Nature’s Tents: Pine Trees and Deer Bedding areas

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It’s funny how 47 degrees feels like a mid-summer day with the insane winter we are having this year. I was shoveling snow in the driveway and ended up wondered off on a quest for “White Gold”. Having love and curiosity for the whitetail deer brings fun all year round. One of my favorite places is in Tionesta, PA where 25 acres of pines planted in perfect rows exists still today. It is more than magical when snow is falling and you take shelter in the maze of pines. These pine fields were planted by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) setup by FDR.

On our farm we grow different types of pines for Christmas tree sales. As we rotate the fields, many trees are left in clusters due to being not-so-desirable for humans. When it comes to deer…..these patches are 5 star hotels. I made my way into the sunny field hoping to find a shed or two (aka White Gold) and came up empty handed. I did take some pictures to show how often deer use this area for winter cover.

White pines provide great cover and browse all year long for the deer. If you keep the trees spaced just enough that they do not become overgrown, deer will flock to them when the weather is not optimal. Have them spaced (since we plant them in rows) just open enough that they can bed on the southern side of the pines. This will bring warm sun in the openings and most of the snow will melt much earlier! White pine has a fast growth rate and can be a beautiful natural fence line (aka keep the visual level down for poachers or trespassers).

Hiking and scouting in the winter can tell you quite a bit about deer and their travel, bedding, and feeding habits. Get out and enjoy the walk before the snow melts! The deer left you a message!

Originally published at on February 20, 2014.

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