American Hunter - June 2014 - 30

knowhow

5 Mature Buck Myt
By Frank Miniter, Field Editor

W

hen I ask deer researchers what -collar studies are telling them about
mature-buck movement
the first thing they all tell
me is "mature bucks are individuals." No
deer hunter who has tried to pattern more
than one mature buck would dispute that,
but this answer bothers me, as it insinuates there are no concrete answers. So I
push the deer biologists for more and they
say things like: "Well, on deeper analysis
we can fit many bucks into different personality profiles; when you know a buck's
personality type you can better predict its
movement ... ."
"Ahh," I say and know right away I
shouldn't have. Deer biologists, you see,
prefer to equivocate. If they suspect
you're boxing them into a conclusion they
start hedging and mentioning exceptions
as they squirm like politicians who don't
want to confirm or deny what they did
with an intern. After a little more prodding, a few deer researchers explain that
when they speak at hunting clubs and
outdoor shows they find they must begin
such discussions by first deflating popularly held buck myths. Before setting trail
cameras and scouting later this summer
and fall, they say deer hunters need an
update on what we now know not to be
true about mature buck behavior.

Movements: Groundbreaking Research"
at 's convention in . After looking at  years worth of -collar studies
of mature whitetail bucks in various parts
of the United States, he determined it just
isn't true that as a buck gets older its home
range grows. The studies show, if anything,
that mature bucks' home ranges actually
get smaller as they get older. "Like people,
some bucks tend to be homebodies and
have relatively small home ranges" while
other "bucks are travelers with expansive
home ranges."
Myth No. 2:

The Moon is a Big Factor in
Buck Movement

The studies show that regardless of moon
phase, bucks move most at dawn and dusk.

They're crepuscular. The hard truth is that
 research projects in many different
locations around the country have found
that moon phase has little or no influence
on deer movement. "No peer-reviewed
scientific data to date has revealed a correlation between moon phase and breeding
dates and/or deer movements," says Ross.
Many studies, however, do show a correlation between photoperiod (the length of
daylight) and the rut.
Also, sometimes the areas bucks use
actually shrink during the rut. Ross notes
that research from a Texas study recently
showed that mature bucks used only 
percent of their home range during the
rut. The bucks "had two or more points
of activity that they focused on and they
re-visited these locations roughly every 
to  hours," said Ross. Bucks seem to be
spacing their visits to doe groups as they
periodically assess how close the does are
to breeding.
Myth No. 3:

Mature Bucks Disappear in
The Fall Because They Go
Nocturnal

Hunting pressure can certainly make
bucks lay up in daylight, but it's also true
that a lot of bucks have different summer
and fall ranges. Brian Murphy, a wildlife
biologist who is the  of , says,
"We had one mature buck that would show
up every year on our trail cameras during
the second week in October. He'd leave
again later in the winter. We never killed
him. We found him dead. We think he
was ½ years old."

Myth No. 1:

A Buck's Home Range
Grows with Dominance

Matt Ross, a wildlife biologist
who works with the Quality Deer
Management Association (),
gave a seminar called "Mature Buck

  ❘

 ❘ .


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American Hunter - June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - June 2014

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American Hunter - June 2014 - Cover1
American Hunter - June 2014 - Cover2
American Hunter - June 2014 - 1
American Hunter - June 2014 - Table of Contents
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American Hunter - June 2014 - Cover4
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