Ask The Biologist

Early Birds

Early Birds

By Bob Humphrey

Although not common, it is normal to find a scrape outside of the fall. QUESTION: I have seen scrapes as early as late July. It was in same site as where a buck had made a scrape the year before. Would you say he or another deer cleaned out last year’s scrape? — Steve B. ANSWER: I would. While deer don’t necessarily make scrapes a... READ MORE

Timing Is Everything

Timing Is Everything

By Bob Humphrey

Every situation is different when it comes to tracking a deer. QUESTION: I read lots of stories about bowhunters who shoot a buck and then back out of the woods. Many times they find the deer very close to where it was shot. It seems to me that if you do not retrieve the animal and field-dress it quickly, the meat has spoiled. In my humble opinion,... READ MORE

It’s All Good

It’s All Good

By Bob Humphrey

What’s beneficial to bucks is beneficial to does, too. QUESTION: I hunt the western portion of northeast Kansas. I have noticed that we have some large bucks, but most of our does are small. Should I imply there is an overpopulation of does in my spot? I am unsure of the cause. I do not hang trail cameras because there are only four people wh... READ MORE

Florida is for Lovers

Florida is for Lovers

By Bob Humphrey

Is it possible to see a buck chasing does in turkey season? QUESTION: While turkey hunting in Florida this spring, I saw a buck chasing a doe, and the buck still had hard antlers. It was not inside an enclosure. This seems way out of the normal rutting time, and shouldn’t the buck have dropped its antlers by then? ANSWER: The whitetail rut is... READ MORE

Control What You Can

Control What You Can

By Bob Humphrey

There’s not much you can do about genetics in free-ranging deer. QUESTION: I’ve noticed many of the bucks taken in my area have short tines. Is this a sign of inbreeding? Is there anything we can do to improve antler size? –Thomas P. ANSWER: As most folks know, it takes three things to make big antlers: age, genetics and nutrition... READ MORE

Standing Her Ground

Standing Her Ground

By Bob Humphrey

Brave doe was most likely protecting her fawns. QUESTION: Earlier this summer I was out hiking and looking for arrow heads when I came upon a doe standing in the corner of an overgrown field. She let me get quite close and kept stomping her feet and blowing at me rather than running away. Any idea why she would do this? It seemed strange. ANSWER: I... READ MORE

Unbearable

Unbearable

By Bob Humphrey

There are lots of predators in the woods, and most like venison. QUESTION: I was checking trail camera photos and had lots of fawns. I also noticed more bear pictures than I’ve seen before. That got me to wondering if bears prey on deer, especially fawns. –Joe D. ANSWER: Bears are omnivorous, meaning their diet includes both meat and pl... READ MORE

Growth Spurt

Growth Spurt

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetail antlers are the fastest-growing tissue known. QUESTION: I saw a buck the other day, and his antlers were already out to his ears. It’s not even July. How fast do antlers grow? ANSWER: Sometimes even scientists can’t see the forest for the trees. I consulted the two most authoritative books on white-tailed deer, both of which h... READ MORE

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

By Bob Humphrey

If deer can’t see infrared flash, why do they look directly at your trail cameras? QUESTION: I’ve noticed on several of my trail camera photos that the deer look like they’re looking right at the camera. I thought they weren’t supposed to be able to tell when a picture is being taken. Will this frighten the deer? –Will... READ MORE

Outstanding in Their Field

Outstanding in Their Field

By Bob Humphrey

Is there any explanation why deer sometimes feed in the open in broad daylight? QUESTION: I was driving home the other day and saw several deer feeding in a field. It was the middle of the day, and they were just standing out in plain sight. I’ve never seen this before. Is it unusual? What would cause deer to act like this? The place is hunte... 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

There’s the Rub

There’s the Rub

By Bob Humphrey

By themselves, buck rubs might not mean they hang out in a given area. QUESTION: While turkey hunting this spring, I found a place where deer had made several rubs. I’m wondering if it would be a good location to hunt this fall? –Erik F. ANSWER: As is often the case with questions we receive for ATB, it’s difficult to give a firm ... READ MORE

Bucks are Selfish!

Bucks are Selfish!

By Bob Humphrey

The deer you hear is not likely the deer you’re after. QUESTION: Last fall when hunting a farm in Kansas, I was approaching a thicket when a buck began to snort at me. Several minutes later, three does ran out. I waited awhile longer, but the buck never came out, and when I went in to investigate, the buck was not there. Is it possible one of... 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

Yikes!

Yikes!

By Bob Humphrey

Cringe-worthy growths likely not nearly as bad as they look. QUESTION: I recently saw a video of a deer covered with tumors. Do deer get the bubonic plague? ANSWER: Bubonic plague, sometimes called the black death killed more than 20 million people in Europe (a third of the continent’s population) in roughly five years in the 1300s. Fortunate... READ MORE

The Early Bird

The Early Bird

By Bob Humphrey

Seeing a fawn in May is unusual, but not out of the question. QUESTION: I live in upstate New York. A friend claims he recently saw a newborn fawn, but that seems quite early. I wouldn’t expect them to be born for at least another month. When are fawns typically born in New York? ANSWER: A lot depends on your geographic location, but because ... READ MORE

Load of Bull

Load of Bull

By Bob Humphrey

No, no and no, you cannot do this. QUESTION: Is it true that you can tell the sex of a deer by their droppings? – Buster M. ANSWER: No. Some folks might like to believe you can, but the size, shape and consistency of deer poop is determined largely by diet. When feeding on their normal diet, which consists largely of coarse, woody browse, dro... READ MORE

I’ll Have a Salad

I’ll Have a Salad

By Bob Humphrey

Cattle farmer asks if whitetails exhibit the same diet shift as his cows. QUESTION: Female livestock that are healthy and mature enough to breed go through a process of preparing their bodies for the breeding during a period called flushing, where cows will feed on high quality forage to meet this need. I have witnessed a significant change in the ... READ MORE

Bachelor Party

Bachelor Party

By Bob Humphrey

There are multiple benefits to bucks hanging out together. QUESTION: I know that bucks group together in bachelor herds, and I was wondering why. – Todd S. ANSWER: Everything happens for a reason, right? Bachelor herds or groups are loose social aggregations of males that form as early as spring, but typically become larger, more coalesced an... READ MORE

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

By Bob Humphrey

It helps to know when to start looking for the telltale signs of buck activity. QUESTION: When do bucks begin to rub trees and leave scrapes? – Will P. ANSWER: A better question might be: When do they stop? As most hunters know, deer behavior in general is ruled by photoperiodism, changes in the amount of daylight. As the days grow shorter, p... READ MORE

Copyright 2019 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd