The Traveling & living area of some mature bucks, interesting example...

Discussion in 'Iowa Whitetail Conference' started by Sligh1, May 22, 2019.

  1. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    I've got 3 on the top of my head in the last couple years. Since folks have trail cams out far more now & posting kill pics - folks can piece things together. Massive amounts of travel over summer & fall range.... I'm not talking about traveling over a few days or rut traveling... I'm talking about long distance shifts in home range year after year, often times to the same areas. Bizarre at a minimum... Here's one example & story that surrounds it - I'll post this because it is public & coincidentally, him listing his farm for sale tied all these pieces together...
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    So, this one is an example, almost all 3 in my head are almost the same scenarios - ALL 3 ARE IN TOTALLY DIFFERENT COUNTIES. This buck was on my buddy's farm in Warren Co Iowa. He had it there starting in early fall (Never a velvet pic & I believe it wasn't til maybe late September I'm guessing) I believe like 4 years in a row. Essentially "lived on his farm" & often went to same food plots & same patterns late season for 4 years. My buddy rarely could hunt & the times he did - like anything - obviously never worked out matching the place he sat to shooting him. It was cat & mouse for a couple of the seasons & he never did connect (typical hunting 101!).
    SO..... He's buying a farm closer to home for him, puts for farm for sale with camera pics of bucks, etc.
    I know EXACTLY where these pics were taken as I had grabbed some SD cards for him in past & sent the pics to him. The land is posted for sale a week ago.. https://www.landsofiowa.com/property/218-acres-in-Warren-County-Iowa/6875490. "someone" posts up something on Facebook or whatever, like "this is a lie, you guys are full of it, this buck was photographed a couple years about 15 miles from there. BS!" Something along those lines. Long story short.... Yep, this guy does have pics of the buck late summer or early fall around 15 miles from there. Disappeared multiple years in a row & showed back up like clockwork in summer & would vanish again from how I understood it. Clearly this fella should have thought a little harder about his accusations (as the trail camera pics have blinds, buildings & landmarks in them which prove location) but I do understand where someone could make a quick judgement like that. Stupid on how he handled it (in public & not thinking making slanderous remarks like he did!!!!) but is what it is, all good now. ;)
    SO..... let's call it 3-4 years now, maybe 4-5.... This buck left this farm & summered the same area, 15 miles away. Every year, he "migrated back" to the exact same farm around the exact same time & did the exact same thing.
    **He was killed by a neighbor a year ago.
    How or why a buck does that is bizarre but very interesting. I have no clue why they do this or how often?!?!?! I do know for a fact, most deer do NOT do this!!!! I have some bucks that live on 30 acres year round & rarely, if ever, leave it. Others that vanish in September like clockwork. Others that show up late season over & over (have a very distinguishable typical that's done it 3 years now that no neighbor has any pics of) on rare occasion, stick around- shed their antlers & you are gonna wait til next LATE SEASON to ever see him again if he does survive. There's 2 deer I personally have seen get shot (both very large bucks!!!!!) that were huge & recognizable. One deer left the farm 3 years in a row & traveled another county away 3 years in a row & was killed. Pics posted up & all was legit. Another whopper my buddy killed as a 7 year old that showed up around Jan 1 each year & he was patiently waiting all season & he showed up like clockwork - game over, got him. ALL LEGIT, no funny business. You look at the distance & all the premo food & cover in between & scratch your head?!?!?!?!? BUT- this is one of 3 deer that has traveled 15+ miles from a confirmed home range, killed, posted & all the pieces put together later, after the fact. These rascals never stop surprising me! :)
     
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  3. bkcrrtnps

    bkcrrtnps Well-Known Member

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    I personally think that’s the anomaly as the majority of 6.5+ yr old bucks we’ve encountered shrink the home range, move more during light and seem to get lazy as can be


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  4. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    pretty fascinating stories. The velvet buck that lady shot in the snow that was at the classic two years ago... how far did that deer go. I know the story... had to be 15-20 miles?????
     
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  5. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    HA! That's one of the 3 ;). That buck traveled over 15 miles as well. I think as crow flies, be about that. 3 years in a row on that one & both the landowners have multiple years of pics when deer disappeared and when it showed back up
     
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  6. bkcrrtnps

    bkcrrtnps Well-Known Member

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    My 197” that I shot in 2015 would disappear the first week of October every year then we’d never see him until around Christmas and repeat each year but in 15 he decided to literally stay put and not go anywhere, staying in a a little 1/4 acre area. Lucky for me I capitalized but I saw him 8 out of 10 sits and he actually saw me 3 of those times. Skip, Have you ever had a buck that was literally the only deer on a specific camera all year. This buck was that way, I never ever had a pic of him with another deer that year nor was he on any other camera within 200 yards of said camera, it was crazy. These creatures are amazing to watch and learn. Some don’t agree but I love sharing with the neighbors as a way to watch where these deer go. Unfortunately I have asshole neighbors now who think I ruin all their hunting and we must not hunt the same deer, etc. I truly enjoy putting pieces of the puzzle together as much as killing them


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  7. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Well-Known Member

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    Amazing, and you wonder why? It does not add up, but yet it is reality.
     
