5 Signs That a Big Buck is Nearby

Finding that Trophy Buck

Every hunter wants to bag that elusive trophy buck. But how do you know a good place to find one? There is great skill involved in finding a good hunting spot where the big ones like to hang out. There are certain signs you can look for to know if you’re in an area frequented by a big buck. If you’re observant you can easily see the signs and know that you’re in a good area.

This tips can help the experienced hunter and beginners just starting out. Keep in mind that when hunting deer, the word “big” is all relative.

Different areas will produce different sized bucks based on the land layout, food supply and population of deer. Knowing this will help you realize just what is considered a trophy buck for your area.


5 Signs a Big Buck is in the Area

  1. The first sign to look for is a large bedding area. Big bucks will dig out massive bedding areas to accommodate their large bodies. If you’re not familiar with deer bedding areas, they tend to look like oblong areas dug out in the leaves and underbrush. They are usually disguised in areas where the deer feel safe and protected so the beds may be hard to spot. A bedding area that is 40 inches or so should indicate a large buck.
  2. Large bucks make large droppings. Deer droppings usually look like pellets and the larger the pile and amount of pellets in the pile, the larger the deer. If you find a place with a big concentration of large piles of pellets, there is a good chance a big deer is hanging around.
  3. Big bucks want other bucks to know they are in the area. They will take their antlers and scratch on trees all around their claimed territory. The higher up and larger the area is on the tree, the bigger the buck was who did the scraping. An area with a lot of tree scrapings, especially high on the tree trunk, indicates a large buck may be staying in that area.
  4. A bigger buck will make bigger tracks. Look for deer tracks in soft, muddy areas. If you see a track over four inches long it likely is a big buck. Bucks will not only make longer tracks, but wider tracks as well.
  5. Look for a concentration of well-loved food sources like White Oaks. Big bucks will take over an area that has a good food source. They especially love the acorns from White Oak trees. If you find an area with a high concentration of food, look for the other signs of big bucks around that area. There is a good chance you’ve found a spot that can sustain a big buck.

Patience is Key

Finding a big buck takes patience and time to observe. You may need to scout weeks ahead of time to find the ideal spot for hunting your trophy buck.

Remember to look for large bedding areas, concentrated areas of droppings, big tree scrapings, big tracks and an area with a good food source. Big bucks want other deer to know they have claimed a territory for their own.

They tend to make it obvious when they’ve found a spot they like. A hunter can use this to their advantage to find the perfect area to bag that trophy buck.

How to Field Dress a Deer

The Importance of Proper Field Dressing

Its important to know how to properly field dress your deer. For the meat to be tasty and safe to eat, the work needs to be done correctly. Having the right tools is also very important. Field dressing can be intimidating at first but once you’ve learned the steps and done it a few times it becomes second nature.


The Steps Involved in Field Dressing

  1. Make sure you have the proper tools. Sharp knives are essential to proper field dressing. It’s also a good idea to have rubber gloves for safety and a rag to wipe blood off your skin. If you wish to keep the heart and liver have a self-sealing bag to put them in.
  2. Be safe when approaching a downed deer and be sure the animal is dead. A final shot may be required to finish off the animal. If you wish to photograph the deer, now is the best time. It may also be necessary to drag the deer to a more level or open area to make field dressing easier. Organize your tools and equipment before beginning with the first cut.
  3. When you’re ready to begin dressing the deer, lay the deer on its back with the legs spread. Make the initial incision from the genitals to the chest in a vertical line. Take care not to cut into the cavity and puncture the internal organs.

  4. Slowly pull the skin back from the incision 4-6 inches. This will help keep hair off the meat. Once you’ve cut to the sternum, go back to the genital area and cut carefully through the body cavity and move upward. Be sure not to cut the rectum or bladder. A gut hook can help do this without puncturing the intestines. Cut through the sternum; a large knife may be required if this is an older deer.


