Ask The Biologist

Bucks are Selfish!

Bucks are Selfish!

By Bob Humphrey

The deer you hear is not likely the deer you’re after. QUESTION: Last fall when hunting a farm in Kansas, I was approaching a thicket when a buck began to snort at me. Several minutes later, three does ran out. I waited awhile longer, but the buck never came out, and when I went in to investigate, the buck was not there. Is it possible one of... READ MORE

To Pee or Not to Pee?

To Pee or Not to Pee?

By Bob Humphrey

There is no concrete answer to this question, but it’s likely okay. QUESTION: I know you’ve probably had this question before but can deer tell the difference between human and deer urine? –Marc S. ANSWER: We really don’t know exactly what deer perceive through their sense of smell or how they interpret scent, but we know th... 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

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

Load of Bull

Load of Bull

By Bob Humphrey

No, no and no, you cannot do this. QUESTION: Is it true that you can tell the sex of a deer by their droppings? – Buster M. ANSWER: No. Some folks might like to believe you can, but the size, shape and consistency of deer poop is determined largely by diet. When feeding on their normal diet, which consists largely of coarse, woody browse, dro... READ MORE

I’ll Have a Salad

I’ll Have a Salad

By Bob Humphrey

Cattle farmer asks if whitetails exhibit the same diet shift as his cows. QUESTION: Female livestock that are healthy and mature enough to breed go through a process of preparing their bodies for the breeding during a period called flushing, where cows will feed on high quality forage to meet this need. I have witnessed a significant change in the ... READ MORE

Bachelor Party

Bachelor Party

By Bob Humphrey

There are multiple benefits to bucks hanging out together. QUESTION: I know that bucks group together in bachelor herds, and I was wondering why. – Todd S. ANSWER: Everything happens for a reason, right? Bachelor herds or groups are loose social aggregations of males that form as early as spring, but typically become larger, more coalesced an... READ MORE

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

By Bob Humphrey

It helps to know when to start looking for the telltale signs of buck activity. QUESTION: When do bucks begin to rub trees and leave scrapes? – Will P. ANSWER: A better question might be: When do they stop? As most hunters know, deer behavior in general is ruled by photoperiodism, changes in the amount of daylight. As the days grow shorter, p... 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

Timing Is Everything

Timing Is Everything

By Bob Humphrey

The best time to take does depends on your goals. QUESTION: If my goal is to take a doe, when is the best time? Should I fill doe tags early in archery season or later in firearms season? – Daniel B. ANSWER: It depends, to some extent, on why you want to take that doe. If your objective is largely to fill the freezer, the best time to take a ... READ MORE

Not So Fast

Not So Fast

By Bob Humphrey

Scientists not jumping in to support claims of CWD breakthrough. QUESTION: I have read about possibly in a year or so there is going to be a vaccine for CWD. Is there any truth to that, and have you seen anything about it? –Ronn B. ANSWER: I could write an entire feature article on the topic, and probably will be asked to by my editor. In the... READ MORE

Room at the Table

Room at the Table

By Bob Humphrey

Deer and turkeys share several food sources, but their diets aren’t the same. QUESTION: What foods do both turkeys and deer eat? –Henrik, G. ANSWER: That’s a rather broad question, and much depends on geographical location, time of year and local habitat. In spring and summer, both deer and turkeys eat a variety of herbaceous vege... 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

Ol’ Tripod

Ol’ Tripod

By Bob Humphrey

What would cause it, and can a deer survive with only three legs? QUESTION: I got this picture on my trail camera. What could cause this deer to only have three legs, and do you think it will survive? – Bob H. ANSWER: Possible reasons are numerous and varied. As there appears to be a bare spot and possible scarring, I would say it is likely t... READ MORE

Thin Is NOT In

Thin Is NOT In

By Bob Humphrey

Reclaimed mining property offers challenges for food plot growers. QUESTION: I have a 155-acre farm leased. It was previously mining property, and the soil is very poor with a very thin top layer. I am trying to get food plots started, but don’t have the equipment or the time and money to prepare the soil properly. I have read about throw-and... 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

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

The Path Logs Traveled

The Path Logs Traveled

By Bob Humphrey

Logging trails can provide a variety of hunting benefits. QUESTION: I have 100 acres of forest property in upstate New York. Hunting there has been good. I recently had the property logged, and there are a lot of trails crisscrossing the property. Should I continue to leave all the trails open, or should I block them up and let them grow back into ... 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

How High’s the Water?

How High’s the Water?

By Bob Humphrey

There are food plot crops that do well in moist soils, but it depends. QUESTION: We live in south-central Pennsylvania and have a very wet 20 acres that only has some wild grass and weeds in it. What could we plant to attract deer in our November to January hunting season? – Mike S. ANSWER: Much depends on what you mean by “very wet.&rd... READ MORE

Copyright 2019 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd