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Scouting in snow

buckbstr_1

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Sep 8, 2008
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TN
I seen a big group in the bottom of a dry creek bed. They have not moved in a few days. Same deer are staying put.
 

tree_ghost

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Jan 19, 2014
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5,400
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mboro, tennessee
I spent 5 hours scouting around 250 acres yesterday. I found 3 different deer groups: 6 does, 5 does, & 3 bucks. Each group was primarily along field edges. Almost no tracks in my hardwood tracts or snow-buried food plots (forgot the turnips last year). The bucks had just gotten up to feed right before dark. The bucks had been bedded along a TVA powerline easement, under cedar trees and out of the wind, for a while as there was no snow or ice in their beds. The doe groups were about 1/2 mile apart. The groups fed along field edges on leaves, privet, greenbriar, and bull briar leaves. I was able to get within 75 yards of one group. (by accident) The wind carried my scent straight toward them, but they never ran away. A few deer looked up, raised their noses, but returned to feeding. I watched them for 30 minutes, then was able to retreat into the woods without spooking them. Either they read hunting season is over or they were very hungry after several days of storms ;o) Finding their movement patterns gave me a new idea for shed hunts this spring.
Interesting as I found the same thing. Zero tracks in the timber...
 
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Grnwing

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Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
522
Location
West TN
I have some nice old field habitat in front of my house and going up to the second floor and looking out I can see deer bedding and watched their movement all day yesterday. One particular buck was bedded at 6AM and watched him get up and feed within a 30 yard radius and the bed back down he did that several times throughout the day. He finally moved on this morning. I was considering burning my old fields last week but I am very glad I let them stand. There is all sorts of life hanging out in them as most of the food is covered. They have been eating on the honeysuckle vines pretty heavily as well as a lot of woody browse. What I have noticed, is the morning with a a good frost, I don't have any deer bedding in the old fields but rather under the cedars/pines.
 

JeepKuntry

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Jan 20, 2004
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19,094
Location
Clinton, TN
We haven't had much snow on this side of the state. I put 6 out mid January. Gonna pull them. I do a lot of post season scouting. Rarely do I ever scout through the summer or early fall. If I have activity this time, I will be certain to hunt those spots mid Nov-on. I think of immediate post scouting of being where deer go after the acorn mast slows. More of their core area.
 
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
38
Location
MdlTn
I took a longer ride today running the trapline. We have trapped the same 100 acres heavy for the past 3 years. Average catch is usually 30 critters per season. Today, alot of deer, quail, and rabbit tracks in this area. No predator tracks to mention except on the fringes of the other 100 acres that we haven't trapped that hard for the last 3 years. In this untrapped there were 1/2 to 1/3 the tracks of the game critters, but about ever rabbit and quail track there was either a bobcat and or yote track trailing about every one. Deer tracks in this area was far and few between. I noticed we missed 1 cat by 3 inches and could see the pee it left behind. 4 to 6 yotes came within 6 inches to a foot or so of the traps. Without the snow, I wouldn't have been able to see any of this movement of all the critters. So yes its a great time to scout movement after a snow whether it's deer, turkey, rabbits, quail or predators.
 

PickettSFHunter

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Jan 11, 2004
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20,212
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Jamestown, TN
I see very little movement in the snow where I am, and we get quite a bit more snow than most of TN. I don’t know why but it always seemed that way. I checked 2 miles of 4wheeler trail and did some boundary walking today, not a single set of deer tracks was seen, only predators.
 

JeepKuntry

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Jan 20, 2004
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19,094
Location
Clinton, TN
I see very little movement in the snow where I am, and we get quite a bit more snow than most of TN. I don’t know why but it always seemed that way. I checked 2 miles of 4wheeler trail and did some boundary walking today, not a single set of deer tracks was seen, only predators.
I saw some tracks yesterday in the snow. All were on logging roads. But I found very little sign in any wooded area I went through. Some spots still had enough snow that I only skimmed for rubs. I have a few places that I didn't scout because by that time I was done with snow somewhat blocking potential scrapes or feed sign.
 

TNlandowner

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Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Messages
781
Location
Carroll County
Seems our snow scouting reports lead to the argument in favor of timber harvest - select cutting for helping the deer herd through winter. Deer follow food sources, which appeared to be along field edges during the last storm.
 

DoubleRidge

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Nov 24, 2019
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2,572
Location
Middle Tennessee
I was shocked at the amount of predator tracks I saw in the snow compared to deer tracks. Predator movement greatly exceeded deer movement. The highest density of deer tracks were associated with the tall-grass environments in powerline right-of-ways.

There was a couple of days during the cold snap I saw zero deer around the house...I have a really long driveway and normally see deer driving in and out daily...nothing.....but saw plenty of coyote and fox tracks in the snow.....so our observations we're very similar.
 

DoubleRidge

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Nov 24, 2019
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2,572
Location
Middle Tennessee
I was shocked at the amount of predator tracks I saw in the snow compared to deer tracks. Predator movement greatly exceeded deer movement. The highest density of deer tracks were associated with the tall-grass environments in powerline right-of-ways.

And of course while I was at work my wife takes this picture out kitchen window....we've lived on this place 11 years and this is the first time we've had a coyote cross the yard.....as mentioned, way more predator tracks than deer tracks in the snow on those really cold days.
 

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RxHunter

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Mar 29, 2011
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23
Location
West Tn
I was shocked at the amount of predator tracks I saw in the snow compared to deer tracks. Predator movement greatly exceeded deer movement. The highest density of deer tracks were associated with the tall-grass environments in powerline right-of-ways.
What was attracting them to those tall grass environments? How tall was it?
 

tree_ghost

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Jan 19, 2014
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5,400
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mboro, tennessee
What was attracting them to those tall grass environments? How tall was it?
Just a wild guess here but I would say the tall grass has more vegetation exposed during a good snowfall vs the Forrest floor therefore it’s a matter of being easier to get to the food. Also with the amount of predators roaming the woods and the fact that it’s impossible to be quiet crunching through the loud snow and ice this would expose them to ambush. At least in a field they can see. That’s my redneck guess.

interested to hear from someone who actually knows the answer...
 

BSK

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Joined
Mar 11, 1999
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68,124
Location
Nashville, TN
What was attracting them to those tall grass environments? How tall was it?
I suspect they were finding two critical things: protection from the roaming predators, and some sort of food source, most likely honeysuckle or natural occurring clover intermixed with the tall-grasses.
 

philsanchez76

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Jul 6, 2019
Messages
567
Location
Middle TN
Finally got back from my job in Gatlinburg (where it did not snow) and was able to get out to a new piece of public land yesterday morning literally hours before all the rest of the snow melted. Just enough slush left for me to follow tracks and find their primary bedding area. This would’ve taken me multiple trips of carefully scouting, but with snow did it all in 2 hours! I felt like I was cheating! I think this is why us southerners are better woodsmen than our brothers in the north
F1B2CF84-C222-4984-845F-AD4E73829472.jpeg
 

DoubleRidge

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Nov 24, 2019
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2,572
Location
Middle Tennessee
I suspect they were finding two critical things: protection from the roaming predators, and some sort of food source, most likely honeysuckle or natural occurring clover intermixed with the tall-grasses.

Agree....and Dr Grant also mentioned the benefits of tall grass type habitat providing a windbreak while still allowing exposure to the sun for warmth.
 

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