Though vital to success when hunting mature whitetails, fresh deer signs soon lose their hunting value.

Droppings with dull (dry) surfaces have no hunting value. (However, you don’t need a trail cam to know you want to hunt the buck that left these droppings. This buck — a trophy-class buck — is frequenting this area!)

Wherever fresh deer signs (tracks, droppings, beds, antler rubs, ground scrapes and/or evidences of feeding) made by mature whitetails (2-1/2 years of age or older) are discovered, you are located within a currently favored portion of the home or breeding range of the deer that made the signs — a site therefore having much greater hunting value than any other site selected for stand hunting without regard for fresh deer signs. During hunting seasons, unfortunately, the hunting value of such signs is short-lived. Especially while intending to take a mature whitetail only, especially a buck 3-1/2 years of age or older, never waste time stand hunting near of newly-discovered deer signs longer than 1–3 consecutive half-days. Though there are a host of reasons mature whitetails frequently begin using different portions of their home ranges during fall and early winter hunting seasons, hunting is the likeliest cause. Within 1-3 consecutive half-days of stand hunting at one site, almost all whitetails 3-1/2 years of age or older living within a half-mile will discover and identify you, either at your stand site while approaching it, with or without your knowledge. Thereafter, they will remain out of sight of your stand site until the hunting season is over. This isn’t true of all whitetails. Most lone fawns, many lone yearlings and a few 2-1/2 year-old bucks or does will not yet be adept at doing this.

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