Identifying buck beds after antlers drop

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Jimmy wallhanger
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Identifying buck beds after antlers drop

Unread postby Jimmy wallhanger » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:35 am

So my early new year scouting pre antler drop I was finding beds and how I idenified them as buck beds was the following. scat in the bed, it being a solitary bed with no other beds within a few yards watching the other directions and most importantly a neaby rub within 15 yards.

Now that the antlers are dropped Ive found other beds in the same area with hair and scat next to them, some I am fairly sure are bucks as there are old rubs within 5 yards, other beds have hair and poop and are solitary just no rubs.

Am I finding buck beds and I just dont know it?

also Ive been lying down in the beds and damn if it does not make sense as to why they are bedded I can see all the paths to the bed and could bail down another to escape fast if needed.
Thanks

Also can find a shed to save my life.


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Re: Identifying buck beds after antlers drop

Unread postby sagDE » Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:47 pm

I imagine that bucks would bed in the same spots antlers or not. Maybe they are using different bedding areas now due to cover or food requirements then they do when they have antlers on.
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Re: Identifying buck beds after antlers drop

Unread postby tgreeno » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:41 pm

With buck beds I'm seeing cover & security. Typically something for back cover on the upwind side. He may have a couple in the same area for different winds. There is typically a reason he's bedding there. Could be overlooking an access trail. Good thermal hub. Great security cover. Usually some type of advantage for him.

Late season it could be more food or thermal cover based. They do like to bed on those south facing hillsides on sunny days too.
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Re: Identifying buck beds after antlers drop

Unread postby dan » Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:14 pm

Buck beds are occasionally "1 bed" but more often are a lot of beds in a small area. They shift beds with differing winds, and as cover changes, and or direction of threat changes. Single does, and sometimes small groups of does and fawns also use buck bedding areas... Doe bedding is usually in slightly more open terrain and lacks the obstacle to the back, beds are in circle formation, and often not worn out or in the same spot everytime... Buck beds usually have a object, like a tree, or a rock, or a wall of brush, behind the bed if its a vision oriented bed. They bed wind to back looking down wind, so often there will be several beds for different winds or thermal activities right in the same general area.
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Jimmy wallhanger
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Re: Identifying buck beds after antlers drop

Unread postby Jimmy wallhanger » Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:17 am

dan wrote:Buck beds are occasionally "1 bed" but more often are a lot of beds in a small area. They shift beds with differing winds, and as cover changes, and or direction of threat changes. Single does, and sometimes small groups of does and fawns also use buck bedding areas... Doe bedding is usually in slightly more open terrain and lacks the obstacle to the back, beds are in circle formation, and often not worn out or in the same spot everytime... Buck beds usually have a object, like a tree, or a rock, or a wall of brush, behind the bed if its a vision oriented bed. They bed wind to back looking down wind, so often there will be several beds for different winds or thermal activities right in the same general area.


Funny I was just listening to you talk about this on episode 23 of the podcast. Im fairly certain I have found a primary buck bedding area as Ive found about a dozen beds in a relatively small area that just does not get much human intrusion. I will post a picture of it when I scout it a bit more and find some more beds. Im finding beds backed by trees or fallen logs and when I lie in them like a buck would I can see clearly the advantages and am able to see that this would probably be a SE wind bed for example and I can see the escape routes.

Really enjoying scouting now that I feel it is actually part of a plan and not just walking randomly looking for deer sign, I stopped marking every rub if I can find a bed near it.
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Re: Identifying buck beds after antlers drop

Unread postby <DK> » Mon May 31, 2021 3:03 am

When you have no other sign to read then go by the size or the bed. A big, mature buck will have a wide bed. In the hills it may be tougher to judge or when its raining.
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Re: Identifying buck beds after antlers drop

Unread postby G-Patt » Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:25 am

Jimmy wallhanger wrote:Now that the antlers are dropped Ive found other beds in the same area with hair and scat next to them, some I am fairly sure are bucks as there are old rubs within 5 yards, other beds have hair and poop and are solitary just no rubs.

Am I finding buck beds and I just dont know it?

also Ive been lying down in the beds and damn if it does not make sense as to why they are bedded I can see all the paths to the bed and could bail down another to escape fast if needed.

This is a great post because I struggle with the same thing in post-season scouting. I also like how you describe sitting in the beds and understanding why a deer (probably a buck) would bed there. I don't have all the answers, but what I like to do is pretend I'm a deer trying to detect predators. Given the terrain and available cover, where would I hide or try to detect hunters trying to kill me? What I find in my woods are trails & beds just inside the cover (along transitions) next to open woods or overlooking open woods, on some sort of elevation. These are great vantage points from where they can detect hunters. Wind is the biggest factor to that but sometimes given the hunting pressure, and the predictability of access, the bedding may not necessarily be based on wind but on sight and sound (again "sometimes").

What I've concluded is deer don't try to hide from predators, but are instead bedding to detect predators - a very important distinction. The beds are strategic; they are there for a purpose - to detect. In those areas, you'll likely find some buck beds and doe beds too. Next time you're in the woods, pretend being a deer and think "where in this area would be the best spot to detect something in the woods?" That can be beds based on sound and sight or scent (wind) - or all 3 preferably. When you find the one that has all 3, think about an observational sit to see what is bedding there.

One last point. When scouting in the woods after green-up, be sure to get down on one knee and look under the canopy frequently. You'll be amazed sometimes that you can see 40 to 50 yards while on one knee, but when you stand up, you can't see more than 10 yards. I'm 6'4" and have to remind myself to do this from time to time. There've been many times that I'll drop to one knee and get a glimpse of a deer quietly bounding off 50 yards away that I otherwise would not have seen standing up. Those deer are just inside the cover looking over that open 40-50 yard straight-away.

Anyway, hope this helps. It's good to see others working on the same struggles and learning together. Good luck!
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