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Is this possible?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
montnatom 02-Dec-20
Bou'bound 02-Dec-20
altitude sick 02-Dec-20
Catscratch 02-Dec-20
Rupe 02-Dec-20
Bake 02-Dec-20
LINK 02-Dec-20
APauls 02-Dec-20
walking buffalo 02-Dec-20
montnatom 02-Dec-20
t-roy 02-Dec-20
greenmountain 02-Dec-20
BigOzzie 02-Dec-20
Stubbleduck 02-Dec-20
Shiloh 02-Dec-20
LINK 02-Dec-20
Grey Ghost 02-Dec-20
deerhunter72 02-Dec-20
Scooby-doo 02-Dec-20
Zbone 02-Dec-20
APauls 02-Dec-20
Bou'bound 03-Dec-20
Huntiam 03-Dec-20
4nolz@work 03-Dec-20
Kurt 03-Dec-20
LINK 03-Dec-20
drycreek 03-Dec-20
JayZ 03-Dec-20
Jack Harris 03-Dec-20
Shawn 03-Dec-20
Old Reb 04-Dec-20
SaddleReaper 04-Dec-20
drycreek 04-Dec-20
montnatom 04-Dec-20
montnatom 17-Feb-21
TrapperKayak 17-Feb-21
From: montnatom
02-Dec-20
Back in mid-September I had bad wind at 4 of my 5 treestands so decided to hunt my "doe" stand and see if I could fill a doe tag. I take very few shots with my recurve, in fact only a couple of shots in the last few years. The week before I shot a turkey at 22 yards. Two years ago shot a nice 150 buck. Last year no shots. Right before sundown a huge buck works his way in, not following any trails but just feeding on dry cottonwood leaves. He was BIG, I estimated maybe 175 5X5 with more mass than I had seen before. He fed for 10 minutes and worked in to 16 yards and turned broadside, head behind a tree. At my shot, which was at a spot in the lung area, he ducked and I ended up with two hairs and a missed buck of a lifetime. I saw him again two days later but out of range. Fast forward to last week and a friend tells me he thinks someone rifle shot that big buck. He showed me the picture and my first reaction was yep, that's him. They scored the buck at 168. I only had one trailcam pic that hid most of the antlers behind a tree but in my mind that was the buck. The problem was, I pulled out my online map and the place the guy had shot the buck was 14.5 miles from where I had missed. Terrain wise, it is possible that the buck had been pushed down river. There was an unusually heavy rifle hunting pressure this year and one large group of out of state hunters had hammered my bow area for the first two weeks of the season into mid-November. Lots of the hunters put on drives through the riverbottom thickets and had killed two other large bucks that I had seen within a mile of my hunting area. I've never had a buck with a range that was 14 miles. Is that possible?

From: Bou'bound
02-Dec-20
a person can cover that ground in 5 hours. the buck had 2 1/2 months to get there. It's possible a wild animal can go where he wants when he wants.

02-Dec-20
Maybe he got spooked repeatedly in the same direction. Or your deer is still alive. Was there anything unique that stands out to make you certain it’s the same deer.

From: Catscratch
02-Dec-20
I believe it's possible with the right terrain and rut incentive. I think a buck can and will move quite a ways. I've known of similar stories locally, of a distinct buck being photo'd or taken 10-15 miles away from a previous sighting.

From: Rupe
02-Dec-20
It’s possible of course, but unlikely. Deer have relatively small home ranges. Especially older mature bucks.

From: Bake
02-Dec-20
I think it's possible, though not likely.

I shot a very unique buck 3 or 4 years ago that a neighbor had trail cam pics of 6 miles away. He was aged by cementum at 5 1/2 years old. This was in open farm country with little cover.

From: LINK
02-Dec-20
It’s absolutely possible. I know of 2 bucks killed a few years ago 10+ miles from their summer/ fall (home) range. One was killed in rut the other was pre rut. These were friends that have multiple properties and happened to have pictures of these deer and killed them. I have had pictures of a buck on a camera then 5 miles away at night and back on the original cam the next day. A buck can cover ten miles in less than two hours and not break a trot if they want to.

From: APauls
02-Dec-20
Possible but not probable. Many people often have verified buck movement in the 5-6 mile range but rarely too much more than that.

What’s equally probable to me is that there’s a doe pumping out bucks with similar genetics, and when they disperse at 1-2 years old one goes this way one goes that way and you end up with a couple bucks with very similar genetics a ways apart. Heck could even be brothers of the same year or bred by the same buck 2 years in a row. I shot a buck this year that is nearly 100% identical in shape, colour, width and tine height as a 6x6 to a friend’s buck 200 miles away. Obviously no relation. But identical

02-Dec-20
Besides anecdotal evidence, plenty of new telemetry studies show that whitetailed deer bucks often travel 10-15 miles away from their "core home range" during the rut.

Two personal experiences. For several years a friend and I both watched and photographed a particular buck that would leave his summer and pre-rut range every November. The buck would rut 14 miles away. Another buck I rattled in and filmed at last light was shot the next morning 6 miles away.

Absolutely possible and quite likely.

From: montnatom
02-Dec-20

montnatom's embedded Photo
montnatom's embedded Photo
so I think some of you are correct. I looked through some old photo and found this one from a landowner on a property 3 miles in the other direction from where the buck was killed. He found these sheds this spring and I do have several trailcam pics of this buck on his property. It is more likely the 5X5 killed was this one. I think the one I missed had more mass and longer brow tines but hard to remember.

From: t-roy
02-Dec-20
Possible, but not very probable, IMO, for the reasons already stated above. From your last post, I’d bet it was a case of mistaken identity, especially on a typical framed buck. Unless they have some unique characteristic, it can be hard to differentiate similar looking deer.

02-Dec-20
Both explanations are possible. I shot a buck the day after Thanksgiving some years ago. I took pictures of course . A friend showed me a picture of "my buck" a couple weeks later. The time stamp on his camera showed it was taken a week after my deer was in the freezer. I should add his camera was about a half mile from where I took the shot.

From: BigOzzie
02-Dec-20
only personal connections I have with the concept are I know of a big distinct drop time buck that was videoed all summer in one location south of town and killed during the rut 6 miles north of town, It's not 14 miles, but I have seen video and photo proof it was the same deer. "assuming" the truth was told about where it was shot. This is mountainous country not farm or flat land, he covered some terrain, just saying.

secondly I take lots of game camera photos on my remote cabin property, year around. I have killed large bucks on the property in the rut, that have never shown up in photos. I think they come from distant lands to rut.

oz

From: Stubbleduck
02-Dec-20
See the Pen State Univ. Deer / Forest blog site for several telemetry studies of mature bucks during rut. Some tend to hang around their "Home area" others range widely with 15 miles not unheard of.

From: Shiloh
02-Dec-20
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.clarionledger.com/amp/4070237002

From: LINK
02-Dec-20
I should have stated the deer I referenced in my first post were easily ID’d by their non typical racks. There are a lot of typical 8&10s that have look alikes.

From: Grey Ghost
02-Dec-20

Grey Ghost's Link
Here's an MSU study that showed one buck had home ranges that were 13 miles apart, and he made the trek 2 years in a row.

Matt

From: deerhunter72
02-Dec-20
I think that bucks travel more than we would like to think, especially during the rut. I know we have killed bucks that we have never seen before that were "traveling". 15 miles seems like a stretch, but in reality probably not. Just think about how long it takes a deer to run across a quarter mile field.

From: Scooby-doo
02-Dec-20
3 years ago in Kansas I followed with my truck a huge buck travel over 3 sections or blocks that are basically one mile square in less than 35 minutes, so basically 3.5 miles. So I have no doubt it could be the same buck. He could actually go that far in a few hours. Shawn

From: Zbone
02-Dec-20
Yeah, like some others here, I think bucks travel much more than most think... I too have seen local bucks you know disappear during peak rut and other bucks never seen before show up... I chased a Booner class piebald one year and that buck was seen afterwards almost 4 miles from where I hunted him...

I understand deer are individuals but some bucks seem to be travelers and some not so much, as Catscratch mentioned rut incentive, probably likely the amount of available does has a lot to do with it during rut... Does may be home bodies, but buck travels probably have to do with his age and experience... I agree with LINK, depending on the state and terrain but around here my theory has been mature bucks have 2 core areas, a sort of migration so to speak, a summer range when they bachelored up and winter range depending upon food source availability which many a couple miles or so away...

From: APauls
02-Dec-20
And on another thread we talk about Don Higgins being half deer. Watched a video where he “debunks 4 rut myths and one of them he “debunks” is that bucks travel during the rut. So pick your poison! Lol

From: Bou'bound
03-Dec-20
There’s a difference between what a single dear may do in the species normally does

Very few people jump off skyscrapers but occasionally you’ll find one that acts different than the rest of the population and gives it a try

From: Huntiam
03-Dec-20
I never saw the deer In season but in 2008 I was hunting a big droptine deer I had a bunch pics of ... he was killed 9 miles as the Crow flies from where he spent his summer ..

