Bob Humphrey is the Biology & Deer Behavior field editor for Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine and holds similar titles with other major hunting publications.
He currently lives in Maine with his wife and two children. For more information about Bob, visit his website at www.bobhumphrey.com.
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Oh where have they gone?
Disappearing deer are looking for the same thing—bedding cover, high calorie leftovers and love.
QUESTION: I hunt on Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill., and there is food, water and cover everywhere. Where are the deer traveling in early December? To cover or to food? —John T.
ANSWER: Though your question is geographically specific, I’ll try and provide an answer that can be applied over a broader area. The short answer is: Both.
Deer should be doing basically the same thing in December that they were doing in November, with a few minor variations. For the most part, they will still be most active at dawn and dusk, feeding in the morning then moving back to bedding cover around or shortly after dawn, then leaving cover to feed again around dusk.
The bad news is, if the area you hunt received heavy hunting pressure, the deer will be moving less during daylight hours and more during dark periods. Also, the rut will also be winding down so bucks will have less reason to wander about during the day.
Now for the good news. Colder temperatures will prompt deer to feed more, and they’ll be honing in on any concentration of high-calorie food like waste grain, acorns or very late season food plots. You may also see a slight increase in buck movement because does not bred during the first rut come into estrus again and the second rut kicks in.