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youp50

Migrating whitetail deer.

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Do the deer in northern New York state migrate to winter yards?

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Yes and to a lesser degree so do southern tier deer. They need browse and will go wherever that browse is.

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I thought they might have to.  Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) (Do Nothing Right) is currently on a save the hemlocks cause.  However, unless the hemlocks are in traditional deer yards they are not utilized for thermal cover.  U.P. deer will migrate through better winter habitat to get to a browsed out yard that their family has been going to for untold generations.

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One of the things I do is drop a bunch of crooked hemlock on my land this time of year, the deer eat them and it improves browse and bedding. I like to do it strategically so it opens up shooting lanes at the same time. I've found sheds around them also.

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Hemlock is horrible for deer to eat. It only fills the void or makes them not be hungry . I used to do field work for the state up in wanakena for deer density and winter kill and numerous times found deer that had starved to death with stomachs full of hemlock needles. While tipping one over for increased cover is a good thought it actually isn't helping them food wise. Find a crooked red maple or better known as soft maple and tip that over next to the hemlock tree. Then you have given them shelter and good browse with nutrients that will help them threw the winter.

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Hemlocks take more energy to digest than energy gained by consuming the material.

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Hemlocks take more energy to digest than energy gained by consuming the material.

Why do deer migrate to these areas then? So they can die anyway?

It seems to at least keep them alive. I never find winterkill here...

I also like to cut my trees down for firewood this time of year just so the deer get a little fresh browse.

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Also most hemlock stands traditionally are old growth in this area. They are also generally found in swampy areas. These areas often times have a little of mosses that are nutritious for the animals. Ferns also will remain green under the snow and deer will migrate to these areas to paw for these foods. The benefit is 2 fold. The hemlock s shelter them and reduce the amount of snow making it easier for them to paw for food. However if the winter becomes hard enough that the deer are eating only hemlock browse because they can't reach anything else chances are the deer heard is going to suffer some losses

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GILL T

Interesting stuff this is a great read. Our woods in Almond has almost no Hemlock or many pines anywhere but a few giants. The deer seem to like any thick over grown browse any type they bunch up in these areas on the sunny side of the hills.

Migration no just an adjustment of a mile maybe until the snow melt .

They also like the dirt roads winding through big oaks alot of akerns are washed into the grooves they paw into a foot or 2 to dig for them.

Always amazes me how they gut out the brutal cold and deep snow down there. Tough tough

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In Upper Michigan they migrate to an area they have migrated to for many generations.  Hemlock offers 'thermal cover' its warmer under them.  They keep trails open, its supposed to help evade predators.  I no longer hunt bobcats, when I did L got huge cats in the yards.  Many were in the 40 pound range, never topped 50 though.  Now the timber wolves are hammering our herd pretty hard.  

 

DNR likes to have timber sales near yarding areas.  Lots of browse. My brother used to drive a logging truck.  It was not uncommon to see fresh killed deer in the road, they never took a bite to eat.  Joy kills or teaching the pups kill skills.  He would say the guys cutting and skidding really saw the wasted dead deer.

 

Timber wolves have killed all the deer in one yard I know of.  We used to ice fish a lake near the WI border.  Drove through  a deer yard to get there.  There are no tracks in there at all.  There never will be deer yarding there again.

 

Hammer the coyotes and pray the wolves do not migrate or get reintroduced there

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