Deer Beds

MNFISH

A good 3 year old buck
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sandbur

5 year old buck +
I like to look at these things after the season, also.

The 13 plus inches of snow put our deer in a winter pattern for about 10 days. What you see may not reflect the typical late Nov. period if your snow was as deep as mine. Deer seemed to move to conifers and corn.
 

tooln

5 year old buck +
Most of the snow we had is gone due to the rain.
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
Deer CAN reuse a bed, but aren't tied to it. During the rut, bucks will bed ANYWHERE they can be near does that smell " close - or ready ". I've seen beds that I'm sure were buck beds due to their size, smell ( eye-watering tarsal scent ), amount and size of turds of varying age, and location. I also look for the location of urine in the bed. That'll tell you whether the deer using the bed was a buck or doe as well. The fact that they were solitary, with no other beds anywhere near, and had a roaming, non-stop kind of track going into the bed ( snow evidence )pretty much sealed the deal as a buck bed in those instances.

I agree with Bur on the after-season scouting plan. A LOT can be learned on snow ( if any ) and just by slowly prowling around after hunting pressure is gone.
 

phil@thesidehill

5 year old buck +
I've always contended that going shed hunting is the best way to scout. Late winter/early spring the woods look about the same as they did after leaf drop in the fall. The previous fall/winter's sign is still very apparent...rubs, scrapes, beds, trails, scat are all preserved by the snow blanket. I LOVE to shed hunt....so i usually start shed hunting in mid to late January (once our final deer season has ended). I usually don't hit the timber until the very end of feburary or beginning of march so as not to pressure deer when the snow is still pretty deep....early on i stick to the food sources and some staging areas. As march wears on I will start cruising travel corridors and into some bedding areas. There usually is still some snow on the ground when i first start to hit bedding areas and you can learn alot with snow on the ground. Trails and beds become very easy to spot and makes "connecting" the dots much easier.

Deer CAN reuse a bed, but aren't tied to it. During the rut, bucks will bed ANYWHERE they can be near does that smell " close - or ready ". I've seen beds that I'm sure were buck beds due to their size, smell ( eye-watering tarsal scent ), amount and size of turds of varying age, and location. I also look for the location of urine in the bed. That'll tell you whether the deer using the bed was a buck or doe as well. The fact that they were solitary, with no other beds anywhere near, and had a roaming, non-stop kind of track going into the bed ( snow evidence )pretty much sealed the deal as a buck bed in those instances.

I agree with Bur on the after-season scouting plan. A LOT can be learned on snow ( if any ) and just by slowly prowling around after hunting pressure is gone.

i agree with BnB that you can learn alot by carefully observing beds. Also pay attention to your nose....just yesterday i went on a little scouting mission with my buddy to check out a small piece of state land that borders his property. We found a very large and thick swamp along the creek just below his property line. As we swung out around the side of the swamp....it hit me...i instantly smelled rutty buck in the air. I told my buddy that we were going to walk up on a bed very soon because i could smell it. 15 yds in front of us we found a freshly urinated in scrape and then about 10 yds beyond that we found a single, large fresh bed. The bed stunk to high hell.
 

j-bird

Moderator
I don't focus on the specific bed - I am concerned about identifying a bedding area. I try to identify the "why" aspect of it. I then use that info to guide my hunting the next year. What I have seen is that deer in general prefer some height/visual advantage in one direction with some sort of shielding cover in the other. Bucks tend to bed in a solitary manner and does seem to bed in clusters. I have seen both bed in tall grass as well as hardwoods - they all relate to a change in elevation in my case. Does seem to want to bed close to food while bucks prefer more solitude. Do they reuse the beds - I don't know - I like to wait until after season is closed as well and also look for rubs, scrapes and also note how all these pieces of the puzzle relate to each other.
 
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dipper

Guest
Deer reuse beds. big bed=big deer, small bed=small deer and there are deer bedding on your property. So that means your habitat work is working. Don't over analyze it.
Over analyzing is deer whisperer garbage. Hell, he'll tell you is its a buck or not.
 
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dipper

Guest
^^^^^:D Buck or not buck I'm just glad its deer. 10 years ago, I had a hell of a time finding any beds
Gotta feel good about that. That's all that matters man!! Good job
 
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j-bird

Moderator
Only way to be 100% certain is to see the deer in the bed - in some cases I have had a chance to do just that. I will say I have seen young bucks on be as particular as older bucks. Another sign to a buck bedding area is lots of rubs - I mean clusters of them in my experience.
 

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
Though I agree with Dipper to a certain extent, I also disagree. It's like nearly everything hunting related. You play the odds. If it's 1-2 large beds, just down a point, has handful of rubs, big tracks and large scat, I'm going to bet buck bed. If there's a bunch of varying sized beds in a cluster, I'm going to bet family group. Am I right every time? Nope, but I'll put $10 on it every time and I bet I make some pretty good $ in the long run.
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
I have to agree with you Phil, about being able to smell that " buck / tarsal scent. " I've had some people call me crazy when I said I smelled deer while sneak - hunting. Until the deer showed itself. A good friend of mine also can smell them. While sneak - hunting together, he pointed to his nose, indicating he could smell a buck. ( The breeze was in to us ).
A couple minutes later, he pulled up and shot a buck that was about 50 - 60 yds. away thru some thick stuff. That smell has given me a heads-up to be ready to shoot on more than one occasion. Not all " scentings " are deer. Sometimes they are beds like you describe.

I also agree with Steve B. I look at the evidence the deer gives me. Solitary beds, large in size, big droppings & tracks, rubs, in a location that's TYPICALLY elevated ( I believe for vision and detection of thermals coming up a hill or slope ) tell me the odds are good it's a buck bed. Guarantee? No. But like Steve B. I'd be making that $10 bet.
 
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