Are Deer Trails Overrated?

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HighNtree
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Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby HighNtree » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:58 am

I notice that a lot of hunting shows, books, and videos emphasize keying in on deer trails when bow hunting. In the areas that I hunt, deer trails are not that abundant or easy to follow from point A to point B. The trails may be clear for a stretch, but then they become faint and eventually fade out completely. Maybe it has to do with deer numbers in my area, but I have had far better success setting up on terrain features. Most of the time there are few, if any, trails in the places that I hunt and yet I still take multiple deer each season. What has been your experience with deer trails?


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elk yinzer
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby elk yinzer » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:04 am

HighNtree wrote:I notice that a lot of hunting shows, books, and videos emphasize keying in on deer trails when bow hunting. In the areas that I hunt, deer trails are not that abundant or easy to follow from point A to point B. The trails may be clear for a stretch, but then they become faint and eventually fade out completely. Maybe it has to do with deer numbers in my area, but I have had far better success setting up on terrain features. Most of the time there are few, if any, trails in the places that I hunt and yet I still take multiple deer each season. What has been your experience with deer trails?


Yes and no. I think it depends on terrain and vegetation. Also the time of year deer are using the area. I have good spots with classic heavy trail convergences and other areas with none.
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Jonny
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby Jonny » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:14 am

I also think it depends on what animal you are hunting. One of the best hunters I know simply sets up on trails coming out of thick cover. Doesn’t shoot big mature bucks but that isn’t his goal.
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creepingdeth
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby creepingdeth » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:49 am

Seems to me I can catch does/young bucks on heavily used trails, big bucks make their own way. Big bucks possibly during the rut.
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby Boogieman1 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:50 am

I use deer trails for the primary reason to locate food and bedding areas. In the country I hunt setting up over a trail is rarely the best option. However if u have reason to believe a trail is repeatedly being used in daylight by a animal u wanna wrap your tag around, it would be a very good choice. That scenario is usually a evening hunt coming out of bedding. Every situation is diff, u gotta come up with a plan to swing the odds in your favor.
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby tgreeno » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:17 pm

Trails are just another tool to give you, travel direction. Typically they can lead from bedding to food. Or a travel path around some difficult terrain.

But mature bucks don't use well used trail very much where I hunt. They usually stay in the thicker stuff.
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HighNtree
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby HighNtree » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:11 pm

I agree that trails can sorta point you in the general direction of thicker cover and potential feeding sites. I have not seen the situation where multiple trails converge or crisscross like in the popular print. The deer seem to just travel through an area rather than down a specific well-beaten path. Even the does and young bucks are not that trail oriented. I guess they would not last long in heavily hunted areas if they didn't vary their route and avoid trails during the daylight hours.
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby mheichelbech » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:42 pm

I have seen both situations....one where they walk in almost a nose to tail train fashion and others where they were scattered about. What I have seen is that when they seem to be traveling to a specific destination and not really slowing down to browse they are more in a line in a trail making fashion whereas when they are in areas with browse and sort of browsing their way to their destination they are more scattered. Also, early to mid season (before gun season) they seem to travel slower and in a scattered way...this is also when more browse is available. Later with more pressure and less browse they tend to travel in a line and moving more quickly to and from wherever they are going.

I do agree that a lack of trails....especially early season when it is drier and a deer’s hooves don’t penetrate the ground, it doesn’t deter me from an area. Later when the ground has been soft do to more moisture...also concurrent with later season I do pay more attention. However, even when it’s been wet and he ground is soft in some areas, it may still be fairly hard in other areas....thereby leaving less evidence.

I guess the best answer for me is, it all depends. As usua with deer hunting, there is seldom a blanket theory that works all the time. I totally agree that terrain features can be a big key, but I wouldn’t ignore a lack of sign where there should be sign.

Also, the statements about mature bucks are true...they usually aren’t traveling with the pack so to speak and often have a different travel pattern altogether. As such, trails may not mean much unless you are seeing big tracks on them....or other sign indicative of mature buck travel. For mature bucks I like to find the bedding and go from there...something I’ve applied only since joining this website!
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Stanley
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby Stanley » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:30 pm

I am trying to think of one buck that I have killed, on a so called deer trail. I got nada. If it were that simple, you could just hunt on a deer trail and everyone would be killing big bucks. :think:
You can fool some of the bucks, all of the time, and fool all of the bucks, some of the time, however you certainly can't fool all of the bucks, all of the time.
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OH nontypical
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby OH nontypical » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:27 pm

In hill country trails on leeward sides of ridges have been good to me just like Dan says.
Also trails at the top of a drainage are hot during rut. Have seen the biggest bucks on these two types of trails around Nov. Shot my biggest buck on a faint trail down wind of an oak covered ridge.
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby Lopedog699 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:54 am

HighNtree wrote:I notice that a lot of hunting shows, books, and videos emphasize keying in on deer trails when bow hunting. In the areas that I hunt, deer trails are not that abundant or easy to follow from point A to point B. The trails may be clear for a stretch, but then they become faint and eventually fade out completely. Maybe it has to do with deer numbers in my area, but I have had far better success setting up on terrain features. Most of the time there are few, if any, trails in the places that I hunt and yet I still take multiple deer each season. What has been your experience with deer trails?



This is a big problem for me too ill get on a trail where it looks like cattle are using. Then its like it disappears
I dont get it. I must be missing something when i find stuff like this
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby burkhart » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:01 am

I look at trails very simply. “All roads lead to home”. So I follow the road till I hit home because ho e is where I want to be. I’m not trying to catch the deer on interstate 70 I want to catch him walking out the front door.
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby Lopedog699 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:08 am

Me too but alot of times like i said ill get on a trail and its awesome then follow it and it just patters out or disappears im like wat the heck? Lol
Like i said im missing somthing probably
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burkhart
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby burkhart » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:12 am

Lopedog699 wrote:Me too but alot of times like i said ill get on a trail and its awesome then follow it and it just patters out or disappears im like wat the heck? Lol
Like i said im missing somthing probably


So when you find a trail u want to follow do you think about what’s around before u pick a direction. I always look at maps before I head to have an idea on topo and Arieal images.

If I intersect a trail and it looks like it’s leading to cover I follow if it looks like it’s leading to nothing... it prob is
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Re: Are Deer Trails Overrated?

Postby Grizzlyadam » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:41 pm

I like hunting heavy trails early season for my meat deer. Usually these worn down trails are used by the does, family groups and young bucks when they are moving through an area. Big boys only seem to use them in the middle of the night or during the rut when they are trailing a hot doe. The closer you get to primary bedding the more these trails tend fade out. That's where I like to be in the mornings closer to the bedding areas. Right where they begin to fade. Accessing these points in the morning darkness undetected is always the tricky part. I'm typically set up at least an hour before sunrise for that.

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