Old Sign Can Be a Good Sign

Like any deer, suburban deer seek to live as normal and habitual life as possible. Unfortunately, suburban deer are subjected to a wide array of unpredictable human interference’s that can make patterns look more like chaos rather than habitual behavior. As suburban deer hunters we often find ourselves frustrated, finding an area full of sign that has suddenly went cold. Many of us will chalk up this potential suburban hunting mecca as a lost cause.

What we often do not realize is that Whitetails, like most creatures, want to continue a normal life that often becomes interrupted. These human interruptions lead to what actually appears as random behavior, when truly the constant is that they do in fact want live a scheduled life. This can make an area with old sign not a symbol of days gone by but rather a potential for a major future hot spot.

Eventually suburban deer will return to the location and it’s better to be there before, rather than always changing up spots to only find ourselves one step behind. One thing to always keep in mind is that the deer still do need a reason to come back, so be aware of whether there is food, bedding, travel routes, or whatever makes the property still of value to a suburban Whitetail Deer.

Just Because You Cannot Hunt Somewhere Doesn’t Mean You Should Ignore It

One of the most common mistakes suburban hunters make is limit the areas they scout and gather intelligence. We find ourselves limited to the areas we have permission to hunt, making the big picture more perplexing than ever. The fact that suburban hunting areas are often so limited makes it very important that we reach outside our comfort zone (to surrounding properties no matter how small). If we find ourselves unable to find bedding areas, rub lines, or some bit of information on a deer you know is there, this will put us on the right track.

hear from so many suburban hunters that they just cannot figure a deer out. If that happens we need to step back and reassess the situation. Suburban deer hunters need to leave the camo and weapon at home and scout the small patches of woods (that abut you hunting property) you never considered, the backyards that may hold keys, and whatever other small piece of the puzzle around your hunting spot, that can help us figure a suburban deer out. It will change the way we hunt the properties we do have permission to be on. 

(Be aware of  local trespassing laws, even when scouting without a weapon.)

Do Not Hesitate To Use Aggressive Tactics

Suburban deer hunting is just plain different from big woods hunting. It isn’t about one being better than the other, it is about adapting methods that are relevant to the areas we hunt. Traditionally, many of us have used much more conservative methods of hunting classic rural settings. One thing I have learned particularly in suburban buck hunting, is that some bucks are only killable through aggressive tactics.

Now I do not mean illegal tactics. What I mean is such bold moves as hanging up in a treestand directly into a bucks bedding area (before it beds), driving a buck out into a huntable area, or hunting a deer hard and early in the season. We are subjected to so many factors in suburban deer hunting, that we often find ourselves out of options before we even had a chance to try.

About The Author A.J. DeRosa

A.J. DeRosa is an American film maker and outdoor writer. He is considered a pioneer in the modern era of hunting. From the amazon best selling deer hunting book ‘The Urban Deer Complex‘ to his critically acclaimed film series 'Project Upland'. He continues to push the boundaries in outdoor media, including niche market regions and unique cultures to the mass market.

comments (2)

  • AJ< i've learned so much from your writings. And great book too!
    I've been solely hunting suburban deer for the past 5 years. I'm currently on the track of a monster 11pt that eluded me last year. He seemed to bust me then disappear during daylight hours. but I think I have his number this year. Ive done my scouting, he still uses the same exits and bedding areas so its only a matter of time.

    Thanks for keeping me aware of things. Great articles.

  • i have told people that they have a deer problem just by looking at there bushes . tall shrubs in the shape of a tornado . i tell them that the deer eat there bushes . and they reply with no your wrong they grow this way . ill post pictures of the bushes at work . the boss says there tons of rabbits in the area , because he saw there poop on the ground near the bushes

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