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lets talk late season buck behavior.

the rut is long over. we all know about the bucks we see during the summer then comes the rut and they are all gone and new bucks move in.

now for you guys that run cams or get to spend a lot of time scouting answer me this:
do those bucks that you saw during the summer, return to that original area right after the rut or much later closer to spring time?

i know bucks have a rutting area.
do they have a winter feeding area that is close to their summer core area or is it all dependant on whats available to eat?
 

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Here in south central ms, saw a buck scent trailing a doe an hr before dark. So they are still chasing here too. May just be the second rut or yearlings of last year I guess?
 

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The big bucks, and most of the smaller bucks, that we had on camera during the summer all vanished off the farm when they shed their velvet. We found out some were killed 2- 3 miles away. We didn't see any of them again until the next summer. Only a few may have been the same bucks as the year before, the rest were younger. Same thing happened that next year. They all vanished when the season started, and we saw a kill pic of our big six, shot a few miles away. Not enough thick cover to hold them on the farm when they go into hiding. This past summer, we didn't get any big bucks on camera, except 1 pic of a nice 9pt, and haven't seen the 9 or 10 smaller racks that we had on camera return yet. The farmer just bought the 33 acre thick swamp across the street. Even there we're only getting pics of doe and spikes.
Around here, they seek refuge close to houses. They don't move out of the yards until after hunting pressure is long over, except for the rut, and don't return to the farm until the fields are back up. That is if they survived. The few big bucks I've seen in other places during the winter were all following a herd of doe. If they are back in where they spend the summer, they make themselves scarce. If the summer foods and winter foods are in different places, that will have an effect on where they are.
I don't think the bucks go anywhere in other places I hunt that are vast hardwoods, with thick hemlock swamps. What I see there during pre-season, I can expect to see in January, if they survived, and move.
 

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Now that we have a ton of snow in Central PA, the deer are yarded up on whatever food source is hot. I see a lot of bucks on camera that I haven't seen all year. Unfortunately this seems to happen every year, and the season is already closed. Makes for an exciting trip to the camera, but those deer are elsewhere come spring, summer, and fall.
 

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Where I live, if a buck is predictable, he gets dead, so there is no time to study him. I have a couple older bucks that visit my yard. Throughout the whole year, they make appearances, but I could never pattern them. They do show up a little more often just before the rut to scope out what the doe are doing. Even then, if I could hunt at night, it would be many sits before I could arrow one. What's amazing is I feed the doe all winter. In the spring they all look like they have been hanging out at the Pizza Hut buffet. When a buck finally shows up, he looks like he is knocking on deaths door. Their survival instincts around here overrides everything. That's what too much hunting pressure does.
 

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I find that the bucks spend their SUMMER in bachelor groups. Depending on how the food and summer cover lay there may be several groups over several square miles (for example). in FALL, after they shed velvet, most will disperse, often times throughout several square miles, depending on habitat and deer density. In WINTER, they will regroup in their traditional wintering areas. Changes in food or cover can alter this. Like summer the bucks are back in bachelor groups now but probably more closely together depending on the severity of the winter. It seems to me that these are the same bucks "overall" but the specific bachelor groups are different from what they are in the summer months. In SPRING, these deer migrate back in large groups to their summer grounds where they spread out to eat and grow with their summer groups.

This is the condensed version. This is what ive witnessed in Central MN and Im sure is very different in other ecosystems.

Bottom line... Food is #1 and ultimately manipulates everything.
 
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