Ask The Biologist

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

Another Rasputin Myth

Another Rasputin Myth

By Bob Humphrey

It’s time to get rid of all those crazy stories about turkeys driving out deer. QUESTION: Turkeys are fairly new where I live, but I’ve noticed more every year. A friend says they’ll drive the deer away and eat their food. Is there any truth to this? ANSWER: I wish we could do away with this misconception once and for all, but lik... READ MORE

Where’s the Other Antler?

Where’s the Other Antler?

By Bob Humphrey

Studies show many half-rack bucks have suffered an injury to the skull or pedicel. QUESTION: What causes bucks to grow half-racks? — Trevor B. ANSWER: To some extent that depends on what you mean by half-racks. A buck growing only one antler could be the result of an injury or genetic mutation. An injury to the limbs often results in some sor... READ MORE

Everyone Outta the Pool!

Everyone Outta the Pool!

By Bob Humphrey

Stagnant water doesn’t seem to be harmful to whitetails. QUESTION: I just read a tip about putting a kid’s plastic swimming pool out to help keep deer on property during droughts. My question is: how do you keep the water from becoming stagnant and full of mold, or does that matter for wildlife? — Ronny H. ANSWER: I’m not su... READ MORE

Picky Deer?

Picky Deer?

By Bob Humphrey

If you’re planting food plots and the deer aren’t using them, try to be different. QUESTION: I own some marsh land in lower Wisconsin. In the spring, there is standing water but it dissipates as time goes by to being moist. What crops would do best in this marshy soil? I've planted turnips two years in a row but have seen no deer eatin... READ MORE

It’s a Date

It’s a Date

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: When is the peak of the rut at Dallas-Perry county line in Alabama. — J.P. ANSWER: We get a lot of questions about when peak rut occurs. While the dates remain consistent from year to year, there can be a high degree of variability geographically, particularly in Southern states like Alabama. As a result, I usually avoid getting to... READ MORE

Bugger Off

Bugger Off

By Bob Humphrey

Mosquitoes and flies can ruin a hunt, but so can bug sprays. QUESTION: This is my first season bowhunting, and the bugs are driving me crazy. Will deer smell mosquito repellents and devices? ANSWER: Deer have a very keen sense of smell, so they will almost certainly smell any odor in the environment. More important is how they respond. Conventional... READ MORE

Tick Tock

Tick Tock

By Bob Humphrey

Why biting insects are as big a concern for hunters as big-name viruses. QUESTION: Everybody is worried about Corona virus, but I’m getting ready to spend a lot of time away from everyone in the turkey woods. I’m more worried about Lyme disease. Are ticks as much of a problem in the spring as they are in the early bow seasons? What can ... 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

The Answer My Friend...

The Answer My Friend...

By Bob Humphrey

Geography plays a role in how whitetails react to wind. QUESTION: I recently read somewhere that according to research, high winds don’t affect deer movement. How can this be true? — David W. ANSWER: I can’t answer directly without knowing the source, but I suspect the author might be over generalizing. I’ve read several stu... READ MORE

What A Difference A Day Makes

What A Difference A Day Makes

By Bob Humphrey

It’s true. In most cases, a doe’s peak release of hormones, indicating her willingness to breed, only lasts one day. QUESTION: Is it true a white-tailed deer is only in heat for a brief 24 hours? — Linda C. ANSWER: In most cases that’s fairly accurate. In order to conceive, a doe must be ready, willing and able.  Heat... 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

In the Bone

In the Bone

By Bob Humphrey

Antlers are full of minerals, so should we feed whitetails mineral supplements? QUESTION: What, if any, is the best mineral to feed deer? I add Hi-Mag mineral salt to my feed in the summertime and was wondering if I’m on track for helping antler growth. –Jerry A. ANSWER: Minerals are an important part of a whitetail’s diet. Not on... READ MORE

The Energizer Camera

The Energizer Camera

By Bob Humphrey

Does it make sense to put out food if deer are already coming to an area? QUESTION: I been hunting a 100-acre lease for several years. Last December, I turned my game camera on, filled my 6-gallon feeder up and hunted it for the last time that year. A couple days ago, my wife and I revisited the treestand and pulled the camera I had left behind to ... 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

Be Early ... or Late

Be Early ... or Late

By Bob Humphrey

The best time to set up depends on the type of stand you’re using. QUESTION: Our bow season is two weeks away, and I haven’t had time to set my stands yet. Do you think it’s too late? When is the best time to set stands? ANSWER: There are pros and cons to setting stands early and late. Whenever possible, I prefer to set my stands ... READ MORE

Point Restrictions: Good or Bad?

Point Restrictions: Good or Bad?

By Bob Humphrey

Love them or hate them, antler restrictions are a common component of many management plans. QUESTION: I live in Pennsylvania, and we have antler restrictions that I do not agree with. I don't feel we have more bigger bucks than we did before, and I know if you let a deer go, you’re letting him grow. But we are getting overrun with small buck... READ MORE

Scent Ban Stinks!

Scent Ban Stinks!

By Bob Humphrey

Laws banning deer urine lures are not based on science. QUESTION: The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries just passed a new law for 2015 hunting season. No deer lure with deer urine or any body parts of a deer can be used in Virginia because of CWD. I Just had to throw out my Tink’s #69 because only synthetic lures can be used. ... READ MORE

Melanistic Deer

Melanistic Deer

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: I shot a melanistic 9-point buck on Nov.15, 2000. He dressed out at 174 pounds. Does anybody track or keep records of such rare animals? — Daniel S. ANSWER: We get a lot of questions and comments about odd deer, particularly color variations. Even in “normal” deer, pelage (fur color) can be highly variable, ranging fr... READ MORE

Never Say Never

Never Say Never

By Bob Humphrey

Like all whitetail behavior, scrape activity is unpredictable. QUESTION: Last season I found several fresh scrapes and spent several days hunting over them, but I never saw any deer. A friend said I was wasting my time because bucks only scrape at night. Is that true? — Mike H. ANSWER: When it comes to whitetail behavior, two words you should... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd