"Buck" Track

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"Buck" Track

Postby RyanCGrover47 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:50 pm

Now I'm not claiming to be an expert on deer tracks, because by no means am I. However a few days ago I was scouting some land with a buddy of mine and we came across a track that he referred to as a "buck track". What made this track any different than any other? The dew claws were visible in the mud.(dew claws are the smaller hoof-looking things located about where the deer's ankle would be). I hate to rain on his parade, but any deer(unless it has a genetic deformity) can make that track, given that the soil is deep enough. So my question is: How do I tell my friend? He was entirely convinced that it was a buck track based solely on the presence of the dew claws. I hate to tell my friend he's wrong, but he is. So how do I tell my friend this without upsetting him and/or sounding like a know-it-all?

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Woods Walker
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Re: "Buck" Track

Postby Woods Walker » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:30 pm

Ask him specific questions where eventually he will figure out himself that he's wrong. Whether he admits it or not depends on how mature he is.

You might start with...

Really? So bucks are the only sex of deer that have dew claws? I didn't know that!

If he say that they are, then the next time you (or he) kills a doe, and you point out the dew claws then ask him if this one is a mutation. Hopefully it won't get to that.

If he says that they both have them, then ask him why it's only evident in a buck track. Soem believe that it's because bucks are bigger, but what about a 3+ year old doe? Here in Illinois we see many does that are in the 160 to 200 pound range. Or what about a 1 1/2 year old buck who DOESN'T leave a dew claw track and a big, old doe that does?

Fact is, although one can make an educated guess based on size, location, and track pattern about what sex of deer made it, the only true way to tell is to either see the deer standing in the track or to see in the deer's bed if there is a urine mark (many bedded animals will urinate after getting up if they've been down a while and not spooked). If it's in the middle of the bed it's a buck, and if it's on the edge or outside of the bed it's a doe. You really need snow for this to see where the tracks are in relation to the urine mark and the bed.
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Re: "Buck" Track

Postby Bowriter » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:23 am

There is only one way to tell a buck track for sure. See the sob standing in it.

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Re: "Buck" Track

Postby shaman » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:43 am

There are a few ways you can deduce the likelihood of it being a buck. None of this is 100% accurate, mind you.

First off, you can deduce the centerline of the animal.-- the longitudinal axis of the beast. The tracks of a skinny doe will be close to the centerline. A big fat buck will have tracks that are farther away from the centerline. Secondly, you can determine the length of the animal by measuring the gait of the animal. A small deer will have a short gait. Some of that has to do with how fast the deer was moving of course. Another clue, although not hard and fast, is that a buck tends to leave the rear print very close or directly in the same-side fore-hoof print. Doe's hind prints will be a little further back. Lastly, you can look at the condition of the hoof. An old deer will have rough, irregular hooves. Also, a buck will have generally wider hooves than a doe. I've heard the thing about dewclaws only showing on big bucks. It is a possible indicator of weight more than anything. A bigger animal or a fast-moving animal has to flex its ankle more to absorb the impact with the ground. Dainty little does generally don't let their dew claws drop that far down.

If you are astute at scouting and sight a big old buck, you can usually find a print that matches what you've seen if you look hard enough. That's guess work, and the farther you go down the bunny hole, the more guesswork it becomes.
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Re: "Buck" Track

Postby RyanCGrover47 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:16 pm

@Woods Walker- thank you, very helpful.

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charlie 01
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Re: "Buck" Track

Postby charlie 01 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:06 pm

Most mature and older bucks have rounded front toes, due to makeing ground scrapes, and does have longer pointed toes. See for yourself, next time you or someone you know shoots a mature buck, take a look at his front toes.
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