Let's hear your creative ideas for bedding areas


Well-Known Member
We have all read about creating traditional types of bedding and some unorthodox methods, planting clumps of pines, stacking logs, raised pallets covered in sand, hinge cutting, straw and pine bough groundcover, etc. but I would like to hear some creative bedding area ideas that you have actually tried and had success with. I am cutting in more smaller and scattered bedding areas this year in an attempt to attract more deer to spend more time on the property and to take the stress off of the mature bucks that I do have hanging around.

I did plant clumps of pines and hinge cut in three new bedding areas last week. I will also be planting a few acres of switchgrass in some of my old field areas on the farm this year to offer more bedding and security options. Creating quality bedding areas is something that I have not been able to completely grasp so I am interested to hear your input. Thermal bedding? Summer bedding? Where? Best method to install it?
My way is not that creative. I just let mother nature do her work. I am blessed with farms with good thick cover so I don't do much but hinge cut and the farms will be logged as needed throughout the years. I then take down the tall junk trees and let her grow. We have a lot of native grass areas around here as well so the deer use it up as well.
There are so many variables, and i dont pretend to know them all.
I can tell you that cedars interspersed with native grasses, shrubs, and forb growth in general have been hot areas for me.
If no conifer (or well, juniper) cover, then high stem count areas with japanese honeysuckle are another sure bet.
Ive seen deer bed in hinge cuts, but i am far happier with the sunlight to ground than i am the actual tree laying down there. Its a great combination however.
I think if there is a spot completely free of human interference that deer will bed there even though it may not meet the criteria we generally think of for bedding. I believe that isolation from danger and interference trumps all other factors.
I have a few acres at the back of the farm that no longer drains (since the county no longer maintains the drainage ditches here), and I'm thinking about trying to plant a tamarack thicket around the wet area. I'm also pondering whether to try to install a "high and dry" bedding area in the midst of the cattails with old hay bales on top of logs. Next winters project...

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I have a few acres at the back of the farm that no longer drains (since the county no longer maintains the drainage ditches here), and I'm thinking about trying to plant a tamarack thicket around the wet area. I'm also pondering whether to try to install a "high and dry" bedding area in the midst of the cattails with old hay bales on top of logs. Next winters project...

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And you have absolutely nothing to lose. I like the idea.
When I find a prime buck or doe bedding area, I sit for an hour absorbing why they chose this spot repeatedly. More often than not, I can fig our the reason. Sometimes its the wind or sometimes the visual sight, or sometimes I just don't know. I do know the bucks will choose in my country, a hard to get to spot, on a side hill point or just off the ridge , with wind at their back and ability to see well down the mountain, and an escape plan if danger shows.
Tho I like hinge cuts, I find beds within them seldom, but on the edges of them related to the above mentioned. I find hinge cuts more effective in patterning movement of a deer than getting them to bed within them. In nasty weather, they want thermal protection blocking wind with those other factors in affect.
Sometimes it has taken me years to figure why a deer moves or beds where he does. But once you do, good chance its a honey hole for years to come with multiple bucks. I do know this, it is always related to edge in some form or combination of topography and growth and pressure.
I have not noticed any deer bedding in any of my hinge cut areas. I think they mainly use it as food and edge as has already been mentioned...

Mostly I hinge cut to screen now...
Nothing I have done to encourage "bedding" areas has ever worked so I don't even bother any more. I fix areas for turkey and quail to nest in that I guess deer bed in but I have never jumped one out of those areas.
Our land is fairly smooth but where there are rises like say a 1,000 sq. ft. area two ft. or more higher even in the middle of open woods there is bedding. On points off of high spots there is bedding and even a ten sq. ft. bump two feet high along a drainage or even almost anywhere will have a bed on it.

The creative thing well maybe the most common sense thing I do is hinge cut or just drop a large tree on spots that they already want to bed anyways. That way I'm always successful. Why fight it. Find a spot they want and add a little cover and a little food to it without messing up its views and I think it matters. Making good bedding spots better works but I have been so far unable to convince them about totally new bedding spots.

Other than that I have not been able to make any progress in the get them to bed where I want them to. And as NH stated it needs to be a place that is not normally intruded upon.

