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Love it or List it

Posted: November 13, 2017

Is Buck 12783 still using this swinging bachelor pad or has he finally settled down?
Radio-collared buck on Rothrock State Forest (click for larger image)

Radio-collared buck on Rothrock State Forest (click for larger image)

Last year we chronicled the unusual movements of Buck 12783.  He spent most of the year on a ridgetop but moved a couple of miles each fall to spend time with the ladies during the rut.  

He was captured in February 2014 when he was at least 1.5 years old. So by autumn 2016 he was at least 4.5 years old. Below is his home range for 2014 – most of the year he spent in the east, but on October 22, 2014 he moved a couple miles to the west.  He spent the rut and most of winter there.  Then returned east on February 1, 2015.

Buck 12783 2014

He did the same thing in 2015.  He got a bit of a late start heading west on November 3rd and returned early on December 1st.  I guess it really was just a bachelor pad that year. 

Well a year has come and gone since we last checked in with Buck 12783.  In June 2016, his home range looked like this back in his eastern range – as expected.

Buck 12783 2016

Did he make a visit to the bachelor pad again during the rut in 2016?  Of course!  It’s apparently the place to be. 

Buck 12783 2016

On October 13th he headed west. This guy has no intention of settling down.  He still “Loves It” and won’t be listing his “Buck Cave” anytime soon. 

October 2017 has already come and gone. Any guesses where Buck 12783 is.  Unfortunately, we cannot confirm his whereabouts. Our story ends on January 31, 2017.

Our radio-collars only last so long, and after 3 years the collar automatically drops off the deer and is retrieved. As of January 31, 2017, he was still hanging out at his bachelor pad.  So he decided to spend the winter there again.

Buck 12783 Jan 2017

We will never know why Buck 12783 chose to live a double life.  It really doesn’t matter though.  He’s still kicking it in Penn’s woods at the ripe old age of 5-1/2 years old (at least).  

If we get lucky, we may know his ultimate fate if he is harvested or found dead and reported to us (he still sports reward ear tags with a phone number). Or maybe we’ll get REALLY lucky and recapture him this winter!

The odds of either scenario are slim.  The bucks in this study have some of the lowest harvest rates ever recorded in Pennsylvania.  And recapturing an adult buck isn’t the norm.  But maybe he has forgotten what a Clover trap looks like. 😉

-Duane Diefenbach

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