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nuggetsfool's picture
Joined: 09/18/2011
Posts: 3
Help Finding Deer?

I have been hunting for several years, but have had very little luck at spotting deer. The area where i hunt is mosty forested with several meadows and parks. I have seen plenty of sign that they are there, but cant find them. Do you have any tips on how to see more deer or differnt ways to hunt? We usally walk around all day, occaiosnly stopping to glass when there are openings to see. I have a 4th season buck tag this year in GMU 8 and will be accompying my brother in the third season next weekend. It looks like its going to be snowy and cold!



Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
As for spotting deer you just

As for spotting deer you just need to train yourself to see them.  Look for something out of the ordanary such as a ear twitching or a log that just doesn't look right.  The big give away for mule deer is there rear end, nice big and off white.   

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
Exactly as critter says. I

Exactly as critter says. I too have difficulty doing it.  I come fromt he eat coast, where my hunting is sitting in a treestand, and waiting for the deer to walk by.  When I moved out west, I found it hard to adjust to having to look for them, not let them come to me.

However, little by little, you learn.  I was out yesterday, and at 800-1000 yards, whils looking around a beige/blonde grass hillside, with green clumps of bushes.  There in the middle, I caught a quick glimpse of a little white rump.  Turned out to be a deer.  Then, another stood up.  If it wasn't for the white rump, I would have never seen them.

Also look for the sun glinting off an antler, or for an ear flipping away a fly, etc.  Any small movement you can find.  Look in the shadows during a hot day, or laying out in the sun on a cold day.

Good luck!

groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2539
seeing more deer is the old man’s reward for being slow

Grant. – when I was a young hunter without much success, my father in law told me that seeing more deer is the old man’s reward for no longer being able to move fast.  The first thing I would recommend is that as soon as you get to an area where you are seeing deer sign - switch the amount of time that you spend walking with the time that you spend sitting still.  If you walk for 15 minutes at a time and sit for 45 in between each move, you are still probably moving too much in my opinion.  Remember that if you are sitting still and waiting for deer to come to you – you need to be quiet enough and sit still long enough that they haven’t heard you walking for the entire time that it takes them to walk the distance that they would be within earshot of you.  And if they are slowly feeding toward you they may take 30 minutes to cover 100 yards.

When you are sitting don’t look for the whole deer.  This is especially if you are in wooded areas.  I recommend that you look just for the flicker of an ear or a few inches of tail.  That’s all you will see if the deer is standing still.  If the background is dark – look for the light patches on a deer’s belly or rump.  If you are hunting in snow country – look for dark solid areas that are the deer’s torso or neck.  When the deer is not moving, you are likely to pick them up only by noticing a horizontal line in a vertical forest.  Look at everything that is parallel to the ground.  Some of those ‘sticks’ will be deer backs or bellies. 

Out in open country like in the west – I start by looking at the horizon.  Deer silhouetted on the horizon are the easiest to see but they might be a mile away.  At that point you just have to decide to either wait for them to come to you (long odds) or start working your way toward them while keeping something between you and them for cover.

I am certainly no expert, but I have been hunting for a couple of decades and learning a little bit every time that I go out.  If you are hunting in snow you will have the advantage of seeing tracks.  These tell you two things – they tell you not only where deer have been – but also where deer have NOT been.  Both are useful things!  Learn form them every time you are in the area.  Deer will typically cover the same ground, by the same path time after time whether it is a path to bedding or food, or a path for escape.  Next tiem they are in the same situation, they are likely to take the same path.  So if you know where they are going to go – you can be ready to spot them – and stop them!  Good luck and good hunting.  Let us know how you make out and take some pictures of your deer for us! 


jaybe's picture
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Location: S.E. Michigan
Joined: 10/19/2010
Posts: 832
I agree with everything

I agree with everything that's been said thus far. I does take practice when looking for animals, and it also takes patience. Very seldom will they appear as you see them on a magazine cover. Their hides blend in amazingly well with their habitat. It's hard to believe that a 150-200 pound animal can disappear in cover that seems to be such a different color.

While Mule Deer hunting in Wyoming recently, I was watching another group of hunters walk through an area of mountain mahogany from about 1/4 to 1/2 mile away. I happened to spot the back leg of a deer standing in the brush, watching the hunters slowly work its way. This deer stood motionless for over 15 minutes. When the hunters veered off to one side, it began slowly feeding, and that's when I could see that it was a fork horn. Suddelny another deer materialized in the bushes, and then another one that I never knew were there. I watched in awe as they slowly fed in and around the bushes, sometimes completely vanishing from sight even though I knew exactly where they were and was watching with 10 power binoculars!

Of course, there were other times when we would look at a patch of that dark green mahogany and immediately see the white rump of a deer. Upon closer investigation, we almost always saw more as we stopped and carefully glassed the area.

