A study by Mississippi State will help shed light on buck movement and where he might be going.
The Mississippi State University Deer Lab is performing a three-year study where they analyze patterns and trends in mature buck movement. They started this project in 2018 and, so far, the study shows bucks falling into one of two broad categories.
The first 60 percent of bucks are staying put in their home range. Steve Demarais, professor of wildlife ecology and management at the Deer Lab, refers to these mature deer as sedentary.
The other 40 percent are exhibiting a different personality where they are living in two home ranges. These bucks are noticeably more mobile. This research is ground-breaking for understanding buck behavior.
The study is a team effort between the MSU Deer Lab and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. It started in 2016 by capturing 55 mature bucks along Big Black River corridor in Madison and Yazoo counties.
Each whitetail deer received a GPS collar and ear tags identifying the buck and letting hunters know they are a valuable source of information. Additionally, this will help researchers know how far these mature bucks are traveling.
How You Can Help
Similarly, the GPS collars are equipped to track deer movement throughout the year, however, researchers notice an uptick in frequency during hunting season. One of the neat concepts of this study is that it's collaborative with hunters. Hunters download the MSU Deer Lab Hunt app and provide info to the MSU Deer Lab about their hunting locations. Why is this important? This allows researchers to track deer movement based on deer hunting pressure.
The MSU Deer Lab, however, is asking deer hunters not to shoot collared deer as researchers want a minimum of two hunting seasons of data.