The Deer Hunter's Quiz


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1 | Question No. 1

When measuring whitetail antlers using the Boone & Crockett Club scoring method, how many circumference (mass) measurements do you record for each antler beam? 




D-Depends on the number of tines rising off each beam.

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2 | Question No. 2

True or False? When a doe gives birth to multiple fawns at once (twins, triplets, etc.) it is possible the individual fawns have different fathers. (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

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3 | Question No. 3

Out of the numerous subspecies of white-tailed deer around North America, the smallest bodied is the:

A-Key deer

B-Columbian whitetail

C-Coues whitetail

D-Kansas whitetail

E-Blackbeard Island whitetail

(photo courtesy of the Key Deer Protection Alliance)

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4 | Question No. 4

If you were forced to wear solid-colored pants and a shirt to the deer woods (instead of your trusty Realtree camo), which color would be MOST likely to attract the eyes of a whitetail? (photo by Charlie Alsheimer) 





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5 | Question No. 5

You can easily study the patterns of tooth eruption and replacement in the first three molars in a deer’s lower jawbone and confidently identify which two age classes? (QDMA Photo)

A-Yearlings and all deer 7 1/2 or older.

B-Fawns and yearlings

C-Yearlings and 2 1/2-year-olds

D-Fawns and all deer 7 1/2 or older.

E-3 1/2- and 5 1/2-year-olds

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6 | Question No. 6

One of the important goals of the Quality Deer Management (QDM) movement is reducing harvest pressure on yearling bucks (1 1/2 years old). In the estimated national harvest of antlered bucks in 2010, yearling bucks accounted for what percentage of the kill? (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

A-92 percent

B-70 percent

C-55 percent

D-38 percent

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7 | Question No. 7

True or False? Whitetail bucks are “territorial” animals. They establish a home range and then defend it against other bucks. (photo by Charlie Alsheimer) 

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8 | Question No. 8

Whitetail research has shown us that hunting directly over a large, active scrape is not a productive approach because:

A-Only younger, less dominant bucks use scrapes regularly.

B-Only one buck uses each individual scrape or scrapeline, and you can’t be sure which one.

C-Bucks are more cautious approaching a scrape than any other site or area.

D-Most scrape activity occurs at night. 

 (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

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9 | Question No. 9

True or False? The largest-antlered buck in a group is not necessarily the most dominant buck, or the most successful breeder. (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

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10 | Question No. 10

True or False? It is NOT possible to measurably change the genetics of a free-ranging whitetail population through sport hunting and harvest choices. (Will Brantley photo) 

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11 | Question No. 11

In healthy, diverse habitat, which of these food categories is least important to whitetails across the four seasons? (photo by Charlie Alsheimer) 

A-Broadleaf forbs

B-Browse (twigs and stems of trees and woody shrubs)


D-Mast (acorns and fruit)

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12 | Question No. 12

Hemorrhagic Disease (HD), including EHD and bluetongue virus, is the most important viral disease of whitetails, and serious outbreaks can kill significant percentages of local deer populations. HD is spread to deer through:

A-biting gnats

B-molded corn

C-contagious “prions”

D-saliva shared at bait and mineral sites

E-none of these

 (photo by Will Brantley)

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13 | Question No.13

Whitetails are adapted to quickly pack food in the first of four chambers in their stomachs, then they can regurgitate it later and chew it more thoroughly when they are bedded and less exposed to predators. This first stomach chamber is called the: 





(photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

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14 | Question No. 14

From 1999 to 2009, which state’s bowhunters killed the highest average rate of Pope & Young Club record-book bucks annually per square mile? (photo by John Hafner)





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15 | Question No. 15

15. Which of these potential food plot crops is a cool-season perennial? (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

A-crimson clover

B-ladino clover

C-alyce clover

D-arrowleaf clover

E-all of the above

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16 | Question No. 16

The timing of the whitetail rut is most influenced by:

A-moon phase

B-length of daylight

C-air temperature

D-population health

E-planetary alignment

(photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

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17 | Question No. 17

If you had eyes in the back of your head, you could see in a 360-degree circle. Even without eyes in the back, a deer’s vision covers what portion of a 360-degree circle? (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

