Deer habits?

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DeanoZ
 
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Deer habits?

Postby DeanoZ » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:16 am

Hi all, I'm relatively new to hunting and I guess to be successful you really need to understand Deer and their habitat.  One thing I would really appreciate is some clarity on the moving patterns of deer in the morning, day and evening.  Where are they or better still what are they doing during these specific periods?  I know they eat, drink, bed, and mate, but where for instance is a typical bedding area..what makes for a good feeding area?  Someone once told me to look for a water source and then figure out the food source and bedding area and thats where you set your stand.  Sounds pretty straight forward and the water source can easily be identified, but its the feeding and bedding source that I'm at a loss for and the time of day they move back and forth between these areas. I know this is probably deer hunting 101 for most of you but I'm a newbie.  Thank you in advance for your help!

hunter480
 
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RE: Deer habits?

Postby hunter480 » Thu Oct 09, 2008 11:34 am

You`ll gain a wealth of knowledge here, and I`m interested to read what everyone else has to contribute, because no doubt, I`ll learn something too.
 
My contribution is this: there are no cookie-cutter answers. So much depends on the terrain you hunt, the weather for that season, food sources available, pressue, whether hunting or otherwise, and the list goes on.
 
You mention bedding areas, but don`t be fooled. Deer may certainly have a tendency to favor a certain area for bedding with some regularity, but they can, and do, bed anywhere. They tend to prefer tall grassy fields, but will also bed in tangles of blown over timber in a ravine, or even in a brushy fence-row. I`ve found fresh beds in the narrow area between a county woodlot and the first row of standing corn in an unpicked corn field, so where they bed will vary, likey from day to day.
 
Food sources are tough-everyone can obviously see that they feed in crop fields, but they also browse on natural forage that may lie in the woods, or more likely, at the edges where different types of habitat meet. These edge areas are killer, and should always be noted, as deer are creatures of edges. They may eat maple leaves in the woods, they may browse on lush green growth in the swales, they certainly will hit the oaks when they drop, but for sure, when the weather get`s tough, they`ll need the carbs from the crops left in the fields after picking.
 
Likely, the easist way to determine where they`re moving and why, is to investigate the heavily used deer runs in the woods you have access to. Runs are used either going to feed, or going to bed, outside of the rut, there isn`t much else going on in a white-tails world. At least not where man is the only, or primary predator. walk these runs, and it shouldn`t take too long to determine whether they`re going to food or to bedding areas.
 
You also may want to get some Topo maps and aerial photo`s of the area. Between the two, you can determine funnels, saddles, swales and other key areas that deer will likely use in some fashion during travel.
 
It`s a long-term learning, getting to know deer hunting in a given area. Many, if not most things you learn will transfer to any area, while a few may be very select to that given spot.
 
Good luck, have fun, and best wishes for your season.
 
 

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: Deer habits?

Postby Woods Walker » Thu Oct 09, 2008 11:43 am

There is no easy answer for this, as all areas are different, and moisture requirements also vary quite a bit from region to region depending on the available moisture in the ground, or puddles, or even the plants themselves.
 
I will say this.....at the minimum try and find where trails lead in and out of heavy cover. If this cover also is in a gulley, hump, or some other type of terrain feature, then so much the better. Also try and find where heavy bedding type cover is either in a lee slope, or for colder weather, one that faces SOUTH.
 
Deer are very much like us, in that if given a choice, they will want to stay warm in colder weather, and out of the wind for the same reason. For us it's a matter of comfort, for them, it's SURVIVAL.
 
Where I hunt, there's a gulley that runs into a crop field. The gully connects to a big woods, and it runs east to west, with the east edge of the gulley point ending in the middle of the crop field. As the gulley heads west towards the woods, it widens out to about 100 yards or so across. It is timbered in the middle. The deer like to bed on a bench on the north edge of the gulley, because then they can see directly south across the gulley into the edge of the field, and the prevailing wind there blows from the northwest, so when they are bedded there they can smell any danger that might be coming from their blind side.
 
To sum up, I will quote my best hunting buddy and lifelong friend in reference to where to find deer,
 
"They ARE, where their AT, when they're THERE !!!!  [:)]
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
NRA Endowment Life Member

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JPH
 
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RE: Deer habits?

Postby JPH » Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:09 pm

Well as has already been stated, there are no steadfast rules. They manage to suprise even the most seasoned hunter. But there are a few basic "truths" that you can use to base your strategy on.
 
