These tips could help you pattern the mature, dominant buck in your area.
Bucks will travel as far as it takes to find a receptive doe, often many miles during the peak of the rut – however, there are a few management factors to take into consideration when hunting the rut and figuring out just how far a buck will travel during it.
CORE AREA: The dominant buck in a given area generally runs all other formidable rivals from his core area resulting in him not needing to travel long distances – especially with a high doe ratio. Many times you’ll see traveling bucks as those that have been pushed out from a dominant’s core area.
DEER DENSITY: Traveling distance also varies by region and terrain. The Texas Hill Country where you may have up to 40 deer on 300 acres will likely result in bucks not having to travel great distances. Compared to south Texas or the big empty of west Texas, where you may have 10 deer or less for 300 acres, bucks will have to travel far and wide to find a single receptive doe.
BUCK TO DOE RATIO: If you have a high number of does on your property, a buck will lock down with a hot doe and stay with her for days. With so many does, he will not have to search far and wide. This will cause movement to be limited as bucks remain locked into a doe for a few days at a time.
If you have too many does you may never see that mature buck. After he is done with one, he will quickly move on to another and begin the cycle again. Less does means bucks become more visible as they must do some searching.
TO SUM IT UP: If there aren’t any hot chicks at the bar downtown, they’ll try the bar on the outskirts of town – and sometimes they’ll get brave and head to the bar in the next town.
Editorial Contribution: Buck Chapman, Bulverde Feed & Seed