bedding areas in farm country

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bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby futuredoc » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:55 am

I don't think this has been directly addressed, but what kinds of areas do you guys look for in flat broken farm terrain? I would assume that points that jut out into fields or pastures would provide the best visual advantage. What other areas do you guys key in on?


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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby cornfedkiller » Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:42 am

Excellent question, as I have been wondering that myself..
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:50 am

Yes, good queston. I think farmland buck beds are not as definate as marsh bucks or hill bucks. I think you need to find the places people never, or at least very rarley venture. I also think they have more bedding areas, because they don't have the advantage of hills or water and thick cattiails, so they need to keep predators guessing, making them less predictable. I just can't find the beds in farmland country, like I can in hill country. Maybe after the farmland video comes out, I'll be better at it! ;)
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby Sam Ubl » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:45 am

I hunt farm land a lot. What I've found are four scenarios:

1) Thin treelines between fields often yield beds - something I learned while rabbit hunting years ago.. "Wow, there's a lot of deer beds in here, dad!"

Now, consider the corn to be cutfor this scenario to be a sure bet. Deer continue to feed in these cut fields of course for all the free kernals that drop from picking, so close proximity to food makes for a good place to lay your head after a filling meal.

I imagine in standing corn conditions or if it's a winter wheat or bean field, these thin treelines may not be as safe for visual reasons. When the field has been picked and groomed, however, the close proximity to food and the little bit of cover amidst vast open areas makes for a comfortable place to lay.

2) Out in the open in hay fields, especially on little rises/baby hills, right beside big hay bale rolls, and often, right in the open. Shining at night shows a LOT of bedded deer in cut hayfields at night. I have seen this in New Berlin, Mukwonago right by my house and Red Granite/Berlin areas - maybe because these are a few of the places I've done the most shining.. BUT, point is if their doing this spread over the state, I imagine it's a worthy inference.

Now, how to hunt those beds - well, if you can figure that one out, I'd be impressed. I've never seen these deer come into the hay fields to bed, I just see them after dark bedded in.

3) Marshes, both big and tiny, exist quite often in farmlands. Richer soil is nearer to these wet areas, so I assume that's why it's so common to drive through the dairy air and witness cattails on the edges of fields or in close proximity to them.

Being a marsh rat for my entire up-bringing, and even now as i get into the thick of it while bowhunting or tracking deer, the amount of beds are often overwhelming. "So this is where their all sleeping!!", I remember thinking while tracking my buck last year along the Ashippun River.

Funny thing is that as far as visuals go, their about as blind as a bat in those tall reeds, grass and cattails, but boy are there the beds! What they have going on for them is their sense of hearing. Who can creep through a marsh in the dark without making too much sound, a deer couldn't hear you? Under high winds or rain, sure... But how often is that the case at night? If it were, they would probably go to option B.

Wherever wetland areas are, Dogwood/Red Brush is probably near. What I have learned about Dogwood patches is that there is usually a hole in them, and in that hole is saw grass, which makes for a pretty comfy bed, too. It's not easy for anyone or anything to come sneaking into the thick of that stuff, so again, sound is on their side regarding alertness.

4) Ditches, like irrigation ditches. Usually these ditches have taller grass and provide for close proximity to the fields (food), water, and may have something to do with scent... Perhaps keeps their scent from circulating, but I don't know if deer are THAT smart. . . , that may not even work. Either way, I jump a LOT of deer in ditches.

... So these are my 'for instances' I've jotted in the old log book upstairs from my experience, which goes back 20 years in the farm lands of Wisconsin.
Last edited by Sam Ubl on Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby NatureBoy » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:53 am

If corn is up, they like to bed right in the corn. If not, check out ditches, creeks and river bottoms, and any spots that are thick with brush, cattails and high grass. Blow-downs are a favorite. And a buck will sometimes take up residence in back of or even IN an old abandoned building or farm equipment. There are many more, but those are just a few that come to mind.
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby dan » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:06 am

Flat farmland can be challenging to pinpoint bedding in... Its no where nears as easy as finding it in the predictable spots in Hilly or marsh terrain.
I look for the transition lines like I discussed in Masrh bucks DVD, Bucks often bed along those transitions, mostly on the down wind side, or thick side.
Bucks will bed in spots for certain advantages. Some beds are for visibility, some for scenting, some spots got huge noise factors that keep predators from getting the jump on them. Yet others are a combination of the 3.
Beds that are found in open fields or very close to food sources are often "night beds" where the deer lie down to chew there cud after feeding. Mistaking those for day beds will result in you hunting areas that generally just have night movement.
Finding buck beds in farmland can be so difficult I often grid a map of the property and walk every inch that is not field...
Having scouted tons of farmland, I would say if there is one highly consistent bedding area type for mature bucks its the unexpected...
I generally find the biggest bucks on the most overlooked area of the farm.
Sometimes its a brush pile in an open pasture, or a spot behind the barn... But generally bucks don't get to live 5 or 6 years to reach maturity by bedding where you expect them to be.
The 1st thing I look at on a new farm is how everybody else accesses the farm, and where they head, then the 1st place I look is at what they have ignored over the years....
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby dan » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:08 am

If corn is up, they like to bed right in the corn.

