Dramatic Browse Line in Upper Michigan

An untrained eye’s first glance at the following photo might elicit a response
of, “Huh, that’s cool.” To a trained eye, however, the image is a stark reminder of
a bad situation for both deer and their habitat.

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You will be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic example of a deer browse line than
the one shown in the following photo. Turkey & Turkey Hunting Editor Jim Schlender
snapped this photo while chasing gobblers in Upper Michigan this past weekend. The
image not only underscores the reason why Northern cedar stands are on the brink of
extinction, it serves as an indication of deer overabundance. Overpopulated Northern
deer herds simply will not allow cedar regeneration, especially white cedar. Browse
lines become this prominent over time when deer do not have access to other quality
foods in winter, or they are drawn to an area where heavy baiting and feeding is prevalent.
Although cedar is not a quality deer food, whitetails obliterate it because provides
a lot of roughage.

Dan Schmidt, Editor

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