Will deer use a native grass area on a ridge top?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersHabitat Management
I have 240 acres. The southern part is 110 feet higher than the northern half. I think the highest part of my property is higher than any other land for dozens of miles. It is covered in post oak/black jack oaks. I think I only have 2 resident does. Occasionally see a small group of turkeys. Have planted eagle soybeans in spring, and wheat/turnips/radish in the fall. The trees inhibit ground cover and NAtive grass growth. So if I clear 20-30 acres of trees (the high elevation area) do you think deer and turkey will use the grassy areas that grow there even though it’s the highest land around?

Dr. Abel,

This sounds like you may have some great views from these areas! 

Deer and turkey will certainly use the ridge top areas when grasses come and take over this area. Ridge tops generally offer consistent winds. This allows deer to feel safe as they bed down. They can face the opposite way the wind is blowing from and see in the direction their nose does not cover. If you have seen deer on a day with gusty winds, they tend to be on edge. This is because the wind is not as consistent and they do not feel as secure in conditions like this. 

Ridge tops offer consistent winds which allows for better hunting as you can feel confident hunting these locations. Here at The Proving Grounds, we tend to hang most of our stands on ridge tops or areas where we can hunt and have the thermals work in our favor. Some of the best stands are those where the wind will blow consistently. 

I think clearing this land could help your land become more attractive for wildlife and easier to hunt. 

GrowingDeer Together, 

Matt Dye