Deer like to bed in thick cover that offers multiple escape routes. They also like to bed in areas where they can detect danger at a distance. CRP grass, cedar goves, and brush piles are good examples.
 
Deer like variety in their diet. White oak acorns are possibly their favorite food, but ag. crops are always good too. In heavy forest, deer often feed the regrowth of clearcuts.
 
As a general "rule" deer will visit these feeding areas during low light. Sunrise and sunset. In the morning, you can expect them to move from feed to bed and in the evening you can expect them to move from bed to feed. As the rut kicks in (early-mid November) you can expect more daytime movement and more erratic patterns. 
 
I suggest locating several ambush points between bed and feed. If there is water and escape cover nearby, all the better. From the above info, you should be able to "predict" movement. Choose a spot that will allow the deer to approach from the upwind side.
 
Sit as still and as long as you can. Become an expert withj your chosen wepon and always wait for high-percentage killing shots.
 
So that's my deer hunting 101. Good luck!

Panman1949
 
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RE: Deer habits?

Postby Panman1949 » Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:02 pm

DeanoZ- keep asking questions of the people on this forum.  They are knowledgable and helpful.  Good luck, Panman
Be Aware, Bikes are Everywhere!!

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JOEL
 
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RE: Deer habits?

Postby JOEL » Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:14 pm

we need more info to give a good answer .where do you live?whats the terrain like?whats the primary food source?deer herd?
"Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person." - Fred Bear

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JPH
 
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RE: Deer habits?

Postby JPH » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:01 am

ORIGINAL: JPH

Well as has already been stated, there are no steadfast rules. They manage to suprise even the most seasoned hunter. But there are a few basic "truths" that you can use to base your strategy on.

Deer like to bed in thick cover that offers multiple escape routes. They also like to bed in areas where they can detect danger at a distance. CRP grass, cedar goves, and brush piles are good examples.

Deer like variety in their diet. White oak acorns are possibly their favorite food, but ag. crops are always good too. In heavy forest, deer often feed the regrowth of clearcuts.

As a general "rule" deer will visit these feeding areas during low light. Sunrise and sunset. In the morning, you can expect them to move from feed to bed and in the evening you can expect them to move from bed to feed. As the rut kicks in (early-mid November) you can expect more daytime movement and more erratic patterns. 

I suggest locating several ambush points between bed and feed. If there is water and escape cover nearby, all the better. From the above info, you should be able to "predict" movement. Choose a spot that will allow the deer to approach from the upwind side.

Sit as still and as long as you can. Become an expert withj your chosen wepon and always wait for high-percentage killing shots.

So that's my deer hunting 101. Good luck!

 
I know it's silly to quote my own post, but I forgot one thing.
 
If you accept the above statements, you will have immediatley learned what took me ten years of "self-taught" deer hunting to figure out.

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djohns13
 
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RE: Deer habits?

Postby djohns13 » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:00 am

Great questions but as others have posted, hard and fast rules don't apply.  I have found that deer have more personality and individuality than most of us give them credit for.  That could explain why they all don't follow perfect patterns, why they don't show up at the "preferred" food source at the "appropriate" time, etc.
 
Good luck and you're doing well by taking advantage of the collective knowledge on this site.  If in doubt, just remember that nobody ever took a deer while at home watching TV.  Get out as much as you can, and don't feel bad when you are confused or frustrated.  It happens to all of us.
 
Good shooting.
Darren Johnson
Internet Pro Staff Member - Indiana


Glad to talk to all of you, but I'd rather be sitting in a tree stand on a cool morning trying not to move so that the bruiser buck directly below me doesn't figure out that I am watching him!

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: Deer habits?

Postby Woods Walker » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:09 am

.....nobody ever took a deer while at home watching TV.

 
"Took it"? Where'd they take it to, a movie?  Or I sure hope you don't mean "take" in the Biblical sense!!!!  [:D]
 
I prefer to simply KILL mine. It's much easier that way.....[:)]
 
 
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
NRA Endowment Life Member

Squirrelhawker
 
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RE: Deer habits?

Postby Squirrelhawker » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:57 am

You're getting really good advice here and hanging here will seriously shorten and accelerate your learning curve.
 
I will add these nuggets of wisdom [8D] :
 
Always err on the side of giving them ( deer) too much credit rather than not enough.
 
Start paying attention to the wind.
 
Keep your hunting clothes as clean and odor free as possible.
 
The longer you can sit in a good spot, the better your chances will be.
 
Deer can be quite active in weather conditions that can make grown men cry.
 
 
 
 

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