What do deer tracks tell you?
There's a fair amount to consider when you stumble upon tracks in the field. Knowing what the tracks can tell you before you find them is key to benefiting from the chance discovery.
Check the gait - a buck's tracks will be less organized, showing a prominent outward kick. Does and younger animals will leave tracks that go in a straight line.
What's the drag - small deer lift their hooves more completely on soft terrain, heavier deer, and bucks in particular, tend to drag their hooves, leaving clefts in the ground between tracks.
Size matters - bigger deer have bigger feet, and though size isn't the most reliable indicator, one set of exceptionally large tracks among a myriad of smaller tracks is a sure sign that a big buck is around.
How old is it - it's hard to tell how old tracks are in the field, but with a little experience, you will learn the difference between sharply-defined new tracks and their less-impressive older cousins.
How many sets - the big bucks like to run on their own, so when there's a single set of large tracks on their own, you're probably on to a winner.