Animal Home Ranges; Par t 2

Animal "home ranges" are often referred to as "territories". While this it is true in some cases , it is not necessarily true in others. A home range can also be a territory, but it does not have to be one; it may only be a home range. Generally speaking, territories are defended by and animal or group of animals, against other animals of the same species, (and sometimes against animals of different species). If we examine those home ranges that we refer to as territories, we will find that most of them are defended against other animals so that there is little or no competition for feeding rights, breeding rights, and possibly resting/ secure areas. Most territories therefore are established by predators (canids, felids) or omnivores (bears); .because they are protected by intruders against feeding and breeding rights. Although they may not be specifically protected for resting rights, because of the need for resting / secure areas either within or near their home ranges, because the animals need resting areas and generally will not tolerate other animals of the same species within their resting areas (such as white-tailed deer, wolves and bears.

The reason I mention this is because the home ranges or use areas of white-tailed deer are often referred to as territories, and buck whitetails do not protect their home range against other bucks except generally during the breeding season; when one mature male exhibits threat behavior to another male no matter where it comes in contact with another male. Outside of the breeding season bucks frequently associate with each other. In areas where there is no need for a regularly used trail, but because the area is still used as a means of travel, they are often referred to as travel corridors.

Back to Home Ranges.

Since most animals are very familiar with their home range during each season of the year, and because they are concerned about security against either predators or humans they often establish or use preferred trails and travel corridors as they move between forage sites and resting / secure areas. White-tailed deer bucks, also use those on a semi-regular basis during the week to locate females the are ready to breed. Because bucks are more security conscious than does (due to their antlers) they often establish their own trails (close to and sometimes paralleling doe trails) where they leave evidence of their use by creating rubs and scrapes) that are signs of breeding rights and dominance to other deer.

If a hunter is willing to take time to understand when, why and where whitetail bucks use these trails and travel corridors. A hunter can determine where these trails and travel corridors are by looking for them during daylight hours, between the hours of 10 Am and 3 PM, when the deer are generally not using the trails, but are resting within their resting / secure areas. And by locating them - they may be able to determine where the males frequently used bedding areas are, and sometimes even the exact bedding sites.

Once the travel routes, trails and bedding areas are located a hunter can watch those areas, or use timing devices or game cameras to determine what time the animals are using those areas. And in the case of cameras, exactly which animals are using those areas. This will cut down on the amount of time it formerly or otherwise would take to scout a property. As far as I am concerned, that takes a lot of the fun out of preparing for a deer hunt. I consider scouting to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the hunt, when I can set aside all my problems, and consider only the environment I’m in and the deer sign and the deer I might see.

If you want to learn more about when where and why deer are active during the hunting season, and the best times places and techniques for hunting them, or to find out when the rut occurs in your area, log on to the Trinity Mountain Outdoors Magazine at or purchase a copy my book; The Complete Whitetal Addict's Manual.

God bless and enjoy the great outdoors,

T.R. . .



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