Video: How to Scout Deer Sign

Say good-bye to the summer doldrums by exploring deer habitat to learn their habits ... and to find a great stand location!

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posted on July 9, 2024

Summertime is perfect for hunting ... for a good stand location, that is! It's a terrific way to spend time in the outdoors with your family, enjoying the summer weather, while setting yourself up for autumn deer-hunting success. Thing is, if you've never done it before, you may not know what to look for, or why. That's where this terrific video from the National Deer Association comes in. 

If you're a new hunter, the first thing to understand is what ideal deer habitat looks like. That doesn't necessarily mean deep, thick forests (although it might sometimes). In fact, a winning strategy is to look for "edge" territory--meaning a place where one kind of vegetation and landscape shifts to another. You'll also want to learn the types of foods that wild whitetails like best, from "soft mast" to "hard mast," as well as what an ideal bedding area offers a whitetail.

You'll also need to understand the sometimes-subtle visual cues that bucks leave behind. Male deer do a few different things to mark their territories and challenge other bucks, including "rubbing" and "scraping." These behaviors leave distinctive marks on the ground and trees, but most new hunters need to learn how to identify them. Of course, one "deer sign" to look for is their ordure, which also has a distinctive appearance. (Our best description is "Raisinets.")

If you're taking your kids with you (and we hope you are!), know that children are terrific trackers. Their visual acuity and proximity to the ground, as well as their natural ability to identify things that are "out of place," can really enhance your scouting. What's more, they absolutely love being able to "stump" and amaze adults. Even if they're a bit too young to hunt, there's really no minimum age for learning about the wilderness. 

Not a video person? The National Deer Association offers an online "Deer Hunting 101" course for $29!

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