Bedding habitat question


Over the weekend I had to do alot of bush-hogging to set-back noxious weeds. I noticed something that I have failed to recognize before and wanted to see if any of you had noticed/experianced the same thing.

I noticed far more deer beds in areas where the cover was mostly grasses as opposed to areas that where mostly broadleaf weeds.

I am enrolled in a CRP program where I simply allow the native broadleaf weeds to do their thing (less noxious weeds like thistle and johnsongrass) in an effort to expand cover on my property. I have experianced little use of these areas as bedding. Some areas simply lacked the height, but others had plenty of height but still virtually zero use. Now I have been improving some of these CRP areas to include NWSG and other areas where I have grass (even cool seaosn grass like timothy and orchardgrass) I have much more signs of bedding activity.

I realize this may be primarily doe bedding, but have you guys seen the same sort of thing????
Are the locations equal? Is one area/type located closer to a food source? Summer food source for that matter. What I have seen is that location is key. I can have what looks to be the best bedding in the word but if it's say towards the front of the property or in a frequently traveled area forget it. They will select less quality for safety or food.
If you were stranded in the woods would you prefer to lay down in soft grass or stemmy broadleaf weeds?
Location is right on top of the summer food source. One side was a mix of timothy, orchard grass, stilt grass and johnsongrass. The other side was ragweed, marestail, lambsquarter, cockelbur, milkweed and various other "weeds". Nothing is exactly the same, but I saw/see alot more beds in the "grass" vs the "weeds". The "weed" areas where deeper and taller than the grass as well, but they still tended to prefer the "grass". I agree with Bueller that if I had to lay down the grass would indeed be softer, but are the deer really that picky? I figured if I wanted to hide the taller and deeper the cover would be the better (especially for a doe trying to hide a fawn). I may try to put this to my advantage. I was just wondering if the rest of you had seen similar things.
Could have something to do with temperature and bug activity as well. Tends to be more breeze in the grassy areas which lowers the temperature and amount of flying bugs. At least that is what I have surmised with my own observations. Our deer tend to bed in the "pasture" areas during the warm summer months.
If you were stranded in the woods would you prefer to lay down in soft grass or stemmy broadleaf weeds?

Sometimes the obvious answer is the most accurate ...
It could be all sorts of things. Still, as bueller and Tree Spud point out, would you rather lay on bed of grass or a bed of nails? Obviously exaggeration for emphasis, but the point is the same. All else being equal, comfort wins out.
What I've noticed at my place is that they do seem to prefer bedding in grasses over broadleafs such as Canada Goldenrod. But, in the summer they would prefer to bed in moderately open woods over any grass or weed. This changes in the fall and the grass becomes preferred then.

Another observation , is that if you have a fence row (or other woody structure) between two grass fields, that this will become a bedding magnet. Add a small pond, and it becomes even better.

The first two pics below show both sides of the same fence row where deer like to bed here. The third pic shows another preferred bedding spot where a small pond is surrounded by grass fields. This is the best fall bedding spot on my place - especially since food plots are only 150 yards away.

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Well for whatever reason the second pic didn't post and I can't seem to edit it. I will try again with this one:

I realize this may be primarily doe bedding, but have you guys seen the same sort of thing????

By the way, Doe bedding is a good thing.

IMHO I think folks sometimes get to focused on buck bedding. A mature buck will find a small area where he is not pressured, has cover, food, & water. This could be in the thick of a marsh or in a couple acre field next to an old barn.

