John's Journal...

White-Tailed Bucks on a Cold Day

Hunt the Coveys

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: I talked with Dr. Larry Marchinton, well-known deer researcher who’s now retired as a professor of wildlife at the University of Georgia, who explained, “I don’t have any scientific research to back up this theory. However, I do know from my own experience that I see fewer deer moClick to enlargeving on extremely-cold days than I do when the weather’s more stable. The day a cold front moves in isn’t as productive a day to hunt as the day before or after a cold front hits. Although deer do have to move in cold weather, I don’t believe they move as much on the coldest days as they do after the weather stabilizes.”

“During extremely-cold weather, deer exhibit a yarding behavior,” Dr. Marchinton reports. “In the northern part of their range, white-tailed deer frequently will congregate during the winter in sheltered areas referred to as deer yards. In the southern Appalachians, although deer don’t really yard, there is a tendency for them to concentrate in the cover and on hillsides containing mountain laurel and rhododendrons. Heavily-used deer yards are associated primarily with cold temperaturesrather than snow depth. The function of yarding behavior is to conserve energy by minimizing the radiant and the convective heat loss of deer.” This yarding behavior aClick to enlargelso may relate to the same type of behavior we see in bobwhite quail that covey-up at night and at other times to have moreeyes and ears searching for predators.

Click to enlargeFrom this information, we know the colder the weather, the more likely that you’ll see bucks and does in large herds in thick cover. By hunting cover during severe cold weather, you’ll have a greater chance of not only seeing one buck but also possibly spotting several bucks from the same stand site. If you’re hunting in snow country and identify a patch of really-thick cover, you’ll find tracks coming from several different directions and going into that thicket. If you’ll prepare stand sites in these thick-cover areas before the season, you’ll learn that when the weatherman predicts bad, cold weather, he’s actually predicting great deer hunting for you in any thick-cover hunting sites you’ve identified.

Tomorrow: Use a Dirty Trick

Check back each day this week for more about "White-Tailed Bucks on a Cold Day"

Day 1: Deer on Cold Days
Day 2: Watch for Breaking Weather
Day 3: Locating Deer After the Snow
Day 4: Hunt the Coveys
Day 5: Use a Dirty Trick


Entry 542, Day 4