Ask Dr. Dave About Whitetails: Monitoring Deer Movement

Dave C. from Vermont asks, “when is the best time of the year to learn about deer movement on a piece of property?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

This is a great question. Of course you have to realize that just because deer use certain trails at one time in the year does not mean they will be there at another time. However, my favorite time to scout an area is in late winter when there is snow on the ground. And that’s mid-March where I live.

I’ll walk stream bottoms to start because trails there are easy to spot. When snow is melting and the woods get a bit muddy, it is very easy to find major deer trails, especially as they pass through stream bottoms.

Next, backtrack those trails to learn a lot about deer movement. As you do so, note wind conditions both in the early morning and late evening. Also, note the direction the deer are traveling, and keep your eyes peeled for a good funnel area to set a stand.

Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at

Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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