Differences between Managing in Missouri and Vermont for Winter Cover

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Thanks so much for the videos! Each week I wait impatiently for them. The video on winter cover was very informative. However, it didn’t seem to be geared for northern managers. Our deer herd here in Vermont and other northern states head to conifer forests to “yard up” during periods of deep snow depths and severe low temps to conserve energy. Could you elaborate on the differences between a state like Missouri and Vermont regarding how they should be managed for winter cover?

Thank you,

George (Florence, Vermont)


You’re correct! Where the snow depths commonly get 2 feet or more deep, deer prefer dense stands of mature conifers. “Yarding” occurs in these areas where deep snows make foraging very difficult and deer find it more energy efficient to simply migrate to stands of dense conifers and survive off stored fat. This type of habitat prevents some of the snow from reaching the ground. Obviously, if the timber stand is dense enough to prevent snow from reaching the ground, very limited forage can grow under the canopy, so yarding areas provide almost no forage unless the conifers are white cedar (mature white cedar swamps are almost a thing of the past). Unfortunately, many of the traditional yarding areas have been converted to some other type of habitat in the northeast. For wind protection and allowing solar radiant heat during the day, native grass stands are better. For providing relief from deep snows, mature conifers are the preferred habitat type in the northeast and lake states.

Growing Deer together,