How to Find Buck Bedding Areas
Russ Chastain 01.20.20
I hope you’re not tired of listening to Jeff Sturgis talk about how to hunt mature bucks. His videos have been featured here a lot in recent months, mainly because he offers practical advice — and the big bucks he takes are proof that his methods work.
I’ll admit to some gaps in my general education as a deer hunter. I’ve learned what areas look likely, but I’ve never studied how to locate and identify bedding areas where bucks hang out. The video below says it will “help you find the best buck beds in the area.”
In addition to finding buck bedding areas that already exist, he talks about creating such areas on your own hunting property.
He’s sometimes a bit unfocused as he talks, but here’s a summary of what he says about how to find buck bedding on any land you hunt:
- Look for diversity with a food base: Clearcut next to mature timber or swamp, food plot next to hardwoods, etc.
- Seek doe bedding, which he says is always next to diversity with food. In unpressured areas their bedding will be within 50-100 yards. Pellets will often be a mixture of large and small from does and fawns.
- Go deeper, away from the food source from the doe beds, 100-200 yards looking for remote cover away from field edges and away from hunter access.
- Clusters of antler rubs in these areas will indicate buck bedding there. Pellets will usually all be large and you probably won’t find small doe/fawn tracks.
- Find flat, hidden areas within the clusters of rubs with some kind of browse food. They will bed where they have good vantage points, so don’t look in swales or ditches.
Once you find the bedding areas, get out of them. You don’t hunt there. Instead, look for “barbells” or funnels between bedding areas and food sources, and hunt there to intercept the bucks when they come by.
Hunt closer to food in the evening, closer to the beds in the morning — and always make sure the wind carries your scent into what Jeff calls a “non-deer area.”