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Hunting Suburban Bucks

Many large, often mature, whitetail bucks live in suburban areas, sometimes very close to houses, malls, etc.  These bucks are a special breed in that they have learned to elude domesticated animals, dodge traffic, refuge in unhuntable sanctuaries, all while living in someone’s backyard.  Their continuous interaction with humans makes these bucks very unpredictable and challenging to hunt.

Suburban bucks have been forced to evolve, since many times the rural areas where they live become housing subdivisions and business centers.  They are used to hearing and seeing cars, hikers, dogs, dirt bikers, four-wheelers, etc. and smelling human scents.  They are not used to having to dodge hunters every day of the season.

Wilderness and suburban bucks require different approaches for successful hunting.  The wilderness buck’s focus is on food and surviving through hunting seasons.  Suburban bucks focus on surviving dangers presented by humans.  These differences cause great changes in behavior and travel patterns.

Suburban bucks are very wary and will recognize man’s patterns, so when hunting these deer, it is a good idea to not sit in the same tree two days in a row.  Since there is a lot of food available to most urban deer, they don’t have to feed as long, so it’s important to pattern these deer in order to intercept them during the day.  While wilderness bucks spend the majority of their lives within a 2 square-mile area, suburban bucks travel much further, with typical ranges from 3 to 10 square miles.

It’s important to spend time patterning suburban bucks.  Patterning is a slow process, particularly when patterning by sign reading.  However, when you have an idea of what a buck is going to do before they do it, it will save you a lot of time come hunting season.  Make yourself familiar with the lay of the land, including primary food and water source locations, which will help you to predict travel patterns beforehand.

Suburban bucks also have uniquely evolved senses because of the daily pressures and distractions they face.  Since they live alongside humans, they have acquired the ability to differentiate between your dog’s danger bark vs. non-danger bark, the difference in threat level of a vehicle passing by vs. a vehicle coming to a stop, etc.  These factors present unique obstacles to a hunter, but can make the hunt all the more exciting!