John's Journal...


Cameras Don't Lie

Mark Drury is founder of MAD Calls and Drury Outdoor ProductionsEditor’s Note: Mark Drury of Columbia, Missouri, founder of MAD Calls and Drury Outdoor Productions videos and TV show, has spent time and money over the past few years studying buck-movement patterns with trail-monitor cameras.

"I've learned that young bucks, 1-1/2 to 3-years old, travel often and will move a long way from their core areas during the rut," Drury reports. "With trail-monitor cameras, I consistently can get pictures of these young bucks on trails around their core areas throughout most of the year. Then when the Dury has been tracking buck movements with trail-monitor camerasrut kicks in, I'll begin to see these same bucks on numbers of different trails, often a mile or two from their core areas. However, the older bucks will begin to move out of their core areas to look for does later than the younger bucks do. I've noticed that the big bucks during the rut won't move as far from their core areas as the younger bucks do. Perhaps an older-age-class buck knows that when a doe is in estrus in his core area that he'll be the buck that breeds her. So, possibly this is why an older-age-class buck, 4- to 7-1/2-years old, doesn't go as far outside of his core region as young bucks do to find does to breed. I think that during the rut is when the most dispersal takes place in the buck population. I've also noticed that the older the buck is, the fewer pictures I'll get of him on my trail camera during the rut. The younger the buck, the more pictures I'll get of him from different cameras. I've gotten pictures of one older-age-class buck 10 times on one camera, but I've never made his picture on any of the other cameras that I've strategically placed around his core area. I really believe that older-age-class bucks know that the further they move from their core area in the rut, the more likely they are to encounter a hunter."Drury has discovered that older bucks know to stay in their core area

Bucks In Odd Places:
Mark Drury also has a theory about why you'll often see really-big dominant bucks out in the middle of a cleared pasture during the peak of the rut. "I think that one of the reasons bigger bucks sometimes appear in weird spots like in the middle of a wide-open pasture is because the does force them to come there. When a doe comes into estrus, anywhere she goes, she'll have young bucks trying to breed her. I'm sure you've seen does running though the woods with their tongues hanging out because they've been chased so hard. I think that older does know they'll be chased hard during the breeding season. So, rather than having to run all day and all night, they'll simply walk out into the middle of a cleared pasture where they know a big buck can see and smell them. Little bucks know that if they come out into that pasture that a bigger buck will whip them. So, I think that explains why you see big bucks out in pastures during the peak of a rut."

Sometimes bucks appear in weird places

Here's what we've learned about bucks in the rut...
* they don't change their home ranges, even if they don't find as many does in that area as other places have,
* they’ll possibly change their core areas within their home ranges if a dominant buck wages war with them but generally have great loyalty to their home ranges,
* they leave information for other deer at scrapes and rubs but won't defend these rubs and scrapes as their territory,
* they become unpredictable,
* they like apple trees in thick cover,
* they'll frequent funnel areas,
* young bucks will move more and show up more often on motion-sensor cameras than older bucks do, and
* they'll often stay in odd places like the middle of a pasture if they locate does there.

Check back each day this week for more about WHERE BUCKS GO DURING THE RUT...

Day 1 - The Lie About Does
Day 2 - Apples For A Secret Rendezvous
Day 3 - The Importance Of Thick Cover
Day 4 - Southern Deer Doctor
Day 5 - Cameras Don't Lie


Entry 281, Day 5