Top 5 Locations to Find Trophy Sized Deer

One of the hardest challenges any hunter faces is the prospect of having to find a new hunting area. Where do you look? What should you be looking for? How can you best judge the value of one area over another?

The answer to all of these questions is complex to say the least. Deer need the same sort of things we do. They need food, access to water, and some form of shelter in order to feel security and safe from predators. Now this does not mean that deer are living in huts out in the woods, but they may be closer than you think.​


A skilled hunter knows that the pursuit of a champion buck can lead them nearly anywhere. It is in the hunter’s best benefit to consider that some places are just more likely to contain deer than others. Below is a list of some of the highest rated spots that deer congregate in, especially huge bucks.

​The Top 5 Environments to Find Big Buck Deer In Any Region

#1 Transitional Areas Between Two Habitats

Wherever two habitats collide is an opportune place to locate deer. If you have a grassy field that runs into a dense thicket of scrub brush, you have the perfect place for deer to hide in.

What you should be looking for in areas like this is crucial evidence that deer have frequented the area. Things like crushed down grass, deer scat, and tracks are all good signs that deer have been in the area and will most likely return.​

If you are able to witness any of these or, better yet, actual deer, then you need to be patient and locate your best vantage point to this area. Deer tend to use these transitional areas very often as both a safe place to rest and move about. Once you have your vantage point, keep a careful watch and wait for your prime opportunity.​

For more information on how to find bedding areas for big bucks in transitional areas watch this video.

#2 On Established Deer Trails

This is a no brainer, but one that many hunters tend to overlook. Established deer trails are clear signs of a deer’s activity in an area. If you know of one in your region and have access to it, take a chance and spend a day there. See what you can in the area.

One of the reasons these spots are often overlooked is because they are more often than not be frequented by juveniles as opposed to trophy deer. Why is this? The trophy animals are wary of such circumstances and will shy away from areas like this.

That is not to say that these animals aren’t always going to shy away from an established trail. This is especially true during the rut. If you are established on an active deer trail during the rut with knowledge that does are in the area, you stand a far better chance of catching site of that trophy buck as he chases the does who frequent that same trail.

#3 Within Close Proximity to a Ready Food Source

Deer know a good thing when they see it. Any food source that is readily available and doesn’t require tremendous effort is one that deer will continually visit. Some good options for this are agricultural fields and orchards.

Find Trophy Sized Deer

While it may not be the best option to hunt directly in the designated food area, it is wise to set yourself up in close proximity to it. The deer will need a way to both enter and exit the area, so do what you can to attempt to locate these. Keep in mind that they may not be the exact same. The optimal time to view deer feeding behaviors is during the early morning hours and in the evening.

While you may see deer periodically throughout the day in these locations, your best option for making the most out of this type of area is to be in before first light. This way you will be able to view the deer in the area and, should the opportunity present itself, be able to safely take aim knowing that you have time enough to locate your prize.

#4 In Marshes and Swamps

The wetter areas are some of the best hunting for one reason and one reason only. Hunters tend to view accessing these areas as overly difficult and will avoid them if possible. Just to get into the actual hunting area, it may be necessary to have a boat or walk an extended way wearing hip waders due to rising water levels.

The strength of hunting marshes and swamps though is that there is often less competition in these areas. The deer may feel far more relaxed in this environment due to being under considerably less pressure from external factors such as excess hunting. This makes for the perfect environment for huge bucks to call home.

If you can find a way to safely enter one of these regions without too much trouble, begin to consider where deer would likely hide. Look for islands of firm ground among the swamp that deer may use to bed down or willow trees that the deer may view as a food source.

Deer Food Source

#5 Down Steep Wooded Draws

Big bucks tend to avoid the most highly populated areas in the region. That being the case, if you want to find some of the biggest and wisest deer you should look to the areas that will be the hardest to get to. One of the optimal spots to consider in this case is a steep wooded draw.

A draw is something akin to a valley. It has steep sides and will generally have a water source at the very base. The steepness of this region and the density of the foliage is what make it so appealing to large buck deer. If they have a hard time getting in and out, you can be sure that the same can be said of any potential predators or other hunters.

Keep in mind that once you enter one of these domains, you may be in the territory of only a single deer. This will be an extremely wary animal that will be extra alert to anything out of the ordinary. Be patient as you hunt in these areas and pay special attention to any signs of deer activity in the area.

Another environmental concern to consider is that, should you be so lucky as to bag your trophy buck, you will need to have a way to get the animal and yourself safely out of the area.


Depending on your region, you will undoubtedly have a number of options when it comes to selecting the perfect deer habitat to hunt. It is always important to consider what each area has to offer and to be aware of the presence of deer in each area. If you spend a considerable amount of time in one region without ever locating any game, it may be time to move on and try the next.​

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Find more about ​Step By Step Guide to Successfully Field Dressing a Deer by click here

Joseph Gleason

With a dedicated respect to the environment, I understand the importance of being an informed hunter who learns as he goes. I truly recognize the value in how things were done before and how things are done today. Born and raised in upstate New York, I grew up exposed to skilled hunters who taught me the importance of what responsible hunting can provide both to myself, my family, and to the environment. I continue today to work towards refining my craft and finding new ways to practice the time honored traditions that were passed down to me from those who came before.

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