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TJ Nagel has been involved in the outdoors his entire life. Hunting and fishing at every opportunity!

Bedding Area – Whitetail Fanatic 365 Part 2

Thick heavy blow downs helped me start this bedding area!

Thick heavy blow downs helped me start this bedding area!

In the previous submission we talked about spending some time in the timber now, the dead of winter. In my opinion the best time to prep for next fall’s hunting season. With a clear and well thought out plan, a piece of timber you have hunted with marginal or limited success in the past may be transformed into a hotspot that will hold your next P&Y buck. In this submission we will discuss THE MOST IMPORTANT thing any deer hunter can do to improve any track of land to increase success.

Before we go any further, let me ask you a question; where do you feel most safe during your everyday life? In your car on the road, How about at work, Or maybe at a restaurant?  Not me, I feel safest in my home, in my bedroom! Well doesn’t it make sense that a deer will also feel safer than any other place in their core home bedroom! Now, think hard about the land you hunt on- Does your hunting land have a safe haven for deer? An area that is thick tangled with multi floral rose bushes, raspberry thickets, blow downs, overgrown clear cuts or possibly a CRP grass field surrounded by young trees. All of these are prime bedding areas that deer feel safe in. They have and will continue to use them year after year, unless continued pressure drives them out permanently.

perfect bedding area

Perfect bedding area

What if we could create a better bedding area? Or maybe you don’t have a bedding area on your favorite hunting ground now. It amazes me that all we hear about in every hunting article written is about creating food plots to attract more deer to your area, when more importantly is the ability to keep deer on your property! If these deer never feel safe enough to stay (bed) in your area you will never have an equal opportunity to harvest a mature buck as the neighbor where that deer sleeps.

Where on your favorite piece of hunting ground would you hide if people were looking for you? I would hide in the thickest out of the way spot that I could either see or hear intruders coming long before they knew I was there so I could either flee for safety or dig in and hide. This is exactly where you need to build a bedding area if one doesn’t already exist. How you say…. Well I’m glad you asked!

CRP fields make great cover for all animals

CRP fields make great cover for all animals

The great thing about making a great bedding area is it cost NOTHING!!! Well, other than sweat and hard work it costs nothing. Start by looking for recently downed trees or blow downs, these are perfect starting points. If it is private ground and you have dead trees you may consider cutting one or two down. If this is public ground or land you don’t or can’t cut trees, than look for as many tree tops, blow downs logs, anything for structure. Arrange them in a star pattern with the largest part of the trunk toward the middle and smaller branches facing outward. Try to keep as much space between each large branch as possible up to 20’ or so. Now move on and do another star approx. 10-20 yards away and another and so on. The more structure you can put together the better. Now either let mother nature take its course and let weeds grow up between them, or if you want a jump start use a garden rake and rough up the ground and spread some wildflower, or native grasses in the area. Or if I’m feeling really saucy I will transplant raspberry bushes in and around these log jams and let them grow from there.

see the heavy center area that has been left alone for bedding with area to be preped for food plot

See the heavy center area that has been left alone for bedding with area to be prepped for food plot.

Another great tactic that I have employed over the years takes a little more work. Gather as many Christmas trees as possible right after the holiday and throw them into your truck or trailer. You guessed it, drag them to the best area you have and create a bedding area like no other. Don’t make huge piles, one or two trees in each spot, leaving 5-6’ between piles making a maze. This works great in semi open areas that have a lot of sun so undergrowth will grow quickly. Deer will feel safe in the comfort of the trees, out of the wind when lying down, but they can see over or around them when standing relatively easily. Escape is very quick and quiet. These areas can be added to and improved upon year after year, season after season. It doesn’t have to be done all at one time, but once you see the benefits you will be excited to keep improving.

Perfect area for food plot with heavy cover only a few leaps away

Perfect area for food plot with heavy cover only a few leaps away!

The last way to build a better bedding area is to fence an area off that is already thick. Take old fence posts and section off 30-40 yard areas that are already thick and nasty. Now invest in some barbed wire, or ask farmers in your area if they have any scraps and run a couple wires high all around the area. This may sound crazy, but it will keep others out, but animals will easily find the sanctuary and some may call it home.

These are but a few ideas to get you started thinking about structure, just like fishing. Deer will and do associate safety with structure and escape routes. Find the deepest darkest areas of your hunting ground and start to imagine a monster buck lying there completely safe and growing older every year! If they aren’t there, you can’t harvest them.


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