Lots of deer beds in small fields of forbs and nwsg


Active Member
I've been spraying sericea lespedeza the last few days and am amazed at the number of deer beds I found in there. I do this every year and this year was exponentially more than last year. The plots are 2.3 and 1.7 acres. They started out as mono cir switch ten years ago, 4 years after planting I added some cedars, hybrid willows, poplars, and elderberry. Over time many other species of plants popped up. Big blue stem and Indian grass are quite prevalent as well. I bet there are 15 species of broadleaves I can't identify. Plenty of browsing on weeds and trees growing in there.

In the larger one there were at least 20 beds and in the other 10. I am sure they are most likely doe and fawn beds as clover/chicory plots are adjacent to these fields but I have seen bucks coming from out of those areas this summer to feed in the plots as well.

Prior to me converting it into switch they were brome grass and zero wildlife use. I heard quail whitsling from there all summer and I kick them out of this area in the winter when I'm doing post season recon. I found evidence of turkey nest in there as well and have seen three hen turks with poults in the clover and chicory around the house that is 100 yards from the start of these small fields.

The wildlife usage, especially deer has greatly increased the more I have let the field grow into what it has and not let it just be switchgrass. I know deer use switchgrass but they are using this conglomeration much more than the straight switch I have planted.

In the pic the outlined in white areas are the fields I'm talking about.
fields 2.jpg
I hear what you are saying,, diverse habitat is better than a monoculture, even if the monoculture is good stuff. Here in PA switchgrass isn't worth the effort to put out for deer bedding cover, because all we need to do is let a cleared area go and we get all the bedding cover we need, that is full of browse at the same time. Early successional growth is hard to beat for deer habitat, and one of the great things about it is that it can partially be managed off of the tractor seat.