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footsore
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Deer Sign - Browse
Nov 3rd, 2015 at 6:15pm
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Just a few basic notes to get new hunters started, I hope you more experienced guys can add your knowledge to the thread.

Finding the Deer's pantry
Knowing where the deer hang out to eat is a key to hunting them. You need a knowledge of their preferred tucker and be able to identify these plants.

Favoured browse includes Karamu , Shinning Karamu, Seven Finger, Five Finger, Broadleaf, Whiteywood, Weeping Matipo as well as grass and tussock just to name a few.

Learn what grows in your area and look out for them while hunting. The small browse trees and shrubs often occur along forest margins, at the edges of clearings and slips or stream sides etc, because of the exposure to sunlight.
When you find the plants check them out as to whether there is any browse sign or other indications that there are any deer about.

Who's been dining here?
Just because the plant might look chewed up however doesn’t necessarily mean a deer is the culprit. Look for clues like hoof prints, pellets etc to confirm what's been doing the munching.

The pattern of plant damage will also give you some clues.
Deer have incisors only on their lower jaw -therefore they usually leave torn, frayed twig ends where they've bitten down and pulled the browse away from the plant. A thicker or tougher woody twig might be cleanly cut ˝ way through but with the upper part jagged and torn.

In contrast a Hare is equipped with a set of sharp incisors top and bottom and so snips sapplings etc with sharp, clean cuts.

Clearly the height of the browse will be a clue as to what had been eating there. Red Deer will browse from ground level up to around 1.6 – 2m high.


A ribbonwood stand displaying obvious browselines.



Browsed Matipo- note how the upper portion of the twigs have a ragged tail where the deer tore it's mouthful away.


Possums are messy eaters and will usually leave ragged torn leaf stumps, still attached to the trees twigs.
Insect damaged leaves will be cut cleanly and may include holes in the leaves.
Deer will tear their browse off trees at the twigs and so don’t typically leave leaf stumps behind as  possums or insects do.


Insect damage- smooth rather than ragged eaten edges and holes within the leaf.

Broadleaf
Broadleaf is a plant to be on the lookout for, as it is a staple of a deers diet. As well as inspecting the tree itself look at the forest floor. If there are deer around they will hoover up any leaf fall and strip fallen branches of their leaves.


A young unbrowsed broadleaf



Broadleaf with lower growth absent.



Browsed broadleaf branches.
See how the twig in front of my little finger has a smooth, clean cut -I figure this is due to its soft nature, whereas the woody branch above my next two fingers has been half cut and half torn away.



Stripped broadleaf windfall and a couple of leaves missed by the deer

Grass/Long Leaved Plants
With grasses or plants with flax-like leaves browse will be pretty obvious as the tips will be removed leaving clear incriminating evidence.


Daisy



Astelia



« Last Edit: Nov 4th, 2015 at 11:41pm by footsore »  
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possum_shooter
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Re: Deer Sign - Browse
Reply #1 - Nov 4th, 2015 at 6:26pm
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Good post Footsore, some good info for folks new to the deer thing like me
  
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Kalahari-hunter
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Re: Deer Sign - Browse
Reply #2 - Oct 5th, 2016 at 11:33am
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Thank you footsore, how can you judge how old broadleaf that has been stripped of their leaves are? I found a nice bit the other day that was not fresh as in still wet but was still green if that makes sense. No deer tracks in the area though due to the hard rain the day or 2 before i geuss.
  

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footsore
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Re: Deer Sign - Browse
Reply #3 - Oct 8th, 2016 at 9:34am
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Kalahari-hunter wrote on Oct 5th, 2016 at 11:33am:
Thank you footsore, how can you judge how old broadleaf that has been stripped of their leaves are? I found a nice bit the other day that was not fresh as in still wet but was still green if that makes sense. No deer tracks in the area though due to the hard rain the day or 2 before i geuss.


Hi K-H, I'm afraid my own knowledge is not that refined.
I'm reading your comment as you have found a bush with torn off twigs that the sap is no no longer running from and it's end has dried out. Really [like it seams you've done] I would be looking for prints or pellets that are easier to age than browse sign.
You talk about recent rain - if the storm was enough to collapse branches off the tree or result in leaf drop you might be able to judge how recently the deer have been around by what leaf fall remains under the trees or if the broken branches are stripped or not. This time of year deer are really hungry and will soon deal to any windfall if they are in the area.
Actually this time of year start looking for sign on clearings and river flats as the grass growth is about to begin in the hills.
« Last Edit: Oct 8th, 2016 at 4:02pm by footsore »  
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Re: Deer Sign - Browse
Reply #4 - Mar 6th, 2017 at 1:17pm
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Older post I know, but thanks for this info @footsore. I'm going over all the tidbits I can find trying to make sense of where the deer were at on the last trip I did Smiley
  

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footsore
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Re: Deer Sign - Browse
Reply #5 - Mar 7th, 2017 at 8:03am
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sticknstring wrote on Mar 6th, 2017 at 1:17pm:
Older post I know, but thanks for this info @footsore. I'm going over all the tidbits I can find trying to make sense of where the deer were at on the last trip I did Smiley


Hey your welcome SnS, I hope it proves of use. I've got another couple of 'deer sign' posts in this section too [tracks and sh*t] which might help.
Check out Simon Gibson's post 'Finding new Red deer Areas' -great info there [and his hunting credentials are a lot more impressive than mine]. Best of luck for your next trip.
  
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