Ask The Biologist

Food Shy

Food Shy

By Bob Humphrey

It’s common for big bucks to avoid feeders and bait sites.

QUESTION: I live in Texas, and we run several corn feeders on our lease. We’ve gotten pictures of several nice bucks on the property, but we never see them around the feeders. Are they avoiding them on purpose? Why?

ANSWER: It’s impossible to say for certain, but it is possible, and possibly even likely that the older bucks are keeping their distance. They didn’t get big and old by being careless.

Feeders represent an unnatural concentration of food. While the easy pickings are tempting, it’s not a situation deer would normally encounter. That alone would put them on alert. It also concentrates deer, which is unnatural and can lead to more aggressive interactions.

Bucks, particularly older ones, tend to be loners in the fall (during hunting season) especially during the rut. If they’ve lived through several hunting seasons and you’ve been hunting over your feeders for a few years, it’s also possible the older deer have had negative encounters at or near them, making them even more wary.

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