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Hunting show hair loss
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
grizzlyadam 21-Nov-13
Pat Lefemine 21-Nov-13
Bake 21-Nov-13
wkochevar 21-Nov-13
drycreek 21-Nov-13
Tradman & Huntress 21-Nov-13
Jaquomo_feral 21-Nov-13
rtkreaper 21-Nov-13
Nick Muche 21-Nov-13
writer 21-Nov-13
jdee 22-Nov-13
grizzlyadam 22-Nov-13
slicktrick33 22-Nov-13
Bear Track 22-Nov-13
grizzlyadam 22-Nov-13
writer 22-Nov-13
Bear Track 22-Nov-13
Woodswise work 22-Nov-13
Woodswise work 22-Nov-13
Woodswise work 22-Nov-13
grizzlyadam 22-Nov-13
voodoochile 22-Nov-13
great white 22-Nov-13
Stekewood 22-Nov-13
jsgold 22-Nov-13
Mad Trapper 22-Nov-13
wkochevar 22-Nov-13
slicktrick33 22-Nov-13
Medicinemann 22-Nov-13
assassin84 22-Nov-13
Stekewood 22-Nov-13
Tradman & Huntress 22-Nov-13
writer 22-Nov-13
TD 22-Nov-13
Don 24-Nov-13
tadpole 24-Nov-13
jdee 24-Nov-13
hoyt 24-Nov-13
Ollie 26-Nov-13
Fulldraw1972 26-Nov-13
Show-Me Greg 26-Nov-13
Matt Dorram 26-Nov-13
IdyllwildArcher 26-Nov-13
Fulldraw1972 26-Nov-13
bowriter 28-Nov-13
kellyharris 28-Nov-13
Rupe 28-Nov-13
Bill in MI 28-Nov-13
SILVERADO 19-Mar-18
SILVERADO 19-Mar-18
Bowriter 20-Mar-18
Cheesehead Mike 20-Mar-18
XMan 20-Mar-18
wacem 20-Mar-18
ground hunter 20-Mar-18
Ollie 20-Mar-18
Thornton 20-Mar-18
Joey Ward 20-Mar-18
WV Mountaineer 20-Mar-18
EmbryOklahoma 20-Mar-18
Cheesehead Mike 20-Mar-18
WV Mountaineer 20-Mar-18
Shawn 20-Mar-18
dm/wolfskin 20-Mar-18
Genesis 21-Mar-18
EmbryOklahoma 21-Mar-18
BTM 21-Mar-18
12yards 21-Mar-18
Cheesehead Mike 21-Mar-18
Fuzzy 22-Mar-18
Old School 22-Mar-18
Catscratch 22-Mar-18
patdel 22-Mar-18
Wis125 24-Mar-18
From: grizzlyadam
21-Nov-13
I'm always watching these crappy hunting shows because I like to see deer and their behavior. The rest of it drives me nuts with the infomercials and circus sideshow personalities. Anyway very often I see where big bucks are shot or filmed and they have big patches of hair missing on the tops of their backs. What's up with that? I have never seen a deer that has that patch of missing hair on it's back in the wild. Is that from the abrasion caused by the pen they are rattling around in before they are released in front of the camera or what?

From: Pat Lefemine
21-Nov-13
It's because these guys are hunting and filming in areas with age structure and good buck/doe ratios. You won't see this where most of us hunt around home.

These two factors create competition and the bucks fight each other often gouging a tine along the back, neck and side of a deer. It's very common where I hunt in Kansas. Check out this buck I filmed last week, many guys thought he had been shot, but we knew from experience this was caused during a fight with another buck.

From: Bake
21-Nov-13
I don't know if those guys are hunting pens, but I've got a couple of bucks on camera this year that have that same patch missing. I don't know what causes it. We don't have a very balanced age or herd structure here, but with big tracts of land, there are some older bucks around

Here's a pic of one of the bucks, he's actually missing a couple patches of hair

From: wkochevar
21-Nov-13
I don't think that is what Griz is talking about..that is definitely an antler gouge, seen it many times but what he's saying and I've seen as well on many TV shows is a bald spot or two that is 6" to 8" wide and deep. never seen it in the wild myself either...almost mangy looking

From: drycreek
21-Nov-13
I have seen it in Kansa on a buck that I would have aged at 2 1/2 yr. Big patch of hair gone on his back. Looked like healed over road rash.

21-Nov-13
We see this commonly on many of the big bucks here too. While any wound may result in scar tissue that doesn't grow hair, we also have another theory. Something we discovered a couple years ago however led us to believe that these spots of alopecia were the result of the bucks scratching themselves with their own antlers. When we pulled the bucks head back, their antlers lined up perfectly with the bald spots. We also noticed that the bucks with the most noticeable hair loss also had the most ticks on them. We see the same thing in our domestic goats who frequently use their horns to scratch themselves.

21-Nov-13
I've never seen teeth that white in the wild, either....

From: rtkreaper
21-Nov-13
I agree 100% with what Tradman said. I have seen that bald spot on the back of backs many times. Any buck with a decent rack can reach back to scratch and that causes the bald spot. It is always in that exact same spot. Rory

From: Nick Muche
21-Nov-13
Tradman x3...

From: writer
21-Nov-13
Huntress...X4

Not terribly rare in Kansas.

From: jdee
22-Nov-13
I always thought it came from a buck working a licking branch/scrape during the pre rut and the rut and just wore the fur off his back from his antlers going back and forth ????????

From: grizzlyadam
22-Nov-13
Tradman & Huntress, that explanation seems to make the most sense.

From: slicktrick33
22-Nov-13
The missing hair is tick rub and usually appears on the opposite side of the deer that he prefers to bed on. So if he tends to bed on his right side, the rub will show up on mostly the left side of his back or where ever his 2s can reach to scratch himself.

From: Bear Track
22-Nov-13
We never had ticks up here until maybe 5 years ago and now I won't skin a head out in my taxidermy shop unless it's good and cold, with the number of ticks on the deer as this year, and I would tend to agree with the belief the bucks are rubbing themselves. We're getting those rubs now too.

From: grizzlyadam
22-Nov-13
Bear Track, cold temps have little to no affect on ticks, they are very hearty, I get covered with them in the winter with snow on the ground more so than any other time of the year. We have tons of ticks here and the deer are covered with them year round. We have some surprisingly big racked bucks here as well and I have never seen them rub patches of hair off with their antlers because ticks are bothering them There must be a different reason for it. I don't know.

From: writer
22-Nov-13
No shortage of ticks at our place in northeast Kansas and no signs of rubbing during the summer, when they're the thickest by far.

We have summer trail cam pics of emaciated does with hundreds of ticks, and no signs of rubbing, ditto some bucks.

Also, must of the rubs I've seen on bucks have been along the spine but ticks occur on all parts of the animal, from my experience.

You sound scientific certain of it, Slick 33....can you provide studies, by chance, or is it a "makes sense" assumption.

Boy, now I'll lay awake for dozens of nights wondering about this...or not.

..and I'm guessing that was Cheryl for the Tradman response. Matt knows his stuff, but Cheryl knows those fancy words, too. :-)

From: Bear Track
22-Nov-13
You get ticks active in cold temps? These deer ticks are new to us, and I assumed they'd slow down once the head froze, as wood ticks do on bears once frozen. I don't know for sure either, just make assumptions

22-Nov-13
I think some folks are talking about one thing and some are talking about something different. The video Pat posted is not what I think some others are referring to.

I too have seen the large patch of missing hair right up on top of a bucks back. It's right between the 2 front shoulder blades. I think the fighting can and does explain alot of missing hair patches but not this. I have killed bucks with it and the patch isusually rough and looks rashy. It's usually round and about the size of a softball on average. I see it all the time in Kansas.

I'll try to find a picture of it.

22-Nov-13
Based on the title I thought we were going to be talking about Lee Lakowski's receding hair line.

22-Nov-13

Woodswise work's embedded Photo
Woodswise work's embedded Photo
Here's one...

From: grizzlyadam
22-Nov-13
Yeah I'm talking about a large bare patch up to a foot around up on the top of the shoulders or farther back near the saddle area. Not a little scratch like on Pat's buck video. I see it on a lot of the bucks on the Lakosky's show. Always wondered what caused that. Maybe an out west thing. Never seen it here in the north east on a deer.

From: voodoochile
22-Nov-13
has anyone checked to see if it is more common on pen raised deer ? Some animals in captivity do things from boredom .

I have been bowhunting for 1/2 a century and cant remember seeing it on wild deer

From: great white
22-Nov-13
when I saw hair loss I thought you were talking about adss on the outdoor channels nhair loss and ed pils too funny

From: Stekewood
22-Nov-13

Stekewood's embedded Photo
Stekewood's embedded Photo
This is a northern Missouri wild buck. He had substantial hair loss in the same areo on both shoulders.

From: jsgold
22-Nov-13
My deer almost always have that patch bare. The taxidermist says its from itching the ticks.

My theory is that its from the high point of their shoulders hitting the top strand of barb wire fence over and over when they sneak under a single strand. We have alot of fence crossings like that, where there's an opening with only the top strand intact. A lot of times there's hair on the wire at those spots, too.

Jeff

From: Mad Trapper
22-Nov-13
When I saw the title, I thought that you were talking about Pat. :-)

From: wkochevar
22-Nov-13
Stekewood, did that buck have ticks?

From: slicktrick33
22-Nov-13
Writer: I certainly won't lay awake at night wondering why a deer has lost any hair unless my broadhead cut it off and it got away. I have however, lost sleep on deer issues/particular deer many nights and hope I'm fortunate enough to lose a lot more.

Other than seeing bedded bucks scratch their back with their antlers, I have no scientific evidence to support my observations. Until I did see it, I had a couple of other ideas as to why the hair was missing. I might see if the state of VA will give me a grant to support what I have seen. Maybe an antler cam with high resolution so I can count ticks/square inch and clicker to count how many times he scratches. All joking aside, there are a thousand reasons why a patch of hair could be missing on buck but I thought the original question was why is it missing on the top of their back. I haven't seen it happen on the back of a doe but we don't have many does with antlers where I live.

From: Medicinemann
22-Nov-13
Mad Trapper X 2 !!!!!

From: assassin84
22-Nov-13
bucks will get that patch if they travel under fence lines but it is also caused when they start to scratching with there antlers

From: Stekewood
22-Nov-13
"Stekewood, did that buck have ticks?"

The patches definitely had a broken hair look, not a hair fell out look. I'm from the east and we don't have many fencelines around here. There were plenty in MO so I assumed it was caused by going under them.

When I took the deer to the processor he said it was caused by ticks. I examined the area closely right in front of him and couldn't find a single one, so I wasn't convinced that ticks had anything to do with it.

22-Nov-13
Writer- you know us too well!

Oh, and just to clarify that my theory is simply an observation. We have a significant tick, louse and mite problem on wildlife and livestock here in Oklahoma. I never noticed this on the deer I used to hunt in Michigan.

-Cheryl

From: writer
22-Nov-13
It was too easy, Cheryl...if I have to go ask my vet what something means...it's you. :-)

From: TD
22-Nov-13

TD's embedded Photo
TD's embedded Photo
My theory (gotta have a theory or it just an opinion...) they aren't necessarily using the antlers to directly rub off parasites. From what I've seen they lick and nibble at them to remove them and the antlers possibly rub where they restrict them. Does will lick and nibble to clean themselves as well but nothing restricts their reach or rubs on them. If rubbing were the method I would think they would rub up on trees and posts and such like cattle or pigs do?

But I've never really seen that "bald spot" on does? I don't think fences would be the reason.

Could be rubbing with the antlers though, they do have many purposes....

From: Don
24-Nov-13
Common during the rut. Bucks are on their feet a lot more rubbing the hair off their backs climbing through fences.

From: tadpole
24-Nov-13
Ha, 'pattern baldness' for most all us old bucks.

From: jdee
24-Nov-13
I cant remember the last time was I saw a "buck" go under a fence. I see a ton of them jump over fences though.

From: hoyt
24-Nov-13
I never see it in the South and there's plenty of ticks there too. These deer in S.Il. I kill have it though..plenty of ticks up here too..more in fact..very much more.

From: Ollie
26-Nov-13
Most bucks that are 2.5 yr or older in southeast Iowa are missing chunks of hair on their necks, shoulders, backs, and rumps by the time the rut ends. We have a good buck/doe ratio and that leads to quite a few buck fights during the rut. By this time of year I would guestimmate that 25% or more of the bucks that are 3.5 yr or older have some busted tines. Every year I have chances to shoot older, mature bucks during the late season but choose to pass because their racks are busted up. Need to shoot them before they get girls and fighting on their mind!

From: Fulldraw1972
26-Nov-13
I always assumed it was from crossing fences. I see it on antelope a lot. They go thru a fence not over it.

From: Show-Me Greg
26-Nov-13

Show-Me Greg's embedded Photo
Show-Me Greg's embedded Photo
Killed this buck in SW Missouri on Nov 9. Large patch of missing hair on his back and similar patches missing on both shoulders. My Catahoula doing recovery work!

26-Nov-13

Matt Dorram 's embedded Photo
Matt Dorram 's embedded Photo
My buck from KS had a large bare patch on his left side, base of the neck. I figured it was from fighting, but I'm no whitetail expert...

26-Nov-13
TD, that picture makes me wish I had antlers...

I don't see how fences would do this... What buck with antlers is going to go under a fence? I hardly ever even see does go through fences, they just jump them.

Besides a specific fence crossing with the bottom line out, I've only ever seen fawns go under fences.

I'm not saying deer don't go under fences, but bucks with antlers?

From: Fulldraw1972
26-Nov-13
I always thought deer jumped fences as well till I seen a few go thru it.

From: bowriter
28-Nov-13
Very common. Almost always from another buck's front hoof being not so delicately applied. The long narrow patches are from an antler gouge.

From: kellyharris
28-Nov-13
Perhaps from going under fence lines or stepping between them?

I hunted a farm where both big doe and bucks had it. I watched a medium buck step between fence lines and saw hair rake off

From: Rupe
28-Nov-13
I've seen it many times on wild deer in Iowa and Illinois!

From: Bill in MI
28-Nov-13
buck-scaping?

From: SILVERADO
19-Mar-18

SILVERADO's embedded Photo
SILVERADO's embedded Photo
My second buck from CT with bare spots on his back. I’m agree with Pat it’s from age structure and fighting. He had many old scars and wounds. He was aged at 6.5-7.5.

From: SILVERADO
19-Mar-18

SILVERADO's embedded Photo
SILVERADO's embedded Photo
Notice the scars on his neck.

From: Bowriter
20-Mar-18
It is not just bucks. I see does, here at the house, every year with the same thing. Pat nailed it 100% but in certain herd dynamics, does also fight and as it is with female-lady-women, it can be a real catfight. I had two, full sisters here, that fought and I mean fought, every day. What I have never seen is them bite each other. (Some may have think about that.)

20-Mar-18

Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Here's one that had some hair missing
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Here's one that had some hair missing
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
This one had a small bald spot between his shoulders.
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
This one had a small bald spot between his shoulders.
I believe the majority of mature bucks that have hair missing from the tops of their backs around their shoulder is from the antlers rubbing their bodies while they are working licking branches over scrapes. I think the amount of hair missing is a function of how big the rack is and how much the buck scrapes. If you notice, it rarely ever happens on small racked bucks.

From: XMan
20-Mar-18
Could it be from a big buck going under or through barbed wire fences and hair constantly getting rubbed? I have seen the same on a bunch of bucks and always wondered if it was from the bigger deer trying to get through a tight fence.

From: wacem
20-Mar-18
Cheesehead Mike: that is a beautiful picture, thanks for sharing.

20-Mar-18
Grizzlyadam ---- I am curious, where do you live, that you are covered in ticks, in the snow

From: Ollie
20-Mar-18
In Iowa I do not see bucks during the rut that don't have missing patches of skin on their necks, shoulder, back, and/or rumps. If you see a nice buck you better shoot it before the peak of the rut, because many of our bucks will have busted racks by late November from all of the fighting that takes place. If you don't see any of this it is because you are hunting in an area where older, mature bucks don't exist or are so rare they never bump into another buck of similar maturity.

From: Thornton
20-Mar-18

Thornton's embedded Photo
Thornton's embedded Photo
Lower right corner of pic shows a huge bald spot. Worst looking cape on any mount I've shot

From: Joey Ward
20-Mar-18
I'm going to have to go with.....uh.....David Blanton.

20-Mar-18
I'm going to say most of the bald spots on a deer's back are caused by ..... FENCES. It appears myself and Fulldraw exhibited next level thinking right there but, that's been my experience. I'm sure the body spots are from wounds.

20-Mar-18
"Hunting show hair loss"

Damn it, that explains why I'm bald. I new I should've turned the TV off.

20-Mar-18
With all due respect, I really doubt the fence theory. I've seen it where there aren't many fences at all. Some of the areas I hunt a deer could live it's entire life without seeing a barbed wire fence.

Also, I kind of doubt that a big buck with a big rack is going to try to fit that rack under or through a fence. They're more likely to jump the fence.

Also, if it was because of fences you would see it year round but it seems to coincide with scraping and possibly fighting during the rut.

I've seen in videos and even my own trail camera photos where a big buck's antlers will rub his back and shoulders as he's working a branch overhanging a scrape.

Also, if it was from fences I think you would see it on some does as well...

20-Mar-18
No offense taken. I'm also pretty sure it might be linked to a wound or infection of sorts. Or, it could be due to an increase in testosterone. But, I do see it on does and, year round in areas with fences. That is why I said that. Is it right? Maybe not all the time. But, it is other times I'm certain. The real answer is somewhere in all these guesses likely depending on the deer and it's location. But, when I'm in agriculture areas, I'm leaning towards the fences being the largest culprit by and large due to what I have seen.

From: Shawn
20-Mar-18
I have seen it quite a bit in the mid-west and I believe it some may come from fighting but I think most come from the buck himself. As they are constantly rubbing and hooking over hanging branches from say the first part of Oct. til Mid November. I rarely see it in NY and we have plenty of fences and bucks even smaller bucks have a tendency to just jump fences. Hell I live in front of a small airport that is surrounded by a 6ft chain link fence and deer ecsp. mature deer and clear it from pretty much a stand still. Most places in the west like Kansas and Nebraska have a single strand hot wire, at least where I hunt so it is definitely not fences. I believe Mike and a few others have it right at least for most of the deer I have seen the bald spots on. Shawn

From: dm/wolfskin
20-Mar-18
My cat has a spot like that and he does it to himself.

From: Genesis
21-Mar-18
Of all the hours spent collectively by whitetailers why hasn't anyone seen a bucks rub his back with his G2?

That is all.

21-Mar-18
"Of all the hours spent collectively by whitetailers why hasn't anyone seen a bucks rub his back with his G2?"

Because they're nocturnal back rubbers, duh! :)

From: BTM
21-Mar-18
"Damn it, that explains why I'm bald. I knew I should've turned the TV off."

LOL Embry! I'm pretty convinced that one's IQ also drops a bit for every hour viewing most hunting shows.

From: 12yards
21-Mar-18
I never had seen it before but saw a couple bucks in IA last fall with some patches of hair missing.

21-Mar-18

Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Genesis,

Ask and you shall receive...

From: Fuzzy
22-Mar-18
Jacqumo-feral "I've never seen teeth that white in the wild, either.... " I was thinking the same thing at the bar the other night...

From: Old School
22-Mar-18
Hunted a big buck in central MO a few years back that had a big patch of hair missing on his back between his shoulders - my assumption was ticks.

-Mitch

From: Catscratch
22-Mar-18
Almost every deer I've ever seen had patches... does included. I also live in cattle country and barbed wire fences are everywhere (and every deer crossing has has hair stuck in the barbs of the fence). With that said; most larger bucks tend to jump fences instead of crawl through due to antler size so I would have to go with the aforementioned fighting/antler scratching/or rubbing from ticks theories.

From: patdel
22-Mar-18
Fwiw, i once watched a doe run across the road and try to duck under a fence. She misjudged it and there was a dead stop and a hair explosion.

She got up and ran off with a bald spot on her back that looked a lot like that.

I see hair around fences all the time, but agree with some of the others above...i haven't seen a lot big bucks try to wiggle under a fence. They usually just jump.

I do remember watching one beautiful high racked 10 pointer in the mid 140s go under a fence in the same spot on 2 or 3 different occasions a couple years ago. I was wondering at the time why he didn't just jump, but he was really good at it. He just kinda squirted right under it. But he had all his hair.

Let him go, because I thought he was young and would blow up the next couple years. Haven't seen him since.

From: Wis125
24-Mar-18

Wis125's embedded Photo
Not sure how well u can see it but the patch runs almost his entire back strap, and it was on both sides.
Wis125's embedded Photo
Not sure how well u can see it but the patch runs almost his entire back strap, and it was on both sides.

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