Ask The Biologist

Play Time

Play Time

By Bob Humphrey

Just because deer don’t usually do something doesn’t mean they won’t ever do it. QUESTION: I consider myself to have pretty good knowledge of deer and their habits. I deer hunted for years before my disability. Now I watch our deer cam. We just had a doe give birth to twins. The doe had the babies out one night about 2 to 3 a.m., ... READ MORE

You Can’t Get There from Here

You Can’t Get There from Here

By Bob Humphrey

If you want to know how many does to harvest, you have to know how many deer you have. QUESTION: How many does should you harvest per 100 acres to increase your total deer population? Also to decrease or keep the population the same? — Eugene W. ANSWER: I’m afraid you might not like my answer, but a friend of mine once said, “You ... READ MORE

Better Late than Never

Better Late than Never

By Bob Humphrey

While we sometimes see late-born fawns, it’s not the norm. QUESTION: I live in southeastern Connecticut, and this past season through the month of October I watched a doe and her fawn. The fawn was very small and still had its spots. The last week of October the doe was killed by a car in front of my property. I saw the fawn wandering around ... READ MORE

Another Rasputin Myth

Another Rasputin Myth

By Bob Humphrey

It’s time to get rid of all those crazy stories about turkeys driving out deer. QUESTION: Turkeys are fairly new where I live, but I’ve noticed more every year. A friend says they’ll drive the deer away and eat their food. Is there any truth to this? ANSWER: I wish we could do away with this misconception once and for all, but lik... 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

Pine Plantation Predicament

Pine Plantation Predicament

By Bob Humphrey

Despite appearances, you can improve deer habitat on pine plantations. QUESTION: The area I lease in northwest Louisiana is mostly planted pine forest. I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to make the land more attractive to deer. ANSWER: Assuming the landowner uses this property for commercial pine plantations, food plots might n... READ MORE

Is a Barometer Magic?

Is a Barometer Magic?

By Bob Humphrey

Observing deer movement when barometric pressure changes is not a foolproof way to predict when deer will move again. QUESTION: I read a lot of articles and hear on many television shows that the best way to predict deer movement is to watch the barometer. But since atmospheric pressure always fluctuates up and down in very small increments, how m... 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

It’s a Date!

It’s a Date!

By Bob Humphrey

Calendar-based baiting law has our biologist stumped. QUESTION: My state just enacted a ban on feeding deer that begins June 1 and ends Dec. 15. I’m a little confused as to why they would do this. Any ideas? — Travis E. ANSWER: It does seem a little strange, and there are multiple possibilities. There are about as many different baiting... READ MORE

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

Twisted Tops

Twisted Tops

By Bob Humphrey

It’s difficult to pin down the cause of misshapen racks. QUESTION: What causes bent-over racks? Is it aggressiveness by this young deer when it starts growing antlers in the spring? A head injury? I have seen five or six like this over the past 10 years. Maybe genetics? How can I tell for sure? My friends and I have been wondering. — Bi... READ MORE

Hold the Onions

Hold the Onions

By Bob Humphrey

Watch what you eat to help reduce your odor footprint. QUESTION: Are there certain foods I should avoid while deer hunting? I’ve heard onions and other foods can actually release scent through your pores. What do you think? ANSWER: Certain things like coffee and asparagus are know to produce foul-smelling urine. Eating some foods, like onions... 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

Burned by Brassicas?

Burned by Brassicas?

By Bob Humphrey

Food plots can be frustrating, especially if your crop looks great and the deer don’t seem to be interested. Have patience. It takes time for deer to learn a new food source, and brassicas also require some freezing temperatures. QUESTION: I planted winter turnips last September and they grew nicely. As we began to get cold temperatures, the... 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

It’s Complicated

It’s Complicated

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetail digestion isn’t rocket science, but it’s close. QUESTION: Someone recently told me that deer have four stomachs. Is this true? ANSWER: No. Like all mammals, deer have one stomach. However, like all ruminants, theirs consists of four chambers: rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum. A large portion of a whitetail’s diet is... 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

Is There a “No Man’s Land” for Shot Placement?

Is There a “No Man’s Land” for Shot Placement?

By Bob Humphrey

Question: Last year, my son shot a 6-point buck with his shotgun. He claims he waited at least 30 minutes and didn’t push the deer. We finally found some blood about 30 yards from the spot of the shot and tracked the deer with a very slight blood trail for well over 3/4 of a mile before we finally lost it. At the end of the trail, the blood ... 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

How to Age a Deer by its Teeth

How to Age a Deer by its Teeth

By Bob Humphrey

Question: I was on a guided hunt last fall in Texas and killed a buck that I thought was around 3 years old. My guide stuck his fingers in the deer’s mouth to feel it’s teeth and declared it was 5 years old. Can you offer some tips on how to easily tell a deer’s age after it’s been harvested? — Jamie W. Answer:  A... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd