A suburban deer bed is a lot more complex than its rural cousins.
Biology, mainstream hunting media, and common beliefs have all given us a very specific view of what whitetail bedding should look like, whether it’s doe beds or big buck beds. Where does a suburban deer bed come into this realm? We look into thickets with some coveted belief that there is no doubt that this is where my suburban giant is bedded; or maybe it’s those large inclines where a mature buck could see hundreds of yards from and use fear warning that a human is coming. If you live in big woods or farm country you are probably right, but if you hunt in suburban America you are most likely wrong.
With some of the biggest bucks I have put on the ground, I have found one common trait. These suburban deer bedded where they could always watch humans. The psychology of it is simple- if they can see what we are doing at all times, well they feel safer.
I have found countless beds just yards off of back lawns, the sides of houses, or just off a busy road. I have even found mature bucks bedding within viewing distance of walking trails in almost the wide open, watching my every step; knowing that if I take that few steps off the trail I went from simple human annoyance to predator.
Suburban deer, particularly whitetail does, have adapted such aggressive understanding of human predator vs non-predator human, that they will bed in the smallest of pieces, fully aware of how safe they truly are. Evolution has taught this animal through years of conditioning that the highway median, small shrub island in a commercial parking lot, or basic hedge row is as safe as you can get from the predator version of humans.
This basic and fascinating theory I feel becomes more dominate as the years go by. The young learn better, adapt greater, and slowly but surely these deer are bedding closer and closer to human activity.
The whole idea here is to ponder that maybe the thicket we have been so sure of in the past isn’t a sure bet after all. Its food for thought that the more you come in an area you may not be pushing a buck out but rather adjusting his behavior to proactively watch you, because running may be a far more dangerous proposition than holding tight.
As suburban hunters we need to think of these extremes if we want to become more successful hunters. We need to consider the rapid adaptation of suburban deer as one of the primary driving factors in our hunting methodology. They are learning 24/7, 365 days a year and passing it on from generation to generation. When we look at it that way we realize we might need to catch up.
Last modified: August 12, 2016