A-200 degrees

B-250 degrees

C-300 degrees

D-350 degrees

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18 | Question No. 18

If you want to rattle in a buck, research has shown that the most important variable in your rattling technique is:

A-time of day you rattle

B-how long your rattling sequence lasts

C-stage of the rut (pre-rut, peak rut, or post-rut)

D-how loud you rattle

(photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

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19 | Question No. 19

True or False? A whitetail’s tarsal gland gets its smell from a chemical compound exuded by the gland below the skin. (photo by Charlie Alsheimer) 

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20 | Question No. 20

Researchers studied hundreds of shed antlers for breakage patterns. They found the two parts of an antler that are least likely to break under stress are the:

A-Main Beam and G2

B-Browtine and Main Beam

C-Browtine and G2

D-G2 and G3

(photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

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21 | Question No. 21

Experts agree the most reliable method for estimating the age of a live whitetail buck as you watch it walking near your stand is to study:

A-antler characteristics

B-head size and shape

C-tarsal stain patterns

D-body characteristics

 (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

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22 | Question No. 22

Which of these is NOT a practical benefit of practicing Quality Deer Management? (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

A-only the most dominant bucks do the breeding

B-more rut behaviors are witnessed by hunters

C-fawn birthdates are earlier and occur over a shorter period of time

D-yearling bucks participate less in the rut and spend resources on body development instead

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23 | Question No. 23

Multiple research projects have found that, on average, a buck uses the smallest percentage of its complete home range during which season? (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)





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24 | Question No. 24

24. Out of these whitetail subspecies, the one that lives farthest WEST is the:

A-Key deer

B-Columbian whitetail

C-Coues whitetail

D-Kansas whitetail

E-Blackbeard Island whitetail

(photo courtesy of Fred Eichler)

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25 | Question No. 25

Which one of these parts of a buck’s body are directly involved when a buck does a “Flehmen” display (lip curl)? (photo by Charlie Alsheimer)

A-preorbital gland

B-interdigital gland

C-vomeronasal organ

D-forehead gland

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26 | The Answers

(Photo of Quiz Mastermind Lindsay Thomas Jr.)

Here are the answers. Be sure to post your score in the comments section below.

1. B - You always record four circumferences on each beam, no more and no less. The first is taken between the burr and the browtine, and the last is taken between the G3 and G4 tines (even if there are additional tines beyond the G4). If there is not a G4 (as in the case of an 8-point buck), the fourth circumference measurement is taken half way between the G3 and the end of the main beam.

2. True. Multiple research projects aimed at tracking deer DNA and assigning “paternity” to fawns in the studies have found occasional sets of twins with different fathers, as well as sets of triplets with different fathers. Auburn University conducted the first study that found three different buck fathers for a single set of triplets.

3. A - The Key Deer of Florida’s island “Keys” is the smallest bodied whitetail subspecies. It is also an endangered species.

4. A - Research at the University of Georgia has determined that whitetails are more sensitive to light in the blue wavelengths, and less sensitive to reds, than humans. 

5. B - You don’t have to study “wear” patterns on teeth to confidently identify fawns and yearlings, as the type and number of teeth that have erupted – especially the first three molars – gives away these two age classes.

6. D - According to QDMA’s most recent Whitetail Report, it's 38 percent. This is the lowest national average on record for the percentage of yearling bucks in the buck harvest, which has been steadily declining since the 1980s.

7. False. Whitetails are not territorial. Buck and doe home ranges overlap routinely with those of other bucks and does. While two bucks might compete for a resource like an estrus doe when encountering each other at a single location during the fall, bucks do not defend their larger home ranges against other bucks.

8. D - Research has shown about 85 percent of scrape visits occur under the cover of darkness.

9. True. Multiple research studies have shown that antler size is not a reliable indicator of reproductive success or dominance in an individual buck, leading experts to conclude that “attitude” and other factors are also important.

10. True. Scientific research on free-ranging whitetails has failed to show evidence of genetic change as a result of hunter harvest choices. While these choices can temporarily alter the demographics of a local deer population (which individuals survive and which do not) for better or worse, there is no evidence this results in measurable genetic change.

11. C - Grasses are least important. Whitetails will eat grass when little else is available, but they are not grazers like cattle. They are more adapted to eat a selective diet of forbs, mast and woody browse. Providing diverse stages of forest cover ensures deer do not need to rely on grass to survive.

12. A - HD outbreaks are most likely to occur in late summer and early fall when numbers of biting gnats (midges) are most abundant.

13. C - Rumen.

14. C - In its 2011 Whitetail Report, QDMA calculated the average rate of P&Y bucks killed annually from 1999 to 2009 per thousand square miles. Wisconsin was No. 1 with an average of 7.63 P&Y record-book bucks annually per thousand square miles. Illinois, Indiana and Iowa rounded out the top four, in order. 

15. B - Ladino clover is a cool-season perennial. Crimson and arrowleaf clovers are cool-season ANNUALS, and alyce clover is a warm-season annual. 

16. B - Length of daylight. Known as “photoperiod,” the number of hours of daylight is the primary trigger for breeding in whitetails, although deer in some regions are triggered to begin the rut at varying times, for varying reasons.

17. C - 300 degrees. A deer’s peripheral vision covers all but a 60-degree blind spot directly behind their head. This gives them less depth perception in front (the field of view of each eye overlaps only 65 degrees in front, compared to 140 degrees in humans) but a better ability to detect movement to the side and rear.

18. D - Research in Texas conducted by Dr. Mickey Hellickson found that volume was the most important of several influential variables in producing responses from bucks (the louder the better). Hellickson also found that early morning tended to be the best time to rattle, the peak of the rut was the most productive phase and long rattling sequences were more productive than short sequences.

19. False. The tarsal gland mostly exudes a fatty substance that appears to encourage bacterial growth, as well as provide a sticky substance to catch compounds present in deer urine. When deer urinate over their tarsal glands, the bacterial community living on the tarsal gland interacts with compounds in the urine to produce a scent that is likely unique for every deer. 

20. A - Auburn University researchers studied 487 left-side antler sheds and found the main beam and G2 are significantly less likely to break than the G1 or other tines. 

21. D - While aging on the hoof is an art, not a science, experts focus on body characteristics of bucks in rut condition, including neck girth, muscle development in the chest, shoulders and hindquarters, belly sag and other characteristics. 

22. A - In whitetails, breeding success is broadly distributed among many bucks, and dominant bucks will not do all or even most of the breeding, regardless of hunter harvest choices. Among many goals, QDM is concerned with producing a healthy age-structure (bucks of many different ages represented, including mature animals). But this goal has nothing to do with which individual bucks are successful breeders.

23. B - Bucks do the least roaming, and use the smallest percentage of their annual home ranges, in summer. During this time, studies have shown bucks to hold tight to a reliable food source with available cover nearby.

24. B - The Columbian whitetail lives in a small region along Washington's Columbia River, near the Pacific Ocean. It is geographically isolated from other whitetail subspecies by the Cascade Mountains. 

25. C - The vomeronasal organ is located in the roof of the front of a buck’s mouth. The lip-curl display helps channel scent molecules into this organ and then to the brain. This process is suspected to help prime the buck for breeding and rut activities.

How’d You Do?

23 – 25 Correct: Lee Lakosky might be calling you for advice.

20 – 22 Correct: Even the best deer hunters get busted on occasion. You did fine. 

17 -- 19 Correct: Not bad. You’d have been a good one next year. 

14 – 16 Correct: Relax. We’re sure you’re a great camp cook. 

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Think you know all there is to know about whitetails and deer hunting? We’ll see about that. The QDMA’s Lindsay Thomas Jr. will put you to task with this 25-question quiz. We do our quizzes the old-fashioned way, so you’ll need a pen and paper handy to mark down your answers. Each photo will have a new question, and the answer key is on the last page. No cheating. No looking ahead. And no Google searches. Let’s get started.