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Normal Topic Deer Sign - 'Droppings' (Read 6810 times)
footsore
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Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Oct 31st, 2015 at 11:38pm
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I thought it would be useful to start a couple of threads about sign for new guys.

Pretty regularly the forum gets questions along the lines of -is this deer sign?, from guys who donít have a more experience mate to educate them.

I feel like a bit of a fraud starting this with my own limited knowledge and experience, but since Iím fairly new to the game Iíve had the same questions myself over the last few years and so know where they are coming from.

I hope some of you more experienced fellas can add your knowledge to the basicís Iím laying out here.

First up the scoop on Poop


† ††† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† † †
This is one of my trophy photos with examples of both Red and Fallow excrement.† †† †
† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† ††
Both species pellets are shaped similarly, usually acorn-like with a dimple or dent at one end and a slight point at the other. They can however also be like jelly beans with rounded ends.† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† ††
Whether they exit the animal as individual pellets or as clumps of pellets depends on the moisture content of what they are eating. Typically grass has more moisture than browse so the pellets tend to adhere to one another more.† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† ††
†Size is the obvious point of difference between the pellets of Red and Fallow. Reds pellets will be 2 -2.5cm long while a Fallowís will be around 1.5cm or less.

If you find multiple piles of pellets you are probably in a favoured feed area, whereas a single defecation is likely to be from an animal just passing through. If dropped in a string the deer is obviously on the move and a stationary animal will leave a more concentrated pile.

Determining the age of the pellets is of course useful to the hunter.
Essentially this is judging how dry the pellets have become.† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† ††
Fresh= Often greenish, moist, very soft and glossy with a mucus coating.† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† ††
A few days old=† Black/Brown, moist and soft but not glossy.† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† ††
Weeks to a few months old =† Black/Brown, dry [excluding recent rain], firm and resists being squeezed.
Many months old = Colour gets washed out to a pale grey and plant fibre in the poop become obvious.† †
†† †† †


Red Deer pellets clumped together, still containing some moisture.


Red Deer separated pellets that have become pretty dried out.†

Another useful skill is being able to† figure out what is deer poop and what isnítÖ


Possum separated pellets. You can mistake the jelly bean like possum droppings for deer, although the possum pellets tend to be more elongated in relation to their width. But the more obvious clue is the volume, a possum will leave just 6-12 pellets whereas a deer will leave 30 to more than a hundred.


Possum pellets clumped.† †


Paradise duck/Geese† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †
To my embarrassment when I first started out I thought finding a pile of these logs on a river bank meant venison was nearby† Roll Eyes† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †† †
Longer than a deerís 'leavings' and tend to be squarish at the ends.


Hare pellets. Round and marble-like


Pig shi*t, as thick as.... About the same size as a clumped deposit of deer pellets, but it is not made up of individual pellets. A turd an inch or two across that often separates across its width into disc-like portions.


Folk will often tell you that much information can also be gleaned from tasting the pellets.
ie what the animals have been eating - stag or hind- how many points on the rack etc.
After having consumed tons of the stuff however I'm still not entirely convinced!!
« Last Edit: Dec 25th, 2015 at 4:40pm by footsore »  
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sticknstring
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Re: Deer Sign
Reply #1 - Nov 1st, 2015 at 10:20pm
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Good stuff. We have been tempted to take some samples home so we can watch them age on more than one occasion! Good luck getting some print photos, I've found it pretty hard to get enough lighting on them to make them stand out in the bush.
  

Just love being in the bush!
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #2 - Feb 2nd, 2016 at 4:02pm
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Another Poo Pic to add to the above post.


Fallow

See how moist the pellets are and still green - only a few hours old at most. The animal that left this might be just around the next bend in the river!
  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #3 - Apr 24th, 2016 at 11:12am
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Another great post. It's funny , and non hunters must think we're crazy but coming across a fresh poo such as the last pic can be just the spark that makes hunting so exciting. I'll often feel my pulse quicken just knowing something was standing just there inside the last hour if not the last few minutes - it's game on.
  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #4 - Apr 25th, 2016 at 8:39am
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plus its a good excuse to scoop it up and chuck it at your mate Grin Grin Grin Grin...so he can check its freshness of course  Wink
  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #5 - Jul 28th, 2016 at 2:55am
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Thanks, good read! Have been doing a few trips around new areas and finding droppings but unsure if fallow or goat, what are the main differences?
cheers
  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #6 - Jul 28th, 2016 at 5:49am
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There are no goats where I hunt fallow - so I've never had to suss that out.

Deer, Goat and Sheep pellets are broadly similar really. They can vary in shape even within the species depending on what they are eating and how moist their tucker is. For all species pellets can be deposited individually or clumped together. Often the clumps break up upon hitting the ground or separate as they age. Individual pellets that were at some point part of a clump appear more angular or flattened.

I do recall reading somewhere that a higher percentage of goat pellets are pointed at both ends. Fallow pellets typically are flat or dented at one end and pointed at the other.

Look for other sign in the area to aid with identification eg tracks. The tips of Fallow hooves are usually sharper than a goat's and a goat's cleaves are often quite splayed compared to a deer's.

I hope someone who knows goats better can help out.   
Good luck with the Fallow
  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #7 - Jul 28th, 2016 at 8:13am
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Thanks mate,  trying again tomorrow so with some luck ill get to see some at source to work it out
  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #8 - Jul 28th, 2016 at 9:42am
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They are tricky buggas, great hunting and great eating.
Fallow populations are home body's. Their weakness is you can find them in the same area's time after time. Their strength is they know their home ranges really well -they learn where the danger [hunters] usually come from, be that the track or direction of the road end etc and keep a good eye out. They also know intimately the good escape routes and areas of cover in their range. My spot is regularly hunted and the deer rarely are more than a couple of bounds from cover in the daylight.
Checkout 'Grandad's' Fallow Files in the Information Resources section of this forum.
  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #9 - Aug 7th, 2016 at 8:03am
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Smell is the main differentiator. Means you have to pick it up and play with it but the smell gives it away every time. Have thought I was onto a deer some time ago. Picked it up and smelt it.....sheep:)Smiley footsore wrote on Jul 28th, 2016 at 5:49am:
There are no goats where I hunt fallow - so I've never had to suss that out.

Deer, Goat and Sheep pellets are broadly similar really. They can vary in shape even within the species depending on what they are eating and how moist their tucker is. For all species pellets can be deposited individually or clumped together. Often the clumps break up upon hitting the ground or separate as they age. Individual pellets that were at some point part of a clump appear more angular or flattened.

I do recall reading somewhere that a higher percentage of goat pellets are pointed at both ends. Fallow pellets typically are flat or dented at one end and pointed at the other.

Look for other sign in the area to aid with identification eg tracks. The tips of Fallow hooves are usually sharper than a goat's and a goat's cleaves are often quite splayed compared to a deer's.

I hope someone who knows goats better can help out.† †
Good luck with the Fallow

  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #10 - Aug 7th, 2016 at 8:04am
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Bugger. Pressed the wrong 'quote'. Was aiming for Jake's Grin Grin
  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #11 - Aug 7th, 2016 at 9:54pm
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That makes sense XR, cheers for the input.
I'll have to add the 'sniff test' to my list of CSI analysis tools.
  
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Re: Deer Sign - 'Droppings'
Reply #12 - Aug 8th, 2016 at 10:14am
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Thanks XR,  whats the difference in smell, does goat shit smell goaty. It has never occurred to me to sniff it,  just assumed it would smell like shit Grin
  
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