Summer deer scouting: Nocturnal whitetails, now? {Video}

Why are some bucks largely nocturnal during the summer months when they haven’t been hunting for nearly a year? We will probably never know, but it certainly seems like some deer prefer operating on vampire hours. 

I’ve got quite a few cameras out in the woods right now. Most of them are on properties that are too far away for me to scout efficiently by glassing. A couple, however, are on a small parcel much closer to my house.

This property is all woods and swamps, which means glassing it is a waste of time. There really isn’t anything worth watching because it’s too thick and not located near an agricultural field. Given this reality, I’ve built two small food plots on it.

They draw in the does and young bucks with regularity, although those deer seem to be passing through for the most part. Larger, or what is more important to me – older – bucks spend their summers somewhere else. The exception is a buck that must have the small property as part of his home range.

He shows up randomly, almost always at night. Earlier in the summer he visited during daylight with a few of the more common, younger bucks. Now when he shows up on the camera he tends to appear well after daylight to grab a mouthful of clover. I don’t know why he seems to be largely nocturnal now, but he is.

I’ve got another buck on a farm in south-eastern Minnesota that has captivated me for three years. He is as nocturnal as any buck I’ve ever seen, and while I got a few daylight pics of him in June, that ship seems to have sailed as well. The question I always wonder, is why? Why would any buck feel the need to go underground during the daylight hours in July and August? After all, they should be as carefree as they are going to be during the entire year right now, but they aren’t.

It’s possible they are moving other places during the daylight, and I believe that to be true to some extent but am not overly sold on the idea. The big buck in southern Minnesota can be seen on a few cameras climbing a ridge well before daylight to bed. Hours later, after it gets dark, he browses back down the trail. Maybe he stood up and browsed during daylight hours, but even if he did, that’s not much to go on in the interest of trying to use a bow tag on him. It’s frustrating, but also pretty cool towitness. After all, how the heck do you beat a deer like that?

In most cases you simply don’t, that’s why he and others like him, are so special. At least to me they are.

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