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Tracks and Trails are the most easily identified since they are available year round. The first thing you want to do is to identify where the tracks are going. Are the tracks heading into heavy cover? Are they heading to a feeding area?

Understanding questions like these will help you put some more racks on the wall. Deer use a separate trail leading to and from each bedding and feeding area. I have found a heavily used trail heading out of a bedding area to a feeding area. This would be a great place to a stand if you want to see lots of deer. This may not be the best place to see your big buck. Big Buck tend to have their own separate trail. If you hunt for a big buck look for a less beaten down trail but with the larger tracks. Deer usually have more than one trail heading to their feeding and bedding areas.

Studying the tracks and knowing where they are heading and why, will increase your odds of taking a buck.


The best place to hunt bedding and feeding areas is between the two. First identify the feeding area. What your looking for is lots of droppings, heavily used trails, and food sources. These food sources could include acorns, small saplings, beech nuts, apples, etc.. NOTE: Food sources will change throughout the course of the Hunting Season.

Next identify the bedding area. When looking for bedding areas not only look for bedding depressions but for dropping and rubs.

REMEMBER: Deer can and do bed down just about anywhere, as long as they feel safe.

DROPPINGS: The difference between buck and doe dropping is that buck droppings tend to clump together. While doe droppings are each separate.



Scrapes are a good indicator that a buck is in the area. scrapes, like rubs, also can be used as an indicator of the size of the buck. Generally bigger scrapes bean bigger buck.

Scrapes are usually visited by many different bucks. If you are hunting a particular scrape and a small buck comes to it. Don't be disappointed. This doesn't mean that the small buck made the scrape and the scrape will be visited by bigger and smaller bucks.

Scrapes made in the early Bow Season are generally boundary scrapes. These scrapes probably won't be worked again.

The most important scrapes will be breeding scrapes. These will be located in the thick cover. All breeding Scrapes will have a overhanging branch above them. NOTE: On the branch above look for twigs that are broken.

John's Tip: Here's what I do to see if the buck is working the scrape I want to hunt; I get a tree branch and cover the scrape up with leaves and leave. I go back the next day. If the scrape is there again this means that the buck is working this scrape for breeding. (Do Not Use Hands or Feet to Cover Scrape because of the whole scent issue)



Rubs are without a doubt the most exciting sign, I find during my scouting.

When I see a rub my imagination runs wild. Wondering just how big this buck is! A rub will show you the approximate size of the deer's antlers and the direction he was traveling.

when you find a bunch of rubs in a small area these are definitely exciting times. Areas like these means that a buck has spent a lot of time in the area. This is a great place to start you bow hunt. Whether on the ground or in a stand.

NOTE: When looking at the buck rubs you find, take notice to each particular rub. If any of the near-by sapling or twigs, (within inches to a foot), are scratched or marked in any way this will show you that while he was rubbing the one tree he was hitting the other with the tips or ends of his antlers. This means you have a nice buck in your area. Bigger bucks rub bigger trees but also rub small ones. Little bucks almost always rub small trees.