Ask The Biologist

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 p... READ MORE

No Set Date

No Set Date

By Bob Humphrey

There are many factors dictating when a buck drops its antlers. QUESTION: It’s March 20, the first day of spring, so why are so many bucks still seen with antlers? ANSWER: While seasonal changes in deer physiology and behavior are prompted largely by photoperiodism (changes in the amount of daylight), it is not a precise mechanism, and there ... READ MORE

Spikes ... Again!

Spikes ... Again!

By Bob Humphrey

Will we ever get a definitive answer on the question of shooting spikes? QUESTION: I have heard different opinions about spikes through the years. For example: “Once a spike always a spike,” “Shoot cow-horn spikes, let the straight spikes walk” (and the opposite). Is there a distinctive suggestion on what spikes to take out,... READ MORE

When In Rome

When In Rome

By Bob Humphrey

If you try to manage deer on a lease, sooner or later you’ll run across a slightly abnormal whitetail. What should you do? QUESTION: Is a short bridgeline a recessive genetic defect, and should a buck with this trait be allowed to breed? — Ron Dahlseid ANSWER: Indeed, a short, bowed or Roman nose is usually the result of a recessive g... READ MORE

Gesundheit!

Gesundheit!

By Bob Humphrey

Yes, whitetails sneeze just like us, and often for the same reasons. QUESTION: I have heard deer make many different sounds, but this fall I had a deer come by me and it kept making this sound like it was sneezing. What does this mean? ANSWER: I could dazzle you with all kinds of possible explanations as to the deer’s exhalations, but what yo... READ MORE

Too Hot for TV

Too Hot for TV

By Bob Humphrey

Temperature spikes affect movement, but not rut timing. QUESTION: I’m not seeing as many deer this year as I usually do. We’ve had warm weather where I live, and I’m wondering if that’s it. Does this mean the rut will be late? ANSWER: There are many reasons why deer movement might be off where you hunt, although temperatures... READ MORE

Hog Wild

Hog Wild

By Bob Humphrey

Sandy soil presents enough problems without having to contend with hogs, too. QUESTION: I have 500 acres that has a lot of sandy soil. I've planted stuff every year, and nothing seems to grow. The other thing is, I have hogs at the feed all the time. I have seen some really good bucks, but they won’t come to the feeder, so I'm trying to plan... READ MORE

The Rut Marches On

The Rut Marches On

By Bob Humphrey

Does will be bred no matter how long it takes. QUESTION: I live just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, and about an hour ago, which was 5:30 (Feb. 10), I looked out back in my yard and watched a big buck grunting and chasing a smaller doe. What’s up with that? – Mike W. ANSWER: Most, but not all does are bred sometime during the initial rut,... READ MORE

Anti-Deer Spray

Anti-Deer Spray

By Bob Humphrey

Put the lime in the field and watch the deer disappear? QUESTION: This year my landowner spread lime on his harvested fields. Up to that point, I observed the deer were feeding in them quite often, and I had trail cam pictures of them doing so, too. After the lime, I have not observed any deer in these fields or captured a single trail camera pictu... READ MORE

Early Bird

Early Bird

By Bob Humphrey

How soon do mock scrapes become effective in drawing bucks? QUESTION: I was thinking about setting up a mock scrape this year, but someone told me I should wait until the rut before setting it up or I’d just be wasting time and money. What are your thoughts? — Chris C. ANSWER: While I have no scientific evidence to support it, I see no ... READ MORE

Blow Myth Blown

Blow Myth Blown

By Bob Humphrey

Can you tell the sex of a deer by whether it snorts at danger? QUESTION: One of my hunting buddies was telling how he had a buck blowing at him repeatedly. When I asked him how big it was, he said he didn’t know because he never saw it. Then I asked how he knew it was a buck, he said because it was blowing. I’ve heard several other peop... READ MORE

Just Like Clockwork

Just Like Clockwork

By Bob Humphrey

When using a feeder for hunting, it matters when the food is available. QUESTION: What times should I set my deer feeder to go off during this season? I’m in Oklahoma.— Michael Q. ANSWER: Seeing you’re in Oklahoma, I’d recommend you set it for Central Time. (Just kidding) Let’s look at this logically. You’re tryi... READ MORE

The Eyes Have It

The Eyes Have It

By Bob Humphrey

If you get a funny feeling when you make eye contact with a deer, you’re not alone. QUESTION: Do you think that face paint really helps to keep deer from seeing your shiny face, or do they get spooked when they see your shiny eyes? ANSWER: I love this question! The short answer is: I really don’t know, and it’s never as simple as ... READ MORE

It’s a Date!

It’s a Date!

By Bob Humphrey

Calendar-based baiting law has our biologist stumped. QUESTION: My state just enacted a ban on feeding deer that begins June 1 and ends Dec. 15. I’m a little confused as to why they would do this. Any ideas? — Travis E. ANSWER: It does seem a little strange, and there are multiple possibilities. There are about as many different baiting... 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

New Food Plots

New Food Plots

By Bob Humphrey

Buckmasters' biologist offers thoughts on getting started. QUESTION: Bob, I found an approximately half-acre clearing where I want to create a food plot. I live in Tennessee, so the summers are very dry and hot. When and what should I plant to get those big bucks coming to my plot? Also, what is the best food for deer to consume year round? &ndash... READ MORE

Gender Fender Bender

Gender Fender Bender

By Bob Humphrey

Without an examination, it’s hard to determine why a doe would have antlers. QUESTION: Many years ago, a friend hit a deer with his vehicle. It was a 10-point buck, but it didn’t have male genitals. That means it was a doe. Why did this doe have antlers? — Tracy F. ANSWER: Mammals are typically born either male or female, as deter... READ MORE

Looking for a Cure

Looking for a Cure

By Bob Humphrey

Even your friendly deer biologist is susceptible to buck fever. QUESTION: This question is more about human biology than deer biology. How can I control my buck fever, and in my case, deer fever? I’ve been hunting for over 30 years now and have harvested hundreds of deer (mostly does, with one buck per year in Indiana), but I still get deer f... READ MORE

Foot Fetish

Foot Fetish

By Bob Humphrey

Hoof abnormalities might mean your deer survived EHD. QUESTION: I hunted in a group this year, and three of the deer we harvested had hoof pads that where coming off as a single piece. We could see new pads under old ones. I’ve hunted 30 years and never saw this before. All the deer looked healthy. What causes this? — Sherry W. ANSWER: ... READ MORE

It’s Not About Size

It’s Not About Size

By Bob Humphrey

Even tiny antlers need to be gone when the next set starts to grow. QUESTION: During West Virginia’s rifle season this year I saw a little buck with half-inch spikes. I’m curious, will that buck shed those tiny nubs? It almost seems pointless. – Ken P. ANSWER: Such tiny, spikes could be the result of a buck fawn born early enough ... READ MORE

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd