Trails form in places where deer (and other animals) regularly travel between two points. Trails generally form where it is most convenient to travel between the two points.

Setting up an ambush point along a trail is an excellent strategy, provided you know where the trail is coming from and where it is going. Because of seasonal changes in food sources, a trail that leads to an actively used food source may be a great spot, while a trail that leads to an abandoned food source may not be as good. However, the trail that leads to an abandoned food source may also lead to important escape cover that deer will seek out when hunting pressure increases. Knowing why a deer is using a particular trail is an advanced deer hunting skill that accumulates with time.

In many instances, especially in hilly or rolling terrain, deer trails (or more accurately game trails) follow terrain features and are easy to predict by using topographic maps.  


Reading Deer Trail Helps Choosing a Hunting Location

Reading Deer Sign

Reading whitetail deer sign helps you determine which areas the deer are using and when they are using them. Determining when the deer use particular areas is the key to knowing where to setup during the hunting season.


One of the most visible big game signs are trails, and being able to interpret trails can tell you where and when to find game. While most hunters know that big game animals prefer to travel into the wind they don't take wind into account when reading sign.

Hunting Deer Trails

The one thing we know for sure is that a deer trail is a place where deer have traveled. The fresher the sign in the trail the more recent it has been used. The more deer sign in the trail the more often it is being used.

That all seems simple doesn't it? Well it is simple, yet even knowing all those things will not guarantee success while hunting deer trails. You may have found a nice deer trial that looked like there was a lot of activity and set up over it only to go days and weeks without seeing a deer.