Does like to walk in a group whereas bucks prefer to go alone. It’s a rather common hunting scenario when you will see lots of does.
So, it’s common that you think, why do I only see does and no bucks?
The bucks won’t roam much before the mating season. If you go hunting earlier than that, you won’t see many bucks. With intense hunting pressure, bucks can go nocturnal. Moreover, not having suitable buck beddings and a high doe-to-buck ratio in your hunting region can cause this situation too.
There are ways to solve this problem and attract more bucks. This article has those solutions. So, keep reading to find out how you can see more bucks.
Are You Sure That You’re Only Seeing Does?
It’s hard to tell does and bucks apart sometimes. Particularly during the winter season when bucks shed their antlers, which is the most significant characteristic that separates them from does. First, make sure what you are seeing is actually does and not bucks.
Apart from the antler, there are some other differences by which you can tell them apart. The head of a doe is round and it has a long snout. On the other hand, bucks have a flat head top, where their antlers are usually found.
Another difference between them is, bucks have thicker chests and necks. Whereas, does have leaner necks and chests. That’s how you identify bucks.
Let’s assume your guess was right and you are seeing does only. Let’s find out the reason behind it in the next section.
Why Do I Only See Does And No Bucks?
Some common reasons can cause a situation like this when you will only see does. Let’s talk through this situation and discuss the proper response for those.
Reason 1: It’s Still Early In The Season
If you are out hunting in late September or early October, it’s common that you will see only does and no bucks. It’s still time for the pre-rut season. And before the pre-rut season, bucks, especially, mature ones don’t like to roam around as the does do.
Solution: You are seeing does that means you will also find bucks roaming around there. You just have to wait at least till mid-October and let the pre-rut start.
Also, I would suggest you not shoot the does just yet. Let them make your hunting point a safe territory and they will work as bait for the bucks to come.
Reason 2: Bucks In Your Area Are Nocturnal
The bucks are more cautious than does. In the pre-rut season, there are hunters everywhere. As the hunting pressure increases, bucks decide to “go Nocturnal”. They are pretty smart animals and they find ways to move around smoothly at night too.
Set a cellular trail camera to check if the bucks come out at night or not.
Solution: Since it’s illegal in America to hunt deer at night, you have to make the deer come out in the daylight. You can achieve this by staging a food plot. Here are a few tips to make the food plot effective.
- Instead of placing the food plots in the middle of the field, locate their bedding or dense corners. And place the food plots there.
- Cut some of the tree branches, especially fruit trees, and try to make a covered area around the food plot. That way, bucks will feel safe to come out for the food in daylight.
- Have patience and don’t roam around near the food plot. Bucks have a very sensitive smelling sense. If they find out there are people nearby, they won’t come out.
By doing this, you can make bucks in your area and roam around in the daylight more. You have to wait for 10 to 14 days after you’ve set the plot. Making sweet feed for the food plot is very effective.
Reason 3: No Suitable Bedding Area Nearby
Does don’t require bedding that is intensely covered. They can use any bedding that is moderately covered with some tree branches. On the other hand, bucks, especially during pre-rut, look for bedding in a thick and intensely covered area.
Moreover, does like to have a bedding area with other does and fawns. But mature bucks like to stay alone until the rut season when they choose a doe and share their bedding.
If your hunting area can’t provide the bucks with enough space to have safe bedding, bucks won’t hang around there even in the pre-rut season. You can look around in the area to find out if there are buck beddings nearby.
Solution: You have to make suitable bedding areas for bucks in your area. Here’s what you have to do.
- Find out some thicker spots with a flat surface. Each spot should be at least 3 to 5 feet long.
- Hinge cut some trees and place them around to cover the bedding. Keep at least two entryways.
- A tree block should be placed in the bedding area that could be used as a back cover.
- As you are making multiple bedding, try not to make two buck bedding face to face as the bucks don’t prefer it.
- Keep the bedding surface clean.
After making this, wait for middle to late October for the deer to come. And meanwhile don’t go near the bedding areas.
Reason 4: Buck To Doe Ratio Imbalance
Another possibility that’s making you think why are there more does than bucks is that there are more does in your area than bucks.
Ideally, the ratio of does and bucks should be maintained at 1:1. But hunters like to shoot more bucks than does which causes the imbalance.
Solution: Conduct a trail camera survey in the pre and post-rut season to check out the ratio in your hunting area.
Experts recommend that you should equal the number of bucks and does to maintain the ratio. But don’t worry if the ratio gets imbalanced. After 1 or 2 seasons the buck and doe ratio corrects itself.
Just be patient for a few seasons and hunt more does.
How To Attract More Bucks?
There are some other ways to attract more bucks to your hunting area in addition to the solutions given above.
|Use Deer Attractants||15-30 days||High||$10 – $20|
|Create Watering Holes||3-7 days||High||$30 – $35|
|Make Deer Sound||Immediate||Low||No cost|
|Keep The Hunting Area Silent||7-10 days||Moderate||No cost|
Use Deer Attractants:
Salt licks should be set a few days earlier before the hunting season. The attractant scent and the doe-in-heat scent are for the rut season. These scents including Code Blue estrus last for a pretty long time.
Create Watering Holes:
Watering holes are most effective in areas with no water source nearby. It will attract the bucks to come out from their hiding place in daylight, especially in hot weather.
Identify a suitable area for a waterhole near the bedding and food sources. Get a 40-gallon tuff stuff tank. Make a hole according to the tank size and place the tank there. Fill it with water.
Throw a tree log in the tub so that if any small animals fall into the tub, they can come up using the log. Now, wait for the bucks to come.
Make Deer Sound:
You can attract bucks by making a deer sound. There are different types of deer sounds. Grunt call is a sound that a buck uses to call other bucks. Doe Bleat sounds are used by does to call other deers.
Rattling is another interesting sound that occurs when two bucks fight using their antlers. Other bucks get curious by hearing this sound and come out to watch the fight. If you can imitate the sounds correctly, there’s a chance you might see some bucks.
Keep The Hunting Area Silent:
All the hunters of an area should practice this. When you are not hunting, stop going to the hunting place. And while in the hunting zone, try to be as quiet as possible.
Bucks are very smart and when they understand there are many people roaming around, they stop coming out. So, give them space to make them comfortable roaming around.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Should You Hunt All Day During The Rut?
You can hunt all day during the rut if you want to. It’s the most happening season for deer hunters. You won’t be disappointed hunting all day because it’s the time to get maximum deer outside. Just pack your hunting gear and some food and go for it.
Do Bucks Travel With Does?
Younger bucks or fawns travel with does all the time. But you won’t see mature bucks traveling with does until it’s the mating season.
Where Do Bucks Go During The Day?
Bucks prefer to hide in thick bushes or bedding during the day. In the daylight, there is increased hunting pressure, so bucks like to be cautious and they don’t roam around much during that time.
I hope this article clears your confusion on why do I only see does and no bucks. With some diligence and precision, you can attract more bucks in your area. Also, don’t forget to follow all the safety rules while hunting.
Now it’s time for me to go. Have a great hunting season and stay safe.