Ask The Biologist

Got Milk?

Got Milk?

By Bob Humphrey

It’s not as strange as you think that does nurse fawns into hunting season. QUESTION: I was bowhunting last October when a doe and fawn came by my stand. I was about to shoot the doe when the fawn came up, and I swear it started to nurse. Isn’t this late in the season? What would the fawn’s chances of survival be if I shot the doe... READ MORE

What’s Up, Doc?

What’s Up, Doc?

By Bob Humphrey

Deer maladies are tough to diagnose without a hands-on examination. QUESTION: Can you tell me what’s wrong with this deer? — Alex W. ANSWER: That’s a good one. Without actually seeing the deer, the best I can do is offer a few possibilities. The most common reason for lumps or protrusions on deer are fibromas, essentially benign skin tumors. ... 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

One Tough Myth

One Tough Myth

By Bob Humphrey

The spike question has more lives than Rasputin. QUESTION: Does a spike always remain a spike? Or next year could he become something more? It seems like people believe once a spike always a spike, but when I ask someone they all say that’s what I’ve been told. I don’t know who this person is, but he or she sure seems to know a lo... READ MORE

Velvet Mystery

Velvet Mystery

By Bob Humphrey

Have you ever seen ticks on a velvet buck’s antlers? QUESTION: How come when you're looking at dear you see ticks on the back of their ears, their face and their neck but never on velvet antlers? You would think with all that blood in the antlers they would be covered up. — Duane F. ANSWER: That’s a good question, and my investiga... READ MORE

There’s the Rub

There’s the Rub

By Bob Humphrey

By themselves, buck rubs might not mean they hang out in a given area. QUESTION: While turkey hunting this spring, I found a place where deer had made several rubs. I’m wondering if it would be a good location to hunt this fall? –Erik F. ANSWER: As is often the case with questions we receive for ATB, it’s difficult to give a firm ... READ MORE

Therein Lies the Rub

Therein Lies the Rub

By Bob Humphrey

Bucks rub their antlers to remove velvet and mark territory, but understanding rub messages depends on when and where the buck made them. QUESTION: On my property in the Catskills region of New York, we see a few rubs in late September and early October, but the majority of rubs do not appear until early November. I want to know if buck rubs are p... 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

Numbers Game

Numbers Game

By Bob Humphrey

So how exactly do states determine how many permits to issue every year? QUESTION: The gun season in my state is bucks only unless you are selected for a doe tag. Then you can shoot any deer. The number of doe tags given out changes, sometimes a lot from year to year. My question is, how do they decide how many doe tags to give out? — John D.... READ MORE

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

By Bob Humphrey

You’ve heard of bucks that stay in velvet, but what about a buck that’s just off schedule? QUESTION: There is a buck on our hunting lease that has been visiting our feeders for three years. He stays in velvet at least a month to a month and a half later than all the other bucks on the lease. What would cause him to shed his velvet so la... 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

Hang ‘em High

Hang ‘em High

By Bob Humphrey

The debate continues on whether it’s best to process a deer immediately or to wait. QUESTION: I’m hoping you can settle a debate. How long should I hang my deer? Some people I know say I should skin it and process it right away. Others say the longer it hangs the better. What’s the right answer? — Glenn W. ANSWER: The debate, like what’s the ... READ MORE

Blow Myth Blown

Blow Myth Blown

By Bob Humphrey

Can you tell the sex of a deer by whether it snorts at danger? QUESTION: One of my hunting buddies was telling how he had a buck blowing at him repeatedly. When I asked him how big it was, he said he didn’t know because he never saw it. Then I asked how he knew it was a buck, he said because it was blowing. I’ve heard several other peop... READ MORE

Why Do Bucks Shed Their Antlers?

Why Do Bucks Shed Their Antlers?

By Bob Humphrey

Question: When do bucks shed their antlers, and why? — Riley O. Answer:  Antlers are fascinating works of nature’s art, and one of their most interesting characteristics is that, like leaves on a hardwood tree, they are deciduous. Each year a new set is grown then cast off. Photoperiodism plays an important role in this process. ... READ MORE

In the Bone

In the Bone

By Bob Humphrey

Antlers are full of minerals, so should we feed whitetails mineral supplements? QUESTION: What, if any, is the best mineral to feed deer? I add Hi-Mag mineral salt to my feed in the summertime and was wondering if I’m on track for helping antler growth. –Jerry A. ANSWER: Minerals are an important part of a whitetail’s diet. Not on... READ MORE

Hair Club for Deer

Hair Club for Deer

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetails can lose hair for a number of reasons, but this is one odd case. QUESTION: Reckon y’all can tell me about this bald spot? The deer was taken Dec. 30 in northeast Georgia. — Patrick T. ANSWER: I have seen deer with similar marks, although not as large or as distinctly hairless. My first thought is that it is the result of a ... 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

The Gray Nose Deer

The Gray Nose Deer

By Bob Humphrey

Question:  My son recently harvested a 9-pointer in northeastern Maryland. The buck had a light grey colored nose. We’re curious, has this ever been seen before? — David M. Answer:  White-tailed deer are remarkable creatures, and the more I study them, the more I realize just how diverse they can be. Most folks are familiar w... READ MORE

Hunt a Scrape?

Hunt a Scrape?

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: I’ve heard many different ideas about hunting over scrapes. Should you only hunt fresh scrapes? Should you hunt scrapes 2 feet wide or wider only, or should you hunt them only during pre-rut, peak rut or post-rut? Should you hunt where you can physically see the scrape or should you hunt downwind of it back in the woods? Personally,... READ MORE

Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day

By Bob Humphrey

A whitetail’s coat doesn’t always look pretty during transition phases. QUESTION: I was checking my trail camera while turkey scouting and noticed this photo. Does this doe’s fur look normal? – Ken P. ANSWER: If you had sent just a regular photo it might at first seem a bit odd but I would likely still come to the same concl... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd