1. Every Buck Has a Shot
Three "captive populations" were studied from the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi, the King Ranch in Texas and the Noble Foundation Wildlife Unit in Oklahoma. Researchers say they provided different demographic makeups due to long-term differences in harvest and herd management. One location allowed public hunting, while another was more restrictive, using herd thinning as a management technique. Those differences made for a more diverse demographic, which made it easier to evaluate adult sex ration and male age structure on reproductive success.
2. Late-Season Velvet
3. Do Whitetails Sleep?
A typical sleeping session includes 30 seconds to a few minutes of dozing, followed by a brief alert period and then more dozing followed by an alert period. This cycle often lasts for about 30 minutes. Generally, once every 30 minutes or so deer will stand and stretch and they may urinate or defecate before laying back down. Also, deer spend the majority of their time bedded. The exact amount varies seasonally as deer spend less time bedded during the rut and more time bedded during winter, at least in northern environments. While bedded they chew their cud to regurgitate, re-chew and digest their food. They also groom themselves and doze or sleep. They may chew their cud with their eyes closed, and grooming consists of licking and cleaning themselves, including their interdigital glands.
Can you sneak up on a sleeping deer? It is highly unlikely given the fact that whether dozing or sleeping with eyes open or closed, deer are continually monitoring what is going on around them. Their ears are never lowered, and they can wake up instantly. The best time to try it is on days with strong winds and/or driving rain, which can help mask your own sound and scent.
4. Deer Vocalizations
Hunters are most familiar with certain groups of calls. These include Alarm calls, of which the snort is the most commonly recognized (it can be heard up to a quarter mile away under the right conditions.) The bawl is a call used when deer of all ages are being traumatized. Generally speaking, when deer hear both these sounds they flee. Mother-Fawn calls consist of several sounds, including a maternal grunt, bleat, mew, nursing grunt and a contact call used when deer become separated from each other and are trying to find out where other deer are. This is a moderately pitched grunt and can be used by hunters to draw deer to them, especially young bucks. Finally, there are mating calls. These include many sounds most experienced hunters are familiar with, including the tending grunt, flehmen sniff and bellow. Of these, the tending grunt—of moderate volume and often longer duration than a contact grunt—can be used by hunters to bring in bucks during the rut that are trolling for individual does.
5. Antlers are Amazing!
Deer antlers can grow an inch or more per day, making them the fastest normal growing tissue known to man—only tumors and embryos grow new tissue at this rate. The antler growth cycle is driven by photoperiod (day length) and hormones. In photoperiod-controlled experiments, deer can grow up to three sets of antlers per year or retain their antlers for more than one year.
The pedicle area of the skull contains unique material which enables antler growth. Damage to the pedicle results in abnormal antler growth.
The annual growth and shedding of antlers is regulated by annual cycles in testosterone levels, and any interruption can potentially impact the antler cycle. For example, if the production of testosterone in an adult buck in velvet is interrupted, his antlers will continue to grow, but they’ll never harden. If the interruption occurs when the buck has hard antlers, he will shed them, and he’ll grow new antlers the following spring that will never harden.
When antlers are growing, the mineral requirements to fuel this growth exceed those for skeletal growth and maintenance. Diet provides the greatest amount of calcium and phosphorus for antler growth and mineralization, but the remainder is supplied by “resorption”—stealing minerals from the skeleton and transferring them to the antlers.