Many studies have shown that bucks have secondary home ranges. During the early fall as archery deer seasons are opening, there is a lot of food around and bucks can roam widely and not worry about their next meal. This is a prime time for them to disappear for a while. This is particularly true if they sense pressure or become unnerved by human activity. Hanging stands, checking trail cameras, spotlighting fields and general scouting activity can move them out.

I cannot prove it, but I suspect that the secondary home range is often their natal area; the area where they spent their first year of life with their mother. Does have home ranges too, and they tend to be very secure areas. Buck fawns learn how to hide and feel secure in these areas, and the security features are imprinted on their minds. Most bucks disperse after their first year and set up housekeeping in a new area. But when they sense pressure, that secure feeling they get when they were younger is what they seek out.

Ever had a buck disappear on you and find out that someone had it on camera for the first time in a location five miles away? Ever had a buck just turn up in your area with no prior history? You might be looking at the secondary home range of that buck.