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  8. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This is why looking at collard deer (or any critter) studies are truly fascinating.

    The deer in my avatar was a 177" in Michigan of all places. That deer showed up yearly October 20th +/- one day and stayed until Mid January. 4 years in a row.... until he was killed. NO ONE knew where he went. We ran cameras in what seemed like every possible direction. Ghost. It remains the greatest mystery of my hunting "career". I would have paid good money just to know where he was the rest of the year. Best I could figure out was he went to a big cat tail marsh on a golf course.
     
  9. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Well-Known Member

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    I remember a story of two guys that work together that I know pretty well. They were sharing trail cam pics from a nice 3 year old buck with a distinct sticker. The one pic was like Nov 5, and other guy had him on camera in the city limits 8 miles away in the next day or two.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  10. LoessHillsArcher

    LoessHillsArcher Well-Known Member

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    It's stories like this that keep me motivated to hunt - sure it's great building history and patterning a buck but those surprise giants are just as fun! Keeps a guy hoping and jumping up at the sound of that alarm in the morning. Just for the chance to get lucky and have one walk by
     
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  11. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That brings up another set of thoughts and discussion. I haven't shot a deer I didnt know about, pattern, etc in many many years. It would be neat if that happend at some point.
     
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  12. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    I agree that most bucks do shrink their range as they age, but I too have seen a couple of weird cases where a given buck shows up just once or twice on our cams, yet at virtually the same time each year, and then NADA the rest of the year. So I think the norm is for older bucks to tighten their range, but I definitely think that there are exceptions to this "rule" too.

    I had a mega-giant on cam a couple of times one year in late July if I recall and then again the next year, same summer time frame. No one else had any pics of him, we have cams up most of the year and never had any other pics of him and no one I know ever saw him. Meanwhile, if there is a "big one" walking in our neighborhood at least two of us, and sometimes three or four more neighbors, are getting pics of him.

    It was as if this mega-giant, as in magazine cover giant, went a nice long walk once per year in the summer and then returned home, wherever that would have been for the balance of the year. We called this guy "The Vacationer". :) I have no idea what happened to him, but I always felt like if he got shot anywhere that we would have heard about it, he was that big. I am fascinated by these tales, I would love to be a part of a real buck tracking survey.
     
  13. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    Until my son shot a "stranger" this past fall, I can't remember a buck that we got that we didn't have 3+ years knowledge of. The buck he shot in 2018 though was an unknown quantity for us. You just never know...:)
     
  14. 2dblind

    2dblind Active Member

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    That's funny because I cannot seem to keep my big deer from summer to fall. The last three out of four I have shot all showed up Oct. 14th, Nov. 16 and the night I killed the other was Dec. 15thish was the first night I knew he was around. My bow deer from two years ago I have 4 years of pictures coming out of my ears but, the other three I started getting pics of the dates posted and just showed up.

    It seems for every big velvet I lose I pick up another one at some point in the season so I kind of like that. Keeps me anxious on what's next but, I would pay good money to at least know where they went when they left me. That drives me crazy!
     
  15. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    I’m somewhat convinced on MOST that answer after tons of farms & learning. Very complex but here’s short of what I learned over time to form opinion.....
    1) if a place lacks “tons of premium bedding” it will hold less bucks. When the velvet comes off- if there’s only a few ideal places - they will fight for dominance & run some off. If there’s vastly more “premium bedding” per acre- chance of holding more & losing less increases.
    2) need thermal cover & thickets. The farms in past I lost in the past lacked cedars & young growth brush.
    3) along with tons of bedding & cedar thickets, etc - all need to be low pressure - ideally most the year. Those safety areas need to be multiplied & have tons of areas these guys left alone. They get cranky & fussy to pressure when velvet comes off. “Grumpy old men “ who want their own peaceful secluded turf
    4) ideally lots of different food plot plantings & locations. “Year Round food” including all things u can leave up or plant AND enhancing natural browse & mast with timber work..... A properly TSI’d farm will hold vastly more Mature bucks in my strong opinion. Does need managed & considered here as well (social stress & having vast premium secluded bedding) but tsi works wonders.
    5) All these areas of food - browse or planted- least amount of disturbance possible. Plant food or create premo bedding but run em off all the time - by by.

