The 2017 annual prime time mock scrape buck census results are in, and should be totaled on the majority of parcels across the North 1/2 of the country by now. The buck numbers that you collect from mid October to mid November should be the foundation of your entire whitetail strategy. How did you do?
While the rest of the year features deer numbers that are reflective of change, inconsistency and a lack of any kind of herd control or hunting opportunity, the 4-6 week period of mid October to mid November is the perfect time for an annual check up of all of your whitetail efforts.
MOCK SCRAPE BUCK CENSUS RESULT STRATEGIES
Mid Winter deer herds can be extremely misleading because they often occupy only the best of Winter habitat. Spring and Summer deer locations only reveal the best of warm season habitat locations. Finally, August and September deer census buck numbers merely reflect the pivot point of deer numbers, prior to the months of hunting season. But WOW, October and November buck numbers reveal exactly what your herd and hunting potential will be, and how your herd and hunting efforts are doing. I have experienced that you should capture nearly 100% of the neighborhood bucks, if you use a quality buck census strategy!
Here are 5 solid strategies that a great mock scrape buck census will reveal to you, if the census is completed during the months of October and November.
1. Quality Mock Scrape Location Equals Quality Census Numbers
If it's hidden, highly social and hunting pressure free, your buck census location has a great start! I prefer mock scrape and food source combos, that feature the ability to draw bucks from great distances to either pursue does during the rut or to feed on cool season forages that are peaking in November. In the buck census featured in the above video, I feel that we were able to capture nearly 100% of the neighborhood bucks, stretching a 1/4 to a 1/2 mile from the parcel borders in all directions.
2. Daylight Pics Matter Most
The 2017 buck census that is featured in the video shared above, reflected that at some point during the entire 5 week snapshot, over 90% of all bucks shown the themselves within a 1/2 hour or actually during, shooting hours. If your personal buck census reveals a daylight rate of under 50%, major changes to your hunting and habitat strategies need to take place.
3. Mid Rut Buck Number Peak
August and September are the great pivot points when it comes to collecting buck numbers. If your habitat and hunting approach is doing great, the number of bucks that you find will increase into the middle of November, and can even continue to grow thru early December. However, if your hunting and habitat approach is doing poorly, your numbers will begin to decline as the season progresses, beginning in August and September.
4. True Habitat and Hunting Impact
Folks, regardless of what your deer numbers are the rest of the year, the true impact of your herd, habitat and hunting management efforts only matter, during the prime time of the hunting season. Mid October thru late November is the perfect time to gauge not only how your efforts are doing year to year, but are the actual true reflection of your ability to attract deer, hold deer, protect young bucks, influence sex ratios, control population numbers and hunt the target bucks of the entire neighborhood. If you own 1000 acres or more, or hunt in a high fence inclosure, then the buck numbers that you count during the months of January thru September, mean very little in terms of any advanced whitetail efforts and goals.
5. Year to Year Buck Number Changes
Your ability to control and influence a deer population, can be accurately gauged from late October to late October. It pays to take an extremely hard look at how you are doing during the peak of the season, and not during times of the year when you have little to no influence over the potential quality of your herd or hunt.
How did you do this season? Bountiful trail cam pics during the Summer months pale in comparison to the tragedy of empty card pulls in November. Daylight photos, buck numbers peaking in November and pictures of a high % of the overall bucks in the neighborhood, are all great signs that your whitetail efforts are paying off!