From: 4nolz@work
03-Dec-20
yes its possible they really extend their range during rut

From: Kurt
03-Dec-20
CO and WY had some data on whitetail bucks traveling 40 miles from the S Platte River north into WY or vice versa. That’s wide open country up there except for the river bottom.

From: LINK
03-Dec-20
I am not taking the stance it’s normal behavior for a buck to go over 5-6 miles but there’s no denying it happens and maybe a lot more than we realize.

From: drycreek
03-Dec-20

drycreek's embedded Photo
drycreek's embedded Photo
In East Texas, with lots of woods, this buck was caught on trail cams three miles from where I got this picture. Not likely that he was mistaken for another buck.

From: JayZ
03-Dec-20
Last season in SD we saw a buck one morning and then that evening he was almost 4 miles away. I'm not sure what a maximum range would be, but they definitely aren't afraid to "travel" a bit. Of course this is pretty open/sparsely populated country. In areas of heavy cover/population I'd venture to guess their range is smaller.

From: Jack Harris
03-Dec-20
open country - most definitely. Areas prominent with very thick cover (cedars, swamps, autumn olive, honeysuckle, multi-flora rose, etc, etc, etc) I think highly unlikely. I have seen bucks easily rut within a square mile area with high concentrations of does... They basically just have to roll out of bed and the next harem member is "right there". No need to travel much which also makes for a slow rut when they do not have to move.

From: Shawn
03-Dec-20
Jack has it, the rut is terrible on my bow only area in NY, we get a couple good days when the first does come in but after that it terrible. 68 deer mostly does and fawns on a single sit makes the bucks not have to move to find a doe in heat. Season is better now as the bucks are looking for any missed does or fawns coming in. Now they will travel some!! Shawn

From: Old Reb
04-Dec-20
Shawn, it sounds like you need a herd management plan. I'm in the camp that says bucks will travel several miles or more during the rut. I also believe that bucks have summer and winter ranges. I know guys that have trail cam pics of summer bucks that were either photographed or killed 6 or 7 miles from where the summer pic was taken.

From: SaddleReaper
04-Dec-20
In some cases a mile to a whitetail is like us walking out to our mailbox. In other cases that may be extreme.

Have a friend in NY who shot a buck on a morning sit and would later find out a guy he knew had it on camera the night before - 4 miles down the road. Unusual in that case given the terrain, cover, feed and availability of does maybe, but it happened.

I've often found animals move 1-2 miles between summer and fall ranges, particularly with favored crops being rotated annually.

From: drycreek
04-Dec-20
I’m with Old Reb, tracking studies have shown how much deer move. It’s an eye opener for sure !

From: montnatom
04-Dec-20
After talking to some of the locals the consensus is that the big buck killed was not the same one I missed. As far as we know, it didn't get harvested. While the country is fairly open, there is one stretch that could naturally block movement across the 14 miles it would have had to travel. The deer in our area routinely move a mile or more from bedding to feeding areas on a daily basis and the big bucks seem to move mostly at night if the pics on my trail camera are any evidence. A 4 or 5 mile range wouldn't surprise me during the rut. I've looked at the Penn State study before and it was interesting (and pretty normal for Penna mountain bucks) but probably not conclusive when looking at individual bucks that can do anything at anytime. I spend 40 or 50 days a year bowhunting a couple of miles of deer habitat here in eastern MT and I don't see many of the "I never saw that buck before" bucks showing up, which was more typical in the mountainous western part of MT. So, my conclusion is that deer moving 14 miles is possible but not probable, notwithstanding the unknown effect of the hunting pressure this year. I do know a guy who saw the buck during gun season (first week of November) move across the Missouri but then he saw it again in its normal range a couple of days later and only a couple hundred yards from where I missed it.

From: montnatom
17-Feb-21
followup...a guy I know showed me a set of sheds that he found last weekend that look like the buck I missed or maybe his brother. He wouldn't give the exact location but it sounds like it was within a mile or so of where I missed the big one in September. We figure the 5X5 sheds at right about 180.

From: TrapperKayak
17-Feb-21
It doesn't matter what stand I'm hunting when I have bad wind, I always get busted...;)

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