10 Things to Know About Deer Hunting Mythology

Have You Fallen for Any of These?

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Myth: The Oldest Bucks Live in the Most Remote Areas

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1 | Myth: The Oldest Bucks Live in the Most Remote Areas

It’s commonly believed that the oldest bucks live in the most remote areas. That’s not always true. Sure, remote — or any — areas that receive less hunting pressure typically have older-age-class bucks. That’s the general rule. But to say that the oldest bucks always choose the most remote spot in an area isn’t true. Studies have proven that mature bucks choose the most secure bedding location that offers them the best security. Sometimes, that’s deep in a thicket somewhere. Others, it’s the hillside that overlooks the public-land parking spot (even in pressured areas). That’s what the research shows. The takeaway — don’t overlook overlooked spots.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Bruce MacQueen

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Myth: Home Ranges and Core Areas Grow with Age

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2 | Myth: Home Ranges and Core Areas Grow with Age

Some have long believed that the older a deer gets the more ground it controls. That isn’t the case. Most mature buck’s core areas and home ranges decrease with age. Over time, they find where in their home ranges they feel the safest and that’s where they spend daylight hours. Once they reach that period in their life, they rarely venture out unless pressure is minimal, the rut draws them out, or other circumstances encourage them to venture away from their beds.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Tom Reichne

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Myth: Human Urine Spooks Deer

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3 | Myth: Human Urine Spooks Deer

Another myth is that human urine spooks deer. There have been a few limited studies on this to suggest deer can’t differentiate the difference between human urine and deer urine. Or, at least, not enough that it spooks them. In fact, some even use their own pee to freshen up scrapes. I’ve done it — for quite some time. And it works. So, does human urine spook deer? Not so much.

Don’t Miss: Do You Pee in Scrapes and Mock Scrapes?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Tom Reichner

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Myth: Rubber Boots Prevent Scent Detection

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4 | Myth: Rubber Boots Prevent Scent Detection

It is true that rubber boots help reduce ground scent. But they don’t completely get rid of it. You shed scent from your entire body. That scent falls to the ground. It isn’t just left behind by contact. But you do have other body parts contacting the environment — hands on tree trunks, pants on underbrush, shirts on tree limbs, etc. While rubber boots help, they don’t completely prevent ground scent detection.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / 895 The Studio

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Myth: Moon Phases Play a Big Role in Deer Movement

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5 | Myth: Moon Phases Play a Big Role in Deer Movement

It all comes back to research, but many wildlife biologists have debunked the theory that moon phases (new moon, full moon, etc.) greatly influence deer movement. However, they have produced results that show moon overhead/underfoot positions do have the potential to encourage deer movement — especially under the right circumstances. To begin with, deer move most at dawn and dusk. Period. But the overhead/underfoot positions — in areas with average or less hunting pressure — have a visible effect. And they have the biggest influence when the overhead/underfoot occurrences happen close to dawn and dusk.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Mr. PM

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Myth: Culling Deer Improves Wild Herd Genetics

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6 | Myth: Culling Deer Improves Wild Herd Genetics

Manipulating genetics works inside of a fence. Outside of a fence, it doesn’t. They’ve conducted tests (even on adjoining properties) to see if culling works. It’s been proven that you can’t influence genetics enough to see a measurable change in wild deer. There are too many factors in play: neighboring hunter harvest decisions, environmental factors, etc. Not to mention that first-year spikes often meet and surpass antler growth of their peers by the time they reach maturity. Or that most antler deformities aren’t genetic-related. Or that does contribute (slightly) more than 50 percent of the antler potential in their offspring. Or even that the doe’s competence as a mother influences the buck’s first set of antlers and can impact each set afterward if given a bad start in life. Simply put, culling doesn’t produce results in the wild. However, providing good habitat and allowing bucks to reach older age classes does.

Don’t Miss: Deer Hunting Debate: Does Culling Really Work?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Bruce MacQueen

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Myth: Bucks Rub to Mark Their Territory

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7 | Myth: Bucks Rub to Mark Their Territory

Some whitetail lovers still believe buck rubs are meant to mark territory. It’s been determined that deer aren’t territorial, though. At least not in the traditional sense in reference to defending turf. Wolves do that. Not deer. Instead, deer defend breeding status. And rubs are believed to help strip velvet, take out frustration, convey messages, show dominance, etc. But bucks don’t see another buck’s rub and see it as a turf marker.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Jim Cumming

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Myth: The Scrape Is the Most Important Part of Scrapes

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8 | Myth: The Scrape Is the Most Important Part of Scrapes

Most people see the bare dirt on the ground and look at it as the most important piece of the scrape puzzle. In reality, the licking branch hanging over the top of the scrape is the most important part. Scrapes without a licking branch are generally made on the fly — generally a sudden display of dominance in the presence of other deer — and never revisited again. Remember, always keep the licking branch in mind when scrapes (and mock scrapes) are in the picture.

Don’t Miss: What to Know About Scrapes

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Paul Tessier

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Myth: Hunting Harder Will Put More Deer in the Freezer

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9 | Myth: Hunting Harder Will Put More Deer in the Freezer

Hunting more pressures deer more — especially if hunting the same area(s) over and over. Hunting less and choosing to hunt on high-odds days when you have a good feeling you’ll be successful is much more effective. That’s certainly the case when big, mature bucks are your goal.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Jim Cumming

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Myth: Increased Wind Speeds Decrease Deer Movement

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10 | Myth: Increased Wind Speeds Decrease Deer Movement

One of the oldest myths is that deer lay down and don’t move in high winds. That’s another debunked myth. High winds don’t decrease deer movement. In fact, studies have shown that they move more (and try to move toward open areas where they can use their eyes) when winds get over 20 miles per hour.

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Photo Credit: Backwoods Life

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Myths. They’re present in practically every facet of life. It doesn’t matter the topic, or the time, or the place — you can bet there is an applicable myth. The same goes for the deer hunting world. It’s riddled with whitetail mythology. Here are 10 of them that have plagued the cervid world for decades.