[NEXT "Decode Droppings"] Decode Droppings
The first thing to determine is whether a deer really left that pile. Rabbit pellets are lighter, more scattered, and round. Deer droppings are darker, more tightly clustered, and oval. They are a deep dark brown at first and turn lighter brown after a few days. After a few weeks, they become paler still, almost tan. The newest droppings-less than 12 hours old-look shiny and moist. Fresh pellets that are firm and hard indicate that the deer was browsing on twigs and bushes. Scout clear-cuts, selectively logged areas, and transition zones between bedding and feeding areas for habitat with large bushes or young trees. If the droppings are moister and softer, the animal has been consuming a mixture of browse and either grasses, alfalfa, or clover. And if they're almost loose, the deer has likely been eating fruits. Finally, consider the size of the pile. A large one suggests a good-size deer, possibly a mature buck.