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How to Find Deer in the Woods

Updated on September 10, 2012

Once you know where to look, it is not difficult to learn how to find deer in the woods. Deer, like other wildlife, are timid creatures that will avoid humans. However, it is possible to find and observe these animals without intruding on them.

A fawn with its characteristic white spots and reddish-brown coat.
A fawn with its characteristic white spots and reddish-brown coat. | Source

Deer Description and Range: What Do Deer Look Like and Where Do They Live

When the term “deer” is used, it generally refers to the brown, white-tailed variety that lives in wooded areas in much of North America. White-tailed deer live in southern Canada and most of the United States, except for the Hawaii, Alaska, California, Nevada, and Utah.

Deer have brown fur that can take on a gray appearance in the winter months. The white tail is actually the underside of the tail is usually only visible when a deer retreats. Female deer are called does, male deer are called bucks, and baby deer are called fawns. Does can weigh between 80 and 200 lbs while bucks can weigh between 88 and 290 lbs. Average deer shoulder height can be anywhere between 21 and 48 inches tall. Bucks can also be distinguished from does by the presence of antlers. It is unusual but not unheard of for a doe to have antlers. Fawns can be distinguished by their small size and reddish-brown fur with white spots, which will disappear as the fawn matures. Deer typically live in family groups consisting of mothers and fawns. When there are no fawns, does are typically solitary, and groups of 3-4 bucks may live together except during mating season.

Habitat: Where to Look for Deer

Deer prefer to live in woodland areas. Trees and bushes provide ideal shelter for deer. Their diet is heavily comprised of nuts, berries, mushrooms, grass, and other vegetation present in the woodland environment. Because of the threat of deforestation and urban sprawl, deer face the threat of habitat loss, and can increasingly be spotted venturing into neighborhoods to forage for food and water in yards. Because of successful conservation practices and as suitable habitat disappears, deer populations are concentrated into smaller areas, making it easier in some regions to sight the animals.

Buck with characteristic antlers.
Buck with characteristic antlers. | Source

Deer Behavior: When to Look for Deer

Deer are more active during certain times of day. Knowing when they are active is key to being able to find them in the woods. Usually deer are most active during mating season in late October to early November. Bucks are likely to travel greater distances to seek out does for breeding.

The deer diet is also a good guide in terms of best time of day to find deer in the wild. Usually, deer eat in the early morning and later afternoon or early evening. When deer are on the move foraging for food is an ideal time to see them. The scarcity of food in the winter makes it a good time to see deer as well. In order to forage for food, deer must oftentimes enter into open spaces, making them easier to be spotted.

Tips for Finding Deer in the Woods

· Wear proper shoes. Make sure you have a good hiking shoe, as trails can be rough.

· Bring binoculars to spot deer at a distance.

· NEVER feed wild deer. Feeding wild animals can bring more animals to an area than would normally be there, increasing the chance of spreading disease within that population. Human food may make them sick too.

· Deer are most active in the early morning and late afternoon/early evening.

· Keep quiet and leave your dog at home. Deer are easily spooked and loud, sudden noises, and the presence of dogs can cause them to flee.


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    • profile image

      lielna 7 months ago

      its my dream to live the same place like this,its so impressive

    • profile image

      Conspicuous 4 years ago

      Same here ,i was bike riding in Romania ,in the woods near the city and I saw 3 deers ,it was super cool

    • visionandfocus profile image

      visionandfocus 5 years ago from North York, Canada

      I live in Toronto and have seen a deer twice, both times in the summer. Several years ago, my husband and I were riding our bikes on a trail on July 1st (Canada Day, which is why I remember) and this young fawn jumped onto the trail and stared at us, then jumped back into the woods. We were completely taken by surprise and utterly charmed. Then this year, we were driving by those same woods in pretty heavy traffic and saw this deer in the distance, foraging on the outskirts of the wood. Since several years have passed, we're wondering if it's the same deer all grown up!

      Thanks for the hub and those lovely photos!