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Patrick Durkin

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Buck Fever Can Kill You

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Buck Fever Can Kill You

If your knees don’t knock and your pulse doesn’t pound as a buck slips into range, maybe it’s time you quit deer hunting. As Aldo Leopold wrote: “The love of hunting is almost a physiological characteristic. I should not like to own the boy whose hair does not lift his hat when he sees his first...
The Truth About “The Void” in a Deer’s Chest

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The Truth About “The Void” in a Deer’s Chest

No biologist, veterinarian, or medical professional believes the popular bowhunting claim that deer have dead space high in their chest. That void, it’s said, lets a broadhead pass through with little harm to the deer if it just happens to exhale as the arrow hits, supposedly opening the space...
Do Moon Phases Affect Deer Movement?

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Do Moon Phases Affect Deer Movement?

If the hunting gods ever created a belief system more indifferent to scientific scorn than the moon’s supposed impact on big-game animals, they’re keeping it to themselves. Researcher after researcher since the 1970s has failed to document any changes in deer activity during new moons, quarter-moons...
How Well Do Deer Hear?

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How Well Do Deer Hear?

Hunters tend to overestimate a whitetail deer’s hearing abilities, maybe because we constantly–and mistakenly–marvel at their red-alert reactions to sounds we barely hear. Those comparisons can be deceiving. For one thing, most adult hunters have abused their hearing for with decades of chain saws...
Unmeasured Power: How Well Can Whitetail Deer Smell?

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Unmeasured Power: How Well Can Whitetail Deer Smell?

No hunter who’s seen deer halt in their tracks when crossing downwind has questioned the superiority of a whitetail deer’s sense of smell. Not only do most hunters rank the deer’s nose over its own keen ears and doubting eyes, we also rank it a world beyond our own scent-detecting abilities. Maybe...
Deer Vision: How Whitetails See Color, Light, and Movement

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Deer Vision: How Whitetails See Color, Light, and Movement

Recent research into whitetail vision confirms what you’d expect from a crepuscular prey species: They see their best during the dim light of dawn and dusk. Bradley Cohen, the lead researcher in a 2014 University of Georgia (UGA) study, calls whitetails an “anti-predation machine.” For starters...