Originally Posted By: Todd
In the last few years I have shot more than a couple in our preferred zone...and missed two.

Hours of encounter, in no parparticular order;

Doe: 9am
Buck: noon
Buck: noon
Buck: noon
Doe: dusk
Doe: noon
Buck: dusk
Doe: dusk

I also jumped a buck this season at daybreak, and still not sure how he busted me, the odds were in my favor and he still got me. Bad luck is a thing, too.

All three of those noon bucks, and the noon doe, were within 1/2 mile of each other on one piece of property, all the dusk animals came from another piece of property, and so far over a handful of seasons, never the twain shall meet.

Our game cams, as Nick mentioned, caught only young bucks, two points or less, during shooting hours, from early on thru the rut and right thru late season...the big mature ones flat out don't venture, period...with two notable exceptions.

First exception is a single pic of one of our familiar foes at noon, once, in the height of the rut, and he was alone.

Second exception is the biggest blacktail I have ever harvested, who never appeared on a camera during shooting hours, not once, until making a mistake on an evening as hunting hours were expiring... I was there for the mistake, and that buck expired at the same time as the hunting hours did.

So, given your timetable above, we agree that cervids are crepuscular and get up mid-dayish to stretch/browse as I noted before. Lunar phase can also result in a mid-day breakfast after an all-nighter.

As to your getting busted, any number of things could have been the cause. First year chasing mulies in the late 70's, I thought I was being quiet as a mouse when I approached a saddle and peeked over only to see half dozen does that had missile lock on me. Surprising part was that they were at least 300 yards out on the opposite ridge. Modern detergents with "whiteners and brighteners" likely make one appear like a UV Casper to deer's eyes. If it is quiet in the forest, we are clumsily the most discordant note in that symphony. Clothing sounds or simply breathing through your schnoz may make a whistle that is inaudible to you but quite apparent to a deer's auditory defenses at 40 paces....

Given BT habitat and apparent lack of interest in the academic world, there isn't much in the way of BT studies. Extrapolating ubiquitous WT data is moderately helpful. As noted before, bucks have a home territory. Obviously, it will vary in size based upon a number of factors like adjacent territories, topography, food/water sources, etc.. These territories do not correspond to our property lines. Uncharacteristic human interlopers in that territory will make a savvy buck alter its movements within that territory. Heavy hunting pressure may push a savvy buck into adjacent territories. Further, a buck's movements due to the rut cycle rises and falls like a statistical bell curve from October-December hereabouts. At its apex, a bucks stomach contents may be next to nil as his singular focus is not on sustenance. Accordingly, horned-up bucks will travel constantly *within* that territory in search of love and students of data will see that the late hunt oft results half the season's harvest....

The reason I don't use trail cams or still hunt BT's where I have a stand is that I don't want to inadvertently alter that Booner buck's territorial wanderings at all. Particularly during the rut when he's most vulnerable. As noted earlier, bucks and bulls successfully elude far more proficient predators than our bumbling brethren on a regular basis.

Perspective is everything. Give it some consideration based upon your data cited above. What would you do if all of a sudden some total stranger stunk up your AO? Would you even stick around to see if he did it again and again, particularly when your very life may depend upon your choice? How will you alter your behavior afield? Have fun on the campus of BTU!