Ask The Biologist

Gut Shots Happen

Gut Shots Happen

By Bob Humphrey

The key to recovering paunch-shot deer is to back out quietly and wait. QUESTION: I’m hoping you can settle an argument. A friend told me that he would not hesitate to gut-shoot a deer if it was the only shot he had because he knows he’ll recover it. I say it’s a poor shot choice due to the high probability of not recovering the ... READ MORE

All In the Family

All In the Family

By Bob Humphrey

How deer, elk, moose and caribou are related, at least according to biologists. QUESTION: Are elk a subspecies of deer or a separate species? Are elk related to domestic cattle? To moose? Why are they called bulls, cows and calves while deer are bucks, does and fawns? ANSWER: I should be able to answer the first two questions fairly easily. The las... READ MORE

Night Shift

Night Shift

By Bob Humphrey

Could year-round food plots encourage night movement? QUESTION: We are hunting 200 acres and have 12 acres of food plots. The first two years we had mostly daylight movement the whole season. But we did not have any year-round food at that time, just fall plots. We are on year six now. For the past two years we also have year-round food plots and h... READ MORE

Can I Avoid Ticks and Chiggers?

Can I Avoid Ticks and Chiggers?

By Bob Humphrey

Question: What do you do to limit attacks from pesky ticks and chiggers? — Charles H. Answer:  You can use common DEET-based insect repellents that are sold under a variety of trade names like REPEL 100, Deep Woods OFF and Ben’s 100. However, their effectiveness is temporary. They do have odor, and although they are approved by th... READ MORE

Rub Line Ruler

Rub Line Ruler

By Bob Humphrey

You can't always judge a buck by the size of the rub. QUESTION: Last hunting season before Christmas, I found some really big rubs between on trees between 4 and 7 inches in diameter. They were in a swampy area in a creek bottom, in standing water and paralleling the edge of the swamp. The rub line seemed like it was a couple hundred yards long. I... READ MORE

Blind Ambition

Blind Ambition

By Bob Humphrey

There are several reasons deer might be spotting you when you’re in a ground blind. QUESTION: I just started to hunt out of a ground blind, but every time I’m in there the deer seem to know I’m there. Do I have too many windows open? The inside of my tent is black, so I wear black. What could they be seeing? — Tony L. ANSWER... READ MORE

To Pee or Not to Pee?

To Pee or Not to Pee?

By Bob Humphrey

There is no concrete answer to this question, but it’s likely okay. QUESTION: I know you’ve probably had this question before but can deer tell the difference between human and deer urine? –Marc S. ANSWER: We really don’t know exactly what deer perceive through their sense of smell or how they interpret scent, but we know th... READ MORE

You Can’t Do That Here

You Can’t Do That Here

By Bob Humphrey

Why does calling work so well on TV, but not in my neck of the woods? QUESTION: What (and when) are the best calls for New England deer? I watch TV, and they are always hunting somewhere that deer are plentiful. They use rattles, bleats and grunts, and it seems like deer just come running in from all over the place. What are the best techniques for... READ MORE

To Drive or Not to Drive

To Drive or Not to Drive

By Bob Humphrey

It’s difficult to get to a stand unnoticed, no matter what method you choose. QUESTION: I am disabled and can’t walk to my deer blind. Will it affect my deer hunt if I drive my SxS to my blind? – Randy B. ANSWER: The short answer is: Probably. Any time you enter their domain, whether by ATV, truck or even on foot, it affects deer... READ MORE

Generally Speaking

Generally Speaking

By Bob Humphrey

These simple steps are the cornerstone to improving any deer herd. QUESTION: We have a hunting club in North Texas and I was just wondering what to do to improve the quality of our deer. We have deer, turkey, quail and hogs. I would like to focus on the deer and quail quality. – Mike M. ANSWER: Yours is a very general question so I’ll o... READ MORE

Happiness Is a Large Gut Pile

Happiness Is a Large Gut Pile

By Bob Humphrey

They do things a little differently in the South, and that includes gutting deer. QUESTION: I am from the Northeast and went down South last year to hunt for the first time. The guys I hunted with told me if I shoot a deer I should drag it out whole and not gut it in the woods. I thought they were pulling my leg at first, but they were serious. The... READ MORE

Pee Brain

Pee Brain

By Bob Humphrey

We still don’t know exactly how much information whitetails get from urine scents. QUESTION: There are so many brands and types of doe in heat scent. Does one work better than others? Do deer smell different from region to region? For example, will an off-the-shelf doe in estrus scent work the same in Wyoming as it would in Illinois? Do you h... 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

Another Deer Disease

Another Deer Disease

By Bob Humphrey

Although whitetails can get this disease, it’s not something to worry about. QUESTION: How common is it for deer to have rabies. I only mention that because I’ve seen two stories about it in a relatively short period of time. — Linda O. ANSWER: I was aware it occurred but had no idea how often until your question prompted me to dig a little d... READ MORE

Who Started It?

Who Started It?

By Bob Humphrey

We just don’t know everything there is to know about scrapes. QUESTION: Who starts the scrape, and what do the does have to do with it? – Scotty W. ANSWER: Bucks typically do most of the scrape initiation and tending. While we still don’t fully understand their function, it is largely accepted that scrapes represent a scent signp... READ MORE

What Should I Plant?

What Should I Plant?

By Bob Humphrey

This is by far the most common food plot question. Unfortunately, there is no one correct answer. QUESTION: I live in eastern Massachusetts. I was curious what the best food sources would be to set up a food plot. I know the deer are around the local cornfields but is there anything else I could use on my plot for a bit more diversity to help attr... READ MORE

Busted!

Busted!

By Bob Humphrey

So you spooked the buck you were after. What happens now? QUESTION: I have been hunting a big buck this season, and last night he finally came in. But before I could get a shot he caught me moving and ran off. My question is, should I give up on the spot or will he be back? How long should I wait before hunting there again? — Bill G. ANSWER: ... READ MORE

How High’s the Water?

How High’s the Water?

By Bob Humphrey

There are food plot crops that do well in moist soils, but it depends. QUESTION: We live in south-central Pennsylvania and have a very wet 20 acres that only has some wild grass and weeds in it. What could we plant to attract deer in our November to January hunting season? – Mike S. ANSWER: Much depends on what you mean by “very wet.&rd... READ MORE

She Didn’t Do It

She Didn’t Do It

By Bob Humphrey

We’re still learning about how whitetails interact with scrapes. QUESTION: Does the hot doe ever pee in a scrape to let the buck know she is ready? – Scotty W. ANSWER: It was once widely thought that bucks opened scrapes as an invitation to does, and that the does would then urinate in the scrape to announce they are ready and willing t... READ MORE

Ticked Off

Ticked Off

By Bob Humphrey

Take steps to repel ticks in the spring and the fall. QUESTION: I like to bowhunt early in the season, but the ticks have gotten really bad where I live. Someone told me regular insect repellent will work, but I’m afraid the smell will scare away deer. Is there something else I can use? –Kyle G. ANSWER: I, too, have heard that conventio... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd