Cool deer study
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
WV Mountaineer 07-May-24
Zbone 07-May-24
Beendare 07-May-24
Nyati 07-May-24
WV Mountaineer 07-May-24
WV Mountaineer 07-May-24
Buffalo1 07-May-24
Beendare 08-May-24
Zbone 08-May-24
Phil Magistro 08-May-24
WV Mountaineer 08-May-24
WV Mountaineer 08-May-24
WV Mountaineer 08-May-24
Nyati 08-May-24
WV Mountaineer 08-May-24
Nyati 08-May-24
Nyati 08-May-24
07-May-24

WV Mountaineer's Link
I just found this on the internet. Pretty cool. I didn’t know they were doing this.

That one bucked moved 23 miles. Just picked up and never come back move. Anyways, I thought it was pretty cool. And, I’m anticipating the release of more data.

From: Zbone
07-May-24
A few years ago PA did a study with radio collared button bucks caught in in late winter and the study revealed over 50% of them dispersed miles away from where they were caught... I think it was like 60% of them dispersed it I remember right... One dispersed 26 miles if I remember right...

From: Beendare
07-May-24
That is cool.

Can someone in the area comment on the deer hunting conditions?

It seems that the avg of those 3 areas is about 70% forested- thats a lot. Huge tracts of timber. It would make sense to me that deer would travel a lot further than say deer in the Midwestern states that are 10%-20% timber.

From: Nyati
07-May-24
I think that buck that moved that far was an outlier . Data is still being analyzed. I spoke to Brett that is doing the study and final report is still about a year away.

07-May-24
Yeah. Read the article. It certainly wasn’t normal behavior. It was just cool the way he went on his scouting mission. Came home. Stayed a bit. Then just up and left. No one knows where he’d ended up if not being hit by a car.

07-May-24
Beendare, I haven’t hunted in any of those areas in a decade. Over two decades in one area. So, my opinion is dated. But, from friends I understand a couple things are the same. A couple aren’t.

Trophy quality is up in all areas. Beer numbers are bulging at the seams in the eastern area. And good in the other areas. I think the turkey hunting has gotten tougher in all those areas. And, the deer herd is healthy and fat versus 20 years ago.

From: Buffalo1
07-May-24
Very interesting study. MS State University is also conducting a similar study on Whitetail deer. Been seeing some unusual movement in some bucks that seem to stray and then return to home area ( much like male humans).

From: Beendare
08-May-24
A guy I know in central Kansas that has studied the deer on his place ( informally) told me some bucks have been seen on other ranches as much as 6 miles away…but some just keep to his place- resident bucks.

He does see bucks during rut that he has not seen all year.

Its different country vs that WV study…maybe 20% woods with more farm ground with food everywhere.

From: Zbone
08-May-24
"bucks have been seen on other ranches as much as 6 miles away…but some just keep to his place- resident bucks"

Don't think that is an exception, but rather the norm with whitetail bucks, or at least it is around here, and also in those PA studies I spoke of above... Years ago, back in the 60's when I was growing up reading Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Sports Afield, etc., the old school writers saying bucks stay within a mile or so is BS... Personally believe they have a summer range and a winter range with the rut overlapping...

08-May-24

Phil Magistro's Link
It's good to WV doing this. It would be interesting to compare results from PA and other states.

PA has been tagging and collaring deer for years and has an extensive blog with lots of information. If you search on specific topics like Rut, Movement, etc., in their blog posts you'll find lots of detailed information on how act and react during hunting season, how their range changes based on seasons, mortality... The two primary areas of focus are big woods in central PA.

08-May-24
I remember PA’s study. I haven’t checked it in a bit. But, I remember they had one buck collared that run loose. Like 11 mile loop in a 24 hour period. On heavily hunted public ground. A lot of it was during daylight too.

They also had an old doe. She lived next to a parking area on public hunting ground. Grew old and likely died of it. Right in the face of serious hunting pressure.

It’d be cool to see all these states compile their data to correlate and contrast individual deer behavior. And see if it relates in different areas in relation to their habitat.

08-May-24
FWIW, in my experience, big woods deer move. And move a lot and a long ways sometimes. ZBone’s right. A lot of deer move pre rut. A lot Move to spring and summer grounds. And bucks just plain cover ground looking for love and adequate resources.

When I hunted in the bow only counties of this state, I’d start getting trail cam pics of nomads the week after thanksgiving. Deer we’d never seen or knew existed.

They’d just pop up on camera. You might get a volley of picks from multiple cameras miles apart of the same deer. Sometimes the same day. Sometime not. But, you could use the time stamps and date to Certify their intent. They were all looking for the last doe in cycle. If your area held one, he’d stick around for a day or so. If not, you could look at a map and predict which cameras would capture his departure from the area we hunted. Once they left, you’d never get pics of them again until late November the following year. Doing the same thing.

Farm country deer hunting and hunting nomadic deer is as different as night and day. Because the deer act totally different.

08-May-24
Because this topic truly interests me, I’m going to add this to my point. If you truly want to kill a big deer in big woods, hunt post rut. The bucks will be moving a long ways then. Hunt travel routes. Look for long ridges with buck sign on them. Deer use them like highways. If it’s got scrapes and rubs on it and you’ve got the time to hunt them. Do it. You stand your best chances then.

You won’t see large numbers of deer. You might go for a couple days without even seeing a deer. But, the mature bucks will use these areas from year to year. Use your cameras to find them. And get a head start on it. Don’t wait to get pics before you start hunting. You can take it to the bank the mature bucks are going to be up and looking. If you’re there, he’s in trouble. Because he’s still in the rutting mood. Which is what kills most mature bucks.

From: Nyati
08-May-24
This will be a really good study once it’s over. DNR has put a lot of work into it and it’s really the first of its type ever done here. WV is close to 80% forested. Most everyone thinks deer travel pretty far but it’s all been on anecdotal experience and guessing. This study should give some great data on if that’s true or not.

It will also give some great data on deer mortality. Obviously hunters are probably #1 but will give data on vehicle mortality, bear, coyote, and unfortunately CWD in the eastern study area. When mortality signal appears on gps collar the biologists have tracked the deer down and performed necropsy if necessary to determine actual cause of death . The head biologist is doing this study with WV DNR and WVU to get his PhD .

08-May-24
Nothing in that study area represents southern WV, eastern Kentucky, and southwest Virginia. Hopefully they’ll get into the Mon forest too. That’s gonna be interesting.

From: Nyati
08-May-24
Yeah, I was hoping there would be a study area further south but I guess just didn’t have enough personnel.

Mason/Jackson should represent more of the farming areas of WV . Upsher/Barbour should be more typical of “average” WV, and Hampshire was picked because it was in middle of CWD zone

From: Nyati
08-May-24
WV is just starting a wild Turkey study too. They will be fitted with gps as well. It’s going to focus more on mortality so it’s going to focus more on hens. They’ll go to mortality sites to see what caused the death. It will be especially interesting during nesting season .

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