Editor’s Note: These scientific facts about America’s favorite game animal – the white-tailed deer – are interesting and can help you fill your tag.
* A mature buck makes an average of 35 scrapes per year.
* Deer have a so-called “odor comfort zone” of 300 yards. Beyond this distance, foreign odors are not likely to alert or alarm them because the scent molecules comprising that odor have become so diluted they no longer are capable of triggering the chemo-receptors of the animals’ olfactory system.
* A whitetail’s tarsal glands carry each animal’s unique “signature” just as fingerprints do the same among humans. A doe released into a pen with 50 same-age fawns can instantly find the one that’s hers.
* Vermont biologist Wayne LaRoche’s research has revealed that the width of a deer track – not its length – is the most-reliable indicator of the animal’s age and sex.
* A doe is able to sniff a scrape, chemically analyze the tarsal scent left there by the buck that made the scrape, and evaluate the state of health and virility of the animal to determine if that male will be a worthy sire.
* A lone bed measuring 45 to 50 inches in length is most likely that of a big buck’s. If a bed you find is barely 45 inches, and is accompanied by one or two smaller ones, it’s undoubtedly that of a doe with her most-recent offspring.
* Studies with penned deer have shown that they have an attention span of about 3 minutes, after which they forget whatever has alerted them. If you snap a twig while still hunting, stop and remain motionless for at least 3 minutes before taking another step.
* Immature bucks commonly check their scrapes by walking right up to them. Mature bucks more commonly scent-check their scrapes from 30-50 yards downwind, while remaining in thick cover.
* Radio-tracking studies have revealed that mature bucks have an approximate 40-acre “core area” where they spend up to 90 percent of their time, although a whitetail’s home range may span several square miles or more.
To learn more about hunting deer, get John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt Deer Up Close with Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A2A6ZG6.
Also check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Jim Crumley’s Secrets of Bowhunting Deer,” available in Kindle and print, at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008N230PE.