I enjoy studying mature bucks. My Reconyx trail cameras are one of the best tools available to study mature bucks. The cameras themselves don’t spook mature bucks, but there is more to the Reconyx than being a great trail camera. Each camera comes with a free software package, BuckView / MapView, that allows me to easily track the movements and see the pattern of mature bucks. The ability to track where bucks are moving on an aerial image of where I hunt is a tremendous tool.
I dreamed of tools like this when I was in grad school. However, they were not available or simply cost too much. Now, for the price of a trail camera, I can monitor the movements of mature bucks. Technology is great!
Monitoring the movement of mature bucks does not equate to harvesting a mature buck – but it sure helps. One thing it tells me is the amount of my property a mature buck is using. Some bucks will only use a small portion of a property or have a very small home range. Others mature bucks will have a larger home range or simply use more of the property. This later group includes the bucks that I will focus on while hunting.
Bucks are like people – they have different personalities. Some of my friends were raised, got married, and have jobs in the same county where we were born. Others settled far away. As we matured, some of us travel far and wide frequently. Others feel more secure remaining close to their childhood home turf. The same is true with bucks. Each buck has an individual personality. Bucks that have a small range or only use a small portion of the property you hunt can be very difficult to kill. If a buck has a small range, he probably knows every wind current, tree, etc., very well. He can detect change/disturbance to his environment very easily.
Bucks that cover more area probably don’t know each acre nearly as well. In addition, if they are traveling more they are probably crossing more areas that are favorable to hunters (areas where the access, steady wind, etc., favor allowing hunters to select a stand location that won’t alert bucks).
For example, I’m just finishing the annual camera survey at The Proving Grounds. Two mature bucks are using one of my Trophy Rock sites, Last Lick. One of the bucks, Last Lick Right Kicker, only visited the adjoining camera site. He is currently only using a small part of the property where I hunt. I predict I won’t have many encounters with him this fall.
Another mature buck, Last Lick Big 10, is using that same Trophy Rock site and multiple others. When bucks travel relatively far during this time of year, they tend to be moving a lot during hunting season. Although Last Lick Big 10’s pattern may change once he sheds his velvet, I suspect my odds of having an encounter with him this fall are much better!
I’m currently moving my Reconyx units from the location where I do my annual deer herd survey (Trophy Rock locations) to monitoring travel corridors, feeding fields, etc. I’ll use the Reconyx software to track the patterns of these and other bucks. From past research and experience, I’m betting there’s a much better chance my taxidermist meets Last Lick Big 10 than Last Lick Right Kicker. I’ll let you know…
Growing (and hunting) Deer together,