John's Journal...

You’ll Often Bag Little Bucks at Green Fields

How Humans Affect Deer Movement

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If you saw your cousin, your brother, your sister, your uncle and your aunt get run over by an 18-wheeler every time one of them tried to cross a six-lane interstate, then you probably wouldn’t attempt to cross that interstate yourself. Just like you would learn not to play in traffic from observing what happened to your family on the interstate, older bucks with large racks and heavy body weights learned at an early age that if they went into a green field during hunting season in the daytime, more than likely they neClick to enlargever would leave the green field. But most hunters plant green fields to grow bigger bucks and think they’ll bag them at the green fields. Here’s the reality – the mature bucks will become nocturnal first. Because younger bucks haven’t learned the danger that awaits them in the green fields, hunters who sit in shooting houses over green fields have noticed they generally take smaller, younger bucks than hunters do in stands 50- to 200-yards away from those green fields. Now scientific evidence proves the truth of this assumption.

After studying deer and tracking their movements and feeding patterns with GPS collars, Dr. Grant Woods of Reedsville, Missouri, one of the nation’s leading deer researchers, observed that, “In thinner habitat, the deer might be further away from the green fields in daylight hours, but in thicker habitat, the deer might stay closer to the green fields. I also believed that hunting pressure Click to enlargewould help to determine how far away from the green fields the deer remained. The people hunting this property spent a lot of time riding 4-wheelers up and down the roads near the green fields and almost always hunted these green fields, which also contributed to keeping deer off the green fields during the daytime. However, the members of this hunting club had worked really hard to create nice green fields and had built condo-type stands to hunt from, a style of hunting that’s a growing trend nationwide. So, of course they wanted to spend much of their time hunting over those green fields.” Click to enlarge

Because most of the deer spent their daylight hours about 200-yards away from the green fields, the hunters would have taken more and bigger bucks if they’d gotten out of the condo stands and hunted at least 100-yards away from the green fields. “The hunters could have hung tree stands or developed ground blinds 100 yards from where the deer were bedding during daylight hours to have an opportunity to take those deer as they came off the green fields in the morning and headed back toward their bedding areas, or late in the afternoon catch the deer coming from their bedding areas going to the green fields for their nightly feedings,” Woods explains.

The members of this hunting club found sitting on the green fields unproductive, except that they did harvest young bucks and does. “Although this pattern of deer movement was due to the particular habitat condition of these deer, the trend of older bucks not going to green fields during daylight hours should hold-up, regardless of habitat type,” Woods says. From Woods’s research, we can see that green fields often act as deterrents to big bucks, instead of drawing cards for them, because of the hunting tactics the hunters use that prevent these bucks from utilizing these fields during daylight hours.   

Tomorrow: Predator Hunting Vs. Green Field Hunting

Check back each day this week for more about "You’ll Often Bag Little Bucks at Green Fields"

Day 1: Researching How and Why Deer Move
Day 2: How Humans Affect Deer Movement
Day 3: Predator Hunting Vs. Green Field Hunting 
Day 4: Better Deer Managers – Less-Effective Deer Hunters
Day 5: Hidey Holes – A Possible Solution to Take Green-Field Bucks


Entry 491, Day 2