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Big Buck Tracks? By Grant Woods

I enjoy following deer tracks in the snow. It’s a great way to learn where deer prefer to bed, eat, etc., during late winter conditions.

I shared a picture of some deer tracks in snow on my Facebook page recently and someone commented that I was following a “big buck because of the feet drag marks in the snow.” There are lots of myths about what can be told about a deer by their tracks. One we can put to bed is that deer that only big bucks drag their feet in snow. Check out this video.

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This doe is walking in fresh snow at my place in southwestern Missouri. She is clearly dragging her feet in the relatively shallow snow. Notice that her front feet actually drag in the snow more than her back feet.

Without this video it might have been easy to assume those tracks were made by a big buck because of the obvious hoof drag marks.

As I’ve heard it said “It’s sad when a beautiful theory is murdered by a ruthless gang of facts.” The next time you are following deer tracks, don’t assume they were made by a big buck just because there are hoof drag marks in the snow.

Growing and Hunting Deer together,


Dr. Grant Woods
Dr. Grant Woods
Raised in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Dr. Grant Woods has consulted on wildlife research and management from Canada to New Zealand. A hunter since childhood, he not only knows how to grow big deer, but how to effectively hunt them as well. His work serves to improve deer herd quality and educate hunters about advanced management techniques.