Changes in Whitetail Habits & Locations in November

Expect whitetails to make a number of changes in habits and locations during November hunting seasons that have little to do with hunting. While the first two-week period of breeding is in progress, for example, dominant bucks will be accompanying different does in heat almost daily (individual does are in heat only 24–26 hours), feeding and bedding with them. During this same period, most antlered bucks will not be in their usual home ranges, having been temporarily run off by rampaging dominant breeding bucks. As soon as breeding is over, lesser bucks will return and dominant bucks will rest in seclusion a week or so. After deciduous leaves have fallen, whitetails will favor different deer trails, those with adequate remaining cover. While there is moonlight in early morning, whitetails will quit feeding earlier than usual. While there is moonlight in evening, whitetails will not begin feeding again until the last legal shooting hour of the day. In Minnesota and most northern U.S. states, whitetails will quit eating grasses in one area and begin eating browse (stems of woody shrubs and saplings) in another during the second week of November. Whitetails will not move from their beds until the second night following the first heavy snow of winter (six inches or more). Hunters, of course, also cause changes. In one day those who hunt on foot can cause quick and lasting changes, forcing whitetails to abandon their ranges and/or become nocturnal. Stand hunters cause less severe changes, most deer remaining out of sight within their ranges, utilizing portions not currently being hunted (next blog: temperature related changes).

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