Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
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Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Elite » Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:46 am

How do you decipher a big bucks tracks in deep snow compared to others?


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seazofcheeze
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby seazofcheeze » Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:54 am

Width and length of the gait can help. A big buck will be a little wider between the front tracks than a doe/average deer.
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby SamPotter » Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:04 am

Also, look for secondary clues other than the tracks themselves. If the deer goes around narrow gaps between trees, odds are it’s a racked buck. They’ll leave antler marks in the snow when feeding and along the sides of beds as well.
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Elite » Sat Dec 14, 2019 6:41 am

SamPotter wrote:Also, look for secondary clues other than the tracks themselves. If the deer goes around narrow gaps between trees, odds are it’s a racked buck. They’ll leave antler marks in the snow when feeding and along the sides of beds as well.


I didn't even consider the antler marks. Great tip, thanks!
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Dhurtubise » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:54 pm

Deep dry sugary snow is real tough to track in. We get a lot of that were we live. It’s hard because it can be real difficult to tell the difference between a new track and a two or even three day old track if there hasn’t been new snow (cold weather snow conditions).

The problem is that the bucks tend to come back over their tracks every couple of days and they’ll mill around in different areas depending on where the does are that day and if they’re tired or hungry when they come through again. I will mark where the different tracks divert in case I have to come back. The freshness of the poop is my best indicator I’m still on a
the fresher track but these show up sporadically. It makes for slow tracking.

The problem gets compounded even more when there is other similar sized deer making their rounds.

I usually stop tracking about two days after it snows in my area. Ideally I’ll get a good snow and then I’ll follow that morning based on the width between right and left tracks and the length of the stride, as previously stated. When you’re on a good buck, it’s amazing how easy it can be to follow the track - because of the the animal but also because of the path he tends to choose in the woods.
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Elite » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:28 pm

Can anyone be more specific regarding width between the front legs? I know it's dependent on the size of the animal and other factors, but relative to a doe, are we talking like for example 18" for a doe and a buck would be approximately 24"?
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Dhurtubise » Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:53 pm

Depends where you live. Where mature bucks dress out around 200 lbs, a 24” stride and 12” gait is a great buck. But anything over an 8” gait is worth tracking when your options are limited.
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby headgear » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:05 am

Sometimes you can dig down into the snow to get a better idea of the track size, it doesn't always work but it has helped me in the past. Sometime just enough to know if you should follow them or not.
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Elite » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:15 am

Dhurtubise wrote:Depends where you live. Where mature bucks dress out around 200 lbs, a 24” stride and 12” gait is a great buck. But anything over an 8” gait is worth tracking when your options are limited.


I'm assuming "gait" means the width between the foot prints?
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Dhurtubise » Sun Dec 15, 2019 11:59 am

Elite wrote:
Dhurtubise wrote:Depends where you live. Where mature bucks dress out around 200 lbs, a 24” stride and 12” gait is a great buck. But anything over an 8” gait is worth tracking when your options are limited.


I'm assuming "gait" means the width between the foot prints?


yes.

Which part of the country/world are you hunting?
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Elite » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:59 pm

Dhurtubise wrote:
Elite wrote:
Dhurtubise wrote:Depends where you live. Where mature bucks dress out around 200 lbs, a 24” stride and 12” gait is a great buck. But anything over an 8” gait is worth tracking when your options are limited.


I'm assuming "gait" means the width between the foot prints?


yes.

Which part of the country/world are you hunting?


Nw Wisconsin. We have about 20" of snow.
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Elite » Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:22 pm

I'm curious if this set of tracks is from a mature deer.
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Dhurtubise » Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:43 pm

Elite wrote:I'm curious if this set of tracks is from a mature deer.

Looks like it. It has a good wide and long stride. I’d follow that. It doesn’t look like you have that much snow right now. The more they drag their toes the easier they are to catch.
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Elite » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:35 am

Dhurtubise wrote:
Elite wrote:I'm curious if this set of tracks is from a mature deer.

Looks like it. It has a good wide and long stride. I’d follow that. It doesn’t look like you have that much snow right now. The more they drag their toes the easier they are to catch.


It's unfortunately crunchy snow. Had a day of rain and warm temperatures followed by 3" of snow.
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Re: Buck tracks in deep snow 12"+

Unread postby Elite » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:54 am

Another set I found walking back from my morning sit.
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