By Mike Handley
If you’ve heard the joke, bear with me. If you haven’t, I hope it tickles your fancy. I’ll get to the point afterward.
Three Hereford bulls were discussing a rumor that the rancher was bringing in a new bull.
“I’ve been here for five years and have earned my keep,” snorted the first. “I service 100 cows, and won’t be giving any up to some newcomer.”
“Well, sir,” the second drawled, “I’ve been here for three years and have 30 cows to keep happy. I’m doing a good job, and I don’t need any help.”
The third and youngest chimes in: “Well, even though I’m the new kid on the block, y’all have allowed me 10 cows, for which I’m grateful. But I’m not inclined to share any of ’em.”
Moments later, the guys hear the rumble and air brakes of an 18-wheeler’s arrival. In short order, off thunders the biggest, meanest, strongest Angus bull the three had ever seen.
“Well, maybe 100 cows are too many. I’m getting along in years and could stand a break. He can have 50 of my cows,” says the first.
“I’m still young and want to fool around a bit,” added the second. “Fifty cows are not worth dying over. He can have 20 of mine.”
The whippersnapper says nothing; just lowers his head, starts snorting and pawing the earth like a dirt-hating, snot-slinging demon. The eldest looks at him and says, “Are you crazy? He’ll kill you and take all your cows!”
“Heck, he can have my cows,” replies the youngest. “I just want to make sure he knows I’M A BULL!”
Stands to reason a deer with backbone might exhibit the same behavior – posturing – if he felt challenged. You’ve probably seen that ears-back, hackles-raised stiff-legged swagger when a dominant buck approaches a potential rival.
Rattling and grunting can elicit that response. Buck scent, especially tarsal glands, can also prompt it.
And so, apparently, can large amounts of estrous doe urine, although I’m not sure why. If I hadn’t heard this story many times from hunters who’ve taken monster bucks, I might have a hard time believing it.
Michael Hunter definitely subscribes to the more-is-better philosophy.
On the eve of Missouri’s 1995 gun season, he joined a few buddies at a cabin on a friend’s deer-rich 80 acres in Carter County. En route to his ladder stand the next morning, he paused at a large, recently pawed scrape and poured a liberal dose of doe-in-heat scent into it. (He calls himself a scent freak.)
Sometime before 8:00, he scratched the itch to move and crossed a nearby fence, keeping to a cow trail to muffle his stride. After jumping a small buck, he lost his enthusiasm for stalking and returned to the ladder, stopping first to pour the remainder of the doe scent into the scrape.
It wasn’t long before he heard a commotion and turned to see a buck at 50 yards, bulldozing its way through the brush, grunting and snorting like a young bull asserting its gender ... in what could only be described as a room so perfumed by Eau de doe, there’s no way it could’ve been mistaken for a buck’s locker room.
Was the buck trying to impress the doe? Was it trying to let another dude know it was a dude?
Whatever that snot-slinging rascal was thinking, it was his last thought.