A popular question this time of year: Will the bucks I’ve been watching in fields and getting on my trail cameras this summer stick around when hunting season opens, or once the bachelor groups start separating will the bucks disperse and disappear?
According to Penn State’s Deer-Forest study, more than half of the small-antlered yearlings (18 months old) you’ve been seeing will hit the road from mid-September through early November. The adult bucks, however, won’t be going anywhere, which is good news. Very rarely does a mature buck have a different home range during the breeding season from one he used all summer.
However, it might seem like the big bucks disappeared.
First, the bachelor groups break up. And then during the rut, the home ranges of the bucks will increase by 2 to 5 times. If a buck has a home range right now of a square mile, come late October he’ll be traveling an area of 2-5 square miles.
So you might or might not see him for days or weeks when you’re on stand. It just depends on where he is in that 2-5 mile radius while you’re in the woods.
But just the fact that one, two or more shooter bucks are still hanging in your area gives you a fighting chance of seeing and tagging one the next couple of months. Good luck.
Same here, haven’t got any pictures the last 2–3 weeks of The couple nice bucks I’ve had all summer long. Pretty common by us though. Hopefully I’m in the woods at the right time when they show back up! I did see a shooter in the crop field about 400 yards away this weekend so I know they’re still around .
This is encouraging considering I haven’t been able to get a recent picture of any of the bigger bucks that I watched all summer. In fact the picture for this post was the last picture i got of this deer which was about 3 weeks ago. There is still a bachelor group of 6 bucks hanging together that I have seen every night that I’ve been in the stand with my daughter. (not close enough for a shot) I’m still getting pictures of a few other basket bucks at night, but the majority of the large group has now dispersed. Hopefully, the big boys are just laying low for now.