My goal on my property has been to create different habitat & sanctuary areas for multiple doe family groups. Once fall comes, the boys will be using these areas to scent check for the girls. If I have done a good job with the sanctuary's, the bucks will use them also for bedding and when hunting pressure increases.
I was simply disappointed in my CRP areas. I implemented the CRP "weed" programs to expand my cover options. It increased cover but it was only transitional cover. I don't think it was helping me really hold more deer. Now that I am increasing the grass componentinthese CRP areas I hope I will actually hold more deer. The fact that these are more than likely doe bedding is fine and is a good thing. I lack cover in general and if I can get the does into the grass then the more woody type of cover may become available and thus increase my chance of buck bedding. I agree in that the boys will come looking for the girls (that is historically how I harvest my nicer bucks) but encouraging the does to bed in areas where I can use it to my advantage will help. Knowing how they prefer the grass to the"weeds" will help design a layout to take advantage of that tendancy.
j-bird, please share photos of the before and after
Bueller - check out my switchgrass post and you can see what I am working with. The areas I have converted thus far went from "weeds" that would not hold deer to bare ground last June to 40" of cover this june - and still growing. I intend on using the success I have had with NWSG and this information regarding grass vs weeds for bedding to my advantage and help put the deer where I want them. This "light bulb" moment just took a while - at least on my place not all cover is created equal. Forums like this are why I challanged myself to try this - I otherwise would have ridden out the CRP contract and simply re-newed no knowing what I was missing.
Very cool stuff. I think one of the harder things to do is abort or make drastic changes to a habitat improvement we previously made that just isn't working out how we thought it would.
Bueller -that is all part of it, at least for me. Every inch I have available to me needs to have some purpose - I can't afford "empty space". The cover on my place is very limited and as such expanding cover was the intent of the CRP. Well the cover expanded, but the deer usage of that cover really did not. This is the same thing as planting a plot over and over agian of something the deer won't eat. If we know how to listen (mainly with our eyes) we can allow the deer to tell us what they like - we simply need to"listen" more.
When we had a lot of CRP in SE MN, we would frequently kick out a number of deer while pheasant hunting. And more often than not, they were bucks. They really seemed to prefer thick areas in the CRP that held ragweed, small shrubs like plums and sumacs and generally tall, thicker stuff. We would always kick more deer out of the weedy/brushy areas than the straight grass areas. I would frequently see bachelor groups in the lighter grassy areas in the summer, but they really weren't in those same areas in the fall. I think your thicker broadleaf/weedy areas will be used more in the fall than they are now.
I have 50 acres of NWSG and the deer bed in it frequently. I have found deer like areas where they can get a breeze that helps keep the bugs off of them and they can wind-check a large area. I would say you need a minimum of 4’ of grass height and if you have a mix of shrubs or other tree type cover near even better. Food plots close by are also a plus. I have a couple of spots like this I always find beds in them. I also have a spot that frequently has beds that is a little hill, small enough to go unnoticed but it has broken areas of staghorn sumac on it and they like to bed in it.

I also have timothy planted for my wind row tree plantings and they do like the timothy. Wide open flat areas of NWSG are used less than wide open flat areas of NWSG that are within 50 yards or so of some type of woods or heavy cover.

My CRP rules will not allow ANY sort of woody vegetation no trees, or shrubs of any type. The areas vary in width from 30' to 120' wide as well and are butted up against other "timber" areas. I think the NWSG will provide a thicker cover than just the "weeds". My intent will be to monitor how the areas I have "improved" pan out - and see if I can make more sense of how both does and bucks use the "weeds" and the NWSG. This is the first year for the NWSG on my place so I am still learning how to use it to my maximum advantage. I was simply not getting the benefit I expected from the "weeds" - and based on my observations I think the grass will work much better. Time will tell.
j-bird, I always wonder if I see more beds in my grass because a) they're more obvious than beds in woody/shrubby cover and b) I'm passing through the grassy areas far more frequetly than I am the woody areas. A passing interest in statistics makes me wonder if the grass "sample size" is larger than the woody sample, thus skewing the numbers to favor the grass areas. I have no idea if this is reasonable or eccentric. :confused: Previous comments certainly all make good sense.
The big thing is that I have very limited woody/shruby cover so I am trying to move the does closer to the food with the CRP and thus make some room for bucks in the woody/brushy stuff. The broadleaf weeds that dominated my CRP just wasn't doing the trick from a bedding perspective. It was fine transition cover from bedding to feeding. I think/hope my NWSG will better facilitate this goal and thus increase the actual bedding capabilities of my property. The real trick is getting the bedding where I want it and not where I don't want it so I can improve my stand access and hold different family groups as well.