Deer leave sign that is crucial to patterning their movements. I am amazed how many “hunters” have no clue how to track or read sign.
Many hunters select a stand site that actually reduces any chance for success. Choices are made due to convienece or because there is the perfect tree.
The sign you need to see includes tracks, rubs, browse, disturbed leaves and scrapes. Last years sign is also important when scouting and area.
Certain areas draw deer when certain foods are in season. The rut presents other factors to examine. Hunt an area with fresh sign. If the crop is gone, don’t waste your time. It would be like trying to pick up a girl after the bars are closed.
Certain topography and development can funnel deer into tight areas. A deer only needs 3 acres to live a long life. Locate these choke points and you will find success.
Look for sign along edges and transition zones. These areas that go from thick to thin are perfect highways to hunt.
Fence crossings are also great spots. Look for hair on the barbwire. You can also create a fence crossing by compressing the to two wires. Deer are lazy and will travel the easiest paths.
Always consider the wind. Position your stands based on weather conditions. You always want to be downwind. This means some stands are only huntable during certain conditions.
When looking for trophy deer, look for trophy sign. Larger tracks, scat, old and high rubs are good clues. Sheds never lie. Huge scrape sights are visible yearround.
Remember that Big Bucks get Big by being in thicker and more unique places where they tend to be less disturbed.
Movement of these Big deer is often nocturnal. Pattern the timeframe that deer are using an area. This is when a trail camers or threads tied across deer trails will help you find the magic times.
Consider the weather when planning a hunt. If the barometer is dropping, the deer tend to be feeding more. I prefer hunting with less moonlight as well. With bright moons, deer tend to be more comfortable at night.
There are so many great videos and hunting mentors available today . Take advantage of friendships and support from other successful hunters. We only have so many hunts in our lifetime, so get into the woods and hunt.
(Written by Montana Grant; Photo: Montana Grant)