James Z. from New Hampshire writes to ask about what happens to bucks that are bumped while hunting. “My buddies and I have a question. Let’s say we have a 4-1/2-year-old-buck and I bump him while walking to my stand in the morning. It’s daylight, but early morning. Is he gone for the season?”
Dr. Dave Samuel
This is a great question James. Bill Winke, superb deer hunter and hunting magazine editor from Iowa, discusses this exact point in a recent issue of “Quality Whitetails” magazine (magazine of the Quality Deer Management Assoc.). One point he makes is that it depends on what goes on on that property. For example, if your farm has lots of human activity during the year (folks walking their dogs, etc.) then when you bump a deer, it really won’t be a big deal. The other factor is how much of a scare it was. If it was a mild scare, such as bumping him near the farm house or near a well-used human trail, then no problem. What Winke calls “serious scares” are the problem. Jumping a buck in an area where there is little or no human activity may cause that buck to change his patterns. If a buck sees you in a treestand, he may change as well. If you do bump a good buck, then stay out of that area for a week or two and he may settle back in.
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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of www.sportsmansguide.com‘s content at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.