This week I have 2 different bucks we tracked for 3 years. That means these bucks were at least 2.5 years old the first year and were last tracked when they were at least 4.5 years old. Our collar batteries don’t last for more than about 3 years so the collars were removed by sending a signal to the collar to detach so it falls off the deer.
We’ll first look at Buck 8111, who we tracked 2014-2016, and he has typical movements for October and November. There is some evidence that activity tends to pick up by late October.
In November movements are pretty similar among all 3 years. Note that by late November movements are really reduced. This is expected as deer respond to hunting activity related to the bear season and upcoming rifle season.
Buck 8111 was harvested in the 2016 rifle season when he was at least 4.5 years old.
The next deer, Buck 8809, was tracked over the same period (2014-2016) and has some interesting movement patterns. As the rut picks up in late October, he shifts his home range to the west. Every year he makes short forays to the west, but in all three years by 30 October he has shifted his home range.
He spends the peak of the rut in this area to the west. Then on practically the same day each of the three years he returns to his home range in the east.
The behavior of Buck 8809 is likely related to the breeding season. The fact that his movements are so consistent from one year to the next provides evidence that the rut occurs at essentially the same time every year. You can read more about the timing of the rut in PA here.
He was harvested in the regular rifle season in 2019 when he was at least 7.5 years old. The harvest record makes no mention of the size of the antlers. He was probably just an average Joe.