This Old Buck is Surprising Me

The most ironic development of this season has been the behavior of one of my top hit-list bucks named “Big.”

If you have been watching the Whitetail Season series, you know him as a buck that has been almost entirely nocturnal for the past three seasons. He is 6½ years old now and is currently the most visible buck (regardless of age) on the farm. I have gotten him on four different cameras and on two of them he has produced just as many daylight photos as nighttime photos.

This begs the question: “Why the big change?” I have seen this a few times with other bucks. Once they get past a certain age, they seem to become easier to kill. The problem is, in most areas bucks never reach this age. I think they may just become more comfortable, or they feel bulletproof or their instincts change as a result of having lived for so long in a certain area. Regardless, this is not the first time this has happened with one of the bucks on our farm. Last year, I shot a buck we had named “Jamie.” Jamie was very old (at least 7½). He had been entirely nocturnal for most of those years. We almost never saw him; he was a myth, sort of like Santa or the Easter Bunny. Then last season he started showing up all the time and I finally killed him in late November after he came charging into a grunt call the second day in a row that I saw him from the same stand. Again, this may not help you much if you hunt in an area where the bucks never get to this age, but if you are fortunate enough to hunt these kinds of places, or just enjoy learning more about deer, this information may be interesting. By the way, for what it is worth, the age at which bucks seem most difficult to kill (in my opinion) is 5 1/2 years. They seem to go underground at that age.

The weather is cooling, the rut is near—time to get in a stand. Good luck. Be sure to check out the video.

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