An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

White-tailed Deer Bed Positions

2-26-13 deer bedsIMG_5183If you walk in many of New England’s woods, it is likely that you will come upon deer tracks. If the snow isn’t deep enough to keep the deer confined to one area, or “yard,” such as this year, then tracks can often be found throughout the woods. Where there are tracks, there are also beds – spots, often on higher ground, where deer bed down for the night. By looking at the edges of the indentation left when a deer lies down, you can usually determine which direction the deer was facing. (It’s back leaves a fairly symmetrical curve in the snow, and its knees often make impressions.) Deer frequently travel in herds and bed down together. Because they are prey for numerous animals, it should come as no surprise that their actions, even ones as simple as in which direction to lie down, are intentional. If you look at an area where several deer bedded down, you will usually find that each deer is facing a different direction. This is so that, together, they have as much of a 360 degree view as possible, in order to spot an approaching predator. The deer that occupied the closest bed in this photograph was facing right, while the further deer was facing left.

3 responses

  1. Kate Adams

    Love your photos and knowledge shared. I find many deer beds when I walk in the woods and now can recognize why they are positions for sentinel. Will note next time out.

    February 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm

  2. I recently found 12+ deer nests in our small hemlock grove, which is surrounded by marsh and other woods. I think of the hemlock grove now as the deer hotel.

    February 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm

  3. I always wondered where and how they slept!

    March 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm

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