When hunting, there are two kinds of hunters: One, a hunter that waits, and two, the hunter that tracks. The difference of two is the complexity of their hunting techniques though both aim for the same thing, bagging their prized bucks.
Tracking down your prey involves a more detailed approach in deer hunting. It involves knowing the specific differences between a buck and a doe, their patterns and behaviors. Unlike hunters who track their prey, hunters who prefer to wait for the buck on top of a tree or in a well-concealed shrub, they utilize deer calls or rattles to lure their prey into range. While the tracker will go to the prey, no matter where it goes, this proves to be more challenging than the latter.
Knowing the habits of bucks and does
Before you track your prey, you need to know the difference between the two. Since bucks are the normal target during hunting, does can only be a target when you have a special license for it, or during a specific season.
Tracking involves being aware of what’s on the ground rather than what’s in front of you. You first need to find a decent trail to determine if the deer is a buck or a doe. Buck trails have a much wider stance than that of a doe, and he has a swaggering gait that no doe can imitate.
The buck also has a tendency to drag his feet and leave a very good impression of his trail. The female deer, or does, on the other hand tend to pick up their feet, thus leaving a more ordered trail. Hunting a buck in the snow is much easier than hunting them in summer. Since snow leaves a very discernable trail, you can easily distinguish a buck from a doe.
If a buck and a doe are traveling together, one perfect place to determine the sexes of the trail is on a low lying tree. A doe tends duck under low branches and continues on its wished trail, while a buck needs to walk around the tree since his antlers might get tangled in the branch.
Urine trails can also help you in discerning your prey. Bucks tends to urinate while they walk, while does squat. When you see 3-feet long urine trail in the snow, then it is a buck you are trailing.
Preparation before tracking your prey
Before tracking down you prey, you need to first pay attention to your smell. As part of their defense mechanism, bucks tend to have a keener sense of smell and can detect you from a distance. Your smell can alert the buck of your presence and you might end up chasing it.
If you have a natural stink that can’t be removed by any non-smelling solvent, then you better pay attention to the direction of the wind. Make sure that you are on the downwind side so that your smell won’t reach your prey. Knowing the direction of wind will allow you to position yourself so the buck will be unsuspecting of your presence.
Make sure that your clothes aren’t washed with fragrant solutions like perfumes, colognes or branded detergents since the buck will instantly pick up these scents thus alerting him of your presence. You can buy solutions that are perfect for deer hunters that can eliminate the smell from their clothes. These are quite expensive but a very useful tool if you plan on tracking.
Knowing the difference between a buck and a doe, as well as paying attention to the wind pattern and smell is a very complicated way in bagging your prey, the complexity level of tracking is definitely high but this is how experts do it.