The ‘5 Rs’ To Figure Out Bucks On Your Property
Out There Outdoors With Clae Mathis
Clae Mathis | February 19, 2023
Trail cameras have become an almost required tool to hunt big bucks. Now, modern cameras are made to send pictures to your cell phone so that you don’t have to continuously go in the woods to pull cards. Often times these cameras provide pictures of bucks that give hunters the hope they need to go sit it out in extremely hot weather in bow season or during the frigid below-freezing temperatures in the winter. The fact that we’ve got a picture of a big buck keeps us going because he could show up at any minute. The truth is that there will never be a way to completely predict what a buck is going to do with certainty, but there are many ways to figure them out enough to have a chance to harvest them by putting your time in. I am no expert by any means, but I have come up with what I call the “5 Rs” from studying and learning about the bucks on my properties over the years. I use these Rs to put bucks into categories so that I can have a better idea of when they will be there and even how much they will be there. One thing to remember is that every buck is every one of these Rs at some point during the season. Since I started my YouTube Channel in 2020, I have had many bucks that I have named and hunted during that time. All of them fell into these categories for me.
The first R category is the Residents. Residents are the bucks that spend MOST of their time on your property. These bucks bed on your property, summer on your property, feed on your property, they LIVE on your property. These are the bucks that you become most familiar with. You will see these bucks most every night on trail camera on your property from summer through most of October. They will get less visible during the rut, but most of the time around Thanksgiving or early December, you will begin to see them again. For a deer to become a resident on any property, that property has to have food, bedding/cover and water nearby. Bucks that are residents on your property are the ones that you have the best chance to kill.
In 2020 at our home property that we call Mizell, I hunted eight different shooter bucks. Not all were residents, but I still had pictures of all of them. The names of the eight were T-Rex, Dude, Lucky, Curly, Ted, Eastside 9, Ranger and Hoofkick. I’ll use these bucks and their names to give examples of the 5 Rs. The true Residents from this list were Lucky, Curly, Eastside 9 and maybe even Dude. As Residents, these bucks were seen the most in daylight, as well. I was able to harvest Lucky mainly because he was a resident. I killed him on Oct. 20, which is a strange date to kill a good buck sometimes. Eastside 9 was a clear Resident, as well, because he stayed around until the next year, and I was able to get him that following season.
The second R category is the Regulars. Regulars are not that different from Residents. Bucks have larger ranges sometimes, so neighboring properties sometimes share bucks for seasons at a time. Regulars show up on camera sometimes in the summer, they feed from time to time on your property, and you will get a lot of pictures of them. These are bucks that you know well, but you can never feel as though you can guarantee when you will see them in daylight on your place. Regulars and Residents are similar in some ways. For example, the bucks from that same 2020 year can be viewed in this way. Dude was a resident but could also be considered a Regular because he was not nearly as consistent as other bucks. Part of me blames that on his older age than some of the other bucks, but I had evidence that he could have fit into any of those categories. T-Rex and Ted became Regulars that season, but I knew my property wasn’t their residence. They were never regularly in daylight for me. They were both killed on the same property about half a mile away. The same man killed them both. They were in daylight more for him because they were Residents of his property and Regulars on mine. Another way that Regulars show up is at the same time every year. The buck I named Ranger showed up three years in a row in the same week. He never summered on my property, I never saw him until around Thanksgiving week every year. He would be on camera all through December and then leave. He could also fall into another category, but he definitely was a Regular.
The third category is the Roamers. Roamers and Regulars are similar, but Roamers are even less consistent than Regulars. Roamers seem to never stay nailed down to one feeding or even bedding pattern. This is normally due to them feeding on more natural food sources like persimmons or acorns instead of eating in places that we feed them. You or your neighbor may not get many pictures of a Roamer, but you will get some from time to time. You will recognize a Roamer, but your chances of seeing him are not nearly as high as a Resident or a Regular. In the same year of 2020, Hoofkick was definitely a Roamer. He showed up on camera once in September, once in October, and once in November. I killed him on Dec. 3, while hunting another buck. Roamers never really get pinned down by any hunter.
The fourth category is the Rutters. Rutters are bucks that show up on camera because they chased a doe onto your property. They weren’t Residents or Regulars, but they’re definitely around and killable during the rut. I believe that bucks can change residences. A buck that is a Rutter can become a Resident if he sticks around and likes what you have there to offer him. Remember, all bucks are one category on your property, another category on your neighbor’s property, and they can be a Rutter on ANY property.
The fifth and final category is one that you must always remember. Whitetail bucks are WILD animals. They can be patterned, but never perfected. These patterns are always changing, and there are always many factors that can lead to change. The fifth category represents the Randoms. Randoms are the ones that show up while you’re hunting. You’ve never seen them on camera, none of the neighbors were hunting him, he just showed up and you got a chance at him. That is the definition of a Random.
Remember all bucks fit into one of these categories on your property, but they also fit into another on other properties. A buck that is a Resident for you could be a Regular or Roamer on any property near you. Deer can change their category from season to season based on what they like. Hopefully these categories help you organize and understand the way bucks live and move on your property.
Out There Outdoors With Clae Mathis
Clae Mathis is a new blogger for GON.com. Clae is a full-time teacher and high school baseball coach with an absolute obsession with whitetail deer hunting. His outings often include his wife Taylor and two sons, Charlie and Cal. Clae loves the Lord and his family first, but deer hunting falls in right after those. Clae’s YouTube Channel is mostly devoted to deer hunting in Taylor County, but it also contains other types of hunting. Every single hunt he and his family go on is well documented on the channel, Out There Outdoors.
I was curious as to what county you are hunting in , Because we hunt urban areas , almost all of the bucks we see travel in about a 3 mile stretch , excluding the rut ,
I believe he stated Taylor Cty. Was his main hunting cty. Take care.