John's Journal...

The Dominant Buck Deer Theory with Dr. Larry Marchinton

Day 2: Finding the Dominant Buck Deer’s Achilles Heel with Dr. Larry Marchinton

Editor’s Note: Scientific research has learned some facts about big white-tailed bucks that can make your hunting this year your best ever.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewEven though the dominant buck is the master of the woods and often the smartest and biggest buck in the herd, this whitetail still has an Achilles heel. And, the hunter who understands what that vulnerable spot is will learn the best times to hunt this woods master.

“There is one time of the year when the dominant buck must expose himself during daylight hours and that is during the 2 weeks’ peak of the rut,” Dr. Larry Marchinton, retired deer researcher and avid deer hunter, reveals. “In the peak of the rut, the dominant one has to breed as many does as he possibly can, which is his responsibility as the dominant buck. So, during the peak of the breeding season, the dominant buck will eat and sleep very little. He will be on the move, searching for does to breed. I believe that the dominant buck will breed any doe that he finds in estrus in his territory.

“During one of our studies, we discovered some evidence that might give a clearer picture as to why the dominant buck would move so much during the rut. We learned that when the does were ready to be bred, in the deer herd we were radio tracking, that the does would take an excursion of 1/2- to 3/4-mile out of their home range and stay gone for a day or two before returning. From checking the fawns of these does, we determined that the does could have been bred during these excursions.

“So, biologists have wondered if the does in a given dominance area leave that dominance area when they are in estrus to be bred by a buck not in the same gene pool from where the does have been born. If this concept is true, then one of the reasons that the dominant buck is continuously on the move during the rut is to encounter these does in estrus that come from out of his area into his region to be bred as well as to find the does in his region that are ready to be bred.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewTherefore, the best time for a sportsman to find that dominant buck searching for his does during daylight hours is in the peak of the rut. To learn when the peak of the rut is on the land you are hunting, check with the wildlife biologists in your region to try, and define the best 2 weeks to hunt the rut. Keep in mind that the peak of the rut will vary from place to place, even within a state. For instance in my home state of Alabama, there are at least three separate and distinctive ruts – one beginning in October, another in mid-November and the third around the end of December. There’s even a county – Barbour County in Alabama – that has several distinctive, different ruts. In Alabama, the rut varies, because when deer were restocked into Alabama, the animals came from three different geographical regions. And, the deer from each area still demonstrate a different time for the rut. So, first you need to define the peak of the rut on the land you plan to hunt.

For more deer-hunting tips, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,”
How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” and “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” or to prepare venison, get “ Deer & Fixings.” Click here on each, or go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.


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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Choosing the Best Days to Hunt the Dominant Buck Deer with Dr. Larry Marchinton

Check back each day this week for more about The Dominant Buck Deer Theory with Dr. Larry Marchinton"

Day 1: Learning about the Dominant Buck Deer with Dr. Larry Marchinton
Day 2: Finding the Dominant Buck Deer’s Achilles Heel with Dr. Larry Marchinton
Day 3: Choosing the Best Days to Hunt the Dominant Buck Deer with Dr. Larry Marchinton
Day 4: Knowing the Best Time of Day for Taking Trophy Buck Deer with Dr. Larry Marchinton
Day 5: Using Scrapes to Identify Places Where a Dominant Buck Deer Is with Dr. Larry Marchinton

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Entry 748, Day 2