Deer bedding in proximity to roads (Northwoods)

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Net Guy
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Deer bedding in proximity to roads (Northwoods)

Unread postby Net Guy » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:44 pm

Hello everyone,

Just started hunting public land in the northwoods of WI. Obviously, the wolf population and other predators are on the rise. I was wondering if anyone else up north has noticed a trend with deer bedding closer to roads to get away from the wolves? In college I researched the wolf packs in WI and compared the pack dens and travel routes to roadways. It was pretty clear that the wolf packs tried to stay as far as way from the roads as possible.

While scouting this year I found good bedding not far from some main roads. Curious if the deer are trying to adapt to the wolves, which tend to be deeper in the woods more often, by bedding closer to roads? Or maybe its just because all of the predators, including humans, are overlooking these spots. Wondering if anyone else is noticing that.

Thank you

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Re: Deer bedding in proximity to roads (Northwoods)

Unread postby Islandhunter » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:50 pm

I have observed this recently myself. This past winter/spring I witnessed deer bedding along small highways in far northern WI. I've also seen them using cabins and Lake Superior, combined with highways/roads to their advantage for security.

Last fall, a few nights after hunting, I witnessed countless doe groups who were clearly bedding in narrow land/beach patches along Lake Superior until dark to avoid hunters and rutting bucks.
I believe they do this for multiple reasons. Later winter/early spring the road edges, especially south facing seem to have everything they need,abundant browse, warm sun, and predominant winds from the N/NW at their backs.
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Re: Deer bedding in proximity to roads (Northwoods)

Unread postby Jonny » Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:35 am

They bed where they feel safe. I have seen beds 30 yards from a road and beds 2 miles from a road. I don't see beds where I find predator sign. 2 legged or 4 legged predators. Only conclusion I have is that predators don't like water and really thick stuff. If you have that right next to a road, I wouldn't be surprised to find deer there. However, in general, I tend to see more deer the farther I get from other hunters, but I am not in a high wolf population area either. There are some around, but not as many as I have seen in oneida county 7-8 years ago when I quit hunting up there.
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Re: Deer bedding in proximity to roads (Northwoods)

Unread postby Steve Heiting » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:00 am

I think it's kind of an "all of the above" answer to why they bed closer to roads. A few thoughts:

1. Such areas tend to get overlooked by hunters.
2. Houses and cabins are located near roads. Not only do people feed deer (legal or not) near their homes/cabins, but there often is shrubbery deer like to eat. This tends to artificially inflate the deer herd in wooded subdivisions.
3. The opening around a road or home/cabin may promote thicker growth because of more sunlight reaching the ground, so there is more cover and food.
4. Deer seem to feel safer near homes with full-time residency, perhaps because predators don't.
5. In a really bad winter, deer use roads to move about because it's easier walking, and roads lead to houses where people tend to feed them.
6. In spring, roadsides are among the first to melt and expose grass, and also to green-up. They also like the road salt that accumulates in the ditches. My house is in the woods but I have a fairly big front lawn, and you wouldn't believe the deer that feed there in spring once the grass starts to green-up.
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Re: Deer bedding in proximity to roads (Northwoods)

Unread postby headgear » Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:06 pm

Any mature buck is going to have figured the wolves out, as stated before they bed where they feel the safest. I hunt spots near roads, trails & parking lots, some is only a half mile back, other are miles of dirt roads and then hiking for another couple miles. What I am trying to get at is I don't think you are going to find some pattern where the wolves push all the bucks near roads, they can do that to the deer in general who seem to have better numbers closer to people these days but the bucks bed where they want to bed and you will find them all over the place in all kinds of different spots. Just put on the miles and you will find them, of course those close to the road spots make life a little easier but they are sometimes the hardest to find, at least in my bigwoods they aren't easy to find.
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Re: Deer bedding in proximity to roads (Northwoods)

Unread postby dan » Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:32 pm

The big old bucks bed near the road often in areas with no wolves too... They simply bed where no person or predator bothers them. The over looked spots. The majority of my biggest bucks were shot within a stones throw of a road.

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