That really depends on where your hunting... I don't see many mature bucks bed in corn where I hunt.
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby Indianahunter » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:43 am

I hunt farmland, and the only completely predictable thing I have ever learned is that deer are completely unpredictable. I am learning that scouting in farm country is even more critical because you are going to have to put in the miles and the hours to locate a buck before season or hope you are in the right funnel on the downwind side of a doe bedding area during the rut. There are no short cuts for consistency as I am humbly being taught every year.
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby MOBIGBUCKS » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:25 am

This topic reminds of a buck I encountered out in KS last year. I did not have a tag, but my friend had a firearms tag. The particular farm we were on was not impressive by anyone's standards. However, it was a square mile farm that is very open with one main ditch running through the property.

I accompanied my friend out there during the last weekend of firearms season to be his "deer dog" of sorts...LOL I wasn't really interested in going and would have rather been out in the woods around home. However, he is a good friend so I decided to go along and give him a hand if I could.

When we arrived at the property, the wind was blowing strong out of the E to NE direction. He wanted come in from the East side entrance, but I told him that it wasn't a good idea. Well, we walked in against the wind not really paying attention and guess what.......a whole lot of deer busted out of this low valley with blow downs in it! One of the bucks was atleast in the 150's but my friend was not quick on the gun. I remember him saying, "I can't believe they were bedded there." We continued on and I pushed that ditch out for him; another 150 class buck came out of this other drainage and my friend missed him on the run :( (yup, that's two giant buck in a short amount of time) By this point, I was all worn out from walking through the 12 inch snow and he was done hunting as far as he was concerned. On the way buck to his truck, I told him to be ready as we approached the same set of blowdowns in that valley. He told me, "no way is there anything else in that set of trees. You seen all the deer run out didn't you?" I said, "just stand here and watch while I make a half moon circle through those blowndown trees." I had almost like a sixth sense feeling there was something else hidden in that 1 acre patch of blowdowns....I didn't get 50 yards in when I hear him yell, " oh my god! oh my god, where did he go?" I looked up just in time to see a true Boone and Crockett of the 180-190 inch typical range run by and down through the lowest parts of the field!!! An absolute monster!!! My friend couldn't keep his composure and was in total shock. I walked up to him and he pointed where the old buck got up from his bed. It must have been 20 yards from where my friend stood!!! Yup, that old buck knew what he was doing!! He did not move until my friend just made him too nervous to sit there any longer. When we came in that afternoon, the wind was in his favor so he smelled us from the get go, and heard us cross the gate that was only fifty yards from his bed..Unlike the other does and bucks, he stayed still and let al the other deer run out while he stayed comfortably up next to the dozer pile of brush :) I went in and looked at his bed and it was perfect in everyway you could imagine. One also has to take into account this was a 1/2 mile inside of a 1 mile square property; there was nothing around to bother him out here.

Since I had encounters with three separate monsters in less than two hours, I am contemplating whether or not I should buy my KS firearms tag and go after this buck in the fall. I have all of the knowledge I need, but I wonder if he uses the spot on a regular basis...The wind would have to be perfect, but a chance at a good buck is probably pretty high. I would bowhunt it, but it is too open and I really believe the deer seek this property out once the guns start going off during the KS gunseason. I almost think this area is a sanctuary for big bucks during that time frame. We will see!!! It just goes to show you that open land may not look like much but you NEVER know what is out there.
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:11 am

MOBIGBUCKS wrote:I have all of the knowledge I need, but I wonder if he uses the spot on a regular basis...


There's a pretty decent chance that buck will repeat bedding there under similar circumstances. For example, the same general calendar period with a very similar wind direction and weather that creates a situation where he feels safe there. A lot of potential problems exist- the wrong wind, excess hunting pressure in that spot that you may or may not be aware of, the buck getting poached or taken prior to your arrival, etc.- but its definitely worth a shot. 8-)
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:31 am

Mature buck bedding in flat farm country is what is difficult to figure out- the same as any other type of hunting area. Bedding in general for young bucks and does is as easy as it gets, in my opinion. The condensed cover in flat farm areas makes figuring out general deer bedding a breeze, and numerous young bucks and does fell to my arrows as a youth. Even areas where bucks bed in the corn are a lot easier than wilderness areas, IMO.

Regarding older bucks I look for small, isolated pockets of cover- potholes of water with a small bit of brush or briars- overgrown weed fields, floodplain thickets along creeks/rivers, and anywhere else multiple escape routes exist from a spot on the farm. I was NOT very successful on the older bucks on these heavily pressured farms back when I hunted there, but did manage to set up and hunt a few of them.
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby DEERSLAYER » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:24 am

I don't have a lot of experience with farm country so I have a related bedding question for you guy's. What do you call "small" and where do you typically draw the line on what is too small to mess with? I have noticed that to some people small would be 5 acres (or more) while to someone else it may mean 1/4 acre. To me a 10'X10' (or smaller) area is all they need, but trying to hunt every nook and cranny would probably not be a very efficient use of time unless you knew there was a nice buck there. Although while looking at an aerial I would take all these little spots into consideration when trying to figure out a spot. Also, what is the minimum height you normally consider bedding cover needs to be?
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby Sam Ubl » Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:45 am

I think you're referring 'small' to bedding ground. To me, small can't be one instance, rather it depends on the area. Without beating around the bush, consider a 100 acre farm, of which 90 is fields. A small bedding area might be the tall brush, poplars or sawgrass behind the barn next to the old International Harvester who's tires have since sunk into the earth and the shell is rusted to a skeletal core.

Another detail that's missing from your question is night or day beds. My example above is more of a night-time example IMO. A daytime example may be under the big Oak or Maple with the little Honda Civic sized circle around it which happens to be in the middle of the corn field... You know the one, it's the canopy sillohuette your wife always points at in the fall when the corn is down and the leaves are turning with the sunsetting behind it. There's little cover to dissapear and duck out of harms way into when the corn is down, but she just might be a gold mine when the lightest breeze has those corn stalks tickling eachother with that eary whispiness sound that seems to speak to you when your on the edge of the field in your stand, "Any second now!"
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby DEERSLAYER » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:20 am

Sam Ubl wrote:...A small bedding area might be the tall brush, poplars or sawgrass behind the barn next to the old International Harvester who's tires have since sunk into the earth and the shell is rusted to a skeletal core...


I would consider that one of those often overlooked day time Booner bedding spots.


Sam Ubl wrote:...Another detail that's missing from your question is night or day beds....


I am referring to day time bedding areas. I should have been more clear.
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Re: bedding areas in farm country

Unread postby dan » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:30 am

DEERSLAYER wrote:I don't have a lot of experience with farm country so I have a related bedding question for you guy's. What do you call "small" and where do you typically draw the line on what is too small to mess with? I have noticed that to some people small would be 5 acres (or more) while to someone else it may mean 1/4 acre. To me a 10'X10' (or smaller) area is all they need, but trying to hunt every nook and cranny would probably not be a very efficient use of time unless you knew there was a nice buck there. Although while looking at an aerial I would take all these little spots into consideration when trying to figure out a spot. Also, what is the minimum height you normally consider bedding cover needs to be?

Anybody who thinks a quarter acre bedding area is "small" probably doesn't know what a buck bedding area is... A lot of the buck bedding areas you will find will have one single bed the size of a deer... Sometimes thats on a clump of dirt sticking out of the swamp water slightly larger than the size of a deer... The only way I have ever seen a bedding area look to be a 1/4 acre in size is when there are several beds for several wind directions, or multiple bucks bedding the same general area... But not with each other.
One way I could see someone coming to that conclusion would be in a case like hill country where bucks bed on the points and use each side and the point based on the wind direction and the does bed at a higher elevation above the bucks. Someone who don't understand how deer bed might just think "wow" this is a big bedding area, and I guess in some ways it is, but really, the deer bed in specific spots based on wind or other factors and the exact beds can be predicted...
Probably got off your question a little there, sorry. Had to say that.


trying to hunt every nook and cranny would probably not be a very efficient use of time unless you knew there was a nice buck there

I believe you mean hunting for beds?
I pretty much believe most of the farms I hunt hold a shooter, if you don't believe a certain farm does, why would you scout there in the 1st place?


Also, what is the minimum height you normally consider bedding cover needs to be?
There is no minimum hight... Bucks can bed out in the open, or in heavy cover...


If your still thinking you really don't want to put the effort into scouting the whole farm, at minimum, you should walk the transition lines where differing types of cover meet and follow sign from there back to the beds that are generally near these transitions.


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