Field & Stream Article 2012 - Deer Movement Dictated by Elevation Now

Deer Movement Dictated by Elevation Now
Blog Post by Jeff Holmes. Uploaded on September 20, 2012

Overall Activity Status: “Here is a buck that is the prototype of what we are trying to grow,” says Mike Rinehart of Wyoming’s Wind River Whitetail about this bruiser.

“This deer is 4 ½ [probably]. Never got a real good picture of him to be sure. He is a heavy horned 5 x 5 and has started his 6th point on his right side. Two wishes I would have for this guy: I hope he can survive another year to see if he can make his 6th points, and I hope he breeds every doe on the Wind River.”

Probably due to the elevation and increasingly crisp mornings, whitetail bucks in Wyoming seem to be a little further along than most areas of the West, polishing antlers and becoming increasingly active, according to Rinehart.

“We are starting to see a lot more buck activity although it is still warm during the day. Total movement is up substantially, including does and fawns. It seems like every morning and evening we are counting more deer on the feed fields. We walked the perimeter of the bedding grounds yesterday, and the amount of rubs is mind-boggling. I hope all of these deer stay around for a while as it should be another banner year on the river.” 

Lower in latitude and in elevation, very different environmental factors influence whitetail behavior in Southeast Colorado, including the ongoing drought, thousands of acres of unharvested corn, and major changes on CRP land.

Jack Cassidy of Cassidy Outfitters, reports that whitetails are barely visible on the 200,000 acres he manages in Colorado’s very best whitetail habitat, near the Kansas border along the Arkansas River. Many thousands of acres of corn that would normally be harvested by now are providing food and cover for deer, some of the biggest whitetails in the country. Mule deer also live here. 

“The whitetails never have a reason to leave; they just stay in there in those big corn circles until the harvest,” says Cassidy, whose clients typically shoot 160-175-class bucks, with a 201 typical the biggest whitetail taken off one of his leases. “There’s also been a big change in CRP land. We are in a bad drought down here, so the federal government is letting landowners cut their CRP fields, and we just lost 100,000 acres that went back into rotation…Even though this drought is bad and has been affecting antler growth all over, we are still going to shoot at least 170-class deer this year, probably bigger.“

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