Ask The Biologist

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

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

Whitetail Rodeo

Whitetail Rodeo

By Bob Humphrey

How big is my herd? Let me count all the bucks and does. QUESTION: In a story in the October, 2016 issue, the topic was what kind of social structure exists in whitetail herds. I would like to know how big a herd can be that includes all the groups of bucks and does within a herd’s territory. — Ricky W. ANSWER: I’m not sure there ... READ MORE

What’s the Attraction?

What’s the Attraction?

By Bob Humphrey

Why a doe on the pole can be worth four on the hoof. QUESTION: I had a doe hanging on the buck pole and took it to get processed. Four does came in the next two days to smell around where the deer had been hanging. Why do they do this? — AL ANSWER: Your query generates more questions than answers, and I’d be interested in knowing more a... 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

Where Are the Deer?

Where Are the Deer?

By Bob Humphrey

If they aren’t visiting your food plots as much, look in the oak stands. QUESTION: I’ve noticed that deer are not coming into the fields this fall like last year. Is it because there is a lot of feed this year in the woods? ANSWER: There could be several reasons, but that is the most likely. When there is a lot of natural food available... READ MORE

Makin’ It Through

Makin’ It Through

By Bob Humphrey

It’s hard to imagine deer making it through a brutal winter, but some always do. QUESTION: We’ve had over 100 inches of snow this winter where I live. How well will the deer survive? — Steve R. ANSWER: Without more information, I can’t offer specifics, but I can provide some generalities. For starters, they’ve been doi... 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

Cull or Management Buck?

Cull or Management Buck?

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: I hear people use the terms “cull buck” and “management buck” but I don’t understand the difference. Can you shed some light on this? — B. Warren ANSWER: I’ll do the best I can, but there are no hard and fast definitions for either term. Much depends on specific management objectives of the landow... 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

Feelin’ Foggy

Feelin’ Foggy

By Bob Humphrey

You have to be careful when searching the internet for deer hunting advice. QUESTION: My uncle and I were hunting in our blind one foggy morning, and I asked my uncle to look up on the internet about hunting in the fog. The answers on the web didn’t make much sense to us. One source said fog can be one of the best times to hunt, while another... 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

Beach Buck Confusion

Beach Buck Confusion

By Bob Humphrey

Is Florida home to three different species of whitetails? QUESTION: I live in Florida and am hoping to be a better deer hunter. Florida has three subspecies of white-tailed deer. I’m familiar with the Key deer, but what is the difference between the Florida coastal whitetail (O. v. osceola) and the Florida whitetail (O. v. seminolus). &mdash... READ MORE

Where Have The Ears Gone?

Where Have The Ears Gone?

By Bob Humphrey

Do you have any idea what happened to its ears? Question:  This doe has been coming into a guy’s yard in the DuBois area. Do you have any idea what happened to its ears? Maybe the buck flies just ate the heck out of them this past summer. I’ve seen deer with their ears bleeding terribly from buck fly bites. — Ken M. Answer:... 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

Forget the Neighbors

Forget the Neighbors

By Bob Humphrey

You can’t shoot a mature buck if there aren’t any left. QUESTION: The property I hunt is just 200 acres, and the neighbors shoot anything with antlers. Is it worth my time to pass up younger bucks? – Chris B. ANSWER: I suffer from the same affliction on my home turf, and it can be quite frustrating, especially knowing the potentia... READ MORE

Shoot for the Moon

Shoot for the Moon

By Bob Humphrey

What’s the scoop on deer movement charts based on moon phase? Do they really work? QUESTION: I've been hunting for over 50 years and have seen a plethora of writings, discussion and videos on the use of moon phase wheels, gadgets and charts. I understand deer being creatures of habit pattern their behavior according to the moon phase, the ro... READ MORE

The Answer My Friend...

The Answer My Friend...

By Bob Humphrey

Geography plays a role in how whitetails react to wind. QUESTION: I recently read somewhere that according to research, high winds don’t affect deer movement. How can this be true? — David W. ANSWER: I can’t answer directly without knowing the source, but I suspect the author might be over generalizing. I’ve read several stu... READ MORE

Need a Trim?

Need a Trim?

By Bob Humphrey

Cutting timber sounds simple, but start with a good plan. QUESTION: I recently purchased a woodlot for hunting and recreation, and we’re going to be cutting some firewood this year. Can you offer some tips on when/how to cut that will help the deer? ANSWER: It’s difficult to be too specific without more information, but I can offer some... READ MORE

Call me Pat

Call me Pat

By Bob Humphrey

What could cause a buck to start growing antlers in mid-October? QUESTION: I live in Illinois and was out checking trail cameras this weekend (late December). It appears that I have a deer around 6 or 7 that just started growing his antlers in mid-October and has been gradually getting bigger over the past two months. I’ve never heard or seen... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd