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2021: Strange deer year to date: My observations

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
This year has been a little bizarre on the deer front for me personally.

My observations/experience so far:

-Slowest trail cam year since coming off the 2012/13 EHD massacre
-More nocturnal deer than ever before
-Many deer that anticipated to be on the hit list either did not grow much at all or in several cases shrunk
-Plenty of bucks still around, but very few rubs and hardly any scrapes. I intentionally looked for scrapes last weekends to move cams, found basically none
-Warmest start to bow season in many years and no significant cool down in sight

I think much, if not all, is all drought and heat related, but still feels very strange.

Anxiously awaiting some cooler weather in hopes some more deer show up! Maybe they still think its August! Ha
 

Daver

PMA Member
FWIW, I am definitely persuaded that a given buck will grow less of a rack in a drought year than he otherwise would have. We have tracked enough bucks over enough years to have seen that several times. I would roughly estimate that in a bad drought year that the rack would be 5%-10% less than it otherwise would have been.
 

Hardwood11

It is going to be a good fall!
This warm fall is messing with movement. I have no idea what is going on (with a couple properties)?
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
FWIW, I am definitely persuaded that a given buck will grow less of a rack in a drought year than he otherwise would have. We have tracked enough bucks over enough years to have seen that several times. I would roughly estimate that in a bad drought year that the rack would be 5%-10% less than it otherwise would have been.
100% agree.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
I think the deer in my area have been freaked out about getting Covid. I don’t know what else it could be. They are still socially distancing & hiding. & a side note… with the deer getting Covid, I think it’s important as hunters to wear your mask especially when in a treestand. U just never know!! ;)

On serious side - I have no idea why it’s so slow. The deer aren’t dead. Very little ehd by me. Cams have been slow all year. Worst ever. Everyone I know says same thing. Good news in some regards…. Crops out early due to all this dry weather. I cannot explain lack of deer on camera. No clue to be honest. Has to be a reason but as hard as I think (I’m dumb as a rock - which doesn’t help) I cannot come up with any viable explanations.

agree on drought shrinking racks/not making jumps. We had good rain for most part but different story about 30 miles away. Bizarre year.
 

BearCreek

Member
Glad I'm not the only one. I had numerous shooters and hit listers established by this time last year. I have not had a pic of a buck older than 3.5 yet. Last year was my first year owning my farm which is about 190 acres. I made major habitat improvements in off season and added food plots. Last year much of the property was overgrazed pasture which is now shoulder high forbs. My tillable acreage is in soybeans as opposed to corn, so the field edges lack the cover that corn provides but I thought the increase in available cover and food would have offset that. Maybe my presence on the property over the past year has displaced some deer. We had good rain until I planted my fall food plots, very dry since then. I hope things improve.
 

deerhunter93

Well-Known Member
Man I'm glad I'm not the only one. It has been slow slow slow for our cameras as well. On two properties I hunt (mostly timber properties in big blocks of timber) the bucks start showing up towards the end of September but I haven't had anything over 3.5 years old on either and mostly does for that matter.

One small property I hunt got slammed by EHD a couple years back and this year I've had a lot more bucks than prior years on camera. If nothing decent shows up in other places I have a number of bully bucks on that small property to go after.
 

kelcher

Well-Known Member
All I can say is that I am seeing the same thing. Ours tends to be a property that the bucks don't stay on most of the year anyway, but this year seems even worse.

It'll turn around in 2 - 3 weeks guys . . . .
 

Muddyrem

Member
100% agree.

I guess why I’m so perplexed is the fact our area (Clarke county) has gotten good rains all summer. We didn’t enter a drought stage until we’ll after bucks had tipped and or even lost velvet.

But I’mi in the same exact boat as well as my good buddies up in Warren county as well. It’s hands down the worst year I’ve ever had for mature buck sitings on camera. EHD has stayed away this year. Hardly any scrapes or rubs except those that showed up as velvet started to shed. Green plots with 10-15 does in them nightly, no bucks of any sort in them; even at night.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
I guess why I’m so perplexed is the fact our area (Clarke county) has gotten good rains all summer. We didn’t enter a drought stage until we’ll after bucks had tipped and or even lost velvet.

But I’mi in the same exact boat as well as my good buddies up in Warren county as well. It’s hands down the worst year I’ve ever had for mature buck sitings on camera. EHD has stayed away this year. Hardly any scrapes or rubs except those that showed up as velvet started to shed. Green plots with 10-15 does in them nightly, no bucks of any sort in them; even at night.
I don't think it rained at all in April so got off to a bad start. Then got pretty darn dry back half of summer. I'm thinking the April deal had lasting affects?
 

Muddyrem

Member
I don't think it rained at all in April so got off to a bad start. Then got pretty darn dry back half of summer. I'm thinking the April deal had lasting affects?
yes I would agree with that. Spring was definitely dry. I would even go a step further and say mild/dry winter left the entire subsoil dry well into spring. But once summer got fired up, we caught a lot of rain that other areas missed. Some of the best crops this area’s ever seen. So I’m perplexed. This I’m blaming on Covid.
 

CurtisWalker

Moderator
Worst year of cams that I’ve ever had. No scrapes, very few rubs. Have had 1 deer 4.5+ and it was on Sept 8th hasn’t made an appearance again. Barely any does on cam either. I think aliens abducted them all.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

deerdown

Active Member
Cameras dropped off about a month and a half ago. Had some decent deer around, then poof, nothing since.
 

JNRBRONC

Moderator
What is this mythical creature called whitetail? ;)

I'm sure drought has really crimped development in most of Iowa. My area has been on the fringe. Hard to judge its impact here, seeing some decent deer, maybe they could have been "better". Thankful that it appears EHD was not in my area, silver lining.
 

Rous14

Active Member
Like everyone else, my cameras have been dead for at least week probably two now. Of the pics I have got though I feel like I have a good or at least normal number of older age class deer but per my luck or lack thereof I just can’t ever seem to get something in that Boone and Crockett range.
My perception is that the number of Booners walking around in most of the Midwest states is down compared to the 90’s and 00’s. I used to see harvest data specifically referencing B&C animals by each state year to year but don’t seem to see that data published anywhere anymore to confirm my perception. Anyone see that kind of info anymore and if so where?
 

CurtisWalker

Moderator
Like everyone else, my cameras have been dead for at least week probably two now. Of the pics I have got though I feel like I have a good or at least normal number of older age class deer but per my luck or lack thereof I just can’t ever seem to get something in that Boone and Crockett range.
My perception is that the number of Booners walking around in most of the Midwest states is down compared to the 90’s and 00’s. I used to see harvest data specifically referencing B&C animals by each state year to year but don’t seem to see that data published anywhere anymore to confirm my perception. Anyone see that kind of info anymore and if so where?

I think fewer and fewer people put their deer in the record books therefore it doesn’t get the attention it used to.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Muskrat24

Well-Known Member
I
I think fewer and fewer people put their deer in the record books therefore it doesn’t get the attention it used to.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalki
I don’t disagree that less people are putting their deer in the books but most areas I frequent are just now getting back to a normal deer herd after the EHD pandemic in 2012 and subsequent years. Fewer numbers also correlates to fewer big scoring deer. And I think the big scoring deer are even rarer in lower populations because there are less bucks that get by and those genetically superior deer get harvested as they are the biggest deer in the herd and we lose a few extra years in the herd rebound for higher scoring deer to make there top end potential. If that makes sense to anyone else. Just my opinion but I’m a numbers/stats guy.
 

Bucksnbears

Well-Known Member
They are there guys.
A cool down is coming soon and WHAM, holy crap, he showed up.
Been running cams since the film one$$$ came out many years ago.
As long g as they are alive, they should (will) show up.
 
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