Crisis in Northwoods Deer Yards; Inadequate Hunts, Deep Snows, & Frigid Temps Lead to Certain Starvation

Real Estate Agent with Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities #1 in Forest Land Mgmt

Crisis in Northwoods Deer Yards; Inadequate Hunts, Deep Snows, & Frigid Temps Lead to Certain Starvationdeer yard

This is a picture of a Deer Yard, notice the well pruned trees up as high as a deer can reach and lack of young seedlings.  Generally when the snows get too deep for deer to travel they will yard up in a place like this.

The canopy of the Hemlocks in this photo create what we call thermal cover which is generally 10-20 degrees warmer than in the open or in a hardwood forest.

young seedling under the snowUnfortunately unless there is a clear cut right next to one of these deer yards, the meager vegetation within the yard will be exhausted quickly and the deer will be forced to choose between standing for several months trying to conserve the fat that they accumulated in the fall or spend precious calories fighting through the deep snow to seek possible food elsewhere.

Notice the seedling to the left here, was chewed clean of all buds and small twigs about the time the snow was 1 foot deep, and all the smaller seedlings in the background will likely never get past the height of the snow either.

As tempting as it is to go out to this site now to get a few shots in the winter, as a Wildlife Biologist, I know that everytime that someone happens upon one of these death camps, it further stresses the occupants further and leads to fewer of the residents surviving the cold winter.

There are a few solutions to this horrible problem that the deer encounter every winter.

  1. Monitor and control Population Dynamics, in lay terms that means, less deer in the fall means more food remaining per deer to last the winter.
  2. Encourage more hunting, pruning half the herd with hunters is infinitely more humane than watching 3/4 of the herd die of starvation and disease.
  3. Don't feed hay to starving deer, they will eat it but they cannot digest it this time of year, it may make them feel full but they will still die.aspen and thermal cover
  4. Create more clearcuts, especially next to conifer stands.  Clearcuts produce dense twigs and branches that are perfect winter food for deer.  Deer need easily accessible food, they cannot afford to climb through a half mile of deep snow to get the calories that they need to survive.



Woodland Management Service

  • Deer yard in Waupaca County
  • Deer browsed seedling Waupaca County
  • Aspen Clearcut next to Red Pine Stand, Oneida County.







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James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Bob.

Learned something new today.  Had no idea that deer could not digest hay, interesting

Feb 24, 2020 01:20 AM #1
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Bob. Some facts to know for a city fellow. A fresh perspective. Thanks! Enjoy your day.

Feb 24, 2020 05:11 AM #2
Norma J. Elkins
Elite Realty Group - Morristown, TN
Realtor - Elkins Home Selling Team

Awesome information about deer.  I like James has no idea about the hay.  All great tips also.  Thanks for sharing!

Feb 24, 2020 05:27 AM #3
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I didn't know about the hay. Deer are constantly eating my neighbor's horse hay. Interesting.

Feb 24, 2020 05:42 AM #4
Kate Smith
Brosda and Bentley Realtors- International Fine Realty - Hollywood, FL

Such an interesting post, Richard! Not very many people would recognize the humane side of hunting. I used to organize hunting tours, many years ago...One of my programs was red stag-trophy hunting tours, usually during mating season, August. It was interesting how the humane element came to play there as well, as not only a big chunk of the proceeds of these tours went towards the forrest and wild life conservation programs, but only marked animals (usually the oldest), were to be hunted. Thanks for sharing!

Feb 24, 2020 05:56 AM #5
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Bob what is good for one set of circumstances can be deadly for another.  Life is a delicate balance.

Feb 24, 2020 07:00 AM #6
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Bob Crane - only you could teach us such a lesson.  That's why you are the one to call.

Feb 25, 2020 05:48 AM #7
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

And how about bringing back more natural predators to keep the deer population in check?

Feb 25, 2020 06:18 PM #8
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Thank you, Bob Crane for sharing this post on the plight of the deer.  Although I am familiar with the North Woods in upper Wisconsin, I never even thought about the things you posted.  Sad story, Bob, but important you share this information .

Feb 27, 2020 09:57 PM #9
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Bob Crane

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