Bedding Cover - Possible to be too thick?

Discussion in 'Native Habitat Management' started by HB_Hunter, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. HB_Hunter

    HB_Hunter Active Member

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    Location:
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    Hardiness Zone:
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    I am going to be spending the majority of my habitat management time this winter in an area that was logged about four years ago. It is very thick with 5 - 10 foot poplar, briers, locusts, etc. There are some nice points that offer good bedding opportunities as well as many benches (old logging roads) that offer bedding opportunities. Many of these spots are so thick that I can barely crawl through them.

    Should I try to create narrow openings or just let them go?

    Is it possible for them to be too thick?

    I ask mainly because I watched one of Jeff's videos and he talks about dead ends/need for easy escape. I feel like these areas are so thick that deer won't feel like they have an easy way out if needed. However, they seem perfect from a hiding perspective.

    My plan is to open up the main logging roads to create more predictable movement. Just trying to determine the best plan for the bedding areas.

    Thanks for any input.
     
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  2. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    if it's super thick I think your paths will facilitate movement, but my limited experience with hardwood bedding areas is one where the deer like thick cover to hide themselves and to help predators make noise, but they also want a view and a means for easy escape. In my area deer like a slope, a hill side, a point, some sort of elevation advantage if they can get one. They will bed up against the cover with the wind normally to their back. This hides the deer from sight, allows the deer to smell and hear danger from behind as it tries to contend with the thick cover and then in front of them is a more open habitat where they can see danger at a distance and the slope helps with that as well as often offers a means of easy escape. I very seldom find a deer bed that is nearly surrounded by a thick wall of cover. The deer are not going to want to give up one of their primary defense tools (sight) willingly. We often do the same thing when we hunt. We want to see as much area as possible to detect movement, yet we want something behind us to help us hide as well. We just use the wind differently because we typically don't use the wind to smell deer coming our way. My 2 cents worth...
     
  3. HB_Hunter

    HB_Hunter Active Member

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    Thanks for the reply jbird. That makes sense. I’ll get in there and look around after the season is over to confirm how they’ve been using it.
     
  4. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    This is great question you brought up HB_Hunter. In studying the deer beds here it has become apparent that deer are as unique in their bedding preferences as people are in their bar preferences. Some deer will bed in areas so thick that they can't see out and others will bed in the open with grand views of the their surroundings. And people well you know how they are in their bar preferences;everyone is different.

    The important thing here I think is how do we capitalize on discovered bedding areas. Creating paths two feet wide thru herbicide spraying and chainsawing, connecting up discovered bedding spots with other "control points" gives us the opportunity to intercept bucks in their travels. I used italics in control points as in making trails for people control points are points of interest that people might want to see like a waterfall or gorge or a special tree or even a giant boulder.. Translating that to buck control points could be water holes, down wind side of food plots,stands of briers, cut over maple areas sprouting new growth, hot doe beds, old Oak trees, hickory trees, apple trees or pear trees, drainage's, saddles or a funnel from A to B or any number of things that might draw does and thus interest a buck and be considered a trail "control point".
     
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  5. HB_Hunter

    HB_Hunter Active Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks for the feedback Chainsaw. I guess I just want an exact answer so I can go do exactly what needs to be done :).

    I think you are right. Especially based on what I’ve seen on other parts of the farm. Honestly, I’ve only hunted this area a couple times late season. I just need to get in there and see how they are using it and make the improvements based on that.
     
  6. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Once you find their bedding spots you can change how they travel about the property with paths you make so that you can intercept them in a low impact fashion.
     
  7. wbpdeer

    wbpdeer Well-Known Member

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    HB Hunter,

    the last two weeks, I have been running a D5 Dozier in thick stuff where you can't see past 20 feet (placed my ribbons high at that distance). Had to walk it first because of stumps and the slope - used a loopers to get thru.

    My point - every day after a trail was cleared - the next day there were deer tracks in the cleared trails (without fail). If you place your cleared paths in appropriate locations the deer will use them. Wind direction, your entry path and where you hunt the target buck or doe group is up to your deer hunting smarts.

    Set each area up for an ambush. You will get many of them right and then next year you can revisit the ones you need to tweet. We are putting in about 14 food plots - all with this type of strategic approach. Now some of ours will work great - those that don't we will go back next year and revisit the ones that the deer show us the error of our ways.

    This farm was logged two years ago and it is thick. Our setup is the hollows are their safety zones. It should hunt great when the plots are well established. Some times it is the second year before your pH is ideal.

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  8. swat1018

    swat1018 Well-Known Member

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    I'd suggest when planning plots, always put an "S" curve or crook in the road leading to the plot. It allows you to peek around the corner when approaching. If you just have a straight access path, the deer can see you coming at a distance.
     
