Contributors to this thread:
Mature bucks and late movement...
Every year as season wains, and bucks go back to feed mode, I can’t help but think of how much they travel (how I can intercept them too) to get nutrients back in their body and just to survive in some areas. I also understand that it is different per regions throughout the total area that a whitetail inhabits (US/Canada)
I think the types of forage dictate the amount a mature buck will travel in search of late season foods as well. A lot of variables involved... crops, available natural forage, climate.. etc.
So, let’s talk... how much do you feel a mature buck travels, post rut, for food in the region in which you hunt. If you have had first hand knowledge/history that you’ve been a part of, please tell...
Look forward to hearing your views...
Actually, after re-reading my post, it was kind of vague. So, what size acreage/area does a buck stay in (in your opinion), per the area you hunt? I’m just bored and need to talk late season bucks. :)
I’m in the heart of ag country, and I would venture to guess the vast majority of the mature bucks in my area don’t travel more than a mile, or two at the most. You will see deer in late winter out in the middle of the open harvested corn and soybean fields, more than a mile from any cover. Super cold weather will get them up on their feet earlier in the afternoon than usual. The mature bucks still don’t seem to show themselves nearly as much as the does and younger bucks, though.
I think it depends on the deer. Some are travelers, and some are not. Studies of collared deer have pretty well proven that.
Here all we have is acorns on a good year they are everywhere. On bad years it’s woody browse. They don’t move very far.
Skipmaster... that’s what I deal with too. Non-ag. Just local browse and leftover acorns.
What I have found they love is briar leaves. Myself and Aaron Johnson put a late season stand up and also put a camera there. I’ve seen this before first hand and it’s like pulling crack from the trees. Every hunter should go through their woods and occasionally pull down those long climbing type briars and hang a stand. The deer will flock to them!
We see them go 10 miles at times but usually not more than 2 miles
I seen 2 mature bucks tonight. The were both on there feet an hour before dark. They traveled at least a mile from the bedding area across cut beans. I’m hunting an area much like what t-Roy described.
It’s been a few years ago - it snowed 5-6” and it stuck for a couple weeks. I’m in forested country with little ag. I was surprised as all the tracks were going to a couple big black locust trees in the middle of the oaks. Not sure if they were eating the black locust pods - but that’s what it looked like. Bedded in nearby cedars and just had a couple hundred yards to go to get to the food.
The public I'm hunting in northern IL the deer hVe gone totally nocturnal. Today there were 9 guys out and not one saw a deer. They don't come out until an hour after dark. Now, it maybe the. Seasonal pattern or moon phase but we have not had any frigid weather which would push them out earlier. Almost at the end of December and we still have 40 degree days. It sucks lol
Old School......they love those pods. Unfortunately, they crap out the seeds everywhere, and the trees take off very quickly. Thorny devils.
t-roy- and they are about impossible to kill out once they get established.
It’s honey locust pods they like to eat - not black locust.
If you’ve ever broke one open you would know why they like them, they have a sweet honey like gel surrounding each bean.
late season all I can say is (let it snow and get cold10 deg) the deer will herd and find places out of the wind, there travel rout will be very noticable.
IMO, as short of distance as they have to. A thick secure area next to a remaining food source, any pressure and they will move on to find another. Of course.....JMO
I've seen a lot of bucks of all ages since rifle season ended. Most are traveling 1/2 mile to a mile to feed.
This one may have been bedded in between two cornfields in a small patch of trees.
But was he downwind and were you using nose jammer?
Lol sorry couldn’t resist. It’s all about calories. If they can get more from the food than it takes to get there and back they’ll go. If they can’t, they’re staying put. If they live on T-Roy’s land aka the deer version of the Golden Corral - ya they don’t need to move far. He’s got it aaaaaaall there so they can survive happy and healthy till next year ;) great work bud!
When I used to live at home at my parents my uncle, (our neighbour) would throw out a few handfulls of bird seed for em. They’d travel to eat it. The second the snow got from like 2-3 inches deep they all stopped. It was like there was a magic number of snow depth where they decided it was no longer worth it for his meager offerings. Had he put out more I bet you they would have still come.
I sure wish you were correct, Adam! We had a historic drought here. My corn and beans produced less than 1/2 of a normal year. Brassicas were a complete failure. I did get some good growth on some Austrian winter peas and rye. My beans are totally gone and the corn is pretty much as well. The acorn mast crop was also nonexistent in our area. Fortunately for the deer, we’ve had an exceptionally mild winter so far. Fortunately, even during severe winters here, we see very little winter kill. Seeing lots of deer out on the open prairie in the evenings a bit earlier than during normal years. IMO, mostly due to no mast crop.
Winter rye/wheat seems to attract them from miles around in my area starting around Christmas or New Years especially after the first heavy snows. Night and day difference with or without snow, and the heavier the snows the more they seem to congregate, and less they seem to travel after they've established the rye, usually bedding close within the first available cover... Only thing though, the more winter cereal fields available the more they have to choose from but usually not a lot of cereal fields are not planted around here...
The bigger bucks seem to travel together again forming bachelor groups sometimes entering the field single file, but by mid January they just become part of the herd mingling amongst deer of all ages... Interesting how only a month or so earlier they wouldn't tolerate being close to another, but now are buddies again... Fawn does first estrus can liven things though...8^)
Apauls- that smaller buck and a forkhorn ate at the base of my tree for 15 minutes. I had to make noise to get them to leave because it was dark and I wanted to get home. No nose Jammer or anything.
I’m in northeast Georgia and have a little different take on the late season. I’ve had some of my best rut action the first week in December and the first week of January. My theory is our buck to doe ratio is so out of whack that a lot of does do not get bred during the typical November breeding. My understanding of does is they go into estrus every 28 days until they are bred. Therefore I see a lot of mature buck activity trying to get to those fewer does that are available and because of our long season there are a lot fewer hunters in the woods than in November. I killed my best buck to date on January 8th last year, came in to 20 yards checking some does. As far as what they eat here late season, this bucks stomach was full of water oak acorns.
I think it varies, but here I think some of the bucks will adjust their "core" area some in the dead of winter to be close to a preferred food source as needed. This of course assumes they aren't pressured at the selected location. In this case, I think they move no more than about 1/2 mile or so. Generally we have plenty of food here relative to the herd size and winter conditions.
In my area the bucks are locked down with their mates right now maybe it is like WH1974 said but it seems my rut is always better the beginning of December just sucks our season goes out January 1!!!