Ask The Biologist

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

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

Mow ‘Em Down?

Mow ‘Em Down?

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: I grow a food plot every year. This year I planted rye, turnips and clover. This is my first experience with turnips, and I need to know if I should mow it. It’s really getting tall, and I need to know if I need to do anything to keep it under control. — Ryan ANSWER: That’s an interesting combination since each plant has... READ MORE

All in the Head

All in the Head

By Bob Humphrey

Once again our expert is called upon to settle a friendly debate. QUESTION: A friend and I got into a heated argument and I’m hoping you can settle it. My question is: Could psychology be considered a part of biology? ANSWER: I’d love to hear how that ties in to whitetails but the answer is yes. Biology is the study of living things and... READ MORE

On Their Own

On Their Own

By Bob Humphrey

What is the fate of most fawns whose mothers are taken during hunting season? QUESTION: If you take the mother during hunting season, will her fawns survive the winter? — Matthew N. ANSWER: Maybe. A lot depends on the age of the fawns. The older they are, the better their chances of survival. In most cases, fawns should be old enough to fend ... READ MORE

To Wait or Not to Wait

To Wait or Not to Wait

By Bob Humphrey

It’s a tough call to decide how long to wait to track a bow-shot deer. QUESTION: I’d like to get a few deer in the freezer early in the archery season, but it’s really hot here in Alabama at that time. It can be in the 90s! How long is it safe to let a deer go after a shot? I want to give the deer time to expire, but I don’t... 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

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

True Blood

True Blood

By Bob Humphrey

Exactly how much blood can a deer lose before it succumbs to its wounds? QUESTION: How much blood must a deer lose after being shot with a broadhead before it dies? — Joe R. ANSWER: I found several unscientific sources that claimed deer will die after losing between 2 ½ to 2 ¾ pints of blood. The Texas Bowhunter Ed course notes:... 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

There Will Be Blood Tonight!

There Will Be Blood Tonight!

By Bob Humphrey

What is the cause of light blood sign where deer congregate? QUESTION: For many years now I have noticed blood where deer have concentrated heavily and remained in one spot for long periods of time to feed in winter months. I only notice this when there is snow on the ground, probably because it stands out so much then. I am sure it is from a deer.... READ MORE

Pee Brain

Pee Brain

By Bob Humphrey

We still don’t know exactly how much information whitetails get from urine scents. QUESTION: There are so many brands and types of doe in heat scent. Does one work better than others? Do deer smell different from region to region? For example, will an off-the-shelf doe in estrus scent work the same in Wyoming as it would in Illinois? Do you h... READ MORE

Mythbuster

Mythbuster

By Bob Humphrey

Bob lays to rest another legendary deer camp myth. QUESTION: In the area I hunt, I usually find two different types of deer droppings. One is the usual piles of pellets; the other is more of a solid mass. I have been told that the pellets are made by does and the large masses are from bucks. My question is, can you tell the sex of a deer by its dro... READ MORE

Talk About Perfect

Talk About Perfect

By Bob Humphrey

First-time food plotter’s ideal setup could be even better with this. QUESTION: Hi from Elizabethtown, Ky. This summer, I cleared a 4,000-square-foot spot in the middle of my woods for a food plot. The pH was above 7 and did not need lime, and I fertilized according to the soil sample. I ran irrigation to the plot. I planted an annual mix of ... READ MORE

Jumping the Gun

Jumping the Gun

By Bob Humphrey

Early buck sign has Alabama hunters curious about the rut. QUESTION: I am in northeast Alabama (Jackson County) and seeing very early signs of buck activity. We are seeing huge rubs and scrapes. We do not usually see this much buck sign until mid- to late-December. Does this indicate an early rut? – Mike P. ANSWER: First it’s helpful to... READ MORE

The Rut Marches On

The Rut Marches On

By Bob Humphrey

Does will be bred no matter how long it takes. QUESTION: I live just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, and about an hour ago, which was 5:30 (Feb. 10), I looked out back in my yard and watched a big buck grunting and chasing a smaller doe. What’s up with that? – Mike W. ANSWER: Most, but not all does are bred sometime during the initial rut,... READ MORE

Give Deer More of What They Need

Give Deer More of What They Need

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: The deer concession next to me has been clear cut...hardly a tree left. I am thinking/hoping those deer will be coming to my green fields this year. What can I plant that will provide lots and lots of forage for an increase in deer?  Do I double plant what I have used?  Is there another suggestion? — Bart L. ANSWER: I can... READ MORE

The Early Bird

The Early Bird

By Bob Humphrey

Seeing a fawn in May is unusual, but not out of the question. QUESTION: I live in upstate New York. A friend claims he recently saw a newborn fawn, but that seems quite early. I wouldn’t expect them to be born for at least another month. When are fawns typically born in New York? ANSWER: A lot depends on your geographic location, but because ... 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

No Fleas on Me

No Fleas on Me

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: I live in Alabama and have noticed ticks on just about every deer harvested, but I never see fleas. Weird? — Kenny L. ANSWER: I must admit I didn’t know the answer to this one, and it wasn’t easy to find. Several studies list common ectoparasites of deer as ticks, chigger mites, keds and both sucking and chewing lice - b... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd