Ask The Biologist

They’re Ugly, But ...

They’re Ugly, But ...

By Bob Humphrey

Abnormal skin growths are not always a serious problem QUESTION: I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and we have a deer that comes into our yard quite often. She is nice and fat but has terrible looking growths. It started with just one clump, and now they are huge. I would like to know if these tumors can be spread to other deer. ANSWER: The growths p... READ MORE

Why the Big Increase?

Why the Big Increase?

By Bob Humphrey

What’s up with increasing doe tags when the herd needs to recover? QUESTION: Where I live in Maine, the deer herd has been in rough shape for many years, mostly because of hard winters and coyotes. Last winter, we had a mild winter and now our state is proposing to increase the number of doe permits by quite a bit. My question is, why would t... READ MORE

Designer Footwear

Designer Footwear

By Bob Humphrey

Like most coloration oddities, the cause is likely genetics. QUESTION: I shot a big buck in 1992 that scored 174. I got a half body mount should have got a full body. Anyway, his front feet are white and on the back feet, one toe is black and the other one is white. Could you tell me what causes this? — Ed ANSWER: We get a lot of questions ab... READ MORE

What’s the Attraction?

What’s the Attraction?

By Bob Humphrey

Why a doe on the pole can be worth four on the hoof. QUESTION: I had a doe hanging on the buck pole and took it to get processed. Four does came in the next two days to smell around where the deer had been hanging. Why do they do this? — AL ANSWER: Your query generates more questions than answers, and I’d be interested in knowing more a... READ MORE

Punch to the Gut

Punch to the Gut

By Bob Humphrey

Do paunch-hit deer always go to water? QUESTION: I shot a deer last fall with my bow, and it jumped just as I shot. When I found my arrow, it was covered with green slime and some blood. We tried to track it but were unable to find it until several days later. We found what was left of it near a small pond. Coyotes got the rest. My friend told me t... READ MORE

Twice as Nice

Twice as Nice

By Bob Humphrey

Should we double-seed our food plots to get better results? QUESTION: The club I'm in is talking about double-seeding the fields this year to see if we have better results. I've read in the past one of the biggest mistakes we make is over-seeding and not putting out enough fertilizer. Our club is located in north Alabama and is 5 miles up a mountai... READ MORE

Short in the Tooth

Short in the Tooth

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetails in the wild usually have a short and dangerous life. QUESTION: I got a deer last fall, and while caping it out I noticed the teeth were very worn. Someone told me that means it’s a very old deer. My question is, how old do deer get? — J.T. ANSWER: Much depends on where they live. In captivity, whitetails can live 20 years or ... READ MORE

Disappearing Act

Disappearing Act

By Bob Humphrey

Can tracking a wounded deer run all the other deer off a property? QUESTION: A friend was bowhunting on my property in southern Maryland this year, and he arrowed an 8-pointer with his recurve. We tracked it through a few coveted bedding areas and pretty much covered a good portion of my 150 acres of hunting land. Two weeks later, I’m still n... READ MORE

Holdin’ On

Holdin’ On

By Bob Humphrey

Do late-dropping antlers affect next year’s rack? QUESTION: I have noticed several bucks in the last two years near the New York/Pennsylvania border area hanging onto their antlers into March and April. Knowing that deer in our area start antler growth sometime around May, I wonder if it has any impact on their antler growth for the upcoming ... READ MORE

Typhoid Whitetails

Typhoid Whitetails

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetails carry brain worms that can be fatal to moose. QUESTION: I live in southern Maine, and someone told me the reason we don’t have more moose where I live is because they get a brain worm from deer. If that’s true, why doesn’t it kill deer too?  — Todd H. ANSWER: What you’re referring to is a parasitic nema... READ MORE

Long Live the King

Long Live the King

By Bob Humphrey

Why do some bucks keep their racks so far into winter? QUESTION: I run trail cameras on my feeders, and in the last week of February I’m still getting pictures of a mature buck with antlers. My question is, when do bucks shed their antlers? — Bruce W. ANSWER: Antlers serve several purposes. Bucks use them as offensive and defensive weap... READ MORE

Lay Off the Juice!

Lay Off the Juice!

By Bob Humphrey

What could be the cause of this buck’s abnormal thickness? QUESTION: Any idea what’s wrong with this buck? — Layton S. ANSWER: I once observed a Saskatchewan buck with a similar, although less severe, condition. He looked like a 50-gallon barrel on a sawbuck. The best I can do is speculate, based on what we know about whitetails. ... READ MORE

Cradle Robbers

Cradle Robbers

By Bob Humphrey

Where are all these young deer coming from, and where are the giants? QUESTION: I have a 700-acre lease on the Pee Dee River in South Carolina that’s mostly thick cut-over — perfect bedding cover. This is the fourth year we have been attempting to let our deer get bigger but this year we were overrun with spikes, 3- and 4-pointers. We r... READ MORE

Disappearing Act

Disappearing Act

By Bob Humphrey

How is it possible to see so many bucks during the late summer and then none in the fall? QUESTION: I hunt my farm in Kentucky. It has a clover field, wheat and oat fields and in a good season we’ll have turnips and no hunting pressure. I have many pictures of big bucks during the summer, but they soon disappear. There are plenty of does. Wha... READ MORE

Better Late than Ever

Better Late than Ever

By Bob Humphrey

Is there a reason so many big, mature bucks are taken in the late seasons? QUESTION: Over the past few years, I've noticed that we've shot more big bucks in the late-season hunts, early and mid-January, in northwest Illinois. What might account for this? ANSWER: Late season is indeed one of the best times to kill bucks, particularly older, bigger o... READ MORE

Hatch a Plot

Hatch a Plot

By Bob Humphrey

Food plots don’t have to be big, but it’s important to plant even small ones properly. QUESTION: I live in southeast Illinois and want to create a small food plot, about 50x50 feet. It will be in the shade and in a flat creek bottom. The soil is yellow clay with fescue grass growing on it. Can you tell me what type of seeds I should pla... READ MORE

Good Intentions

Good Intentions

By Bob Humphrey

Feeding deer in winter seems like a good idea, but it has serious consequences. QUESTION: I recently purchased a home in the Gettysburg/Littlestown, Pa. area on 2.74 wooded acres. There are many deer in this area and I have been feeding them shelled corn. I have not been hunting them. I wish to maintain their health and growth through the winter mo... READ MORE

Where’s the Other Antler?

Where’s the Other Antler?

By Bob Humphrey

Studies show many half-rack bucks have suffered an injury to the skull or pedicel. QUESTION: What causes bucks to grow half-racks? — Trevor B. ANSWER: To some extent that depends on what you mean by half-racks. A buck growing only one antler could be the result of an injury or genetic mutation. An injury to the limbs often results in some sor... READ MORE

Fawns Gone

Fawns Gone

By Bob Humphrey

Have you ever wondered what happens to yearling deer when the mother doe goes into estrus? QUESTION: I am of the understanding that does will run their fawns off as they come into estrus. If this is true, when do they let their fawns return after they have been bred? I have heard right away, and I have heard maybe not at all. From seeing so many do... READ MORE

Point Restrictions: Good or Bad?

Point Restrictions: Good or Bad?

By Bob Humphrey

Love them or hate them, antler restrictions are a common component of many management plans. QUESTION: I live in Pennsylvania, and we have antler restrictions that I do not agree with. I don't feel we have more bigger bucks than we did before, and I know if you let a deer go, you’re letting him grow. But we are getting overrun with small buck... READ MORE

Copyright 2018 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd