T.R. Michels

T.R. Michels is a professional guide who specializes in trophy whitetail, turkey and bear hunts in Minnesota. He has guided in the Rocky Mountains for elk and mule deer, too. He publishes the Trinity Mountain Outdoors website at www.TRMichels.com.

Posts about Recreation

January Deer Management

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: January 7, 2013 - 9:04 PM

January Deer Management
By T.R. Michels, Trinity Mountain Outdoors

During January whitetail deer may begin to move to their winter ranges, especially in the northern states, where the weather gets cold, the snow gets deep, the crops have been picked and the rut should be almost over. Some does, and in the north, doe fawns, may still be bred at this time. The bucks may continue to rub and scrape sporadically, especially in mid and southern states. 

Home Range
     Before we can discuss feeding programs it's necessary to understand how deer use the habitat and how their use of the habitat changes throughout the year. There has been a lot written and said about whitetail home ranges; most of it based on the knowledge of deer in particular areas, or in particular types of habitat. However, whitetails inhabit many different types of habitats: dense hardwood forests, mixed woodland and agricultural, prairie, southern swamp, northern tamarack bogs, open or dense coniferous forests, open agricultural, semi-open river bottoms, and various mountain types. Because of this wide range of habitats the daily habits of whitetails, their home ranges, core areas, and the use of bedding sites varies.
     The deer herds in each area are usually made up of a doe and her female offspring, and their female offspring, etc. As long as there is available habitat, and there is not a lot of competition for home ranges, the young females usually remain in the area where they were born. With death from natural causes and hunting there are often available home ranges for the young deer to occupy. Both bucks and does may make excursions outside their home ranges, but they usually do so only to find a new home range, or during the rut. Young bucks are generally driven off the home range by their mothers when they are a year and a half old, usually before the rut. However, some young bucks may stay on their mothers home range until their second year, when they leave to find their own home range. These one and a half and two and a half year old bucks often end up on home ranges in less preferred habitat.
    The geography of the area and the type of habitat often restrict the size of the home range; mountains, ridges, bluffs, rivers, ravines, wooded areas and open areas limit deer movement. The lack of cover in open prairies or agricultural areas restricts deer movement, particularly during the day. Because of this, deer home ranges are often confined to preferred habitat in valleys or river drainage's and the surrounding hills and woods. Because of the limited size of the habitat, the home ranges of several deer often overlap.
     The type and amount of food and cover determine how many deer the habitat can hold; and the number of deer in the habitat affects the size of the home range of the deer. Deer in prime mixed habitats, with abundant food sources, generally have smaller home ranges (from 60-1000+ acres) than deer in open coniferous forests, where food sources are low and widely scattered (up to 20+ square miles).
     Climate directly affects the time of year, the length of the home range, and the use of the home range by the deer. In mild mid-west or southern climates whitetails may have home ranges no longer than two miles, and they often have traditional core areas. Deer in colder northern open prairie or foothill habitat may have larger home ranges (up to 120+ miles in South Dakota), and are less likely to have traditional core areas.
     The climate and the number of bucks and does in the area affect the size of the home ranges of the buck, especially during the rut. Buck home ranges are generally larger than doe home ranges; often two or more times the size of local doe ranges; and the bucks use of their home ranges varies by the season. Bucks in mixed woodland/agricultural habitat in the mid-west may have home ranges of less than a thousand acres, to five or more square miles in size. During the summer adult bucks may use only a small portion of their home range. But, during the rut, adult buck home ranges often expand to include portions of several nearby doe and other buck home ranges.

Annual Home Range
     The annual home range of each deer consists of the area used by the individual throughout the year. Non-migratory deer may spend both the summer and winter on the same home range. However, migratory deer in the northern states or mountainous regions may have two or more widely separated home ranges used during different times of the year. Dr.'s Larry Marchinton, Karl Miller and other researchers have found that the home ranges of whitetails are generally elongated, from two to four times longer than they are wide. However, deer in open coniferous or agricultural habitat may have irregular or circular home ranges.

Seasonal Home Ranges
     In most areas even non-migratory whitetails use four different home ranges; one each for winter, spring, summer and fall. In general, one end of the seasonal home range consists of the "core area" and daytime bedding sites, often in a wooded area, where the deer spend most of the day. Again, in general, the other end of the seasonal home range consists of an open feeding area, where the deer spend most of the night, and where they have night bedding sites. Buck home ranges may be from two to five times the size of doe ranges during the rut, but they often restrict their movements to a small core area during the winter, spring and summer. 
     These seasonal home ranges may be several miles apart, or they may overlap each other. In some cases the core area of the individual deer may be the same, but the area and size of the habitat may vary. The deer may use the northern area of its habitat in the summer and the southern area in the winter. It may use wooded areas in the winter to stay warm and open areas in the summer to stay cool.
     In some areas whitetails may move several miles in the spring and fall as a result of snow depths, flooding or lack of food. The availability of food and the type of cover needed by the deer during each season determine which part of the annual home range the deer will use. Deer using a soybean field in August may move several miles away during the rut or the hunting season. What this means is that the deer you see and hunt in the fall may not be there for you to feed in the winter, they may be miles away. If they aren't, and there are no other deer in the area, there is no reason to feed in that area. Before you begin a feeding program, determine how many deer there are in the area; and when and where the deer use the area during the year.  

This article is adapted from T.R. Michels' Deer Managers Manual ($9.95), and from the Deer Addict's Manual, Volume 1 ($9.95). 

Post Season Deer Scouting

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: January 7, 2013 - 8:09 PM

Once the deer is in the freezer and the hunting equipment is put away many deer hunters lose interest in going to the woods. But, for the dedicated deer hunter, the next hunting season is just beginning. By now the weather has turned cold, the winds are blowing strong and the snow is deep in some areas. Walking through deer habitat at this time of the year is no longer and adventure, it's more of a chore. For adventurous deer addicts, who want to learn more about deer and deer habits, snow covered ground is like reading an open book.

Deer tracks are easily seen in the snow, and trails that were obscure are now very evident. What looked like matted down grass in the fall now proves to be a buck route, the drag marks of the buck's front hooves showing clearly. Following trails in the snow can eventually lead you to bedding areas, showing you where the big buck you couldn't find hid out during the hunting season. When you don't see him again next year you'll have a good idea where to find him. Trails can show you food sources the deer used during those inclement days when you sat on your stand without seeing anything. They can also show you escape routes you didn't know where there.

One of the best ways to locate the bucks you couldn't find during the hunting season is to glass feeding areas and scout for field sign after the rut or the hunting season is over. If you have rain or snow in your area, get out the door when the rain or snow lets up, and back-track the buck trails until you find their core areas and bedding sites. Then you'll know whereto find them next year.

Following buck trails along rub routes helps you pattern the buck well before the season. While the buck may not use the exact same trails in late winter as it does during the rubbing and scraping period, it will probably use the same gullies, roads and bottlenecks that offered it protection all year long. Once you know the buck's general route it is much easier to locate, pattern and hunt next year. If there are a number of does in the area some of the bucks may begin scraping again 20-30 days after the primary breeding period as the younger does come into estrous for the first time and older does that were not bred the first time experience a second estrous. In areas with low buck numbers (where a lot of does don't get bred) there may be a still another breeding period with more rubbing and scraping. While scrapes are difficult to detect under the snow, the bareness of the rubs are still evident on the trees. Following a buck trail from rub to rub is quite easy in the snow, and you may find some scrapes.

If you are really a whitetail addict you can watch the deer to learn their travel routes, and the times they use them. I like to choose a stand that overlooks a food source, open area or bottleneck. I pick one or two sites where I can see as much habitat as possible. A treestand overlooking a food source is an excellent spot. Any location that lets me see a long way, like a hill that overlooks bedding areas and travel lanes, is good. I do this a lot during the pre-rut to pattern the bucks. I also do it in the winter, because it cuts down on the amount of time I have to scout and observe in the fall, before the hunt. It doesn't take me long to figure out where to set up after I see a buck two or three times when I am scouting.

The more time and effort you spend scouting, observing and patterning deer after the hunting season, the less time you have to spend doing it before the next season. For those of you who look for shed antlers, winter scouting to locate rub routes and buck bedding areas is an excellent way to stumble across a shed.

This article is an excerpt from the Complete Whitetail Addict's Manual; Part 1 ($49.95 + $5.00 S&H), by T.R. Michels, available in the Trinity Mountain Outdoor Products catalog.


Predicting Peak Rut Activity & Days to Hunt Deer

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: October 14, 2012 - 6:36 PM

Sorry I have not been around, my daughter and I have both had fairly severe medical problems we have had to deal with. We are better, but we are not out of the woods yet, so prayers are appreciated.

God bless,


Predicting the Rut & Best Hunting Days

Whitetail hunters often want to know when the "peak of the rut” occurs. Unfortunately the term "peak of the rut" appears to mean different things to different people. To a deer biologist it means the one week of the breeding season when more breeding occurs than during any other week. Note, I said "more breeding". I did not say "peak stupid buck activity", "peak buck sightings" or "peak sightings of bucks trailing, chasing, or breeding does", or "peak sparring or fighting"; all of which some hunters mean when they say or think "peak rut".
     PEAK RUT means the ONE WEEK of the year when more breeding occurs than in any other week. 
     Since all of the other activities hunters may refer to when they think or speak about "peak rut" are affected by the number of deer in each area, the buck to doe makeup of the herd, the age structure of the herd, the health of the deer, the weather, possibly the moon, and certainly the amount and whereabouts of food in the area, it is extremely difficult to state when those activities will occur. However, it is possible to predict when "peak breeding" should occur, because the biologists in many states have done studies to determine when peak breeding occurs.
     In 1985 Dr. Larry Marchinton conducted a study to determine how many estrus cycles unbred whitetail does in Georgia would experience. Of the eight does in the study one 2.5 year old came into estrus October 17, one 2.5 year old on October 24, three 1.5 year olds on November 11, one 2.5 year old on November 19, one 1.5 year old on November 22, and one 5.5 year old on December 1. Recurrent estrus ranged from 2 to 7 times. This shows that some does may come into estrus in October, most in November, and some in December. In northern areas 1.5 year old does usually come into their first estrus in December.
     During another study Marchinton noted a total breeding period of 96 days in Georgia, which presumably lasted into December. Because of this extended breeding period I use the term "breeding period" when referring to the total time frame when breeding occurs. I use the term "primary breeding phase" in reference to the week when most breeding occurs, because it more clearly states the time frame hunters are interested in when they refer to "peak of the rut." In Canada and most Northern states this primary breeding phase occurs in November, shortly after peak scraping.
     Marchinton's research in Georgia, my own studies here studies here, and the observations of others, show that does have been bred as early as September 24 near the Canadian border in Minnesota, October 15 in southern Minnesota, October 17 in Georgia and October 24 in central Wisconsin. In much of North America breeding may occur as early as mid-October, with the “primary breeding phase” from early to late November, and a late breeding phase in December.
     During his Georgia research Marchinton found that the estrus cycles of whitetail are quite variable. Instead of occurring every 28 days as previously thought, the estrus cycles of the does in the study ranged from 21 to 30 days. This makes it difficult to pinpoint the timing of the late breeding phase, especially when coupled with the knowledge that the first estrus of a doe may occur from mid-October to the first part of December. Marchinton also noted that the does were in estrus from 24 to over 48 hours, not the 24 hours previously thought.
     My studies in Minnesota show that roughly 10-20 percent of the does come into estrus during the early breeding phase (approximately October 15 - September 7 in the upper Midwest), 50-60 percent during the primary breeding phase (approximately September 8 - 28 in the upper Midwest), and 20-30 percent during the late breeding phase (approximately December 1-21 in the upper Midwest).
     It made no difference if I considered the estrus dates of the does from October through December, or only the estrus dates in November, the peak of the rut occurred within seven days of November 10. The primary breeding phase usually lasted three weeks, from approximately November 1 to 21.

Photoperiod and Other Influences
The breeding phase for deer in each area is predominantly triggered by the number of hours of sunlight each day (photoperiod). Since whitetails inhabit a large portion of North and Central America, and a small portion of northern South America, the geographic location of individual deer herds determines when breeding should occur. The rut is governed by the timing of spring. In order for fawns to survive deer need: 1. weather warm enough that the fawns won't die of exposure, and 2. weather that is wet and sunny enough to produce new forage, so the does can produce milk for the fawns. Deer in the north have short breeding periods because they have a late spring and early fall, resulting in short summers. Deer in the south do not have to breed as early, and have longer breeding periods because of the long summers and late fall. Whitetails in the southern United States may have up to a five month breeding period (September-January). Deer above the 40th parallel generally breed when there are approximately 10 hours of sunlight per day, which occurs in early November.
     Robert McDowell completed an interesting study called Photoperiodism among breeding eastern white-tailed deer in 1970. This study documented the breeding dates of whitetails from the 28th parallel to the 48th parallel. The dates given covered a broad range because the study encompasses the entire eastern half of the United States, from approximately the Rocky Mountain foothills east, and from the northern range of whitetails in Canada, to the Mexican border. Obviously, the breeding dates in each area varied due to the local weather conditions, and the genetics of the herd.
     According to the results of the study - for deer below the 28th parallel, breeding may occur from the first week of August through the last week of February; with peaks in breeding activity occurring from the first week of September through the second week of October, from the third week of November through the first week of December, and from the second week of January through the first week of February.
     For deer between the 28th and 32nd parallel breeding dates were from the second week of September through the first week of February, with peak breeding from the first week of November through the first week of February.
     For deer between the 32nd and 36th parallel breeding dates were from the first week of October through the first week of January, with peak breeding from the first to the fourth weeks of November.
     For deer between the 36th and 40th parallel breeding dates were from the second week of October through the last week of January, with peak breeding from the first to the third week of November.
     For deer between the 40th and 44th parallel (includes Minnesota) breeding dates were from the first week of October through the last week of January, with peak breeding from the last week of October to the second week of November.
     For deer between the 44th and 48th parallel breeding dates were from the last week of September through the last week of November, with peak breeding from the first week of November through the first week of December.
     Several factors besides latitude and photoperiod may cause fluctuations in the rut. When local deer populations are not balanced properly (most are not), the timing of the rut may be affected. If there are not enough mature bucks to leave priming pheromones at rubs and scrapes for the does to come in contact with, some of the does will not come into estrus, or be bred, during the normal breeding period, causing them to breed later than normal. The amount of forage in the habitat (which may be affected by local weather conditions), and the health of the deer (affected by amount of forage, disease and population density), also affect the timing of the rut. Undernourished and unhealthy does may come into a first estrus a month or more after other does.
     Genetics can play a large part in when deer breed, as shown from a study in Louisiana. In 1983 researchers found that deer in the Camp Avondale Boy Scout Reservation in East Feliciana Parish bred from November 6-26, with a median date of November 12, a full month earlier than the deer for the rest of the parish. The reason for this earlier breeding is because the deer in the camp were relocated from a herd in the Red Dirt Management Game Management Unit, where breeding occurs earlier.

Moon Phase
Several writers and biologists have suggested that peak breeding is influenced by the phase of the moon. Their theories may be based in part on the belief that a combination of shortening photoperiod (number of light hours per day) combined with melatonin production (which may be affected by moonlight) will cause does to come into estrus shortly after the full moon in November.
     Interestingly, during Marchinton's 1985 study the full moon occurred on October 28 and again on November 27, with peak estrus occurring November 9, showing no correlation with the full moon. This lack of a correlation between moon phase and peak rut was to be expected because of the lateness of the November full moon. I suspect that when the full moon occurs too early or too late - the rut will occur when it usually does, during mid-November in the many areas.
     Marchinton's research shows that not all does come into estrus during a particular moon phase, and that they may not even come into estrus during the same month; which shows that the phase of the moon does not affect when peak breeding occurs. This is supported by the findings of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and an exhaustive study by Dr. Karl Miller and others, which looked at the breeding dates of about 2500 does from 10 states, ranging from the southeast to the northeast, and from Minnesota to Texas. Their study concluded that there was no correlation between peak breeding of white-tailed deer and any moon phase. This means that the best scientific evidence available shows that the phase of the moon does not affect when deer will breed, or when peak breeding occurs.  

Moon Position, Gravity, Biomagnetics
My personal studies, research by Kent Kammermeyer, and research by Grant Woods, suggest that there is a correlation between increased daytime deer activity and the moon. These correlation's are related to the position of the moon and the earth; the distance of the moon from the earth; the position and speed of the moon in its elliptical orbit; and combinations of these factors. The position of the moon (not the amount of light) during the full moon phase) may cause increased gravitational pull, and the distance and acceleration of the moon during the perigee (when it is closest to the earth in it's elliptical orbit) may cause changes in the magnetics of the earth. The independent or combined effects of these two factors appear to increase daytime deer activity.
     Because the elliptical orbit of the moon (the time it takes the moon to revolve around the earth) has a 27 1/2 day cycle, and the light phase of the moon has a 29 1/2 day cycle, the full moon and the perigee can occur on the same day, or as much as two weeks apart. This difference in cycle lengths may be the reason why deer movement is high during the full moon in some years but not in others. I suspect that when the full moon and the perigee occur at about the same time (as in 1997) there may be increased daytime movement of deer.
     No one really knows if and how these lunar factors affect deer activity; which lunar factors influence deer activity and how much, or what happens when the perigee and the full moon occur two weeks apart. The key thing to remember is that daytime deer movement (including during the rut) appears to be highest during the week of the full moon each month.
     However, hunting pressure, the rut, food availability and the weather can completely override any affect the moon has on deer. My studies show that during November, when both the hunting season and rut are in progress, there was no noticeable peak in daytime deer activity. For more information on how the moon affects the rut refer to the Deer Addict’s Manual, Volume 4:

Lunar Factors, The Real Truth.
Because the perigee/apogee and full moon occur at different times during November this year here is my best "guestimate" as to when the moon may cause increased deer activity during November; from about October 25 to November 1 (this may be the end of peak scraping activity and the beginning of peak breeding activity in the upper Midwest) and from about November 25 (this may be about the middle to the end of peak breeding activity in the upper Midwest) to December 1.
     As a result of increased monthly gravitational pull of the moon Peak “daytime buck sightings” may occur the week before the dates given above, as the bucks look for does coming into their first estrus. Daytime buck activity should be greatest when there is a visible full moon at night (which may cause the deer to become nervous, because they may be seen by predators). You may also see bucks during the day from November 8-14 (when the moon is closest to the earth) which is when an increase in the biomagnetics between the sun and the earth may cause increases in melatonin levels of the deer, resulting in a corresponding increase in the “ mood” of bucks, and them continuing to look for unbred does. 

The dates given are when it may be most likely to see increased rutting activity during “daylight” hours. Since 30-50+ percent of the does may be bred during the early November dates, 1-21, which means the bucks may be looking for does unbred does throughout the day. This is especially likely if there is cloud cover during the day, the temperatures are below 40 degrees, the wind speed is below 10-15 miles per hour, and there is little to no precipitation. If those conditions occur where you hunt, you can hunt from dawn to dusk, because you may see bucks at all hours of the day.
     In fact, no matter what is going on – if those conditions exist – get out and hunt, because those are optimal conditions for daytime deer (including trophy buck) movement.  For archery hunters, hunt the days 30 days prior to the dates given for the gun season.

To find out when the rut generally starts and ends and when "peak breeding" occurs in your state log on to www.TRMichels.com, then click on Peak Whitetail Rut Dates Chart.

If you are interested in more whitetail deer hunting tips, or more whitetail biology and behavior, click on Trinity Mountain Outdoors Magazine and T.R.'s Hunting Tips at www.TRMichels.com. If you have questions about hunting log on to the T.R.'s Hunting Tips message board. 

This article is an excerpt from the Complete Whitetail Addict's Manual ($40 + $5.00 S&H for soft cover book; $20 for e-mail copies), by T.R. Michels, available in the Trinity Mountain Outdoor Products catalog at www.TRMichels.com.  

Responsible Deer Management; May

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: June 14, 2012 - 11:26 AM

Well - I've been kind of busy lately, with Dr.'s appointments, getting ready for some reconstructive surgery on my face, and addressing issues about my lack of balance. Thirtyfive years ago I tried to commit suidcide with a shotgun, by putting the barrel of a 12 guage to my lower jaw and pulling the trigger. I almost died, and the story was on all the local news channles and in the newspapers.  I did loose my sight and hearing, along with most of my lower jaw, upper jaw, left cheek, nose and hard palate - which were all partially repaired during the next 10 years and 21 surgeries, I never finished those surgeries- because  was tired of it. Now, after 25 years of no surgery, and some  complications, I've decided to resume reconstruction of my face. 

After 25 there have been some advances in surgery techniques. So, the doctor's plan is to start out by removng my lower jaw and replace it with steel and bone from my lower leg bone. If that all goes well he will attempt to put some bone into my upper jaw and palate, so I can get some functioning dentures, and for support for  the next surgery, which will be to replace my left cheek and straighten out my nose, because I can no longer breathe out of the left side.

The Dr. tells me it wil be a long painful recovery, and it may all take about a year to complete, and that I will need some good family support  to  help get me through it all. I know I've got that.  I told he Dr. I want to look like Brad Pitt when I get done ... Probablynot going to happen.  

My wife Diane is recovering very fast from her lung cancer surgery, although the loss of one lung leaves her with less stamina than she had, So - she cannot  work as hard, walk as far and needs more rest than she did. But, we are all glad she is doing so well - and that we still have our beloved wife mother, sister and grandmother with us. Thank you God - I know without you we could not have gone through this. 

Many hunters and animal lovers want to know what the deer are doing now, , and how to prepare for deer hunting - year round. Here are my ideas on the subject. 

May Deer Management

During May both bucks and does may begin to move to summer home ranges. Does will begin looking for fawning locations.

Herd Health and Social Structure

More and more hunters are interested in hunting for trophy animals. But, because State game managers are often interested in providing a large, healthy, balanced herd, and not necessarily trophy animals, these hunters are taking it upon themselves to try to increase their chances of seeing a trophy by some type of deer management (sometimes with the emphasis on growing trophies) and improving the habitat. Hunters who are only interested in helping the animals grow bigger racks by providing food plots, minerals and limiting their hunting to larger racked animals often unwittingly improve the quality of the entire herd. Not only will the bucks use the food and minerals, but so will the does and fawns. If the hunter then passes up smaller animals he gives them a chance to mature, develop fully and contribute to the gene pool.


Management Practices

There is no question that deer herds must be managed. Increasing human populations, urban sprawl and changing land practices have led to less available deer habitat while deer herds have continued to increase, which has led to an overpopulation of deer in many areas. This has compelled wildlife managers to issue abundant doe permits each year in order to keep the deer herds within the carrying capacity of the available habitat.

The deer management practices of many wildlife agencies revolve around the need to balance the deer herds in relation to the habitat while still trying to keep deer populations high enough for hunting, with hunting as the primary method of deer reduction. The current practice of keeping deer populations high enough that they can be hunted, and the past management practice of bucks only hunting, combined with the belief by many hunters that they should only shoot bucks if they want to keep deer numbers high, is precisely the reason why there are too many deer, particularly does.

It is usually too many does (as in Minnesota and Wisconsin), not too many bucks in a deer herd, that prompts game managers to issue numerous doe permits in the hopes that enough deer will be removed to keep their numbers at acceptable levels. Eventually this becomes a vicious cycle and both the deer and the habitat suffer. The effects of this cycle generally result in low buck:doe ratios and fewer numbers of dominant breeding bucks, which leads to breeding periods that are later, and longer, than they should be, resulting in poor spring survival rates of fawns.

To add to the problem of too many deer, but not enough bucks, the interest in trophy hunting for white-tailed deer has skyrocketed in the past few years. This interest in high scoring whitetail racks by numerous hunters puts added pressure on the already depleted number of large antlered animals, and further reduces the number of available older dominant breeding bucks. Fewer numbers of bucks, particularly older dominants, result in fewer contacts between the does and the priming pheromones deposited by bucks at rubs and scrapes. These priming pheromones are thought to cause the does to come into estrus and help synchronize the rut activity between the does and the bucks. When these pheromones are absent the does may come into estrus from as early as mid-October to as late as January.

In a deer management study by Larry Marchinton between 1981 and 1986, an increase in the buck to doe ratio from 25:100 in 1981-82, to 54:100 in 1983-84 resulted in the average breeding date changing from November 11 in 1981 to October 15 in 1982, almost a month earlier than normal, and the length of the breeding period was shortened from 96 to 43 days. In another study using quality management techniques, the average breeding date occurred almost two months earlier.

This article is adapted from T.R. Michels' Deer Managers Manual ($9.95), and from the Deer Addict's Manual, Volume 1 ($9.95).

If you are interested in more whitetail hunting tips, or more whitetail biology and behavior, click on Trinity Mountain Outdoor News and T.R.'s Hunting Tips at

www.TRMichels.com. If you have questions about whitetails log on to the T.R.'s Tips message board. To find out when the rut starts, peaks and ends in your area click on Whitetail Rut Dates Chart. www.TRMichels.com  TRMichels@yahoo.com .  

T.R. Michels is the author of the Whitetail, Elk, Duck & Goose, Bear and Turkey Addict's Manuals. His latest products are Hunting the Whitetail Rut Phases, the Complete Whitetail Addict's Manual, the 2005 Revised Edition of the Elk Addict's Manual; and the 2005 Revised Edition of the Duck & Goose Addict's Manual. For a catalog of books and other hunting products long o n to the Trinity Mountain Outdoors website 

Animal Home Ranges & territores: What to Expect and What to do

Posted by: T.R. Michels Updated: May 22, 2012 - 7:25 AM

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 www.TRMichels.com 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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