Ask The Deer Tracker

Posted on September 13, 2011


September 2011 


Editor’s note: One
week each month we will run the, Ask The Deer Tracker post. Anyone wishing to
send a question for future posts can e-mail it to,



Q. – I have at my disposal an old apple orchard in a
secluded grown-up field of which the trees still bear fruit. Would this be a
good location to set up an archery stand in or is there some other food source
that whitetails are more prone to be eating at this time of year?

                                                                         B. L. – Kennebunk, ME


A. – Based upon what you have just described to me I
can visually imagine the beaten trails leading in and out of this ideal set-up.
Although whitetails have a smorgasbord of food to choose from in the early
autumn, there are some staples that they just can’t resist. Two food sources
that come to mind are acorns and beechnuts, both mast crops that help add
providential fat to the animal’s body. The problem I find when it comes to mast
is two-fold, they are only in abundance every other year and when a bumper crop
is prevalent the deer don’t seem to move much. I’ve experienced times when
acorns were constantly raining down upon the forest floor and the resident deer
need only rise, walk a few feet to fill their belly and lie back down without
going more than a few hundred feet.

When it comes to apples the situation is much different.
Here you have a commodity that is prevalent annually and make no mistake about
it, the deer will not forget where it is they can get this treat. Whitetails
have a sweet tooth and will eagerly pass up other food if given the opportunity
to dine on a fruit that is filled with glucose. More than likely they will
begin filing into the orchard during the last couple hours of the day to scoop
up whatever apples have dropped since their previous visit.

Q. – I am heading to Northern New Hampshire this fall
to hunt whitetails and have purchased a Remington 7400 carbine in the 30-06
caliber. Would you consider this a good choice and should I mount a scope on

                                                                                J. Y. – Middleboro, MA

A. – Northern New Hampshire, like most other Northeastern locations is a mixture of hardwood in various stages of maturity interlaced with stands of balsam, spruce, evergreens and cedar. Most shots will be taken at less than 100-yards from your target with many being far closer due to limited visibility caused by dense vegitation. The rifle you have selected will perform most satisfactory within this geographic range and the caliber is certainly sufficient enough to take down the large bodied buck this region is noted for.

As far as my opinion with regards to mounting a scope on
your weapon I would leave that entirely up to your preference. I would however
caution you that should you opt for a scope, it should be a low power type with
heavy duplex cross hairs.

Q. – I have read and heard contrasting opinions on what would be considered the ideal buck/doe ratio within a given herd and habitat. What is your opinion on this matter?

                                                                                                                                            M. F. – Lyndonville, VT


A. – That all depends on how the deer are being
managed. Bucks probably would be more satisfied with less competition from
other males and more girls at their disposal. However, as we have learned over
the years, the greater the disparity existing between males and females the
longer and more taxing the breeding season is for these bucks. They, unlike us
humans take no thought for tomorrow and will run themselves right to the ragged
edge in order to breed every available doe.

Each spring at the culmination of the birthing process the
buck/doe ratio is about 106 to 100 with this new recruitment of fawns. From
that point forward the ratio tips heavily in favor of the female. Bucks are
much more adventurous and thus are more prone to mortality than their female
counterparts. Bucks travel further distances than does and engage in activities
that could be detrimental to them such as fighting. A buck is also the
preferred target to the hunter.

With that said, unless you are managing deer strictly for
trophy purposes where the perfect ratio would be 1/1, it is my opinion that the
ideal situation for both the animals and hunter alike would be no more than 3
adult does for every adult buck. The rut will be more intense; the duration
will be shorter alleviating any extra stress on the male and there will be less
competition for the available food source. Under this type of management plan
the age structure amongst the male deer will have sufficient parity insuring
that only the most dominant mature bucks are allowed to breed.

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