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How to find deer bedding areas

Understanding whitetail bedding areas is more than just good hunting knowledge; it’s a peek into the secret life of one of nature’s most iconic species. Indeed, among the most important lessons I’ve learned in my decades of observing and hunting deer is that not all beds are created equally – especially when it comes to mature bucks. This guide will help you master the art of how to find deer bedding areas to enhance your hunting prowess.

How to Find Deer Bedding Areas: Factors to Consider

When searching for buck bedding areas, it is crucial to consider various factors influencing where a mature buck will bed. Understanding these factors can significantly improve the chances of locating productive buck bedding areas. Here are some key considerations:

Human Intrusion 

Human pressure is a primary factor influencing where a mature buck will bed. Once a whitetail buck gets to a certain age, the amount of human activity they will tolerate in an area dramatically diminishes, especially in and around their bedding areas.


The area’s habitat type will also influence where a buck will likely bed. I have found that the older bucks will likely be bedding on a secluded island in the marsh habitat. This allows them the comfort of the thick cover and the ability to hear possible predators approaching their position. In hill country or agricultural areas, whitetails can be found bedding in more open terrain, like on the toe of a finger ridge or a small secluded woodlot surrounded by ag fields.


The last factor that we will talk about that influences where that old buck decides to bed is the weather and wind direction. Just because you find that a buck is bedding in a particular location one day doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be bedding in the same spot the following day. Whitetail bucks often have several different bedding areas that give them the advantage for different wind directions. This allows them to have the advantage of being able to smell danger approaching from one direction while having good visibility on their downwind side.

Start With Maps 

When scouting a new area for whitetail bedding areas, I always start with maps. I like to use the OnX app because it allows me to view the location with satellite, topographic, and hybrid maps. By studying these maps, I can narrow down possible bedding areas by looking for the spots that meet most or all of the factors we previously discussed. This can be a huge time saver when scouting larger blocks of public land. Once I have several areas on the maps that look to be prime buck bedding areas, I will head to the woods.

Confirming What the Maps Told You

I will scout for potential bedding areas on OnX year-round. Still, I prefer to do this during the postseason when it comes to putting boots on the ground and diving into the area. As mentioned earlier, a mature buck will only put up with so much human pressure before they relocate and change its patterns. By waiting to walk these areas in the postseason, I don’t have to worry as much about the possibility of spooking a buck that I am hunting.

Wrapping Up

Locating mature buck bedding areas can be a great way to take your whitetail hunting to the next level. Identifying these bedding areas can be very simple once you understand the factors that affect where a big buck likes to bed. Implementing these strategies can also aid in finding future tree stand locations, where you encounter that buck of a lifetime.

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