Finding Buck Beds in Big Woods

Locate Big Buck Beds

Finding Buck Beds in Big Woods

Where to find Buck Beds in Big Woods for Hunting

After the rut bucks need to recover and will seek out the best cover to bed in for maximum relaxation. He wants a bed that offers visibility with the wind while using his nose to cover his back. When finding buck beds in big woods look for an escape route for the buck. This could be a great place to be if you have a friend that can push the deer out of its bed. 

Buck Bed Signs

Buck beds can be hard to find. Mature whitetails are loners but they do prefer certain areas to bed where they feel safe. These are the locations that you as a hunter need to find. From these buck bedding areas, you can set up a plan to intercept his movements and harvest that buck.

You can locate these big buck bedding areas by finding a concentration of rubs and droppings. When you find an area with random rubs throughout the area with no obvious direction then you have found either a core buck area or a staging area. Either one is a great find for the deer hunter. However, each one should be approached differently, as far as hunting goes.

A staging area is a place where a buck will hang out waiting for other deer to enter an area or nightfall. It is a place between the bucks core area and where he wants to be at night. This could be a field or a doe family group that he wants to pursue during the rut. A staging area can be a great place to hunt a buck but following the buck’s route back into thicker areas will help you locate that buck’s bedding area.

Look for rub lines coming to or leaving this staging area. The buck may have both. The staging area could be used for only one travel route. Sometimes a buck will use a staging area going to bed. This can be determined by the side of the trees the rubs are found. Are they going deeper into the woods or thicket or are they going toward an open field a couple hundred away?

Following these rubs can lead you to a bucks bedding area. Knowing where a buck is bedding can lead to some excellent hunts. Be careful to not spook the buck out of his bedding area. Buck beds can be found during the season and hunted successfully. However, finding buck beds in big woods early before the season or late, after the season will help you plan a hunt without spooking the buck into another area.

Buck Beds on Top of Bluffs

Bluffs can offer the best buck beds in the woods. The leeward side of a ridge or bluff leeward meaning the downwind side is a great place for finding buck beds in big woods. The buck will use the bluff to watch the area in front while only bedding in a spot where the wind is blowing from behind. Then he has the front covered with his eyes and his back covered with his nose. Anywhere there are bluffs there is usually pretty steep terrain around. This terrain can be a deer hunter’s friend. Use the lay of the land and eliminate the ways the deer would not travel to the bluff bed and you will be left with some great options for your stand site.

Buck Beds at Water’s Edge

Bucks will bed along the water’s edge to utilize the security of being able to watch the open water for danger. Like the bed on the leeward side of the ridge, the buck will keep the wind to his back. The water’s edge can be a great place for finding buck beds in big woods. If danger comes from behind and the open water is safe he’ll be across that slough before you get there. If you are lucky you might get a glimpse of the buck getting out on the other side and know what you are up against. For some reason, those big bucks seem to know how to give you the slip every time.

Finding Buck Beds in Grown-Up Fields

Fields left to grow up thick is a very attractive bedding area for late-season whitetail bucks. The cover as well as their natural browse can hold deer all year long. Look for islands of trees. Bucks, especially those lone monster bucks love to have a nice clump of trees to call their own. Hunting these tree clumps can be tough. However, if you can figure out the route that the buck is taking to get there you can move back to intercept the buck going to bed. Big bucks will bed before daylight. You will miss him going to bed unless you are there very early.

The next option is an aggressive one for sure. Sneak into the clump of trees when the buck is bedded. Spook the buck from its bed. Watch carefully for his escape route. After a few days get into position and have a buddy slip into the trees and the buck will usually use the same escape route as before and your in position.

Finding Buck Beds in Big Woods Blow Overs

A blow-over is a tree that has blown over. Oftentimes these blow overs will have leaves still on the branches as well as a big root wad that peeled up out of the ground. If you hunt wetlands this is common and can provide a late-season big buck a great place to bed during the late season. A buck will lay right up against this blow-over and feel completely secure even in fairly open woods. It’s kind of like the clump of trees in the field that bucks are drawn to. This isolated cover lets them view their surroundings while the tree blocks the wind. The buck can lay on either side of the tree depending on the wind.

This late-season buck bed is a tricky deal to get set up on. Getting in early is key and I mean a couple of hours before daylight if you want to hunt this late-season buck bed. The best option is to catch the buck leaving its bed and heading to feed. Get between the buck bed and the primary food source.Buck Bed

Get as close as you dare to the bed. Quietly get in your treestand unless you are gun hunting then a good blowdown will do. Glass the area where the bed is. As the sun starts to set and see if you can catch him moving around. This is why you want to get as close as possible. If you can see which way the buck heads after getting out of bed then you have the set-up. Wait till the wind is right. Being patient is key when hunting big bucks anytime. But it’s especially true when you’re hunting these small clumps of cover for late-season buck beds.

Finding Buck Beds in Standing Corn

Standing corn can be a nightmare to hunters if it’s a late harvest, but it can be a great place for finding buck beds in the late season. However, when talking about locating buck beds for late-season hunting, standing corn can be your ticket. Standing corn during the late season is corn that couldn’t be harvested. This could be because of a low spot too wet to get the tractor or some other anomaly. This means that late-standing corn is usually small tracts or clumps of unharvested crops. These clumps of cover provide the perfect late-season buck bed.

Learning Big Buck Behavior By Locating Beds

Because the bucks have changed so dramatically from their summer to winter patterns, many of the beds we find after season may not even be used by the buck the following year. The best response I can provide is that bucks look for the same things in their bedding throughout the year, even in traditional overwinter yarding areas, where there are simply fewer good options. So, get down in that bed and look around, and ask why. Regardless of when I find his bed—assuming it wasn’t during or just before the season. Ask yourself why is he sleeping here, out of all the places the buck has to make a bed?

You can get a better sense of where a buck likes to bed and learn what mature bucks are looking for in their core area and elsewhere for bedding. As you do this be sure to study photographs and topos and determine the most likely locations that the big buck might bed down. You can do this even before entering the woods.

When it comes to nailing mature buck bedding, that is incredibly helpful right there. There are no better teachers than the buck you are hunting himself to explain who he is and what he wants in a bed and the area he prefers. If only we take the time to look, read, and listen, the buck will show us everything we need to know. It takes a little extra effort to study buck beds on this level but the time and energy required will pay off big time and not just for the one buck you are hunting but applying this advance learning will help you understand buck beds and where and when to find big bucks and set up a successful stand site.

Video of Hill Country Big Buck Beds


Early Season Scouting Tips

Food Plots for Deer

Deer Hunting Public Land

About Ken McBroom 307 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.