The lesson? Two of them: 1. You must be where there are deer. If it's cold and snowy when and where you hunt, they may have moved down to a lower altitude or into thick cover for thermal warmth. Make sure you are looking in the general area where animals are. 2. Move slowly and glass carefully. Look for any movement.

 Good Luck - we'll be looking forward to reading a report. Thumbs up


hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
there has been a lot of good

there has been a lot of good information given here and not much to expand on. The biggest thing I can go iver again is spending a lot of time glassing. I have often said that my binoculars are just as important as my rifle and would feel helpless if I forgot them. Don't just waut for the open areas to glass but everywhere you can see anything. Most of the game is going to be in the thick brush and you need to pick it apart until you find the piece that gives them away. Plus you would be surprised at how much sign just a couple of deer can leave in a given area. What looks like a bunch may not be many at all if your not sure how to sirt it out.

Again a lot of time looking is the most impportant. It would help before the season to glass and watch deer so as to get the image burned into your mind and it will be much easier to pick them out. I can spot deer quickly from experience while people right next to me can't see them at all because they don't know what to look for. Like was said many times it's pieces of deer not the whole animal.

COMeatHunter's picture
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Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 639
All of the advice given here

All of the advice given here is great.  Good tips and strategies.  But give yourself some time to learn how to use them well.  Experience in the field is hard to replace with good advice.  

So be patient, keep at it, keep working on the good tips offered and your hunting success will come.

Retired2hunt's picture
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO & Fort Myers, FL
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  All great tips guys -


All great tips guys - thanks as you have helped me too as much as you did for nuggetsfool. 


Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: NE NV
Joined: 03/18/2010
Posts: 382
Hunt Where They are

and not where you want them to be.  Those open parks and meadows sure look good and probably are - before all the hunters arrive. Pretty quick deer will be on them at night only.  Concentrate on saddles, ridges and mid to upper slopes of the areas around the parks.  Early season the north slopes get alot of cool shade, late season the south slope stay warmer. 

Look at your hunting area in terms of what you guess other hunters will most likely be doing, figure that the deer will be where fewer hunters are and go there.  These places don't necessarily have to be way of the beaten path either, just some place where most people don't get into.

Pay attention to the wind as you probably won't get a second chance to fool a deers nose.  This can be tough in forested environments as wind currents can swirl around but it's worth paying attention to.

If you have fresh snow try tracking.  It's not always successful buts almost always fun.  Make sure you have a good sense of direction & more importantly a good map & compass or GPS (and the skills to use them, otherwise they are just plastic rocks) some way to start a fire and some high calorie snacks.

It's been said before but bears repeating - Use those binoculars.  If half your day isn't spent looking through them then half your day is wasted.

Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 924
I haven't read all the posts,

I haven't read all the posts, so I may be repeating something already said.

I've been still hunting for 60 years. It's what I know. Something you said caught my eye. You said you walk around all day. You need to know that a deer or elk will spot your movement long before you see them. If they see you, they may not run. If they smell you, they may not run. If they hear you, they may not run. Now, they may run for all those too, but one thing that will almost always make them run is movement. They may stare at you for 10 minutes if you are motionless. Move your little finger, and they're gone.

I bring this up, because still hunting is misunderstood sometimes. It doesn't mean sitting still. It means standing still as you walk. You stand motionless as you look for a sign of deer. Then you take one step, and stand still again. The step will show you more of the terrain. Look at everything, but look with your eyes, not your head. If you move your head. Move it very slowly. If we're talking about a muley buck. He will hide on you. Waiting for you to pass by him. Always be looking for him. You'll be standing more than you'll be walking. You're trying to beat the deers defensive weapons on his own terms. You aren't waiting in a tree for him to come to you. You're going out to find him on his/her own level. Be sneaky, play the wind, look for tracks, hunt.

This is best done alone. If a buddy is near by. Whatever you do. Don't talk. A deer will hear you 1/2 mile away.

You can also spot and stalk. That would be using glass to spot animals far away, and try to stalk closer. That means you're stalking an animal that you know where it is. Still hunting is stalk an aniaml that you don't know where it is. I find it much more exciting, but it does take lots of patience and practice. I hunt during the hunting season with a gun. I hunt year around with no gun to see how close I can get to game. You can train your eyes to see game better. Practice is never a waste of time.


Good luck.

Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 610
my advice may not help you

my advice may not help you this season, but it will next season and so forth.  Look for game year round.  When driving, when eating in a restraunt and you are looking out the window.  Basically if you train your eyes to be always searching, you will always be looking and you will start noticing little things.  A good way to do this is just start looking for birds.  IF you can spot birds at a distance, you will defiantly be able to spot deer and elk.  Also learn what they look like.  I know that sounds obvious, but you might be amazed.

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