Ask The Biologist

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

Too Hot for TV

Too Hot for TV

By Bob Humphrey

Temperature spikes affect movement, but not rut timing. QUESTION: I’m not seeing as many deer this year as I usually do. We’ve had warm weather where I live, and I’m wondering if that’s it. Does this mean the rut will be late? ANSWER: There are many reasons why deer movement might be off where you hunt, although temperatures... READ MORE

Holdin’ On

Holdin’ On

By Bob Humphrey

Do late-dropping antlers affect next year’s rack? QUESTION: I have noticed several bucks in the last two years near the New York/Pennsylvania border area hanging onto their antlers into March and April. Knowing that deer in our area start antler growth sometime around May, I wonder if it has any impact on their antler growth for the upcoming ... 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

The Long and Short of Corn for Whitetails

The Long and Short of Corn for Whitetails

By Bob Humphrey

Question: The deer food where I live is mostly acorns and leaves. Is it all right to just feed deer corn, or do they need something else? — Pery R. Answer:  The short answer to both questions is, “Yes.” Now for the long answer. You didn’t say where you live, but I suspect there is a lot more around for deer to eat. Th... READ MORE

Looking for a Cure

Looking for a Cure

By Bob Humphrey

Even your friendly deer biologist is susceptible to buck fever. QUESTION: This question is more about human biology than deer biology. How can I control my buck fever, and in my case, deer fever? I’ve been hunting for over 30 years now and have harvested hundreds of deer (mostly does, with one buck per year in Indiana), but I still get deer f... READ MORE

Which Seed?

Which Seed?

By Bob Humphrey

What to plant in your food plot depends on your goals and circumstances. QUESTION: I live in northwest Indiana and have room for a 1-acre food plot. What should I plant? – Jim E. ANSWER: A lot depends on your objective. Given that you have room for only one plot, you can probably rule out year-round nutrition or warm-season feeding plots. Tha... 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

Can I See Your ID?

Can I See Your ID?

By Bob Humphrey

The best way to determine the age of a deer depends on where it is. QUESTION: What is the best way to age a deer? — Richard E. ANSWER: Well, that depends on what you mean by “aging a deer.” If you mean determining how old it is, the answer depends on whether the deer is dead at your feet or alive in the field. The quickest and eas... READ MORE

Point Restrictions: Good or Bad?

Point Restrictions: Good or Bad?

By Bob Humphrey

Love them or hate them, antler restrictions are a common component of many management plans. QUESTION: I live in Pennsylvania, and we have antler restrictions that I do not agree with. I don't feel we have more bigger bucks than we did before, and I know if you let a deer go, you’re letting him grow. But we are getting overrun with small buck... READ MORE

Bugger Off

Bugger Off

By Bob Humphrey

Mosquitoes and flies can ruin a hunt, but so can bug sprays. QUESTION: This is my first season bowhunting, and the bugs are driving me crazy. Will deer smell mosquito repellents and devices? ANSWER: Deer have a very keen sense of smell, so they will almost certainly smell any odor in the environment. More important is how they respond. Conventional... READ MORE

What Does the Future Look Like After HD Disease?

What Does the Future Look Like After HD Disease?

By Bob Humphrey

Question: We in Virginia are going through what some say is hemorrhagic disease. We had suffered a decrease in deer population and see sickly deer with split, fallen-off hoofs and so forth. I was wondering if you could shed any light as to what we can expect in our future. The VDGIF website has given us some information. Answer:  The VDGIF we... READ MORE

Here’s the Rub

Here’s the Rub

By Bob Humphrey

Find rub, set up stand, shoot deer, right? QUESTION: I found some fresh rubs, so I set up a stand nearby. I am very careful about scent control and I hunt the wind, but I have not seen any deer there in a week. What am I doing wrong? — John S. ANSWER: There are at least a dozen possible reasons for why your stand isn’t working out, many of wh... READ MORE

Give Deer More of What They Need

Give Deer More of What They Need

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: The deer concession next to me has been clear cut...hardly a tree left. I am thinking/hoping those deer will be coming to my green fields this year. What can I plant that will provide lots and lots of forage for an increase in deer?  Do I double plant what I have used?  Is there another suggestion? — Bart L. ANSWER: I can... READ MORE

They Start Young

They Start Young

By Bob Humphrey

How soon a doe breeds depends largely on habitat. QUESTION: Do yearling does go into heat and breed their first year? — Gary K. ANSWER: I suspect by the way you’ve worded your question, you are misusing the term yearling. A deer becomes a yearling after passing its first birthday. By the time breeding season rolls around, a yearling doe... READ MORE

Supplemental Winter Feeding

Supplemental Winter Feeding

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: We had a really bad winter up our way, and a number of folks I know put out food to help the deer survive. A bunch of deer were found dead in my town, and the state says it was due to feeding. How is this possible? — Brian A., South Hampton, N.H. ANSWER: This is a topic we’ve covered before on the web and in Buckmasters Magaz... 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

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

When In Rome

When In Rome

By Bob Humphrey

If you try to manage deer on a lease, sooner or later you’ll run across a slightly abnormal whitetail. What should you do? QUESTION: Is a short bridgeline a recessive genetic defect, and should a buck with this trait be allowed to breed? — Ron Dahlseid ANSWER: Indeed, a short, bowed or Roman nose is usually the result of a recessive g... READ MORE

Hint: It’s Not the Head

Hint: It’s Not the Head

By Bob Humphrey

You can’t go wrong aiming for the spine when bowhunting for turkeys. QUESTION: What is the best area to shoot at a turkey with an arrow? How well do they make it through deep snows in the winter months? ANSWER: Okay, this question isn’t about deer, but our submissions have been a little light lately, so what the heck. You have several o... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd