Ask The Biologist

Who Started It?

Who Started It?

By Bob Humphrey

We just don’t know everything there is to know about scrapes. QUESTION: Who starts the scrape, and what do the does have to do with it? – Scotty W. ANSWER: Bucks typically do most of the scrape initiation and tending. While we still don’t fully understand their function, it is largely accepted that scrapes represent a scent signp... READ MORE

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

Worst Ever Athlete’s Foot

Worst Ever Athlete’s Foot

By Bob Humphrey

Strange foot malady has hunter and our biologist stumped. QUESTION: I am a life member of Buckmasters and multiple other hunting organizations. For 15 years I have had a hunting lease in the middle of Iowa. Over the last several years, I have noted, with some anxiety, that several deer we harvested have the same physical issue. They have extremely ... READ MORE

Fawns Gone

Fawns Gone

By Bob Humphrey

Have you ever wondered what happens to yearling deer when the mother doe goes into estrus? QUESTION: I am of the understanding that does will run their fawns off as they come into estrus. If this is true, when do they let their fawns return after they have been bred? I have heard right away, and I have heard maybe not at all. From seeing so many do... READ MORE

Lay Off the Juice!

Lay Off the Juice!

By Bob Humphrey

What could be the cause of this buck’s abnormal thickness? QUESTION: Any idea what’s wrong with this buck? — Layton S. ANSWER: I once observed a Saskatchewan buck with a similar, although less severe, condition. He looked like a 50-gallon barrel on a sawbuck. The best I can do is speculate, based on what we know about whitetails. ... 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

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

Feathers, Guts and All

Feathers, Guts and All

By Bob Humphrey

Why do Southerners drag out their deer without field-dressing them first? QUESTION: I am from New York. Last year I did my first out-of-state hunt, in Alabama. The people I hunted with told me not to field dress my deer, but to bring it back to camp whole. At first I thought they were just kidding me, but they were serious. When I asked why, they j... READ MORE

If You Build It...

If You Build It...

By Bob Humphrey

Deer get used to permanent stands, but they also learn to avoid them. QUESTION: I put up a shooting house this fall in a location where I found several heavy trails crossing. Then I noticed during bow season that most of the deer I saw passed by some distance out of range. Do you think they are avoiding the stand, and should I move it? ANSWER: Ther... READ MORE

Time To Make Another Set

Time To Make Another Set

By Bob Humphrey

It seems a shame that big bucks drop their antlers, but it’s part of the natural cycle. QUESTION: I found a shed antler in late December, but I also have pictures of bucks that still had antlers in late January. What makes some bucks shed earlier or later than others? – Shawn L. ANSWER: Antlers are a remarkable and mysterious natural ph... READ MORE

Deer Browse

Deer Browse

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: My friend and I are hoping you can settle a bet. Two years ago one of the areas we hunt was cut for firewood, and the stumps grew a bunch of suckers. This spring we noticed something has been chewing them. I say it’s deer, my friend says rabbits. Is there any way we can tell.  — Herman D. ANSWER: The suckers you’... READ MORE

Abscesses and Meat

Abscesses and Meat

By Bob Humphrey

The venison is probably safe, but why take a chance? QUESTION: My son shot a doe that had an abscess in front of her shoulder. The deer seemed otherwise healthy. The abscess was not lanced until cut away from the carcass, and was not in contact with any edible portion. When I did lance it, a thick, syrupy, yellow liquid poured out. Understanding th... READ MORE

Twisted Tops

Twisted Tops

By Bob Humphrey

It’s difficult to pin down the cause of misshapen racks. QUESTION: What causes bent-over racks? Is it aggressiveness by this young deer when it starts growing antlers in the spring? A head injury? I have seen five or six like this over the past 10 years. Maybe genetics? How can I tell for sure? My friends and I have been wondering. — Bi... READ MORE

Boomer Sooner

Boomer Sooner

By Bob Humphrey

Okie wants to know what to plant this fall. QUESTION: What’s the best food plot to plant in Oklahoma? ANSWER: The answer depends partly on your objective. If you’re looking to plant cool-season (fall/winter plots) hunting plots, crops like wheat, rye and barley are probably your best option as they’re relatively inexpensive, may d... READ MORE

Canned Response

Canned Response

By Bob Humphrey

We bet you haven’t heard this about using can calls for whitetails. QUESTION: I’ve been trying to learn how to call deer, and some of my friends suggested I try a can call. Can you tell me what situations I should use it for? What type of call does it imitate? How often should I call? ANSWER: Biologists have discovered that deer use a variety of vo... READ MORE

Red Snow

Red Snow

By Bob Humphrey

Hunter seeks answer to strangely colored deer urine. QUESTION: I’ve been out hunting for shed antlers and seen several spots where the deer pee looks red and bloody. It’s well after the rut, and I’m wondering if you can answer why this deer urine is this color? –Daniel ANSWER: I, too, have observed this, although I never really bothered to re... READ MORE

Whitetails React Strongly To Hunting Pressure

Whitetails React Strongly To Hunting Pressure

By Bob Humphrey

Question: I’m from New York and have a good amount of property with food plots and the whole nine yards. The properties around me are highly pressured during gun season. During archery season I see deer all day, but during gun season they disappear. They’re not in plots or travel corridors. Any ideas why this might be? — Jon A. A... READ MORE

Not a Licking Branch!

Not a Licking Branch!

By Bob Humphrey

Not all rut interaction by bucks is violent, and it’s likely more significant than you think. QUESTION: Last fall during the rut, I saw two bucks approach each other in a greenfield. Rather than fighting, they licked each other’s ears and face. Why would they do this? — Kevin M. ANSWER: The behavior you observed is not all that un... READ MORE

Whitetail Rodeo

Whitetail Rodeo

By Bob Humphrey

How big is my herd? Let me count all the bucks and does. QUESTION: In a story in the October, 2016 issue, the topic was what kind of social structure exists in whitetail herds. I would like to know how big a herd can be that includes all the groups of bucks and does within a herd’s territory. — Ricky W. ANSWER: I’m not sure there ... READ MORE

Where’s the Bone?

Where’s the Bone?

By Bob Humphrey

It can be frustrating when bucks don’t grow the size antlers you think they should. QUESTION: I have several cameras out and have been watching the deer in my vicinity for several seasons. They just don’t seem to be growing the type of antlers I think they should. Do you think I should put out some minerals for them? What kind would you... READ MORE

Copyright 2021 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd