At the Ranch – Whitetail: How To Read Deer Sign

When it comes to scouting, the fundamentals of reading deer sign is often times not talked about. The first thing when it comes to reading deer sign that I think is key is simply understanding deer trails. I look for areas that deer trails intersect because if you come back to hunt that area in the fall, your odds become much better setup over trails that intersect rather than one trail. The next thing I want to talk about is scrapes.

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Scrapes are easily identifiable in the spring with an open area pawed on the ground. Scrapes almost all of the time have a licking branch above the pawed area, which is where deer communicate with their orbital glands. Scrapes are great areas to mark to hunt over the following fall or to run trail cameras on. Another piece of sign to be looking for are rubs. What is many times mistaken with rubs is people thing rubs on big trees means a big buck made it. What I pay closer attention to though is how tall the rubs are. Tall rubs do typically mean a bigger buck made that rub. Lastly, and the most difficult to read is understanding how to read bedding. Beds are matted down areas, and will often have poop, hair or deer tracks in them. All of these deer signs are important and knowing what to look for and how to read them will help you.

deer sign

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