Observations While Tracking Mule Deer in Snow

On the BC deer hunt, my guide Wes Phillips recommended that we try to locate buck tracks along a road and then track the deer down. Although we made several attempts, we never quite caught up with the bucks we followed, but we came close. On one occasion we caught up to a yearling doe that had been traveling with another doe and the buck we were after. We must have just missed seeing the buck. It is an exciting way to hunt, but the noisy snow made it unlikely that we’d get in range of a shooter buck.

Here are a couple photos of deer tracks we found.

Deer tracks crossing each other.

At this track site, I measured the tracks of two deer. The larger had a stride of 25 inches toe to toe and a trail width of five inches from hoof centerline to centerline. The smaller, a trail width of three and a half inches and a stride of 18 inches. Because I didn’t see these deer, I cannot say for sure if it was a buck and doe or a doe and fawn, but the 18 inch stride of the smaller deer leads me to believe it was probably the later.

Here’s another trail where two deer apparently walked the same trail.

While trailing deer, we came upon deer urine in the tracks. Apparently the rutting buck was urinating on his hind legs, a practice that occurs as the bucks pursue does. On another occasion we came upon a drop of blood, a sign that the deer may have been gored while fighting another buck.

On another occasion, we came upon a site where the buck had jumped another deer from it’s bed. Wes believed it was probably a rival buck.  Signs in the snow made it clear that the bedded buck had jumped up in a hurry.

2 thoughts on “Observations While Tracking Mule Deer in Snow

  1. My name is Terry Townsend and I wondered if you would grant me permission to use one of the photos on your site of the deer tracks in the snow for a book that I have been writing for several years about whitetail deer. I’m 65 and whitetail deer have always been a passion of mine. Naturally I would credit you as the photographer and your web site beneath the photo.
    I do appreciate you giving this request your consideration.
    Thank you,
    Terry Townsend

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