This is a great idea for a thread Weasel/Stick and I hope that someone has figured this bedding deal out and shares it with the rest of us. With all of us thinking about this we should be able to come to some new/better ideas on what to do. New guys please kick in here---sometimes fresh thinking brings up things the rest of us have overlooked for years. There are no dumb ideas!
I'm see deer bed relative to terrain and security cover. Mine routinely like some sort of elevation advantage of at all possible. Toss in a high stem count of some sort (which is really all hinge cutting is) and you have the chance to promote bedding. I like to scout for bedding areas after season to see where the pressures deer go - those are the ones I want to learn from. Couple those traits with minimal disturbance and you should be well on your way to deer bedding from what I have seen. I will say I try to create bedding areas and not actual beds.....areas of 1/4 or larger if possible.
I have attempted to create bedding by hinge cutting areas in our open hardwoods on the side of the mountain at the back of our property. This year I went to scout for bedding. There were several single beds around these areas but not in the actual hingecuts. I created the hingecut areas on benches. It appears that the bucks are using these areas as back cover and bedding where they can see the bench below. Either way I am happy. I also found two doe bedding areas in corners of the fields that are grown up with small trees and briars. They would bed under the trees and in open grassy places between briar patches. One spot that I created last year was a where a large oak tree fell but remained alive with half of its root system still in the ground. It has been there several years and now has vines and brush growing on and around it. I took a saw and cleared out the limbs near the ground and and raked the debris off of the ground. Several does began to bed in that tree top.
Good input as usual, thanks everyone. Thanks for the idea that worked for you ALwoodsman, I notice that about all the beds I find in my sanctuary. Just made my annual sweep through there while shed hunting the other day. There was no debris at all in any of the beds, just smooth, cleared ground. With an elevation change of less than 20 feet across my farm (and surrounding area) elevation does not factor into where my deer bed. It's more along the lines of what Native Hunter said.

Here is the tree that fell over and lived. I just did a little more cleaning out underneath it this week. Hopefully they will be bedding there again this year.

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This is not an area I created, but one Mother Nature did that I discovered recently. Where my farm is in southwest Mississippi off of the MS River, we have Loess bluffs with heavy clay, meaning we have dramatic topography. Our creeks are more like seasonal rivers, and as they've eroded over time, the banks typically drop off 30-50 feet (usually sheer cliff caused by erosion). We have one such large creek on my property that borders my farm for over 2 miles.

On a scouting trip in February, as I was walking down in the creek, I came around a bend and noticed and area of moderate traffic cutting across a sand bar, so obviously I investigated. It let up a narrow point onto an "island" in the creek. This island was formed as the creek over time bypassed itself through a peninsula of land and the peninsula became an island. On this island, I found a single bed, which I assumed to be a buck bed.This buck bed was on the top of this island, which dropped dramatically down about 40' on all sides except the front, where it had a little slope down to the creek. The island was roughly a 1/8 acre, and it had some large oaks that provided shade and some mast. The bed itself was under a big open crowned magnolia, which provided year round shade and cover from rain. The bed was cleaned out of sticks and debris and it was in a shallow depression in the ground; you could tell this spot had been used for generations. The bed faced north on the point of the island, so a south wind would allow a buck to cover its back even though nothing could get it it since it was surrounded by 360 degrees of shear creek bank It was about 50-100 yards from the island to the opposite bank. There's no way any animal could approach unnoticed. It was in the perfect defend-able "stronghold" position. It's interesting because it is a relatively open area & visibility is high (closed canopy old growth hardwoods, very little groundcover), but the access is impossible, so the bucks feel safe there. It's not like they are buried in deep cover.

I sat there for almost two hours admiring the spot. I could see for 100-250 yards in ever direction. I might have even bumped a buck off of the spot that morning, and he slipped quietly away. There's no use trying to hunt it or near it, but I feel good just knowing it is there.

Mature whitetails are truly fascinating critters.

Sidenote: That's the third buck bed I've found over about 7-8 years in different areas along a 4 mile stretch along that same creek. Each was in similar circumstances: small creek islands with sheer banks, extremely hard to access, no silent approach, great visibility, etc.
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I have a 12 acre area that I hinge cut last year about this time that has turned into a well used bedding area. It's very remote which helps. I only hunted it twice last year (which also helps) when the wind was right and there was a lot of activity as deer came and went all day long.
The best bedding area I have ever seen was purely accidental. I hunt a farm that I do not own that is 120 acres fenced and cross fenced for cattle. There is one 20 acre section that they rarely run cattle in but usually keep it mowed. A couple years ago they did not brush hog it all summer. The grass/brush was 10 ft tall. I took a stroll through it late summer and jumped 10 or more deer, some were no more than 10 ft away when they jumped. You could not see 4 feet in front of you. They apparently felt very safe in the overgrown field. I had great plans to catch deer moving in and out of this area as soon as archery season opened. Just my luck they brush hogged it just before the season opened and all the fun was over!