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What Holds Deer Year-Round

Discussion in 'Whitetail Deer Habitat' started by hunterdan, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Let me start off by saying, this past bow & gun season alone I seen over 300+ bucks and does all within bow range, and i'm cutting myself short on that number.

    Before jumping into whitetail habitat, ask yourself this one question "what holds whitetails year round" - years after years?
    Answer; Natural browse (vegetation) and lots of cover for bedding areas, water is optional.

    Deer favorite food - natural browse (vegetation) which grows year-round. It's also used for cover and giving birth to fawns. Natural browse can be achieved by tilling the ground and letting mother nature take over.

    Deer favorite tree - Pitch Loblolly, very fast growing pine tree. A pine grove of these trees will provide enough cover throughout the year and serve as food during the harsh winter months. These trees are also known to release heat up-to 10 degrees warmer during winter months. Both bucks and does love bedding under these trees throughout all 4 seasons and buck are more likely to rub on these trees than any other. These trees can be order through the Indiana state nursery.

    Is hinge cutting necessary? It depends, if you have lots of trees down throughout the property, then no, if not, then the answer is yes. Bucks and does prefer to bed next to down trees but will also bed in tall grasses areas. Some does prefer to give birth next to a down tree.

    Food plots, apple trees, persimmon trees, pear trees, chestnut trees, grape vines etc. are OK but these are only seasonal and will not hold deer year-round. Deer will most likely visit them under darkness of night, only to return back from where they came from.

    When we bought this property 15 years ago, deer sightings were damn near zero. We took what we learn and within a few years after doing some habitat work on natural browse and planting close to a 1000 Pitch Loblolly, we were able to turn this property into a whitetail/turkey paradise.
  2. cant help ya on that but sounds like your doing ok already. around this part of the state its futile to try and help the deer herd. mostly farm land and small 20-100a wood lots. the high doe quotas have them pretty thinned out. deer get run from one woods to another only to be exterminated. you would need half a county worth of private land to effectively influence the herd around here.

  3. Dan, just to help get a clearer much property do you manage, what county? I think it is important to define some not all properties are the same. You could build a 20 acre paradise as you describe in Rush county and you are never going to see that many deer. You could control 1,000 acres in Steuben county or Switzerland county and very well achieve what you describe.

    I totally agree with you that cover and native food is a huge part of holding deer. How we each go about trying to do that however, can be far more site specific. Every property and person has limitations.....
  4. J-bird, Pulaski county - 70 acres.
    PRED, It's mostly farmland and small wood lots around us and the doe quota was 8 and drop to 4 last year.
    When we bought this land, deer sighting were damn near zero. We had 10 acres of woods on the north end and 7 acres on the south end - the rest was wide open AG field. We started off farming 50 acres in corn/beans and now were down to farming 25 acres and the rest of the land is in habitat.
  5. Steve

    Steve Admin Mod

    Heavy cover is the ticket in my neck of the woods.
    j-bird likes this.
  6. I would love to be able to convert my tillable to deer habitat.....however the financial impact to do why it hasn't happened yet. Between the loss of the annual income from the crops and the cost to create the habitat, it's just not in the cards for me. I do what I can with what I have, but taking fields out of production is off the table. It was a battle getting the CRP buffers in place as it is.
  7. J-bird, I completely understand.