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Thread: Deer leaving every winter

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    Default Deer leaving every winter

    Alright so Iíll start by saying that I live in WMU 63A and I currently donít hunt deer (I have hunted squirrels and shot pest chipmunks) however I do spend a lot of time out in the bush walking tracking etc. I live on 50 acres with access to an adjoining 10? Acres and walking but not hunting (so far access to another 50 ish acres that I havenít walked much so all totalled around 110 acres and I have noticed that spring summer fall there is deer (only doeís and fawns) on the 50 I live on but come mid to late December they leave now I know that they might be going to wintering grounds but I am wondering why they donít winter on my property as it is mostly forested with mixed soft and hard wood and there is some dense evergreen groves that would be good for wintering in which brings me to my next and bigger problem the bucks so for the bucks they only seem to come through for a brief period in nov and dec mostly at night and they seem to be passing through.
    I have a bait station setup with trail cameras that around this time of year get daily pics of deer. I had a really nice 9 or 10 point on cam with nice long tines but only for a brief bit so my main question is how far do they go normally to wintering grounds. Also they seem to be going in the direction of the 50 that I havenít really walked. I do want to get out on that section as it has some large beaver ponds with evergreens around them. Hopefully Iíll get out there when there is a bit of snow and be able to track them and look around for signs of a winter yard also the bucks leave before shedding their antlers it seems which is another reason I want to find out where they are spending their winter because I want to shed hunt as well. Thanks for any advice and sorry if this was posted in the wrong place this is my first time posting here.

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  3. #2
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    Deer leaving for the winter is called yarding. They typically head for dense stands of eastern hemlock or failing that dense stands of eastern cedar. These stands also need to have a water source very close. The stands need to be large enough to create a micro climate. The dense intertwined canopy can capture up to 70% of the snowpack overhead resulting in significantly less accumulation on the ground which facilitates movement. The snow packed canopy can also insulate the temperatures below. This temperature affect is more pronounced on very cold clear nights. Studies indicate that given the right conditions night lows can be 10 degrees warmer under this canopy compared to open areas just a km or less away. Warmer temperatures mean less calories burned to stay alive and can make the difference between life and death.

    The last factor in choosing these stands is food. The big woods in winter offer very little in the way of food but the newer growth on hemlock and cedars although poor compared to offerings in the snow free season do provide some nutrition. So it all boils down to the 3 basics - food, water, shelter. In winter in the big woods these stands are the best option. This phenomenon is less observable in the Southern and SW portions of the province where smaller snow packs and agricultural crops provide other options.
    Last edited by Species8472; December 3rd, 2021 at 01:00 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Species8472 View Post
    Deer leaving for the winter is called yarding. They typically head for dense stands of eastern hemlock or failing that dense stands of eastern cedar. These stands also need to have a water source very close. The stands need to be large enough to create a micro climate. The dense intertwined canopy can capture up to 70% of the snowpack overhead resulting in significantly less accumulation on the ground which facilitates movement. The snow packed canopy can also insulate the temperatures below. This temperature affect is more pronounced on very cold clear nights. Studies indicate that given the right conditions night lows can be 10 degrees warmer under this canopy compared to open areas just a km or less away. Warmer temperatures mean less calories burned to stay alive and can make the difference between life and death.
    Excellent explanation! My Grandpa used to tell us kids "No water,no Deer. No weeds,no Walleye". Words to live by.
    I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Species8472 View Post
    Deer leaving for the winter is called yarding. They typically head for dense stands of eastern hemlock or failing that dense stands of eastern cedar. These stands also need to have a water source very close. The stands need to be large enough to create a micro climate. The dense intertwined canopy can capture up to 70% of the snowpack overhead resulting in significantly less accumulation on the ground which facilitates movement. The snow packed canopy can also insulate the temperatures below. This temperature affect is more pronounced on very cold clear nights. Studies indicate that given the right conditions night lows can be 10 degrees warmer under this canopy compared to open areas just a km or less away. Warmer temperatures mean less calories burned to stay alive and can make the difference between life and death.

    The last factor in choosing these stands is food. The big woods in winter offer very little in the way of food but the newer growth on hemlock and cedars although poor compared to offerings in the snow free season do provide some nutrition. So it all boils down to the 3 basics - food, water, shelter. In winter in the big woods these stands are the best option. This phenomenon is less observable in the Southern and SW portions of the province where smaller snow packs and agricultural crops provide other options.
    Thank you for that info it definitely gave me some clues as to where they might be going one area in particular is on that 50 I don’t go on much there is a stand of hemlock with a beaver dam near in that creates a creek from the over flow and I recall walking there in the summer and there was some fairly substantial deer trails in the area so maybe they go there a bit in the summer as well for shelter etc. I guess I have some tracking to do. Any advice for shed hunting other than finding out where the deer are like what time do they tend to shed here in eastern Ontario. One thing I’m kinda learning is that when I read stuff online a lot of it seems to come from Southern Ontario especially farmland and the land here is very different not much land is in crops most of it is forested and the deer have different patterns because of it eg people say hunt a people say hunt pinch points between fields and sections of forest well here the forest essentially surrounds the field lol. Another thing is our deer population is Much less than down south I mean the maximum amount of doe’s I have seen at the feeder is 4 I believe and from what I can tell that is pretty much all the doe’s in a the general area around me and it has not been changing much like it was 4 doe’s last year as well. Another thing is getting a doe tag is almost impossible I mean the book says something like a 36% chance. Anyways I am mostly focusing on shed hunting right now and trying to find out where they are in the winter any help would be much appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trimmer21 View Post
    Excellent explanation! My Grandpa used to tell us kids "No water,no Deer. No weeds,no Walleye". Words to live by.
    Definitely true lol and I get the walleye part as well as I fish, havenít caught a walleye yet but have caught pike.

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    If you find out where they go, make sure to let me know! I just started hunting deer in 63a this past season. I had a surprising number of deer coming to my cottage property throughout the summer and early fall. Several small bucks too. Their appearances slowed down pretty much as soon as the bow hunting season started. I only have one picture of a mature buck, towards the end of November, at night. I did not have time to scout the surrounding Crown lands effectively this year due to projects to complete at the cottage, but I am hoping to scout much more next year.
    I agree with what you are saying about the terrain and the doe tags. Meanwhile, just south along Hwy 511 and along Wolf Grove Road (different WMU) the deer are everywhere!

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    Shed hunting can be tough with a sparse population of bucks in a relatively small area.
    Do you have a dog? Apparently any breed can be trained to find antlers.
    Look online for more info.

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    Almost impossible to stop the natural movement to yarding. I have free reign on a couple pieces of property and have put food plots in, hinge cut trees and improved bedding and it's done absolutely nothing towards holding deer later into the season. It did however make for better hunting during the rut before the deer migrate to the west side of the swamp.

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    OP, are you sure about the WMU you are in? Bancroft is a fair distance away from 63A. You've got another WMU in between.

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    Research has revealed that yarding is a learned behaviour, passed down from the mother which means that deer are particular as to where they go and how they get there. Deer may travel upwards to 50 miles to reach a traditional yard however not every hemlock or cedar stand will be a yard. Attached is an old document about yarding. http://https://www.ofah.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/MNR-Guidelines-deer_winterFeeding.pdf.

    BTW, yes walleye like weeds, but where I live structure (rock piles, and shoals) is best.
    Last edited by Sam Menard; December 3rd, 2021 at 10:11 AM.
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