Walt K. from West Virginia writes about buck excursions. “You’ve written about the fact that bucks will leave their home range for a day or two, and travel as much as five miles, then return within a day or two. How common is this movement, and is this something that only bucks do in the peak of the rut?”
Good questions. First, does do make such excursions, too. A study just done in Tennessee showed that four bucks made seven excursions of which one was made in the pre-rut, four in the peak-rut, and two in the post-rut. Six does made 11 excursions of which two were in the pre-rut, five in the peak-rut, and four in the post-rut.
It is thought that these excursions are all about mate selection. We have always thought that bucks selected the does to breed, and they do, but since does also leave their home range and then return, maybe they are going to the bucks. Maybe both sexes play a role in mate selection. And maybe the healthiest does prove their health by walking five miles in a short time, where they meet the healthiest bucks.
Researchers will learn a lot more about these excursions in the future, and when they do, I’ll bring the information to you.
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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.