Ask The Biologist

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

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

Nose Bugs

Nose Bugs

By Bob Humphrey

Just when you think you’ve seen every kind of strange deer malady... QUESTION: I shot a nice buck in Illinois this year, and while we were taking pictures, we noticed there was something in its nose. It turned out to be a big snail-looking thing. What is it, and is it safe to eat this deer? –Ryan ANSWER: This appears to be, and in all l... 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

Made in the Shade

Made in the Shade

By Bob Humphrey

Food plots don’t have to be big, nor do you need a lot of equipment. QUESTION: I have property to hunt in Chadds Ford, Pa. My question is, what type of food plot do you suggest for a shady area? — Darren ANSWER: That’s really tough to answer without a lot more information. In order to give you accurate advice I’d need to k... 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

Public Land Big Boys

Public Land Big Boys

By Bob Humphrey

How do we better our odds? We know they're there! QUESTION: My wife and I hunt on public land here in Kentucky and enjoy great success in the limited time we can hunt. During the off-season, we set up trail cameras and capture thousands of deer photos of all shapes and sizes: from does and spikes to huge 13- and 14-pointers. But we rarely see the... READ MORE

In a Nutshell

In a Nutshell

By Bob Humphrey

Our biologist sums up the keys to deer hunting in just two short paragraphs. QUESTION: I’m just getting into bowhunting, along with my 10-year-old daughter. What are the most important things to know about the patterns of deer? We live in Oregon, and we don’t get the luxury of whitetail patterns. — Hans F. ANSWER: I’ll start... READ MORE

Mix It Up

Mix It Up

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetails like variety in both their diet and habitat. QUESTION: Can I put a fall food plot in a field where the rest of the field is left overgrown with natural browse? — Ray H. ANSWER: Absolutely. In fact, it might even be more effective than converting the entire field to a food plot. Deer like variety, both in their diet and their habita... 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

Oh where have they gone?

Oh where have they gone?

By Bob Humphrey

Disappearing deer are looking for the same thing—bedding cover, high calorie leftovers and love. Question:  I hunt on Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill., and there is food, water and cover everywhere. Where are the deer traveling in early December? To cover or to food? —John T. Answer:  Though your question is geogra... READ MORE

Just Passing Through

Just Passing Through

By Bob Humphrey

Bucks and does are just different, including in how they use food plots. QUESTION: This year I have had several different bucks of different ages coming through my food plot, but it seems like all they are doing is passing through. I have just a small number of does that visit the plot on a regular basis. Could the bucks be passing through, checkin... READ MORE

Clover Alternatives

Clover Alternatives

By Bob Humphrey

What can I plant in Sharkey clay that will help stop erosion and is easy to maintain? QUESTION: I have recently placed a pond on my property to help out wildlife during drought conditions in northeast to east-central Louisiana. The soils are Sharkey clay and I am looking for advice on a grass cover planting. I have had success with clover in these ... READ MORE

Don’t Spoil the Meat!

Don’t Spoil the Meat!

By Bob Humphrey

Here's another buck myth that needs to go away. QUESTION: I harvested my first deer this fall, a buck. When my neighbor came over to see it, he told me I needed to cut the tarsal glands off or it would spoil the meat. I never heard that and am wondering if that's true. ANSWER: No, it's not. I guess you might call that a rural legend. Myths like onc... 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

Tweak My Food Plot

Tweak My Food Plot

By Bob Humphrey

If your food plot isn’t attracting deer like you want, change it. Test for fertilizer and lime use, add some fruit trees and vary plantings to create a deer cafeteria. QUESTION: I hunt in the Northeast, about 3 hours north of New York City. I have a 15-acre parcel of land that’s bordered by several hundred acres of woods on one side wi... READ MORE

No Set Date

No Set Date

By Bob Humphrey

There are many factors dictating when a buck drops its antlers. QUESTION: It’s March 20, the first day of spring, so why are so many bucks still seen with antlers? ANSWER: While seasonal changes in deer physiology and behavior are prompted largely by photoperiodism (changes in the amount of daylight), it is not a precise mechanism, and there ... READ MORE

Growing Like a Weed

Growing Like a Weed

By Bob Humphrey

Left unchecked, weeds can take over your food plot. QUESTION: I need a good herbicide to kill grass and broadleaf weeds in my clover. One of the big name brands has performed poorly. Is there anything else? — Larry L. ANSWER: Without more detail, like what region of the country you live in, what type of plants you’re trying to eliminate... READ MORE

Tracking Bucks

Tracking Bucks

By Bob Humphrey

Our biologist says you can’t identify a deer by a single track. QUESTION: I’m hoping you can settle an argument for me. Is there any way to tell the difference between a buck track and a doe track? –Harold B. ANSWER: Ah, yes, this is one of those classic deer camp debates that will probably go on forever. It is not possible to tel... 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

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd