ARE YOU HUNTING THE AVERAGE BUCK OR A RULE-BREAKER?
A new article from the National Deer Association!
“The NDA has long been known for providing its members and followers with the latest deer research and information. Over the years we’ve reported lots of data on deer biology, movement, how deer react to hunting pressure, food preferences, and much more. Inevitably, when we share findings from research in our articles or on social media, someone is quick to respond that the findings are wrong. They’ll usually follow that declaration with details about how the deer where they hunt don’t look or act that way.
So, was the data wrong? Probably not.
Is the naysayer wrong? Not necessarily.
The problem isn’t with the research or the resulting data. The discrepancy lies in how the information is presented and understood. It’s important to keep in mind that when we report findings from research like, “the average home range of a whitetail buck is one square mile,” we are reporting the average calculated from all the bucks involved in that particular study, or in some cases, multiple studies. That doesn’t mean every buck’s home range is one square mile. Chances are, some of the bucks in the study had a home range much larger than a square mile, and some had home ranges much smaller. In almost any study dealing with white-tailed deer, there are going to be outliers that fall outside the norms of deer behavior.
Some of the differences we see in how bucks look and behave from one area to another can be explained by things like habitat, environmental conditions, or even genetics. Those are variables that can differ significantly from one part of the country to another. For example, the amount of cover and food for deer where I live in the South is much different than the open agricultural lands of the Midwest. That impacts how much deer need to move to feed or to find all the necessary ingredients to survive, as well as their size and overall health.