How to Rediscover Bucks After They Disperse

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The summer-to-fall-range transition poses one big challenge

Approximately 50 percent of bucks will have a different fall range than their summer haunt. (Midwest Whitetail photo)

At the end of summer, you can say goodbye to the deer patterns you’re monitoring right now. And some of the bucks with them.

Each year, when bucks shed their velvet and break up their bachelor groups, they begin to disperse into their fall ranges. In a couple short months, you’ll have to find them back again.

It will take about two weeks for the dispersal process to play out. Once that occurs, you can take a serious look at your trail camera photos again to see if you still have any of your shooters, or if you picked up new ones in the shuffle.

I wait until mid-September before I put out trail cameras. It’s fun to get summer photos, but I know these can be misleading. What I find from mid-September on – and where I find it – has a much stronger effect on my fall success than knowing where the bucks lived in summer.

If you anticipate being disappointed because all your bucks disappeared, join the group, it happens to everyone.

When it does, take a week off and start over again. After a velvet-filled summer, finding fall ranges is the first step toward a successful fall. But do so with an open mind and a blank slate. The goal is to find them back. Don’t assume anything. Spread your cameras out and cautiously cover all parts of your hunting area.

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