Deer Hunting Tips

Deer Hunting Bedding and Movement Patterns

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Finding Deer Beds and Identifying Movement Patterns - A Summary

Deer will bed down for the day in areas that meet the following conditions:

  • There should be good cover and the deer should be able to detect any danger. Some high grass or thick cover will provide concealment. Often, deer will bed on hillsides where the hill shelters their back side and they can watch below.
  • There should be a good supply of food and water fairly close.
  • The deer should feel secure. Even if there is great cover, if there are regular intruders, the deer will find a new bedding location.

To find deer bedding areas, your best bet is to look for the well-used trails when you are scouting. Note, that such scouting around bedding areas is best done at the end of the season so that deer have as much time as possible to return to their normal bedding habits.

Deer will be seen moving (by hunters) mostly during early morning or just before dark on a typical fair sunny day - see this study. If it is lightly raining, however, deer will often move throughout the day and excessive wind can curtail movement.. Also, a lot of hunting pressure can cause the deer to restrict their movement to night time only. As described in the article by T. R. Michels, deer will move from their daytime bed to feeding areas typically in late afternoon and then stay in the feeding area overnight and briefly bed in the feeding area throughout the night, returning to their secure daytime bedding area in the mid morning. Michels points out that if you happen to set up hunting in early morning in that feeding area, you will probably push the deer out.

In summary, one would ideally want to identify travel routes from feeding areas to bedding areas and then set up on these trails for both morning and evening hunts. If you know of a bedding area, you should only get close to it when the wind is not blowing your scent toward it.

Deer Hunting

Understanding Deer Movement - This author discusses how deer move, night and day and how to hunt them without spooking them. Great article! Where Do Deer Bed Down? - Some hunters on a forum discuss where deer will bed down and associated factors. Why Deer Go Nocturnal - Discusses why some deer go noctural. Also, discusses times of peak activity for deer.
Deer Movement Patterns - Seven years of research is discussed on this forum. Data charts available too but you have to join the forum. Great Info! How To Create Bedding Areas - This video shows how you can create your own areas that deer will bed down in. Probably want to work with your DNR on doing the burn!

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Hope this page helps you find deer bedding areas!


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