cut in the 1960’s - 1970’s as well. It has since been cut again in the 90’s at some locations and replanted with Pine once again. The Creeks were only cut once around the same time frame in the 1920’s -30’s and have grown back naturally. The Hardwoods and mixed Pine there are starting to reach a mature size in the 3’- 4’ Dia range and Heights to 120’s average.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Typical Bottomland Forest species are found here with Cherrybark Oak, Northern Red Oak, Nuttall Oak, Willow Oak, Shumard Oak, White Oak, Swamp Chestnut Oak, Post Oak, Water Oak, Mockernut Hickory, Shagbark Hickory, Water Hickory, Shellbark Hickory, Red Maple, Black Cherry, Beech, Spruce Pine, Slash Pine, Loblolly Pine, and Shortleaf Pine. The understory species include many species here are just a few. Switch cane, Palmetto, Hornbeam, young Oaks and Pines. I will do an detailed understory post in the future.  Some species are reaching heights to the mid 130’s mostly Cherrybark, Nuttall and Willow Oak. Some of the Pines are also reaching the 130’ threshold.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               On my first exploration on the 16th I went in east .5 miles to
Quarterleigh Creek 2.jpg
Quarterliah Creek
Quarterliah creek at the end of 3 mile road that goes down the ridge. After walking ¼ mile through the Pines I reached the floodplain. I started measuring trees, the first one just off a slight slope of the ridge where the plain begins.
Spruce Pine 1.jpg
Spruce Pine 3
Spruce Pine- CBH-9’7”, Height-120’ and Spread- 54’ x 52’.  Next a Willow Oak CBH- 9’ 6”, Height-126.5’ and Spread- 93.5’ x 66’.
Mockernut Hickory 1.jpg
Mockernut Hickory
Mockernut Hickory- CBH- 7’ 7”, Height- 114’,
Shagbark Hickory 1.jpg
Shagbark Hickory
Shagbark Hickory.jpg
Shagbark Hickory
Shagbark Hickory CBH- 7’ 6.5” Height- 108’,
Water Hickory 1.jpg
Water Hickory
Water Hickory CBH-108’, Sweetgum 103’ and the find of the morning a tall Cherrybark Oak.
Cherrybark Oak 1a.jpg
Cherrybark Oak b
CBH- 9’ 8”, Height- 133.5’ and Spread- 75’ x 70’.  It was very warm that day and I saw a large Cottonmouth Moccasin in the Creek.
Cottonmouth Moccusin.jpg
It just made me more aware of my environment.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On the 17th I went back to the same end of road but this time I went south then SW then SE then NE then NW I made a square. The total distance of about 1 ½ -2 miles.  I had not been in this exact area for over 15 years but was familiar with the terrain having hunted there years ago.  After measuring many trees including Spruce Pine-
Spruce Pine 2.jpg
Spruce Pine 3
CBH-8’ 8”, Height- 123’, Spread-46.5’ x 43.5’,
Spruce Pine 2a.jpg
Spruce Pine 2
Swamp Chestnut Oak CBH-8’ 3”, H- 114’,
Swamp Chestnut Oak.jpg
Swamp Chestnut Oak
White Oak CBH-7’, H-120’, Cherrybark CBH- 9’ 2”, H-123’ near West Tallahala Creek I then turned east and walked .25 miles to Quarterliah Creek.
Quarterleigh Creek 1.jpg
Quarterliah Creek 1
I spied many trees tall but did no measuring at this time but I will come back this area needs a little more exploration. Especially where the two creeks come together.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Two weeks later on the 25th Oct., I came back to do some more exploring on the same road but in different locations. The 1st trek in was at about the .75 mile mark down 3 mile road I went west to Tallahala Creek about .50 miles.
Tallahala Creek.jpg
West Tallahala Creek
  BTW all of these explorations are with a compass and GPS oh yeah and I’m camping in the Forest very refreshing but tough at times. I passed over many Oaks after I got through the Pines never found nothing really large until I got right up to the Creek. I spied a large Cherrybark growing just east of the creek it was a whopper!  The largest to date that I have seen in the whole region.
Cherrybark Oak 1b.jpg
Cherrybark Oak a
CBH- 14’ 3”, H-133.5’ and CS- 120’ x 100.5’ a really large tree for this area. I also measured the Circumference above the buttress at 6’ 4” AB above ground and still got 13’!  Most trees in this area were in the 100’-120’ class so I decided to head back out.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            After lunch I went back down 3 mile again this time to the 2 mile mark and wondered in west .5 miles to West Tallahala Creek.  Saw many nice trees, White Oak, Water Oak, Loblolly Pine, Spruce Pine, Shagbark Hickory, Mockernut Hickory, Cherrybark Oak, and so on but avg. trees 100-120’nothing huge. So I headed back out for the second time back to camp.  I did some Bow Hunting that afternoon but did not see anything.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The last day on the 26th I decided to go east to Cedar Creek at the 1.2 mile mark it was .57 miles in. I have been using Google maps to locate where I think larger, taller trees are. This area looked like it might have some big trees. It is a challenge compassing but it helps me hone my landnav ability. I should get Lidar of this region to save time but I really enjoy exploring and making these discoveries. I walked .375 miles through- you guessed it lots of Pines of different ages down the slight ridge to the Floodplain. Cedar Creeks Floodplain begins about .125 of mile before the creek and is loaded with maturing Hardwoods and a few Pine.                                                                                                                                                                 When I reached the creek it was clear that I had hit the jackpot! The first tree I measured just east of the creek was an enormous Spruce Pine by volume the largest that I’d ever seen. At 60’ up it was still 9’ in circumference a real whopper!  
Spruce Pine 3.jpg
Spruce Pine
CBH- 10’ 10”, H- 118.5’ and CS- 66’ x 45.5’. I stayed just admiring this giant for some time then moved on but not far for all around were large trees.
Water Oak.jpg
Water Oak
Next was a nice Water Oak CBH- 10’ 6”, H-121.5’, Beechnut CBH- 7’ 4”, H-57’, Mockernut Hickory CBH-6’ 6”, H-102’,
Shumard Oak.jpg
Shumard Oak
Shurmard Red Oak CBH-9’ 8”, H-120’, CS- 85’ x 60’, largest I’ve seen here, Cherrybark Oak CBH-10’ 10”, H-121’ and CS- 96’ x 82.5’, As I traveled more eastward I came across a nice Overcup Oak grove by a dried gum pond at .64 miles.
Overcup Oak Grove.jpg
Overcup Oaks
The Overcups measured all around CBH- 6’ and had heights to 100’-108’.
Cherrybark Oak 3.jpg
Cherrybark Oak
The last tree I measured was another Cherrybark to CBH- 10’ 10”, H-127.5’.                                                         This area is by far the best site I’d seen and needs more exploration. It was now about 1130 am and time to head back out the temp went form 38 that morning to 65 when I got back to camp. I plan to come back up here in late Nov or early Dec when temperatures are more favorable.                 To be continued:    
Bienville National Forest Tallahala Tree Listin Oct 2017.xlsx
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Last edited by Larry Tucei on Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

