Ask The Deer Tracker

Posted on July 7, 2020

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July  Column

 

 

Editor’s note:  Anyone wishing to send a question for future “Ask The Deer Tracker” posts can e-mail it to, rgbernier@gmail.com

 

 

Q. – If you were following a deer, say maybe a buck you had just wounded, that crossed the path of a “road warrior” and they shot it, what would your concern be?

G. B. – Morrisville, VT

 

 

A. – My concern over someone shooting a deer from a roadway, that I had initially wounded, would be no different than if someone happens to shoot a deer while on stand in the woods that I was following; disappointment, especially if they decide that they’re going to claim the prize. However, As is the case in any hunting situation, I have no control over where a whitetail will ultimately lead me, nor do I have any say in where other hunters will be stationed, be it on the road, traversing through the forest or sitting aloft idle in a tree stand. Long ago in my deer-hunting career I once shot a buck that was traveling with another buck. The pair split at the report of my rifle and while I was following up what turned out to be the wrong set of slots, the buck I shot ran, and actually died in front of another hunter without him ever firing a shot. Much to my dismay, when I returned to the scene and began following the other set of slots, I quickly located a blood trail, which led me to where the animal had expired. But, instead of finding my prize, instead I found a gut pile where the buck had been dressed, drag marks where he had been hauled and finally, tire tracks where the sport loaded my deer onto his vehicle. Unfortunately for me, the guy made a quick exit of the immediate grounds. This was indeed a tough but valuable lesson for a young hunter, and one that I’ve never forgotten.

 

Q. – Last fall I shot a buck here in Pennsylvania on public land where hunting pressure can be intense. The day that I shot this buck was following a windstorm in which wind gales reached 50 – 60 miles per hour. The morning of my hunt the wind was still blowing 30 miles per hour. I was on the lee side of the ridge, very open hardwood when I spotted the bedded buck below me at 60 yards. Is this typical behavior for deer during such conditions and if so, why?

G. B. – Coudersport, PA

 

 

 

A. – It seems that whitetails have the uncanny ability to defy human logic quite often. Although our reasoning would dictate that the animal should be tucked away in a secluded location that shelters him from the wind, I have found more often than not, this doesn’t seem to be the case. This situation would be attributable to deer lying up in the shadows during extreme cold temperatures rather than taking advantage of the warmth the sun provides. I believe that a whitetail likes to see what it cannot smell or hear, and due to the windy conditions, two of the buck’s highly attuned senses that aid him in detecting danger were severely compromised. The single defense system that was going for him was his eyesight. Preservation becomes much more important to a whitetail than comfort and despite the wind, this deer felt his resting spot was where he felt most secure. One other possible aspect leading to this behavior would be the avoidance of falling limbs and/or trees. In open hardwood a deer has a better chance of vaulting out of the way of falling debris than in a more confined piece of real estate. My experiences have taught me that during heavy winds deer will be highly spooked and do a great deal of bedding in locations that offer the greatest visibility.

 

Q. – How often does a newborn fawn feed and what prevents it from crying when it is hungry?
C. W. – Bar Harbor, ME

 

 

A. – A newly born fawn feeds on its mother’s milk that contains 12 percent butterfat approximately 4-to-6 times per 24-hour period. A fawn will gain 10 percent of its birth weight during the first week and an additional 5 percent for each subsequent week thereafter. It is vital that the newborn remain motionless while out of eyeshot of its mother. Inherently, a fawn knows that until summoned by the voice of its mother, it does not move. And unlike human infants who will cry whenever they are hungry, a fawn, to ensure that predators are not alerted to its position, remains mute. Directly following a feeding, the doe’s udder begins to fill back up with milk, and once it reaches capacity, she begins to feel discomfort and seeks to feed her fawn.

 

 

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