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Stalking Deer

Updated on February 23, 2013

A few tips and basic knowledge about stalking whitetail deer:

The more open an area is makes for better conditions when trying to stalk deer. The key to stalking is to be stealthy enough to spot a deer before it spots you. It pays to have looked over aerial maps and scouted the area before hunting an area, become familiar with water sources, deer travel routes, bedding areas, food sources, etc. Try to move slowly and try to spot deer from a far away enough distance to put together a plan for sneaking into shooting range.
Early mornings is your best chance because deer are usually furthest away from bedding areas, focused on feeding. Many mature bucks have become nocturnal by time deer season begins making them very hard to locate. During the light of day they’ll be found bedding where they’ll blend with the surroundings and windy for predators the direction that they can’t see. If your lucky enough to locate these bedding areas don’t pressure it, or the deer will relocate. Most deer, including trophy bucks will get up to stretch or nibble at some nearby food source, or may even just move to get comfortable. Try to position yourself out of his windy area but where you’ll be able to get a shot off when he stands up.
Deer will bed on hillsides, in bottoms, along fields but you’ll find that usually where there’s shade is where they’ll be especially early season. Even after temps begin to drop they’ll have a winter coat to keep them warm. Bucks are creatures of habits unless you pressure them, they’ll continue the same routines. Be patient you may not get but one chance all season when everything comes together, the wind is blowing prefect, maybe the rain has just washed out all scent or you happen to catch peak of the rut.
Most hunters don’t like hunting the wind but really wind helps cover noise and lowers deer defenses, you just don’t want swirling winds. A swirling wind can quickly end your hunt, instead back off some and wait for the wind to stabilize and clams or begins blowing one direction. With the wind blowing away you can slip within 10yds of a deer undetected. Again early morning wind is less likely and your scent tends to rise because of low dew points.
Deer are extremely good at picking up on moving objects, also are very familiar with objects that don’t fit the surroundings or can spot a silhouette that isn’t broken up. Deer have very good eyesight with a wide field of view. Also very good hearing so you have to move slow, stop frequently attempting to sound like other wildlife, such as squirrels or other deer. I’ve had to get on hands and knees to slip into areas without being noticed, it can be a very slow process.
Even though stalking deer can be very tasking and time consuming there’s not a much more exciting way of hunting and given the right timing it can prove to be very productive way of harvesting game.

Telltale sign of bucks bedding area

The thicket above has a number rubs leading into this bucks bedding area.
The thicket above has a number rubs leading into this bucks bedding area.

What to look for

Any time your stalking you should be scouting as well, keep an eye ahead first you want to look for an ear moving, the twitch of a tail, the reflection off an antler or any horizontal movements. As you walk use your eyes watching for droppings, tracks, signs of nibbling, they may lead you straight to a deer. Deer will nibble at mushrooms, branches, leaves, acorns, almost anything in the woods. Fresh droppings, especially if there's steam is a good indicator that deer are just ahead. Deer tracks that have fresh dirt kicked up or after a good rain or fresh snow, will help lead to the whitetails ahead. You want to look for the biggest tracks or largest dropping if your hunting mature deer.

deer droppings

Doe dropping shows that they have been feeding in this area.
Doe dropping shows that they have been feeding in this area.

Fresh deer track right after a rain

Shed shows bucks near


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    • ShootersCenter profile image

      David 5 years ago from Florida

      Twice gotten deer close enough to poke them with my rifle. It's a great method on those windy days. Thanks for reading, I always love comments from other hubbers.

    • John-Rose profile image

      John-Rose 5 years ago from USA

      I would love to stalk a deer. To me that would be mastery. I have herd that the Indians where able to get within a few yards to deer. Thumbs up.


    • lizstevens profile image

      lizstevens 5 years ago from Houston Texas

      Great Hub, thumbs up!

    • ShootersCenter profile image

      David 5 years ago from Florida

      If you've done your scouting for an area, it makes it much easier to slip up on deer if you know where the travel routes, and bedding areas are.

    • WebscapeOutdoors profile image

      WebscapeOutdoors 5 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Great Hub! I've tried and tried to stalk deer but I'm way to impatient I guess. I have walked up on deer but I must admit it was by accident.

    • ShootersCenter profile image

      David 6 years ago from Florida

      Glad you enjoyed the article, unless you've slipped up on a deer while your heart pounding with excitement it's hard to explain.

    • ajaodegaard profile image

      ajaodegaard 6 years ago

      I love the thrill of stalking deer! It's great to see them go in someplace and then sneak up on them! Nothing quite like this time of year !

    • profile image

      Charles 6 years ago

      Although I don't stalk deer very much when I do I prefer to do it on windy days. It seems to help cover my walking through the woods more. Enjoyed the article. I have some hunting stuff over at if you wanted to check it out.