ShareThis Page

Bob Frye: Revealing look at best days for hunting deer

Bob Frye
| Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, 4:18 p.m.
Doug Oster | Tribune-Review

Which are the best days to hunt whitetails?

The first time wildlife biologist C.J. Winand of Maryland was asked that question, he thought someone was pulling his leg.

“It's any day that ends with a Y, right?” he said.

That's not necessarily true.

Winand investigated the idea. He found an Auburn University study looking at deer movements during daylight hours in relation to hunting. It was revealing.

The study found deer movements were pretty high Fridays. Then, Winand said, come Saturday, the “weekend warriors” showed up.

“Deer movements went drastically down,” he added.

They stayed hidden for the next two days, still scared. It was only Wednesday and Thursday that they got active again, he said.

That cycle repeated itself week after week.

“The take away message is, if you only have one day to hunt, I don't know if I'd hunt the weekend,” Winand said.

“Hunt either Thursday or Friday. You'll get more deer movements.”

Here are some other deer hunting facts to consider:

• Every deer hunter knows to hunt the oaks, right? They produce the acorns that deer and other wildlife thrive on.

But there are times when it's better to hunt one species than another.

White oaks — called the “ice cream tree” by some — drop acorns that are tastier, ie. less bitter, than those produced by red oaks. They also drop them sooner.

So if you have the option, hunt white oaks earlier in the fall and red oaks later.

And if you want to remember how to tell them apart, white oaks have leaves with rounded edges, red oaks leaves with pointed edges.

• How many deer do you have on your land and how many do you want?

That's a question to ask when determining which does to shoot.

Research has shown a 2-year-old doe — a new mother — will give birth to 1.5 fawns, on average. She will only successfully raise one, however.

Older does, those age 6 and up, will give birth to two fawns on average and raise both successfully.

So if you have the opportunity to shoot an older versus a younger doe, take the younger one. You will get better recruitment and better sustain the herd with more mature does on the landscape.

“They're better mommas,” Winand said. “And they're harder to kill anyhow.”

• Letting a buck live for a few years at least gives him a better chance to grow big antlers.

Sounds obvious, right? But how dramatic will be the change in antler size?

Plenty.

According to research, a 1.5-year-old buck will, at most, exhibit 28 percent of his antler potential. Let him get to 2.5, though, and he will show off 60 percent of what he could be.

That goes to 80 percent by age 3 and 90 percent by age 4.

By the time a buck reaches 5.5 years old, he's likely at 99 percent of his potential. He will stay there a bit before going back down as he ages.

So if you want bigger bucks, let them walk, but not forever.

Bob Frye is the everybodyadventures.com editor. Reach him at 412-216-0193 or bfrye@535mediallc.com. See other stories, blogs, videos and more at everybodyadventures.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.