Deer Browse Identification
by Allen (Huntnut)
One evening, while sitting in a tree stand quite a few years ago, I had a great idea.
We were doing some early october bow hunting in the vast forests of northern Michigan. We jumped a couple of deer, but we could just not pin down their travel routes, the forest was just too big, and we were just too green in that area...we really knew nothing about it.
So that evening, while
sitting there wondering if I was going to see any deer, I had a great idea.
I figured, if I was ever going to be able to find the deer, I need to know
what they eat. If I can find the deer food, and can find it as easily as the
deer do, I would probably see alot more deer while hunting.
But, I thought to myself, how in the heck am I going to learn how to identify all the food deer eat??
Write a book I told myslef...no no, better, yet write a field manual, that will fit in your pocket that will be full of illustrations and notes. A little field book that you can take scouting and hunting.
I figured, what better scouting tool to have? You could scout property in June, and locate all the good deer food that will be ripe in early october, as well as foods that will be ripe in November!
So the project began. And it took me well over a year to complete.
I spent the next year buried in the periodical journals at Eastern MI U. I read every published study available on deer browse identification, and I learned a ton of stuff...I can say my deer hunting has expanded because of it 10 fold.
So the manual, it never really went anywhere, I never tried to have it published. I just give a few copies to my friends everyonce in awhile.
After researching it all, writing it all, and doing the illustrations....I look at the deer woods in a whole new way now.
So anyway....because we have this site started, I dug up a copy.
And this is what I plan on doing:
Every week, I will post 1 new wild plant species that deer eat. Complete with illustrations and info.
Print it out, memorize it, whatever....but there are about 86 species all together.
This weeks species is
the wild crabapple. This is a HIGH USE species.
Now please remember, just because the deer may not be eating some of these plants in your neighborhood, doesn't mean they don't chow down on it in Tennessee.!
What I do, is identify probable browse species in my hunting area, and look for evidence of feeding.
Also, when I kick up a deer, I walk over to where it was, and identify what it was eating.
When I am on stand, and I see a deer nibble on a sapling or a shrub, I will make it a point to walk over there and ID the shrub.
I think you guys have the gist of what I'm trying to do....I hope you guys can use this stuff, and please let me know what you think and what you have experienced!!
Ill be posting a new one
every week! Stay tuned for the next species! ...AL