The weather is cooling off and that time of year that so many people look forward to is just around the corner. If you have just about everything you need to go deer hunting but just need to find a good spot to sit on the ground or to set up your deer stand at, a little scouting the woods you are hunting will eventually reveal to you exactly how the deer are moving. In most areas where deer are plentiful and you have a descent sized patch of woods to hunt in, there will more than likely be deer moving in that area, especially if there is a good food source around and they also tend to travel more during the rut, especially bucks. They’ll travel within an eight mile radius sometimes looking to breed.
Deer are low light animals, so they like to feed at night. With this in mind, head out into the woods and see if you can find any food sources. Deer like acorns, persimmons, milo and corn, soy beans, clovers and greens, among other things. If you’re hunting near a field of crops that deer like or have found feeding areas directly in the woods, all you need to do is find out they’re traveling patterns. They will generally wake up in the evening, eat and breed, and then go to bed. This, however, does not mean you’re not going to see them during the day.
Next, try and find out where they are going to bed down at in the mornings. Scope out the area for any signs of deer, such as deer droppings, scrapes and rubs from bucks, or paths and bedded down areas. This is how they reveal their daily patterns. If it’s legal in your state, you may want to set some food out in the woods such as corn and place it in different areas, thereby seeing what area gets hit the hardest. Once you get an idea of where they are bedding at in the morning and going to feed at in the evenings, set up your stand or find a good place to sit at in between the two. Hunting directly around feeding or bedding areas may spook the deer because they will be extremely cautious in these areas, so find a spot somewhere in between that seems like it’s not strictly used during the late night hours. This is where you will see most of the traveling, whether you’re hunting during the pre-rut, the rut, or the post rut. During the former two the deer aren’t as skittish as they are in the post rut because of course by then they’ve heard and seen hunters coming in and out of the woods and shooting at them. This is why it is almost crucial in the post-rut to actually look for specific paths in the woods that the deer will be sticking to for traveling. The does will be traveling along these routes more so in the pre-rut and the rut than the bucks will be, as the bucks will be traveling off course in search of different does.
Most of the time deer will rely on the thicker areas of the woods to travel in, so it may be a good idea, although possibly uncomfortable, to find those brier patches and areas where it may be hard to walk through because of so many saplings and small trees. Look on the ground for deer droppings, which will look like giant rabbit droppings. If you see the lower part of a tree scraped up or an area of the ground that is bare, there could be a buck in the area. Deer will leave unmistakable hoof prints in the soft ground as well.