Ask The Biologist

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

The Maine Issue

The Maine Issue

By Bob Humphrey

Rumor says deer numbers in Maine are shockingly low. Is that true? QUESTION: An outfitter in Maine recently reported that the deer herd numbers were so low they were not booking any deer hunts and they were not sure when they might be doing so in the future. Does that sound correct to you that Maine herd numbers are low? If so, what would it take f... READ MORE

Gut Shots Happen

Gut Shots Happen

By Bob Humphrey

The key to recovering paunch-shot deer is to back out quietly and wait. QUESTION: I’m hoping you can settle an argument. A friend told me that he would not hesitate to gut-shoot a deer if it was the only shot he had because he knows he’ll recover it. I say it’s a poor shot choice due to the high probability of not recovering the ... READ MORE

Find the Food

Find the Food

By Bob Humphrey

This hunter might be new, but he’s asking the right kind of questions. QUESTION: I am new to hunting (my second year) although I'm 52 years old and a disabled veteran. I’m limited to hunting public land in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts. While scouting, I have found wild grape vines on some of the public lands and was wondering i... READ MORE

Over the Rainbow

Over the Rainbow

By Bob Humphrey

Kansas newcomer wonders if the rut will impact gun season. QUESTION: I’m new to east Kansas and would like to know when the rut happens in Miami County. The gun season for whitetails starts the 6th of December this year. – Bill ANSWER: I recently completed a revision of the Buckmasters Rut Calendar, which gives rut dates for all states ... READ MORE

Bucks Are Tough, But...

Bucks Are Tough, But...

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetails can survive serious injuries, but some don’t leave much hope. QUESTION: Do you believe this buck will ever recover? My main concern is infection or damage to his brain. The buck has been injured approximately two weeks and is still active and feeding but I’m concerned this injury may cause him to decline. Any suggestions wou... READ MORE

All In the Family

All In the Family

By Bob Humphrey

How deer, elk, moose and caribou are related, at least according to biologists. QUESTION: Are elk a subspecies of deer or a separate species? Are elk related to domestic cattle? To moose? Why are they called bulls, cows and calves while deer are bucks, does and fawns? ANSWER: I should be able to answer the first two questions fairly easily. The las... READ MORE

Spring Scrapes

Spring Scrapes

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: While turkey hunting this spring, we came across several places that looked like fresh deer scrapes. My hunting partner says they’re just turkey scratchings, but I deer hunt the same area and there are scrapes in these same locations in the fall. My question is, do deer scrape in the spring too? Why would they do this? — Thoma... READ MORE

Saltaholic

Saltaholic

By Bob Humphrey

Just like us, deer love salt, but it’s not really beneficial. QUESTION: CWD just expanded into where I live in south-central Pennsylvania. Is it okay to continue offering salt? I don’t want CWD to spread, but feel the deer still need it. I was wondering if offering salt might bring deer together and increase the chances of spreading the... READ MORE

Better Safe than Sorry

Better Safe than Sorry

By Bob Humphrey

States take the cautious approach when it comes to bottled deer pee. QUESTION: Why is it illegal to use deer lure/scent in CWD areas when deer pee in the woods anyway? — John S. ANSWER: The short answer is, the people who are in charge of establishing such regulations and policies believe it is better to be safe than sorry. There’s stil... READ MORE

Too Many Deauxs

Too Many Deauxs

By Bob Humphrey

Don’t believe exaggerated tales about massively skewed doe-to-buck ratios. QUESTION: I live in northern Louisiana. Can you tell me the buck-to-doe ratio where I live? Also, is it okay to take one doe out of the area in the first week in December? — Jimmy S. ANSWER: Without contacting the state wildlife biologist responsible for the area... 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

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

Ear Today, Gone Tomorrow

Ear Today, Gone Tomorrow

By Bob Humphrey

Your guess is as good as ours when it comes to this doe’s ear disfiguration. QUESTION: I recently saw a doe that had the tips of both ears eaten away. Do you know what might have done this? I also have seen a lot of babies this year with scratches on their noses. — J. Ellis ANSWER: The best I can do, which isn’t very good, is spec... READ MORE

Hair Club Bucks

Hair Club Bucks

By Bob Humphrey

We wonder if there’s a market for Rogaine for whitetails. QUESTION: Last fall, I noticed a couple bucks with bare spots on their back or rump. I have seen this before and was wondering what might cause it. — Ron C. ANSWER: There are several plausible explanations. Bare spots can be caused by repeatedly going under or through wire fences... READ MORE

Thoughts for Food

Thoughts for Food

By Bob Humphrey

Select a protein feeder type based on your goals; each has advantages. 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: You haven’t provided quite enough information to give you too much detail on which might be a better option in your situation... READ MORE

Deer Browse

Deer Browse

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: My friend and I are hoping you can settle a bet. Two years ago one of the areas we hunt was cut for firewood, and the stumps grew a bunch of suckers. This spring we noticed something has been chewing them. I say it’s deer, my friend says rabbits. Is there any way we can tell.  — Herman D. ANSWER: The suckers you’... 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

Decoys: Hype or Hope?

Decoys: Hype or Hope?

By Bob Humphrey

If you’re having trouble with fooling bucks, you’re not alone. QUESTION: I’ve been experimenting with a deer decoy, and so far it seems to spook everything that sees it. Is that normal? I thought I’d have bucks rushing in to investigate. – Larry P. ANSWER: Using a decoy is much like using scents, calls or rattling. Mor... READ MORE

Can O’ Corn

Can O’ Corn

By Bob Humphrey

Corn isn’t necessarily a bad thing to put in deer feeders. QUESTION: I want to put out a few feeders to attract and hold deer in my area. I know corn will work, but I’ve read a few articles that said corn isn’t very beneficial to whitetails. What would you recommend? — Scott M. ANSWER: Much depends on where you live, but if ... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd