John's Journal...

How to Detect Deer Movement

Day 3: Learning about Deer Movement During the Season

Click for Larger ViewAfter deer have felt hunting pressure, their movement patterns change, which often will occur after the second week of bow season, if considerable pressure has been put on the animals from other hunters. Because the deer realize they're having hunter encounters during daylight hours, they'll begin to feed after dark and stay away from their food sources until night. Therefore tree stands and ground blinds will have to be moved from the food source to another place if you want to consistently bag deer. But to know where to move your tree stand to, additional scouting is required. One of the signs that indicates a hunter should begin to scout for a new place to put his treestand is when he sees deer entering the field from several different directions. He may find that when he moves his stand to set up an ambush, the deer still won't consistently come out in the same place every day. He also may notice that he doesn’t see as many deer move into the field during daylight hours. But after a rain, he observes just as many tracks in the field as he has at the first of the season.

Click for Larger ViewTo put your stand in a more productive area, the most-effective technique is to back that stand up to a point in the woods the deer are coming into prior to entering the field after dark. To locate this region, I scout on the days when the weather or wind conditions are not right for hunting. Common sense is your best tool to find that staging area after the deer have quit showing-up in the field. The most-reliable signs for locating deer are finding places in the woods where the deer's feet hit the ground regularly. So. go to the trail where you've hunted effectively during the early season, and follow the trail away from the food source into the woods. I have gotten down on my hands and knees before to track deer further back into the woods away from a primary food source 2 to 3 weeks after bow season has begun.Using this tracking method may not help you understand the total deer-movement pattern. However, you will have a better picture of what the deer are doing and will know where you should place your treestand than you will have had by sitting on the edge of the field waiting for the deer to show-up.

Click for Larger ViewYou may backtrack one deer 100 yards and find an area where two or three trails cross. Or, you may continue to follow a trail and locate the edge of a slough where 40 deer walk-down that slough edge regularly. By following one deer trail away from the food source, more than likely you will find an area where many of the deer that are using that field as a food source will concentrate prior to entering their feeding ground. Once you discover a place like this, you will see many tracks going in both directions. That's where you want to set up your stand for the next week or two of bow season or for the first day or two of gun season. However, instead of relying totally on one of these staging regions away from the field, the consistent hunter will follow four or five trails out of the field going in different directions which will lead him to four or five various staging areas. In each one of these staging areas, he will locate a tree for his tree stand. If he is a bowhunter, he will cut shooting lanes in four directions from the tree where he plans to place his stand. Also with his compass, he will determine what direction his tree stand will be facing so he will know which way the wind must be blowing from to be able to hunt out of that stand. Click for Larger ViewIf his tree stand faces to the north, then the best time for him to hunt out of that stand to keep his scent from being carried into his hunting area will be when he has a prevailing north, northwest or northeast wind. Using this system of patterning deer, the hunter will have at least one tree stand he can hunt in the deer's staging area - no matter what the wind condition is.

After the sportsman has taken his deer from one of these regions or has shot-at and missed the deer in these staging areas, the deer begin to learn they are in danger when they enter these staging zones. They will start showing up in lesser numbers and finally not at all during the daylight hours. Then the deer will wait until later in the evening to enter the field or come out earlier in the morning, which makes successful deer hunting harder. When you begin to backtrack the deer even further from the staging area, the trailing becomes more difficult, because more leaves are on the ground and following the deer trails becomes more difficult.

Tomorrow: Scouting for Deer Movement at the End of the Season

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Detect Deer Movement "

Day 1: Understanding Deer
Day 2: Learning Deer Movement Before the Season Starts
Day 3: Learning about Deer Movement During the Season
Day 4: Scouting for Deer Movement at the End of the Season
Day 5: Pay Strict Attention to Detail to Bag an End-of-Season Buck


Entry 590, Day 3