Ask The Biologist

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

The Path Logs Traveled

The Path Logs Traveled

By Bob Humphrey

Logging trails can provide a variety of hunting benefits. QUESTION: I have 100 acres of forest property in upstate New York. Hunting there has been good. I recently had the property logged, and there are a lot of trails crisscrossing the property. Should I continue to leave all the trails open, or should I block them up and let them grow back into ... READ MORE

Not a Licking Branch!

Not a Licking Branch!

By Bob Humphrey

Not all rut interaction by bucks is violent, and it’s likely more significant than you think. QUESTION: Last fall during the rut, I saw two bucks approach each other in a greenfield. Rather than fighting, they licked each other’s ears and face. Why would they do this? — Kevin M. ANSWER: The behavior you observed is not all that un... 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

Hog Wild

Hog Wild

By Bob Humphrey

Sandy soil presents enough problems without having to contend with hogs, too. QUESTION: I have 500 acres that has a lot of sandy soil. I've planted stuff every year, and nothing seems to grow. The other thing is, I have hogs at the feed all the time. I have seen some really good bucks, but they won’t come to the feeder, so I'm trying to plan... READ MORE

Were Having Triplets!

Were Having Triplets!

By Bob Humphrey

It’s pretty common to see a doe with two fawns, but how often do they have triplets, and can you predict what sex they’ll be? QUESTION: I shot a white-tailed doe on Dec. 26 in Middle Tennessee. She had three button bucks with her, and I would guess they were hers by the way they acted traveling with her. While field-dressing her, I di... READ MORE

Chewing Tobacco

Chewing Tobacco

By Bob Humphrey

Could deer actually be interested in a chaw? QUESTION: I'm a tobacco chewer, and three times this season I witnessed a buck stop and stick his nose right into a spot where I'd dumped a spit cup. I also watched two young bucks lick and paw the ground, then start fighting over it! I couldn't believe it when a mature buck also licked and pawed the sp... 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

Tick Tock

Tick Tock

By Bob Humphrey

Why biting insects are as big a concern for hunters as big-name viruses. QUESTION: Everybody is worried about Corona virus, but I’m getting ready to spend a lot of time away from everyone in the turkey woods. I’m more worried about Lyme disease. Are ticks as much of a problem in the spring as they are in the early bow seasons? What can ... READ MORE

Backyard Biologist

Backyard Biologist

By Bob Humphrey

Could trail cameras be used to track fawn birth and calculate the conception dates? QUESTION: Do you think I could use my trail cameras to tell when the rut occurred in my area? If I see pregnant does at my camera one week, and the next week they’re skinny again, could I back-date to determine conception? — Ken P. ANSWER: Well, I suppos... 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

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

Yellow Turkey Legs

Yellow Turkey Legs

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: In the spring of 2014, I was in Minnesota and shot a wild turkey that had yellow legs. There was a very light pinkish hue to them. What would cause this? Was it a mutation, a released raised bird or a dietary problem? — Craig K. ANSWER: It’s difficult to say without more information, but any of the causes you listed are possi... READ MORE

What A Difference A Day Makes

What A Difference A Day Makes

By Bob Humphrey

It’s true. In most cases, a doe’s peak release of hormones, indicating her willingness to breed, only lasts one day. QUESTION: Is it true a white-tailed deer is only in heat for a brief 24 hours? — Linda C. ANSWER: In most cases that’s fairly accurate. In order to conceive, a doe must be ready, willing and able.  Heat... READ MORE

Size Matters

Size Matters

By Bob Humphrey

Biologists aren’t exactly sure what antlers are for, but bigger seems to be better. QUESTION: It seems like it takes a lot of energy to grow a new set of antlers each year. Does a buck really gain anything from having bigger antlers? — Brian S. ANSWER: A clue to the answer actually lies within your question. It does indeed take a lot of... READ MORE

Run for Cover

Run for Cover

By Bob Humphrey

Try a masking scent if you’re concerned about getting busted. QUESTION: What are your thoughts on masking scents like EverCalm if you hunt from a ground blind? ANSWER: I think cover scents in general are a good idea, particularly when hunting in a ground blind, where your scent is at ground level. However, it’s important to use the righ... READ MORE

Dine In or Take Out?

Dine In or Take Out?

By Bob Humphrey

Our biologist discusses the advantages of on-demand and time-release features. QUESTION: I would like to know how you feel about feeding deer protein at a free-choice feeder verses a time-release system. — Joe S. ANSWER: I could give you all kinds of technical information about the whitetail’s nutritional needs, how they change througho... 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

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

Hole in the Head Buck

Hole in the Head Buck

By Bob Humphrey

Antler shedding and skull injuries are serious business for whitetail bucks. QUESTION: I was out shed hunting recently and found an antler that at first I thought was a shed but when I looked closer it had part of the skull still attached. My question is, is this a shed or was it broken off in a fight? Also, will this deer survive? — Will M.... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd