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Location: FORT DODGE IOWA
Joined: 08/22/2006
Posts: 32
Tracks Can you really tell the difference?

Can you tell the difference between a "buck" track and a "doe" track? I would love to hear everyones experiences and beliefs on this subject. Is there proof or is it just a myth?

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
Tracks Can you really tell the difference?

A bucks track will tend to be bigger but there is nothing saying that you are not looking at a very large does track. I tend to go by what else I see around. If its in the snow are the dew claws visable? Is the animal alone (buck) or is it in a group (lead doe). Also depends whether or not I realy want it to be a buck track......then it IS a buck track!

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Location: upstate New York
Joined: 06/21/2006
Posts: 140
Tracks Can you really tell the difference?

Hi Alan, A mature buck track will on average will be bigger than most does. What you have to look for is the trail the deer leaves not the individual track. If you follow a track for a while you can pick up on it if it is buck or doe. During the rut watch where he crosses another deer track. Most times a buck will stick his nose in the track to see if it is a hot doe. If the snow is deep enough and he has a good rack there will be tine marks in the snow ! Also where he puts his head down to eat he will leave marks in the snow from his rack. The two biggest give a ways are when he stops to rub a tree or when he stops to take a pee. A doe will leave a pee stain that is sprayed behind her back feet . A buck will leave the mark cut into the snow in front of his hind feet. Good luck out there and be safe

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Joined: 08/24/2006
Posts: 4
Tracks Can you really tell the difference?

the bucks track can differ from does. does tracks will be in a v shape unless they are running then the toes will spread but a bucks track will sink into the ground deeper and be spreaded at all times also look for two indintion or two dots in the grond which will be at the back of the track these are made by there dew claws and also when tracking a does that is not running the closed part of the v is the way she was headed almost like an arrow

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Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
Posts: 2603
Tracks Can you really tell the difference?

Welcome buckdaddy Big smile Good to have another deer enthusiast around. Thumbs up

ADKBEAR's picture
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Location: Central NY
Joined: 09/16/2003
Posts: 823
Tracks Can you really tell the difference?
hunter777 wrote:
Also depends whether or not I realy want it to be a buck track......then it IS a buck track!

You got me with that one 777 too funny bravo.

In the snow bucks tend to drag there feet, look for tracks with light drag lines between the hoof prints. This is not always, some bucks may not do it but if you see tracks with drag markd between then 99% buck track in my experience.

redrider's picture
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Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
Posts: 2603
Tracks Can you really tell the difference?

I believe the Benoit brothers talk alot about tracking deer Think I think they have a couple books out if you were interested.

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Location: upstate New York
Joined: 06/21/2006
Posts: 140
Tracks Can you really tell the difference?

Yes along with a few videos as well.
I think we all become experts after reading and watching some of them. Yes

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Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
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Tracks Can you really tell the difference?
ADKBEAR wrote:
In the snow bucks tend to drag there feet, look for tracks with light drag lines between the hoof prints. This is not always, some bucks may not do it but if you see tracks with drag markd between then 99% buck track in my experience.

(What he said)

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Joined: 07/03/2006
Posts: 232
Tracks Can you really tell the difference?

I have been tracking deer as a professional guide for a decade and can add another decade of both snow tracking and swamp tracking of deer and can honestly tell you there is no absolute distinction between the two that i can rely on 100% of the time.

However as has been already stated theres alot of things that can be observed with a specific track that can confirm gender. One of the most obvious tips I can state is the behavior of the animal leaving the track. Bucks tend to use less defined trails that meander downwind of heavy doe trails, They usually enter and exit food sources downwind of major doe entries. Bucks tend to stop and stand still more often when moving. They also assosciate themselves with obvious buck sign such as rubs ect.

I agree as a basic rule of thumb track size can give away a good guess but being that ground conditions and walking/running speed and effort is never consistant you cant really judge a deers gender by size only. I do however take extra notice of large tracks and any smart hunter who is looking to unravel the secret spot for a big buck or to pick a set of tracks to trail for a day would be wise to look for size.

BTW dew claws IMO have absolutely no bearing on gender id. All deer have them and all prints will show them given the right ground conditions or heaviness of footfall.

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