  1. You may now reach in and remove the heart and liver. All the organs are attached to the peritoneum so once they are cut away you can carefully remove the stomach, lungs, intestines and other organs so as not to spoil the meat.
  2. One the organs are removed you can rinse out the body cavity. A saw can be used to cut the pelvis and allow better access to rinsing the bladder/rectal area. If the temperature is below 40 degrees you can allow the meat to age with the skin on for 1-2 days by hanging the deer upside down in a cool area. The aging is purely optional. Now the rest of the meat is ready to be processed.

The Most Crucial Step in Venison Preparation


Preparing the meat in the field is the most important step in making sure your venison tastes good and is safe to eat.

Be sure to have the proper tools with you before you go hunting. Always take a sharp knife; its essential to good field dressing. Be careful when making incisions and stay away from the organs when slicing.

Puncturing something like the bladder, stomach or intestines can spoil your meat. Following a few simple steps will have you field dressing your deer easily so you can have a wonderful meal of venison.

5 Foods That Deer Eat in the Winter

Foods Deer Eat During The Winter Season In The Woodlands

Food sources for deer are available during the fall, winter and early spring in the woodlands. During these seasons are when food is most critical for deer to reproduce and survive. Wildlife biologists have proved in studies that deer prefer to eat certain leaves, buds. needles, flowers, and twigs. Most of the vegetation that deer love to eat begin at ground level to about five feet high because it is in easy reach for the deer. For hunters, the white-tailed deer are the most popular game animal. White-tailed deer can be found in the woodlands. The woodlands is a maturing forest that provides natural habitat for deer. This where most of their food is found and is plentiful.

Certain trees, shrubs and plants attract deer faster than others because of their aroma or scent, flowers, and leaves. Deer have likes and dislikes when it comes to choosing their food, just like humans do.

5 Nutritional Foods Deer Eat During the Winter Season


  1. White Cedar- White cedar trees are dense and cone-shaped. White cedar is an evergreen and can be found in the woodlands during all seasons. It grows on moist upland and this is a deer favorite that provides excellent nutrition.
  1. Beech- The Beech tree has smooth bark that is gray in color. Leaves remain on the Beech tree until early spring providing food for deer. This tree has long pointed buds that make it quite easy for deer to reach.
  1. Leather Leaf- This is a shrub evergreen with broad leaves. This is considered an excellent deer food. The leaves of this evergreen shrub are covered underneath with a wool-like material.

  1. Witch-Hazel- This tree produces brown buds and yellow flowers which deer love. Flowers attract deer faster than non-flowering plants.
  1. Oak- The oak tree provides leaves and acorns which deer love. Buds form in clusters at the ends of twigs and the deer love them. Oak trees are quite plentiful in the woodlands.

What Good Foods Provide For Deer


Natural foods produced in the natural habitat for deer are the best becusae they hold great nutritional value for deer. They are extremely important for enhancing the body condition of the deer. When deer eat the right food or healthy food, it makes them reprocuce healthy young. The winter season can be harsh for winter survival for deer. In the woodlands there are a variety of evergreens that provide the deer with food.

When preferred foods are not available for deer, they will eat other plants which they dislike. In the woodlands, deer remain a natural part of the environment. Food, water, and shelter are all important for the deer to be healthy. When there are plentiful amounts of food, then the deer population will increase.

There are a variety of trees, plants, and shrubs that attract deer. When foresters cut the trees down, this interupts the natural habitat for deer and prevents them from eating and pushes the deer closer to human population, sometimes right into your backyard. Other food deer love to eat are apples, dogwood leaves, maple leaves, yew, basswood, honeysuckle, elderberry, hickory and elm. During the spring season, deer love wildflowers which form carpets on the forest floor. Their scents and bright color attract deer in clusters.

Nutrition provided by woodland forest foods are important to deer. Deer have nutritional needs in order to reproduce and live healthy and strong. Native vegetation in their natural habitat is the best food any deer can get. The forest provides a diversity of food for deer all throughout the year, but the winter season is the most trying for deer as sometimes food becomes scarce, forcing them to eat certain plants they dislike and for them to survive, they must eat them.