I have blogged and said on TV many times that the big buck you’ve been scouting and watching right now in late summer might still be in the same area when hunting season opens, or he might be a mile or more away if he shifts between a summer/fall and winter range.
This graphic and Instagram post from the experts at the Mississippi State Deer Lab sum it up well:
“About 1/3 of adult bucks in one of our recent studies have seasonal home range segments, like buck 20 pictured here. He spent late summer and fall in the eastern portion of his range. For two consecutive years, he packed up shop around November 1 and moved to the western portion of his range. Notice how well-defined his travel corridor is between the two home range segments.
He went on two excursions (long-distance trips outside of home range). The first (north of summer/fall range) was in late May, covered 1.5 miles and only lasted 4 hours. The second (southwest of winter range) was in late November, covered 1.25 miles, and lasted 12 hours.
This helps explain why you see some bucks routinely and then they are gone, and why others only show up for a couple days before vanishing.