A mature buck is every deer hunter’s dream for body size, antler size, and the pure thrill of outsmarting one of nature’s craftiest creatures. Mature bucks are almost mystical; not a lot is known of their travel patterns and habits. Deer-hunting leases are often managed to harvest 4.5-year-old bucks, yet those bucks seem to disappear. Many become nocturnal and may change their core range, making patterning the big boys really tough.

The Quality Deer Management Association has conducted a study of mature bucks and their travels, information sure to help you make the best decisions with a trophy of a lifetime:

2009-06-13 Booner Bucks-0005Technology is amazing, isn’t it? As I type this article on my laptop, on a plane 20,000-plus feet up, heading to yet another QDMA event, I have access to the Internet! When we land and I boot up my cell phone, I will simultaneously have the ability to take a high resolution photo, attach it to an email or text message (that I can choose to recite through voice-recognition software), insert this very same document from a “cloud” based holding spot, and then send all of it to a co-worker, hundreds of miles from where I’m standing, to view and post on the Internet. Then I can use my phone as a Geographic Positioning System (GPS) unit to quickly and efficiently guide me to my destination. Oh, and I can also use it to call my wife to tell her I landed safely. Admittedly, it’s hard to wrap your mind around how much technology has become integrated into our everyday life.

The same is true with deer research. We now have the ability to basically strap my cell phone to a buck’s neck and see where he is every minute of every day; I can even get his location texted to me, too. Now that’s crazy.  GPS-based whitetail research has been around since the 1990s, but advances in collar technology the past few years have drastically increased accuracy of the data and have allowed us to look at aspects of deer behavior, specifically mature buck behavior, differently than ever before.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.