Dynamic Core Areas: The Advantages of Changing Hunting Locations

Posted: 07/06/2012 in Archery, Gable Sporting Goods, Hunting, Management, Tips and Tricks
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From Bowhunter.com

by C. J. Winand • July 2, 2012

Dynamic core areas include: velvet shed; acorn drop; bean and corn crop harvest; leaf drop in the rut; and winter cover.

One of the greatest advancements in the wildlife management field was the advent of radio telemetry equipment. This is where biologists put radio collars on deer and track them with the help of a receiver tuned to a specific frequency.

The technique in finding a radio-collared deer is relatively simple: You point your antenna in the direction of the loudest “beep,” take a compass reading, and draw a line on your map. Then you travel around to another location and repeat the same process. Where the two lines intersect is the location of the deer.

With the advent of cellular phone and GPS technology, biologists can now collect thousands of location points from the collars they put on deer. This fine-scale location data is much more precise, and not collecting enough information is a thing of the past. Biologists are now fine-tuning and analyzing home-range data to identify a buck’s specific “core” area — the place where he spends 50 percent or more of his time.

Using trail camera data, Dr. Grant Woods believes better food and habitat equates to smaller home ranges. In other words, big-timber bucks will have a larger home range than bucks living in agricultural lands. Additionally, it’s important to remember all bucks are individuals. Often, biologists report averages on home range size, when certain bucks can be all over the map. Hunting these bucks is troublesome, and it’s likely they are more susceptible to other hunters.

Years ago we believed that once a buck was 2½-years-old, his home range was static or firmly established. New data indicates this may not be true for all bucks. Research has shown 63 percent of adult bucks take off on excursions outside their home range, specifically during the rut. Why this happens, no one knows.

Dr. Mark Conner, from Chesapeake Farms in Maryland, has performed some groundbreaking home-range characteristics and buck-movement studies. Conner and his graduate students from North Carolina State were trying to figure out the sporadic movements of bucks during the hunting season by using GPS collars to follow the deer. For whatever reason, during the rut, many of the bucks they were following just packed up and left their established home range. Then, within 24 hours, they returned.

Read more at Bowhunter.com
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