Winter Survival: Deer Yards
My first winter in NH, I learned of a natural phenomena called "Yarding." I have yet to witness it, so I've gathered some information from people who have to share with you this month.
Yarding is the term used for large masses of deer congregating in one area. It occurs during times of severe cold and decreasing food source availability. It’s more common to see this in places with a lot of snow. This behavior allows deer to consume available resources and conserve energy. They benefit from grouping in large numbers.
Common places to see deer yard up are near south- and east-facing slopes, agricultural fields with a lot of waste grain, late-season food plots, white cedar thickets, and anywhere else they can find good shelter from the elements and food for their bellies. If you have one or more of these, it’s likely you’ll see deer yarding there this winter. (from Realtree.com)
In winter, bucks, does, and fawns gather together in "deer yards:" sheltered locations frequently under stands of coniferous trees. It is believed that this behavior helps them survive severe weather conditions by conserving body heat and discouraging predation. They reduce their food intake during the winter by 30 percent and activity by 50 percent. Therefore they usually browse within close proximity to the deer yard. (From Massaudubon.org)
If you know where I might be able to experience a deer yard or if you have witnessed one yourself, I would love to hear about it.