Big Velvet Bucks Tease You all Summer, Then Disappear…So Where Did They Go?
On January 7th, 1918 famed illusionist Harry Houdini performed on of the greatest deceptions, the “Vanishing Elephant”. While making a 5-ton, 8 foot tall elephant suddenly vanish before thousands of spectators might appear as one of the greatest disappearing acts, but it does not compare to what big bucks pull at the end of summer. Instead of that one time illusion, the big velvet bucks of summer like to build suspense. They fire you up all summer long by becoming extremely visible in daylight hours during the months of august and July. They appear every afternoon like clockwork on trial cameras and in the bean fields, just too suddenly drop off the map once deer hunting commences in September and October. So where did they go?
During the late summer, early fall period a couple big changes occur. First off the photoperiods become increasingly shorter causing a buck’s hormones to drive his thinking. Bachelor groups break apart, and bucks disperse to different areas of their home range. This is not due to territorial reasons, but increased hormones, the bucks simply can’t tolerate each other and begin to spread out.
Food sources are a big player in the bucks vanishing, He stopped going to the beans and the mineral camera station because his needs and preferences changed, the beans or alfalfa turned, and other food sources became available. The big obvious one is the rain of acorns. Both white and red oaks drop in early fall calling deer from the crop fields into the woods. They also hit any green shooting up, like fall food plots. During the early fall clover plots or fall mixed plots begin to take off.
Another big player in the disappearing act might be human disturbance. Hunters start thinking about deer hunting, especially when they see high daylight activity during late summer. They flock to the woods scouting, hanging stands, trail cameras, and planting fall food plots. Increased pressure is just another force pushing deer into different areas of the home range.
If your summer bucks disappear in the fall think about where they might have gone. Hang trail cameras up in different areas of your property including white oak flats, or a fall food plot. Deer Hunting can be tough this time of year, your bucks haven’t completely vanished. Like Houdini’s performance, the disappearance is just an illusion, and they will reveal their act sooner or later!