Follow Up on Your Deer in the Spring
by Samantha Lance
If you’re anything like me, you’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of Turkey Season. For Tennessee, the birds are strutting and talking, and tearing up the nerves of every turkey hunter around. It’s time to switch gears, break out the spring camouflage gear and head out to bust up a few birds. It’s also a great time of the year to follow up on your deer herds to see how they fared during the late winter months.
If your turkey hotel is in the same location as your deer herds, it’s going to be even easier to follow up on your four-legged friends. If not, it’s well worth the trip to swing by and pay a visit. After my morning turkey hunt is over, I like to walk the area to check for deer tracks and spring bedding areas. If you’re in a region that has early spring snow, it’s no problem to follow the tracks in the snow that lead to their bedding and feeding areas. During Tennessee Spring season, it’s rather warm and the ground is extremely soft, so we can track deer relatively easy. This is a great time to log any changes in travel patterns, grazing, and bedding areas. Fixed deer feeders should be emptied and cleaned out if you haven’t done that already. The feed spoils or molds inside the containers, bugs start to live and reproduce in it, resulting in a breeding ground for bacteria and a flat-out gross mess.
I also like to dig around for sheds in the spring to see what I can find. There are tons of tutorials out there that show you how to build your own shed traps, most of them consisting of little more than a few fence posts and some left-over small animal cage material. These contraptions are made to snag the buck’s antlers as they’re feeding, pulling them off. Traps can be placed near the grazing area, and baited with feed or a treat. Be sure to check that shed traps are legal in your state, and remember to check placed shed traps frequently to ensure critters aren’t caught up in them or stealing your antlers for a chew toy. This gives you the opportunity to see what bucks are still in the area, and where they are most heavily concentrated.
Since you’re scouting your deer in early spring, it’ll have very little impact on the herds and their movement until Fall. You’ll have the next several months to monitor movements, change your stand locations, and build a better game plan for the next deer season.