Deer tracking Basics

The hardest task is locating...

The hardest task is locating and tracking deer. You can track a deer to hunt or simply just to watch them in their natural habitat. If hunting, make sure you are in legal hunting grounds with a legal hunting permit.

 

To find a deer, you must understand how it sees things. A deer’s vision is limited to short wavelength colors and is unfocused due to peripheral vision. Thus, not wearing camo and just wearing dull colors can be enough to break up the silhouette of the human body. The science behind not requiring camo is very strong, however, camo is still recommended since the random patterns do help keep you concealed. Further, posture, like keeping your arms close to the body, can easily be translated in a deer’s eyes as a tree or stump. Deer see in peripheral vision to scan the landscape for any movement that might trigger danger, so be careful with any sharp sudden movements. In many areas, wearing hunter orange or blaze orange is also a requirement.

 

It’s alright to make some noise when stalking. Noise is everywhere in forests and wooded areas and it does not alarm the animals unless it becomes loud or turns into a pattern. A running stream, for example, can help conceal your steps when stalking. Always blend your sound to the surrounding area.

 

One of a deer’s number one tools of survival is its nose. Unlike vision or sound, concealing your smell is more important when tracking a deer. With approximately 297,000,000 nose receptors, a whitetail deer’s smell is considered to be one of the most powerful in the whole animal kingdom. When tracking a deer, always be aware of wind direction.  Your scent might travel and always practice scent control.

 

When tracking, look for scratching in the ground and tracks. Deer huffs are unique and can point you in the right direction. Big buck tracks are even more distinctive. Bucks that weigh over 200 pounds, will have a wider print since their hooves spread-out when walking. However, don’t confuse spread out footprints with a big buck. All running deer have a spread-out hoof, so really look at the print and see how far apart each step is. If you see a moss-covered log, look, a deer might have clipped some moss over during a jump and can give you a sense of direction towards a deer’s movement. As well as tracks, deer crossing street signs, as basic as this can be, are put there for a reason, and it’ll give you a clue to where they are. Further, deer prefer covered areas to bed in. Monitor areas where the sun is prevalent like southward facing slopes, deer enjoy keeping warm in the sunlight. Ultimately choosing an area is about doing your research and talking to locals to see where your chances are better. Most importantly, remember to always be careful, you’re out in the wild so be attentive to any possibility of danger.

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