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BY Bob Humphrey on Feb. 24, 2017

Home Range Movements

The buck first showed up on October 3 and provided a very pleasant and unexpected surprise considering we’d been running trail cameras since late August. My enthusiasm was tempered however by the time stamp on the image: 12:31 AM. The buck we named “Tall Boy” showed up again four days later and an hour earlier, and then vanished for a month…and the rest of bow season.

The next time he posed was an hour before daylight. That really got us going as the gun season was open and the rut kicking in. But we never laid eyes on him and despite running a half dozen cameras strategically over a square mile or so, we didn’t capture another image of him for three weeks. The next picture was taken ¾ of a mile away and again in the dark. Then Tall Boy went underground and didn’t surface again until after the December muzzleloader season. At least he’d made it through hunting season, but clearly more work needed to be done if we were going to sort out this buck’s home range and movement patterns before the next season.

We’d all like to know a lot more about where, when and how deer move about their regular haunts, but we can’t all go out and conduct a full-blown research project involving satellite telemetry and GPS collars. What we can do; however, is use general trends uncovered by that type of research, combined with what little we can glean from game cameras and personal observation and apply it to our own hunting grounds. Along the way, we might even learn a little bit about how to improve the odds of deer moving where we want them to by manipulating the habitat.

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