My question is basically do the deer that inhabit the Tug migrate off most winters or do some of them stay up there and guts it out during the average winter? The reason I ask is that the general cover, swamps, thick spruce and pine all seem like pretty good deer habitat. In some areas there's winter wheat or rye...but not much corn mostly it seems and no beans. They do what I would call "fair" on the deer hunting at that camp some years. A few nice bucks over the years but the snow usually comes early , gets deep quick of course and stays. hell, there was fresh skiff up there today when we went through around 11:30 AM/
So, what't the scoop as far as wintering deer on the Tug? if they do walk off, are there any areas of the Tug where this (movement or migration off) is prevalent?
Not the last two winters - however.
BTW - the deer herd should be in great shape this year. Our deer never left our property.
Winter can be real hard on the deer there but I don't think they migrate a lot.
They tend to yard up in the hemlock swamps and any creek bottoms especially if they are near any apple trees.
You can drive in these areas during the early spring when the snow is still deep in the woods and the fields on the hills are showing bare spots and see hundreds of deer feeding to gain some weight back.
This past winter was unusually warmer and drier than what is the rule so as Pat said, the herd should be in great shape.
The locals up there will shoot any buck they see during the rifle season so unless you own a big block of land, post it AND patrol it, you will have a problem consistently seeing big bucks. But I have seen some monsters taken.
I thought that the deer there would migrate a distance South to better areas, but that does not seem to be the case. I hunt in the Arietta area and our deer migrate about 10 - 15 miles to yarding areas. In these yards, DEC has tagged animals and found some that have come from as far as 35 miles away!
While not knowing for sure, my impression is that the Tug Hill deer stick it out. Not the best idea in many winters!