Things I learned from winter cameras

BSK

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Normally I don�t let the cameras run past mid to late January, but this year all of the cameras (most on food plots, but two on traditional scrapes) ran until last weekend (3/24). I found some interesting things in the 2,000+ pictures each camera recorded since late December:

The first buck to drop an antler was on January 28th. Yearling bucks dropped much earlier than older bucks. Pictures indicated scattered yearling antlers dropping at different times during February and March. By late March, most yearling bucks had lost their antlers, but nearly every buck 2 1/2+ still had their antlers.

The bucks grouped up into male bachelor groups just after the season ended. Pictures indicated groups of bucks feeding in food plots by mid-January. Cameras caught two sets of pictures where at least 7 bucks were feeding together (of all different ages, even yearlings).

Some bucks have weirdly timed patterns. One very large 9-point buck showed up on camera between the 8th and 12th of the month in every month from November through March.

Bucks never stopped working the overhanging limb of big, traditional scrapes. Bucks sniffed and licked the overhanging limbs even into March (and will probably continue through all months).

For whatever reason (probably a doe unable to conceive that kept coming back into estrus every 28-30 days), I got pictures of two big surges in bucks chasing does in late January (18th to 22nd) and in February (again, the 18th to 22nd).

I've always wondered and many people have asked about bucks they see/photograph on their property all summer but suddenly vanish once velvet sheds. When do these bucks return to the property? Winter, spring, summer...? On my place this year, they returned mid to late January. The lazt pictures I had of these buckswere around September 8th as their velvet was shedding. Got the next pictures of those bucks around January 15th.
 

geezer

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Interesting.... I had a bachelor group I watched all summer that consisted of two mature bucks and a young one maybe 2.5, If you saw one the others would follow. They split up around the first of November and then on the 6th of Dec. I started getting night time pics of them back together and did so for the next month until my cams got stolen and everyone started stomping around presumably looking for sheds. Hope the trio is back together this summer.
 

WMAn

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BSK,

Do these pictures make you rethink the idea of 3.5 and 4.5 yo rut-weary bucks being the first to shed? If your older bucks were still carrying during the last week, when do they shed?
 

BSK

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WMAn said:
BSK,

Do these pictures make you rethink the idea of 3.5 and 4.5 yo rut-weary bucks being the first to shed?

Not really. I've seen too many examples of a particular older buck that had been observed agressively participating in the rut who dropped his antlers early. I still think heavy rut stress can produce early antler drop in individual bucks.


If your older bucks were still carrying during the last week, when do they shed?

We usually see the brief scraping behavior associated with antlergenesis in mid-April, so I assume antlers all come off at that time. But numerous times turkey hunters on my property have witnessed bucks still carrying antlers in early April.
 

Good time Charlie

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Thanks for the info , Good and very useful as always,I have also learned alot this year.
The licking branch ,is one of the main ways Bucks and doe communicate,and sometimes without a rub or scrape around??
I have witnessed pretty much the same antler shed as you have
I have seen 3 or 4 bucks in a corn field every night,Last night..... No bucks just doe ..(or so I thought),they all shed pretty close to the same time.
 

BSK

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Good time Charlie said:
The licking branch ,is one of the main ways Bucks and doe communicate,and sometimes without a rub or scrape around??

Basically, what appears to be occurring is that traditional scrapes are made under traditional licking branches. The licking branch is used year-round. The scrape is only a rut-season part of the communication sequence. But it is the licking branch that is the most important part. That sort of explains why scrapes rarely appear without a licking branch above (the licking branch comes first).
 

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