"Outdoor News" Featured Article by Ron Schara
||When he was 16 years
old, Joe Nelson , found a way to make a little spending money
It wasn't easy but - when your 're a teenager growing up in
the woods around Fort Ripley, MN - it's no big deal to cut
a little firewood, load a pickup truck, and rumble around
looking for folks willing to buy it.
Today, the kid is 41 years old, and he's up to his entrepreneurial
head in the wood business. Not just firewood, which he ships
the world over these days with loaded semi-trailers, train
cars, and on ocean vessels packed with containers of his certified,
kiln dried and heat-treated firewood. His wife, Angie, a high
school sweetheart, is a busy partner and the mother of their
two boys, Austin, 12 and Devon, 15.
As if they needed another wood business, Joe and Angie, a
decade ago started some-thing called Wilderness Land Clearing
and Mulching. And guess who are his biggest clients?
Minnesota deer hunters who have some timberland and the wish
for more deer.
So, what does Joe do? "1 clear food plots, make trails, shooting
lanes, clear building sites, buckthorn removal, you name it,"
His machinery is unique, something called a Gyro Track GT13
plus other similar models. It's not a brush hog. Nelson says
it's his "lean, mean, green machine." It'll take down and
grind up brush and trees of 20-inch diameter or more. Stumps
are shaved at ground level.
"I drive over an area once and it's done. The result is eco-friendly.
The wood mulch goes right back on the ground, decomposes,
and improves the forest soil. Whereas, a caterpillar pushes
up a pile of wood. My machines don't disturb the topsoil,
but add to it."
Nelson says he can create 1.5 miles of trail a day or clear
up to four-acre food plots. The cutting blades run at between
2,600 and 2,800 rpms.
"Barbed wire ruins my day if I don't see it. I have to buy
new machines about every couple years. It's hard on them."
Nelson takes on deer land improvement jobs throughout Minnesota,
western Wisconsin, northern Iowa, and southern North Dakota.
So, what was he thinking launching into mulching?
"Mulching is my hobby. I love running the machines, making
food plots. I like being in the woods," he said. His working
crew normally consists of himself and one other employee,
both operating machines. "We're plenty busy, but we can always
Nelson says the best time for deer hunters to improve their
deer land is in spring and fall. To learn more, check out