    That’s 5 off top of my head. The disappearing deer (& appearing deer) has been a challenge forever!!! I wish I had more of the latter. U can create situations that lower your loss of bucks and increase picking them up later.
     
  16. hans1

    hans1 Active Member

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    Have a good friend that owns and manages a large farm in Mississippi River Delta in the state of Mississippi. This farm Floods to the level that not one acre of the 1000 plus acres is above water most can be 10-15 feet deep. The closest high ground is 5 miles away these floods can last 2-3 months. Once the water recedes the same deer come back to the farm and the same bucks frequent the same small areas as before. This buddy of mine keeps meticulous records it is amazing what he has learned.
     
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  17. 2dblind

    2dblind Active Member

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    So this farm is 180 and connects with a 340 with all of it being low pressure. Bedding cover is not an issue on it. We have taken about 10 acres at a time on tsi over a 5 year period to have different successional growths available thru out a longer periods of time.

    It has great young growth but does lack cedars, as in none.

    Pressure is very minimal. Outside of plantings on food plots, shed hunting and turkey hunting we stay out for the most part. I don’t even dive in to my best stuff until the last few days of October at the earliest. Gun season is all afternoons on food. We have other farms we’ll go in deep if we want to hunt the timber.

    We are on rotations on plots. For example north end we had 4 acres of soybeans and south end we had 4 acres of corn and 1 acre of clover last year. This year the south end has the 4 acres of beans and 1 acre of clover and north end will have 3 acres of brassicas and 1 acre of oat/clover.

    So in conclusion we’re doing something unbeknownst to us and pushing them out once hard horned or it’s just the way it is. Honestly, if there’s something I could change I would but I just don’t see what it is. Hell we pull cameras twice between July to mid October when they get out on scrapes.

    Like I said we’ve always gained a thumper so it hasn’t been a terrible thing but, let’s keep them all

    If you see anything in what I mentioned that jumps out I’m always willing to try differ t approaches!
     
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  18. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    I would add to Skip's most recent list above that in addition to those factors, the individual personalities of the specific bucks also play into how willing they are to tolerate other bucks close to them. Some are more feisty than others and will crack up most of the other ones that will stick around close enough to them to run into them regularly. Some are "lovers", not fighters. :) They will fairly willingly submit to the more dominant bucks and seem to be content to play second fiddle to Mr. Big. They seem to be OK with staying closer to other bucks.

    Some things you can control, some things you can't.
     
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  19. Muskrat24

    Muskrat24 Active Member

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    There a couple older books by some great authors that documented and discussed this scenario. One thing for certain, NOTHING is guaranteed with whitetails! I'm glad you mentioned these stories. I stumbled across a very impressive deer a few years back in September. Managed to get a few trail cam pics of him but never connected and didn't hear of him getting shot. SEARCHED hard the following year to locate him and that shed season a guy found him dead hard horned but likely from ehd so likely spent two September's in a row 3 miles apart as crow flies. Thought that was a good distance but just a hop compared to 15+ miles! :) GREAT info!
     
  20. RinggoCy

    RinggoCy New Member

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    Really interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    I've spent soooo many hours day dreaming about, thinking about, and scratching my head about bucks that have stuck around for a while then *poof* never see them again until next year. Or the ones that you get one picture of in late October then never see them again, dead or alive.

    My avatar is a July picture (probably makes him look small compared to what he ended up being but I love the picture) of a buck that probably ended up being the biggest typical I'll ever get to hunt. First got a few pictures of him in early fall of 2014 but none after that. 2015 I watched him all summer, tons of pictures, even videotaped him for almost 10 minutes at about 40 yards while he stood in a creek and drank water. Had an encounter at 70 yards in early November 2015 and pictures as late as mid-November then *poof*. Gone. No idea where he went.
    2016 comes around and I get the avatar picture in July and knew it was a nice buck but didn't know it was him yet. Didn't realized it was him until late August when he finally gave me a picture showing his throat patch (he had a distinct throat patch shaped like a playstation controller). The throat patch coupled with a rack that was an almost dead nuts match to 2015 (just way bigger) I knew it was him. Due to the job I had at the time, I couldn't take time off to hunt until November. Unfortunately for me, the last I ever saw of him was Oct 24th(?) 2016 on camera in the middle of the night at the far east end of the property. No more pictures, never heard of someone killing a giant typical, nothing.

    I still think about that deer and wish like heck I knew where he'd run off to.
     
  21. Slick

    Slick Member

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