Ask The Biologist

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

Bear With Me

Bear With Me

By Bob Humphrey

Coyotes aren’t the only predator that likes a little venison. QUESTION: I’ve been getting pictures of bears on my trail cameras. We never saw them before but the last couple years they’ve been showing up. It also seems like I’m seeing less deer. Could the bears be driving the deer off or possibly killing them? ANSWER: Bear n... READ MORE

How Long Have I Got?

How Long Have I Got?

By Bob Humphrey

All the talk about whitetail age classes begs the question: What’s a normal life span for a deer? QUESTION: How long can a whitetail live? ANSWER: I like it; short and to the point. So I’ll give you an appropriately concise answer. Free-ranging white-tailed deer are exposed to a variety of dangers including disease, predation and hun... READ MORE

Spikes ... Again!

Spikes ... Again!

By Bob Humphrey

Will we ever get a definitive answer on the question of shooting spikes? QUESTION: I have heard different opinions about spikes through the years. For example: “Once a spike always a spike,” “Shoot cow-horn spikes, let the straight spikes walk” (and the opposite). Is there a distinctive suggestion on what spikes to take out,... READ MORE

Hole in the Horn

Hole in the Horn

By Bob Humphrey

Pockets of air in deer antlers are another strange buck mystery. QUESTION: I know a guy who shot a buck last fall that had a tubular hole in its antler. I’ve also seen pictures of this before. Can you tell me what causes this? ANSWER: Tubular holes or pores in antlers are not all that uncommon, but they often generate a great deal of speculat... READ MORE

Better Late than Ever

Better Late than Ever

By Bob Humphrey

Is there a reason so many big, mature bucks are taken in the late seasons? QUESTION: Over the past few years, I've noticed that we've shot more big bucks in the late-season hunts, early and mid-January, in northwest Illinois. What might account for this? ANSWER: Late season is indeed one of the best times to kill bucks, particularly older, bigger o... READ MORE

In-Woods Plot Plants

In-Woods Plot Plants

By Bob Humphrey

Last week we had the most common food plot question. This week we feature the second most posed query. QUESTION: What seed do you recommend for planting in shaded woods for spring, summer & fall? I can’t get a tractor to the plot, and it is only about 20x30. — Jim D. ANSWER: I suggest you go one of two ways: The easiest would be t... READ MORE

Is There a “No Man’s Land” for Shot Placement?

Is There a “No Man’s Land” for Shot Placement?

By Bob Humphrey

Question: Last year, my son shot a 6-point buck with his shotgun. He claims he waited at least 30 minutes and didn’t push the deer. We finally found some blood about 30 yards from the spot of the shot and tracked the deer with a very slight blood trail for well over 3/4 of a mile before we finally lost it. At the end of the trail, the blood ... 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

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

Your Buck Is Different, Mr. Gump

Your Buck Is Different, Mr. Gump

By Bob Humphrey

Why you might not be seeing 4.5-year-old deer on your trail cameras. QUESTION: I’ve asked to several seasoned deer hunters this question, and none have been able to give much insight. I hunt in Plantersville, Ala. (20 minutes north of Selma), and run several game cameras. Over the course of two years of running cameras over feeders during the... READ MORE

Foot Fetish

Foot Fetish

By Bob Humphrey

Hoof abnormalities might mean your deer survived EHD. QUESTION: I hunted in a group this year, and three of the deer we harvested had hoof pads that where coming off as a single piece. We could see new pads under old ones. I’ve hunted 30 years and never saw this before. All the deer looked healthy. What causes this? — Sherry W. ANSWER: ... READ MORE

This Is Your Lungs On ...

This Is Your Lungs On ...

By Bob Humphrey

Here’s another example of a strange and interesting deer oddity. QUESTION: I recently harvested a white-tailed deer that had dark spots on its lungs, but otherwise appeared healthy. Do you have any thoughts on the cause? –Tim S. ANSWER: My first instinct on hearing “spots on the lungs” is TB (bovine tuberculosis). However, a... READ MORE

Old Bucks, No New Tricks

Old Bucks, No New Tricks

By Bob Humphrey

Like an old dog, it’s just about impossible to get a big old buck to change his ways. QUESTION: How can I change the pattern of big bucks traveling at night? — Gary from N.J. ANSWER: My knee-jerk reaction would be to put something in their way so they have to go around it, but I suspect that’s not the answer you’re looking f... READ MORE

Down But Not Out

Down But Not Out

By Bob Humphrey

Deer are tough – there’s just no other way to put it. QUESTION: This winter, I shot a buck and knocked it right down, but then it got up and ran away. We tracked it for a long way and found two large puddles of blood but did not find the deer. Then we brought in tracking dogs and jumped the deer, but it ran away and we did not recover i... 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

Twice as Nice

Twice as Nice

By Bob Humphrey

Should we double-seed our food plots to get better results? QUESTION: The club I'm in is talking about double-seeding the fields this year to see if we have better results. I've read in the past one of the biggest mistakes we make is over-seeding and not putting out enough fertilizer. Our club is located in north Alabama and is 5 miles up a mountai... 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

Better Late Than Never

Better Late Than Never

By Bob Humphrey

Is it possible a buck could still be rutting in April, even in Alabama? QUESTION: I hunt in northeast Alabama, on the Tennessee state line. I’m not surprised to see bucks with one antler but was surprised to see this 8-pointer still had both its antlers in April. I was really surprised to see jet black hocks. I always thought that was a sign ... READ MORE

Hunting Pressure

Hunting Pressure

By Bob Humphrey

If every place gets hunted, where do they go? QUESTION: The area I hunt gets a fair amount of hunting pressure, and it seems like the deer disappear once gun season starts. But if every place gets hunted, where do they go? — Brent W. ANSWER: Believe it or not, they’re probably still there. Recent research on mature bucks fitted with ... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd