Editor’s Note: If you saw your cousin, your brother, your sister, your uncle and your aunt get run over by an 18-wheeler every time one of them tried to cross a six-lane interstate, then you probably wouldn’t attempt to cross that interstate yourself. Just like you’d learn not to play in traffic from observing what happened to your family on the interstate, older bucks with large racks and heavy body weights learned at an early age that if they went into a green field during hunting season in the daytime, more than likely they never would leave the green field. But most hunters plant green fields to grow bigger bucks and think they’ll bag them at the green fields. Here’s the reality –the mature bucks will become nocturnal first. Because younger bucks haven’t learned the danger that awaits them in the green fields, hunters who sit in shooting houses over green fields have noticed they generally take smaller, younger bucks than hunters do in stands 50- to 200-yards away from those green fields. Now scientific evidence proves the truth of this assumption.
Dr. Grant Woods of Republic, Missouri, one of the nation’s leading deer researchers, has studied the effects of hunting pressure on green fields and explains, “We put GPS collars on bucks, does and fawns before the season started to study their movements on a 2,000-acre tract of land located in northeastern Alabama that homed better-than-average food plots. Family members and their friends had heavily hunted this land to try and remove a large segment of the unantlered deer population, but the land never had been commercially hunted.”
The collars reported that the deer stayed on the food plots for quite some time, both during the day and at night, before hunting season began. As Dr. Woods says, “When we started putting hunting pressure on the green fields, we noticed that most of the deer, and especially the older bucks, totally avoided the fields during daylight hours. However, after dark, the deer would spend 50-plus percent of their time in the fields.”
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OOC2T0Y in Kindle, print and audio versions.