Whitetail Deer Facts – A Look at Beds and Breeding Nests
If you know how to hunt deer by mapping out the beds and nests, these whitetail deer facts about beds and breeding nests can be a sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll bring home a trophy deer.
During hunting season, most deer will look for places to bed down; also known as “lockdown,” with as much shooting as there could be going on, they’re looking for places to get out of danger’s way.
And if you’re hunting during the rut, you should know that the deer will also be settling into breeding nests to mate.
These animals can lay low for days at a time during the height of hunting season and during the rut. With so much shooting going on, I’d want to lay low too!
But an experienced hunter knows that the deer can be found and pushed, as long as you know where to look and what to look for.
So in addition to scouting for fresh scrapes on the ground and fresh rubs on trees, you need to be mapping out fresh deer beds too.
Start with where the deer go for the night and work your way around, paying close attention to the types of nesting areas they’re headed for during the rut.
Gathering In the Beds at Night
To get a starting point on an early morning hunt, go out the evening before and track beds that are near feeding sources. There are a variety of feeding areas for deer, including corn and other crop fields, natural clearings in wooded areas, and orchards.
When you find beds in these areas, you’ll know that the deer are gathering there at night to bed down and that’s where most of them should be in the early morning hours of the hunt the next day.
Doe, Family and Buck Beds
Once you’ve found where the bed down at night, start circling around in any nearby brush and find beds where the does and fawns take cover. Does keep their bedding areas clean, leaving their droppings outside of the bed itself.
Bucks will have their own areas but they’ll be close to the does. Look in areas with the heaviest cover and you should start spotting them. During the rutting season, they’ll move from heavy and dense covered areas and move closer to the does.
Isolated Bedding Area of a Giant Buck
You might come across an area where you’ll see some rubs on small trees and large droppings. An area like this will most likely be one for reclusive buck, and might even be a giant buck.
When breeding season starts coming to an end, bucks and does will often be seen together feeding and mingling, but will still bed down separately. What you’ll look for during this time of the season are the beds of smaller does and female fawns.
The younger does often attract the largest bucks so if you find a winter bed of young does, your trophy deer may not be too far off.
Lockdown Breeding Nests
If you hunt in any of these types of settings, pay special attention to these nesting signs along with the beds and you’ll increase your chances of bringing home a trophy deer.
Deer can swim! They love seclusion during the rut so it’s not unusual to see them heading for a natural island where you may have to use chest waders, if not a boat, to find them.
If your hunting spot is in the flatlands, look in swamps for small areas of dry ground and you may spot a buck and doe together after mating.
Around the Perimeter of Chasing Grounds
At the end of the pre-rut season heading into rut, look in the thicker brush around an open area and you might find a pair of deer hiding in the cover.
If you live in farming areas, look for patches of dense grass, trees or brush in an otherwise open area like a corn field or other crop field.
The crop fields provide perfect food plots for deer since they don’t have to go too far from their beds to feed.
Whitetail Deer Facts – If a Tree Falls in the Woods…
Not small trees, but when larger trees fall, like mature oaks, in an open area of the woods, you’re looking at cover for mating deer. If you see a group of several downed huge trees, there’s a really good chance you’re going to find a buck tending to his doe.
Set up camp and get ready to bag a large one!