Ask The Biologist

Fool Me Once ...

Fool Me Once ...

By Bob Humphrey

We know deer respond to hunting pressure, but what about wounds? QUESTION: What are the chances of a deer with a non-fatal gunshot wound returning to the same location it was shot during the same hunting season? – Clarence S. ANSWER: There are many variables in play, including the type and severity of the wound, the circumstances involved an... READ MORE

Look, a You-Nee-Corn!

Look, a You-Nee-Corn!

By Bob Humphrey

It’s no wonder deer hunters are so fascinated with antlers. QUESTION: What could cause this buck to have three antlers? ANSWER:There are several possibilities. As a body develops in the womb from a single fertilized egg, individual cells differentiate for specific functions. Some become hair, bone and organs. Bone cells of the pedicle further diffe... READ MORE

The Gray Nose Deer

The Gray Nose Deer

By Bob Humphrey

Question:  My son recently harvested a 9-pointer in northeastern Maryland. The buck had a light grey colored nose. We’re curious, has this ever been seen before? — David M. Answer:  White-tailed deer are remarkable creatures, and the more I study them, the more I realize just how diverse they can be. Most folks are familiar w... READ MORE

All In the Family

All In the Family

By Bob Humphrey

How deer, elk, moose and caribou are related, at least according to biologists. QUESTION: Are elk a subspecies of deer or a separate species? Are elk related to domestic cattle? To moose? Why are they called bulls, cows and calves while deer are bucks, does and fawns? ANSWER: I should be able to answer the first two questions fairly easily. The las... READ MORE

Variety Is the Spice of Deer Life

Variety Is the Spice of Deer Life

By Bob Humphrey

If you have the room and the means, don’t settle on one food plot seed. QUESTION: I live in St. Lawrence County, New York. I tried planting brassicas, which did well for a few years. Then, I had several years of heavy weeds. I till every year, wait two weeks and spray with a weed killer, wait 10 days and plant. I think I might be tilling in w... READ MORE

When Bucks Attack

When Bucks Attack

By Bob Humphrey

Although rare, whitetails have been known to hurt people. QUESTION: I was in my yard this evening toward dusk and looked down our hill and saw a buck staring at me. I was filling my bird feeders and thought he would run off, but he stood for about 15 minutes just looking at me. I finished what I was doing and went onto my porch, and he just stayed ... 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

SOS

SOS

By Bob Humphrey

It’s time to cull the myth and not the spikes. QUESTION: I’ve been trying to establish a new hunt club in middle Georgia, only 400 acres with six members. This is our third year upcoming and we’ve noted several bucks under the age of 2 1/2 to 3 that have one long spike and a button on the other side. We’ve had a lot of discu... READ MORE

Just Scraping the Surface

Just Scraping the Surface

By Bob Humphrey

Like most rut activities, scrape-making is fairly predictable. QUESTION: Do bucks start making scrapes as soon as their antlers are hard? ANSWER: Most scraping activity occurs in the fall and signals a sort of unofficial beginning to the rut as bucks paw the ground and deposit urine and other scents to signal they are ready, willing and able to bre... READ MORE

Numbers Game

Numbers Game

By Bob Humphrey

So how exactly do states determine how many permits to issue every year? QUESTION: The gun season in my state is bucks only unless you are selected for a doe tag. Then you can shoot any deer. The number of doe tags given out changes, sometimes a lot from year to year. My question is, how do they decide how many doe tags to give out? — John D.... READ MORE

Ooh That Smell

Ooh That Smell

By Bob Humphrey

Hanging hunting clothes outside isn’t a guarantee of freshness. QUESTION: I use scent free soap on my body and all my hunting equipment and clothes. If I take the same clothes and hang them in the woods out of the rain, they have a smell that I can smell. Does that scare the deer? ANSWER:I guess that depends partly on what the odor is that you smel... READ MORE

Need a Trim?

Need a Trim?

By Bob Humphrey

Cutting timber sounds simple, but start with a good plan. QUESTION: I recently purchased a woodlot for hunting and recreation, and we’re going to be cutting some firewood this year. Can you offer some tips on when/how to cut that will help the deer? ANSWER: It’s difficult to be too specific without more information, but I can offer some... READ MORE

Fired Up

Fired Up

By Bob Humphrey

Will the fire that swept through my property help or hurt the hunting? QUESTION: We had a fire on the land we hunt in Georgia, near the Alabama border. How will this affect our deer’s lives and behavior? ANSWER: It’s really difficult to say without more specific information, but I can offer some generalities. Fire is not necessarily a b... READ MORE

Spot On

Spot On

By Bob Humphrey

QUESTION: I have been reading “The Yearling” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The writer says several times that the pattern of a fawn’s spots is an indicator of a whitetail’s sex, spots being aligned for males and more random for females. Is that truth or myth? — Nicky ANSWER: Like the book itself, the concept that you ca... READ MORE

Play the Numbers

Play the Numbers

By Bob Humphrey

Doe groups will always draw bucks during the rut. QUESTION: They say you should hunt does during the rut because that’s where the bucks will be, but that doesn’t seem to work for me. My experience has been that does nearing estrus want to get away from other does. Am I on to something, and if so, where should I focus my rut hunt efforts... READ MORE

You New in Town?

You New in Town?

By Bob Humphrey

It probably doesn’t matter where a deer is from when it comes to scent. QUESTION: There are so many brands and types of doe-in-heat scent, so I’d like to know if one works better than others. Do deer smell different from region to region? For example, will an off-the-shelf doe in estrous scent work the same in Wyoming as it would in Ill... 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

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

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

Cradle Robbers

Cradle Robbers

By Bob Humphrey

Where are all these young deer coming from, and where are the giants? QUESTION: I have a 700-acre lease on the Pee Dee River in South Carolina that’s mostly thick cut-over — perfect bedding cover. This is the fourth year we have been attempting to let our deer get bigger but this year we were overrun with spikes, 3- and 4-pointers. We r... READ MORE

Copyright 2021 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd