Where To Find Summer Bucks

July 20th, 2017

What better way to spend a hot summertime evening than cruising the countryside looking for big velvet toting bucks. In particular the buck you could possibly get a shot at this fall. Mature bucks this time of year tend to seek out open hardwood canopies adjacent to high quality summertime forages such as soybeans or alfalfa fields. Depending on what type of parcel you hunt you may or may not have your particular hit list buck living on your property during the summertime. So do not be discouraged if you are not seeing any big bucks on your property. Often times their summer hang outs may be 1-2 miles away from their fall time core area.

This has become more and more apparent for me over the years after chasing particular bucks. When I go home to scout for the upcoming season I head 1 1/2 miles North of where I hunt, where an open patch of hardwoods draws out into a large alfalfa field. Each year bucks that I glass in this parcel will end up on my hunting parcel in the fall. This is largely due to the change in fall time cover and food source.

This can be a useful clue to your habitat management strategy. If you have a handful of mature bucks on your property all summer and they disappear right before deer season then chances are you lack quality browse cover and a quality fall time food source. A common and easy way to increase the attractiveness of your property in the fall is to increase your woody browse by hinge cutting, logging, or TSI (timber stand improvement). It creates structural bedding areas, that increases security, and a buffet of fall time browse that deer love.

The goal is to take note of what type of habitat the buck is using during the summer and as fall draws near and foliage and summer green food sources start to dwindle, where the deer will head next. Depending on the type of terrain and habitat available, bucks are known to have larger home ranges than does. However, it seems the older a buck gets his home range begins to shrink smaller and smaller.

So don’t be disappointed if there’s no deer on your hunting ground now because if he’s on your neighbors now, chances are he might end up on yours come fall.

-Zach Jumps

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