  9. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    It is absolutely possible for bedding areas to be too thick for deer to utilize properly. I have seen examples of hunter created clearcuts that were so thick the deer used the perimeter but didn't use the center or even go through the center. Logged areas tend to grow up in tight saplings after about ten years and that's often a condition that needs to be thinned for good timber regeneration and for deer habitat. There's also no food for deer in tightly spaced ten foot tall saplings, a good bedding area should have available browse. In large areas run a machine through at spaced intervals. In small areas take a chainsaw and make some deer trails. And absolutely keep old logging roads open, deer love bedding on a level semi-open logging roads in the middle of a thick sloping hillside. And a buck will not bed in a dead end, will always have an escape route.
     
  10. George

    George Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good points fellas. Years ago one of the experts claimed that it can never be too thick and I called bs.

    G
     
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  11. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    You are so right. To sit in a living room and tell someone how thick their deer cover should be is the epitome of obfuscation. Once cover is so thick that the birds are detouring, deer won't be going through either. That being said, the dozen best deer hunting spots that I've ever seen (in the east) were all associated with "thick"
    So, to me the best answer is, The ultimate deer cover is very thick with lots of deer trails throughout.
     
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  12. rlb165

    rlb165 Member

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    We logged our land a few years ago, and I saw the same thing. I was amazed at how often there were deer tracks in the “skid trails” that were created as the logs were being dragged out.

    As far as being too thick-here's something I noticed. Two years after logging, our woods were basically impenetrable. I rented a walk-behind brush mower to clear some trails.
    I saw ZERO evidence of any browsing while I was crawling around to see exactly where the trails needed to be.
    As soon as I cut the trails, deer began browsing on the adjacent undergrowth.

    0D85E19F-1794-4234-97BB-B27D2F470CA1.png
    01F09329-8154-44FE-BE9D-2EC0ADC445A1.png

    I’m sorry for the blurry pics. I was sweating like crazy from using that brush mower, and I didn’t have anything with me to dry my phone’s camera lense...
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
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  13. Drycreek

    Drycreek Well-Known Member

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    M-man, if you're gonna use words like "epitome" and "obfuscation" you might have some 'splaining to do !:)


    To the subject, I hunt a property that's big on pine timber, and it has yaupon holly (where the pines are tall) so thick that you can't walk through. The deer and especially the hogs are much lower to the ground though, and they get through it quite well.

    On the place I just sold, I clearcut 14 acres in 2011 and for three or four years it was great. It finally got so thick that the last couple years only the hogs go into most of it, and they have "tunnels" through it.

    Much of South Texas is the same. A man can hardly get through it, but deer and hogs (and humongous rattlers) have no trouble. Again, they have "tunnels" that they navigate.

    So, yes, I think cover can get so thick that deer prefer to avoid it, but there will be places that it's not that thick within the same area, if that makes sense, and they will use that. I'm a proponent of bush hogging trails through the thicker stuff. In fact, I have two cutters, one that's pretty new, and one that I don't mind cutting the rough stuff with.
     
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  14. Keith Nehrke

    Keith Nehrke Member

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    epitome of obfuscation lol. What a great way to illustrate your point!
     
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  15. wbpdeer

    wbpdeer Well-Known Member

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    Like the baseball movie - "Create it and they will come". Deer like a sidewalk in their security zone. It is to our advantage to put that sidewalk in a favorable position for our hunting setups (tree stand, entry to stand, wind direction, terrain, etc). I like your post and the pictures show what you had and what you did.

    Wayne
     
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  16. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Epitome of obfuscation seemed to b fit but I don't know what it means either. Maybe that someone is full of bs? (like me)
     
  17. snowracerh

    snowracerh Active Member

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    Location:
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    Just finished dropping additional junk trees from a logging operation this summer. Used to be a lot of aspen in this stand. I am guessing I will be in that "too thick" category before too long. I have a logging road going thru the area but was thinking of letting it grow up and use a brush saw to maintain a narrow path where the logging road is. Has anyone seen less usuage on a 10 foot wide path versus a 2-3 foot wide trail?[​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
     
  18. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Nice pics! And you have some standing oaks left too. That should reseed in oaks very nicely. Deer usage on a 10' wide road vs a 2' trail comes down to pressure, if no humans or predators ever use the wide trail deer will use that most. The more pressure, the more the deer will keep to smaller trails and thicker habitat.
     
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  19. farmhunter

    farmhunter Well-Known Member

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    I shed hunt a lot - in both protected and hard hunted lands -and I get to see a wide variety of bedding areas.

    One thing that I've noticed on both type properties - with heavy thick cover - is the coyotes like those areas a lot. sometimes I find sheds in the middle of those thickest spots - but usually I find a lot of deer hair filled coyote scat in there instead The sheds, like the deer are usually more edge oriented.

    That means something to me - and its something I keep in mind when considering improvements on my own property,
     
  20. Native Hunter

    Native Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Per recent data released on this forum - this is what happens to your deer when you get the cover too thick!!!:eek::eek:

    [​IMG]
     
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