Ask The Biologist

When Mama Ain’t Happy

When Mama Ain’t Happy

By Bob Humphrey

We still don’t understand a majority of deer vocalizations. QUESTION: While deer hunting over the weekend, a doe and fawn approached my stand. The doe continually bleated and low grunted the entire time she was in sight. I was wondering if this was a sign that she was coming into estrus. First time seeing this. ANSWER: In over 40 years of deer hunt... READ MORE

How To Fix pH

How To Fix pH

By Bob Humphrey

Put the lime on the food plot and they’ll eat it all up! QUESTION: I’ve been told you can’t put to much garden lime on a food plot. Is that true? ANSWER: As a general rule of thumb it is true, but there’s a limit. It comes down to soil pH, which you should test before applying lime or other minerals, and then follow the recommended application from... READ MORE

Seeing Red?

Seeing Red?

By Bob Humphrey

Why a blood moon, or any type of moon, probably doesn’t make a big difference. QUESTION: When the bow deer season opens in North Carolina, is a Blood Moon good for hunters? ANSWER: Given that it’s now November we’re a little late in answering this one, but it doesn’t really matter. Blood moon is another name for a total lunar eclipse, which occurs ... READ MORE

Someone Get a Dump Truck

Someone Get a Dump Truck

By Bob Humphrey

It’s difficult to diagnose deer health from a picture, but there is a definite problem here. QUESTION: My brother in-law and I have been hunting a buck that has been a 7-pointer for the last four years. We figured he was at least 3 1/2 years old the first year we received trail camera pictures of him. We noticed about two years ago that this deer h... READ MORE

Bleach Is for Laundry

Bleach Is for Laundry

By Bob Humphrey

We’ve heard of some crazy deer attractants, but this one is really out there. QUESTION: A friend told us to put Clorox out to attract the deer. Is this true? Does it work or is it harmful for the deer? ANSWER: I’ve heard of some wild products used as deer attractants or cover scents before, but never bleach. Before there were bottled scents, some s... READ MORE

Fool Moon Fever

Fool Moon Fever

By Bob Humphrey

Should you believe half of what you see and none of what you hear? QUESTION: I’ve read a bunch of stuff on how the moon affects deer movement, and it seems to say the full moon doesn’t have any effect on them moving less during daylight. Still, I always seem to see fewer deer around the full moon. My trail cameras also get fewer pictures around pea... READ MORE

Not Quite Bambi

Not Quite Bambi

By Bob Humphrey

Be careful about ascribing human traits to deer. QUESTION: I was watching a doe and her fawns feeding in a field. All of a sudden one of the fawns bolted halfway across the field, stopped and then ran back. Then the other fawn started running around like it was being chased, but I could not see anything chasing it. The doe just stood and watched an... READ MORE

Tale of the Tail

Tale of the Tail

By Bob Humphrey

A deer’s tail serves multiple survival functions. QUESTION: It’s obvious how the white-tailed deer got its name, but what is the purpose of this tail? It seems like flagging would only attract predators. ANSWER: Deer generally live in a forest environment where visibility is often obscured by vegetation. It’s likely the flag acts as a visual signal... READ MORE

How Low Can You Go?

How Low Can You Go?

By Bob Humphrey

Strike a balance when compensating for ducking the string. QUESTION: I've heard you should aim low when shooting at a deer with a bow because they might jump the string, causing you to miss high. My question is, how low should you aim? ANSWER: A good general guideline is to aim for the bottom third of the deer's body - basically aiming for the hear... READ MORE

Natural Born Killers

Natural Born Killers

By Bob Humphrey

Mother Nature isn’t as kind as the stories. QUESTION: This seems to be an unpopular subject to non-hunters. On occasion, I’ve heard reports of wolves or mountain lions killing far more animals than they need to eat. These stories come from a federal trapper taking care of problem animals killing livestock like sheep and cattle. People who oppose th... READ MORE

Not in Kansas Anymore

Not in Kansas Anymore

By Bob Humphrey

Do extreme weather events like tornados drive deer out of an area? QUESTION: I live pretty in central Alabama. I have pictures of really nice deer from spring, but since a tornado that came through in April I haven’t seen much activity. Is it possible the tornado did so much damage that the herd moved-on? ANSWER: Anything is possible, although it’s... READ MORE

Something Missing

Something Missing

By Bob Humphrey

Good soil for deer includes minerals plants might not need. QUESTION: Here in southwest-central Pennsylvania, we have difficulty growing larger deer. We have been told we have poor soil, but we have farms that grow the food the deer eat year round. I have been planting a food plot for a few years, and the best buck we’ve seen is maybe 125 to 135 in... READ MORE

On the Bright Side

On the Bright Side

By Bob Humphrey

What’s good for deer might not be good for hunters ... and vice-versa. QUESTION: We hunt on private property in the southeast corner of the Texas Panhandle. Last year we had record amounts of rain, and there was so much vegetation the deer did not come to the feeders very often. Now we are in an extreme drought but have been seeing more deer than t... READ MORE

When Growth Kicks In

When Growth Kicks In

By Bob Humphrey

Antler characteristics can be determined by a number of factors, including genetics. QUESTION: What causes all of these kickers, especially on the bases? ANSWER: Several things influence the shape, size and configuration of deer antlers, including age, nutrition, genetics and injury. For example, most yearling bucks sport spikes or 4-point racks – ... READ MORE

Another One Bites the Dust

Another One Bites the Dust

By Bob Humphrey

Here’s yet another long-held belief that new data says is false. QUESTION: This spring I planted brassicas, and so far the deer don’t seem to be eating them. Someone told me they don’t eat them until frost hits and the starches turn to sugar. Is that true? ANSWER: For a long time, it was believed that after a hard frost the starch... READ MORE

Cold Shoulder

Cold Shoulder

By Bob Humphrey

Hunters and biologists don’t always agree on deer behavior. QUESTION: I’ve always heard cold weather gets deer moving, but I recently read an article that disputes that. Is that true that deer don’t move more in the cold?– Daniel B. ANSWER: I’ll start by noting there’s not much in the way of peer-reviewed researc... READ MORE

Elvis Would Be Envious

Elvis Would Be Envious

By Bob Humphrey

Whitetail velvet is one of the most remarkable things in the animal kingdom. QUESTION: I know deer grow velvet on their antlers, but what purpose does it serve? ANSWER: Antlers are a remarkable adaptation and among the fastest growing tissues in the animal kingdom. The velvet serves as a circulatory system to carry blood and nutrients to the growin... READ MORE

Out With the Boys

Out With the Boys

By Bob Humphrey

Good habitat attracts and holds deer, but there are other factors involved. QUESTION: I have what appears to be two separate does herds on my property but no bachelor group. Can you attract and then hold a bachelor group on a piece of property that has food plots, water, hard mast, soft mast and bedding areas? ANSWER: The short answer is, yes, abso... READ MORE

Stage Fright

Stage Fright

By Bob Humphrey

Nighttime food plot activity is normal, especially on larger plots. QUESTION: Is there a way to get the deer to come to food plots during daylight hours? They come to our plots all night long, but I hardly see any during the day. ANSWER: Behaviorally, deer are considered crepuscular, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk. The more disturbanc... READ MORE

White Privilege

White Privilege

By Bob Humphrey

Protecting white deer doesn’t make biological sense. But it doesn’t really hurt, either. QUESTION: I recently saw an albino buck and was going to add it to my hit list, but someone told me it’s illegal to shoot a white deer where I live. I’ve heard it’s bad luck, but is there a biological reason to protect them? ANSWER: Protection of albino or pieb... READ MORE

Copyright 2022 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd