Ask The Biologist

Why Do Bucks Shed Their Antlers?

Why Do Bucks Shed Their Antlers?

By Bob Humphrey

Question: When do bucks shed their antlers, and why? — Riley O. Answer:  Antlers are fascinating works of nature’s art, and one of their most interesting characteristics is that, like leaves on a hardwood tree, they are deciduous. Each year a new set is grown then cast off. Photoperiodism plays an important role in this process. ... READ MORE

It’s Complicated

It’s Complicated

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetail digestion isn’t rocket science, but it’s close. QUESTION: Someone recently told me that deer have four stomachs. Is this true? ANSWER: No. Like all mammals, deer have one stomach. However, like all ruminants, theirs consists of four chambers: rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum. A large portion of a whitetail’s diet is... READ MORE

Mucinex Won’t Help That

Mucinex Won’t Help That

By Bob Humphrey

If you think your last head cold was bad, check out what deer sometimes endure. QUESTION: I found these crawling inside the nasal cavity of a deer. I’m told they are normal and harmless. What are they and it true they’re nothing to worry about? — Robert M.ANSWER: In all likelihood what you have encountered what are commonly referr... READ MORE

Wretched Excess

Wretched Excess

By Bob Humphrey

Why a bumper acorn crop doesn’t make for the best hunting conditions. QUESTION: The place where I hunt has a lot of oak trees, and this year’s there’s a ton of acorns but I’m not seeing as many deer. Is the population down, or should I just hunt somewhere else? — William A. ANSWER: A bumper acorn crop can be a double-e... READ MORE

Where Are the Deer?

Where Are the Deer?

By Bob Humphrey

If they aren’t visiting your food plots as much, look in the oak stands. QUESTION: I’ve noticed that deer are not coming into the fields this fall like last year. Is it because there is a lot of feed this year in the woods? ANSWER: There could be several reasons, but that is the most likely. When there is a lot of natural food available... READ MORE

Good Intentions

Good Intentions

By Bob Humphrey

Feeding deer in winter seems like a good idea, but it has serious consequences. QUESTION: I recently purchased a home in the Gettysburg/Littlestown, Pa. area on 2.74 wooded acres. There are many deer in this area and I have been feeding them shelled corn. I have not been hunting them. I wish to maintain their health and growth through the winter mo... READ MORE

A Buck Named Lola

A Buck Named Lola

By Bob Humphrey

Can a doe really have antlers, and if so, how? QUESTION: Last year a guy in our town shot a doe with antlers. It was in late November and they were still covered in velvet. How is this possible? — Trent H. ANSWER: From a very young age we’re taught there is a difference between boys and girls, whether it be humans or deer. The truth o... READ MORE

Therein Lies the Rub

Therein Lies the Rub

By Bob Humphrey

Bucks rub their antlers to remove velvet and mark territory, but understanding rub messages depends on when and where the buck made them. QUESTION: On my property in the Catskills region of New York, we see a few rubs in late September and early October, but the majority of rubs do not appear until early November. I want to know if buck rubs are pr... READ MORE

Timing Is Everything

Timing Is Everything

By Bob Humphrey

We talk about breeding as an absolute window, but it’s not that exact. QUESTION: I’ve been running trail cameras year-round for a while now and never saw a picture of a fawn born in April until this year. Most years, it’s June before I see any. This doe must have been bred early, or she’s got a fast reproductive system. Just... READ MORE

The Infamous Perfect Shot

The Infamous Perfect Shot

By Bob Humphrey

Is there a spot in a deer’s chest where an arrow wouldn’t strike vital organs? QUESTION: While bowhunting recently, I shot a buck and made what I thought was a perfect broadside shot. We found blood and tracked for some time, but after several hours the blood ran out and we were not able to find the buck. I have heard there is a spot in... READ MORE

What Does the Future Look Like After HD Disease?

What Does the Future Look Like After HD Disease?

By Bob Humphrey

Question: We in Virginia are going through what some say is hemorrhagic disease. We had suffered a decrease in deer population and see sickly deer with split, fallen-off hoofs and so forth. I was wondering if you could shed any light as to what we can expect in our future. The VDGIF website has given us some information. Answer:  The VDGIF we... READ MORE

Jousting with One Antler

Jousting with One Antler

By Bob Humphrey

No need to cull Spike on One Side (SOS or SOOS) deer. Researchers assign pedicle or early skull trauma as root causes of the phenomenon, not genetics. Question:  Two years ago we noticed some type of defect within our deer population when a guest shot a buck that had antler growth on only one side.  The other side had nothing, not even a... READ MORE

Too Many Deauxs

Too Many Deauxs

By Bob Humphrey

Don’t believe exaggerated tales about massively skewed doe-to-buck ratios. QUESTION: I live in northern Louisiana. Can you tell me the buck-to-doe ratio where I live? Also, is it okay to take one doe out of the area in the first week in December? — Jimmy S. ANSWER: Without contacting the state wildlife biologist responsible for the area... READ MORE

Over the Rainbow

Over the Rainbow

By Bob Humphrey

Kansas newcomer wonders if the rut will impact gun season. QUESTION: I’m new to east Kansas and would like to know when the rut happens in Miami County. The gun season for whitetails starts the 6th of December this year. – Bill ANSWER: I recently completed a revision of the Buckmasters Rut Calendar, which gives rut dates for all states ... READ MORE

The Ears Have It

The Ears Have It

By Bob Humphrey

Strange presence of blood makes hunter leery of eating his harvest. QUESTION: I killed a buck that has dried blood in his ears. I noticed it about 5 minutes after I walked up to him. I know for sure it was not caused by my bullet. Is this buck fit for consumption? ANSWER: I’m guessing by now you’ve figured out the answer to your questio... READ MORE

Bucks Are Tough, But...

Bucks Are Tough, But...

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetails can survive serious injuries, but some don’t leave much hope. QUESTION: Do you believe this buck will ever recover? My main concern is infection or damage to his brain. The buck has been injured approximately two weeks and is still active and feeding but I’m concerned this injury may cause him to decline. Any suggestions wou... READ MORE

Early Dropout

Early Dropout

By Bob Humphrey

There are several reasons some bucks shed antlers earlier than others. QUESTION: Our muzzleloader season typically runs into the second week in December. This year a friend said he saw a buck without antlers on December 5. I sometimes see bucks still with their antlers in January. My question is, why did this buck drop its antlers so early. —... READ MORE

Bait and Switch

Bait and Switch

By Bob Humphrey

If you’ve heard mixed reviews on using feeders, join the crowd. QUESTION: My state now allows baiting, but I’ve read big bucks won’t come to a bait pile, or even a feeder. Is that true? ANSWER: There are very few absolutes in deer hunting, and different factors vary, sometimes considerably, from one place to another. That being sa... READ MORE

Fawn Shortage

Fawn Shortage

By Bob Humphrey

Is it getting more common to see adult does with only one fawn? QUESTION: It seems like does in my area have been having fewer fawns over the past few years. We used to see them mostly with twins, but now they just have one, and sometimes none. Can you tell me why? — Will W. ANSWER: I can’t say for sure, but I can offer a few possibilit... READ MORE

Your Buck Is Different, Mr. Gump

Your Buck Is Different, Mr. Gump

By Bob Humphrey

Why you might not be seeing 4.5-year-old deer on your trail cameras. QUESTION: I’ve asked to several seasoned deer hunters this question, and none have been able to give much insight. I hunt in Plantersville, Ala. (20 minutes north of Selma), and run several game cameras. Over the course of two years of running cameras over feeders during the... READ MORE

Copyright 2021 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd