The Deer-Forest Study blog, written by biologists and researchers from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is one of my favorites, and I monitor it weekly. Biologist Jeannine Fleegle posted this one earlier this week:
A couple of weeks ago, we got a phone call from a hunter reporting a tagged deer. Nothing out of the ordinary about that this time of year.
(Note: The PA researchers tag some wild does and bucks every year and monitor their movements with GPS and the like; the tagged deer are legal game, and hunters who shoot and report them get a reward.)
When we looked up the tag, we discovered that this buck (11144) was tagged in 2010 as a yearling, which means he was 8.5 years old! The hunter was nice enough to forward some photos and (the buck) was rather impressive.
This buck was harvested during the (2016) archery season…. But he was available for harvest as a 7.5-year-old, 6.5-year-old, 5.5-year-old, 4.5-year-old, 3.5-year-old, and 2.5-year-old for every deer season (which) means this buck outsmarted hunters for 6 years. If he was a legal buck as a yearling, that would make it 7! And let’s not forget, he was an antlerless deer for one year too.
…8.5 years old is pretty old for a buck. To give you a little perspective, less than 1% of bucks harvested are older than 7.5 years old.
The hunter who harvested this buck was pretty awesome too. She declined the $100 reward and asked that it be used on future research. I guess Buck 11144 was reward enough (for her).