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How To Spot White-tailed Deer?

By Ethan O. Tanner

White-tailed deer leave many identifiable signs of the presence. To find white tailed deer, look for sign. Some sign is dramatic, some more subtle. Deer tell stories with the sign they leave. By reading sign, you gain insight of their activities and can plan your hunting strategies.

Fresh scrapes can be located practically year-round, although the largest percentage of scrapes come out when breeding season commences. As the bachelor groups established in warmer summer months divide and bucks develop into solitary travelers, scraping activity grows tremendously. This takes place a couple weeks prior to first females breed.

The majority of active scrapes will probably have an overhanging branch. White-tailed bucks, nibble, chew, lick, sniff and thrash the overhanging branch above the scrape. They grasp it using their teeth and pull it down. They twist it and rake their antlers through it and rub their forehead scent glands on it. Doing this is careful and deliberate – bordering on absolute euphoria. Does that visit scrapes in addition smell and lick the overhanging branch.

Buck rubs tend to be a natural part of the communication system of deer. We identify rubs – the white scars of the forest – by sight. More often than not deer identify them through odor. A buck rubs agree using the base of his antlers, not the tines. In the act, he deposits fragrance from glands within the forehead. Usually, the bigger the tree rubbed, the bigger the buck accountable for the rub.

Deer hunters usually make use of the words runway, trail and crossing interchangeably, but they’re not totally the same. Deer trails are usually distinct and noticeable paths, or runways, in the low-lying vegetation because of recurrent use. A crossing is really a minimal place which deer will likely pass through. Within patches of thick grass or ferns, seek out body-width paths where deer have broken down foliage.

Deer excitement frequently represent the only or most important sign we have of the presence of deer. Droppings can vary considerably in shape, color and form at different points during the year. Through the winter time, when deer are nourished by browse, the pellets are hard and turn harder as the winter progresses; they are different tones of brown and about three-quarters of an inch long. In the summer, when deer nourish themselves on soft vegetation, the droppings consist of clusters of soft, green pellets that are more or less stuck together in one mass.

Deer beds are oval-shaped depressions in leaves, grass, dirt or snow where deer rested to conserve energy, or chew the cud. Deer bed down for as long as an hour and a half at a time. It is not known how much actual sleeping is done by a deer in its bed, or whether deer sleep at all. Deer sometimes will lay their heads back on a flank or hind leg, their eyelids will droop, and total alertness will be lost. For practical purposes, this can be considered sleep.

When deer run, they leave prints with their hooves and dewclaws. Dewclaws also show up in the tracks of heavy deer when walking on soft ground or snow. Generally, the more toe spread and the deeper the impression, the larger the deer.

When deer run, they leave prints with their hooves and dewclaws. Dewclaws also show up in the tracks of heavy deer when walking on soft ground or snow. Generally, the more toe spread and the deeper the impression, the larger the deer.

Can you distinguish the difference between a buck track and a doe track by shape and size of the track? Some hunters and scientists believe they can; others say the only sure way is to see the deer that made the track. If you find prints that are prominently longer and deeper than other tracks in an area, the maker could by an exceptional buck-or a very large doe.

As a buck’s supply of testosterone decreases in winter, a separation layer forms at the antlers and thy fall off. In the north, this casting of antlers occurs from mid December to late January. Farther south, some bucks retain their antlers until March or April. Latitude itself, however is not the main cause for this difference in timing.

Nutrition and general health, as well as social rank (dominance), affects testosterone levels that control antler growth and casting. A northern buck will carry his antlers as long as a southern buck, given the nutritional level of the southern deer.

Hunter and Author Ethan O. Tanner explains the different types of how to attract deer the checklist for whitetail deer to know how to locate whitedeer dwelling.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Tanner, Ethan O. "How To Spot White-tailed Deer?." How To Spot White-tailed Deer?. 22 Jun. 2010. 4 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Tanner, E (2010, June 22). How To Spot White-tailed Deer?. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Tanner, Ethan O. "How To Spot White-tailed Deer?"

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