For this message the author Larry Tucei has received Likes - 5:
bbeduhn, Matt Markworth, Rand, tsharp, Will Blozan
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Larry Tucei
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#2)  Re: Bienville National Forest Tallahala Wildlife Management

Postby Lucas » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:47 am

Great post! I love seeing those big southern oaks.

It is hard to follow though. It is not clear which tree is which. Sometimes captions seem to be on top then the bottom or two pix of the same tree are not noted. Maybe the post is a work in progress, though?

Whole tree pix would be cool, too.

How long before these are logged?

You reference Swamp White Oak. Did you mean Swamp Chestnut Oak (Q. michauxii)?
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir
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#3)  Re: Bienville National Forest Tallahala Wildlife Management

Postby ElijahW » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:29 pm

Nice, Larry.  I’ve only seen little scrubby Spruce Pine in Florida, nothing like these trees.  Do they often get this big in Mississippi?  Have fun with the hunting, if back out in the woods soon.

"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks
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#4)  Re: Bienville National Forest Tallahala Wildlife Management

Postby Larry Tucei » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:53 pm

Lucas- Thanks I fix it up so the trees are easier to ID and yea Swamp Chestnut Oak.  Elijah- Thanks Yes they get very large here and about in the upper 120's in height. Larry
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#5)  Re: Bienville National Forest Tallahala Wildlife Management

Postby Bart Bouricius » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:50 am


Great Cherry bark oaks.  Impressive heights for flood plain oaks, and a nice pine species I had never heard of.  Excuse my ignorance and thanks for this post.
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#6)  Re: Bienville National Forest Tallahala Wildlife Management

Postby Larry Tucei » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:25 pm

Hi Bart-  Thanks.  
Pinus glabra aka -Spruce Pine only grow in the Southern Coastal Plains. It is more shade tolerant and than other Pines and mixes well with the Oaks.  A beautiful tree and sometimes crooked unlike most Pines.  It has always been one of my favorites.  Larry
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#7)  Re: Bienville National Forest Tallahala Wildlife Management

Postby dbhguru » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:27 pm


 You're explorations continue to be a highlight. BTW, have you made any headway with the state big tree program? I know that you had favorable interaction with the coordinator early on.

Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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