Every winter the residents of urbanized areas are astonished to spot massively antlered buck deer in broad daylight. These large animals haven’t just moved to town. They’ve been here all along. Unlike does and fawns, bucks are exceedingly secretive and are rarely spotted as they hide in tiny urban wooded areas and even prairies. However, during the main mating season in November and a secondary one in December bucks lose their caution and may be spotted in even the most urban areas. Also, all deer are more visible in winter than summer because leaves have dropped and snow covers the ground.

Sometimes an area’s largest bucks reside in towns for a number of reasons. Often cities have nutritious food interspersed with woods and ravines that provide secluded hiding places. Hunters usually prefer to shoot large bucks, and in rural areas these often become steaks and chops before they fully mature. Most city bucks are well nourished and, provided they survive highway collisions, are more likely to live longer and grow bigger antlers than their rural cousins.Well-nourished five and six year old bucks normally have the largest antlers but beyond these years their antlers decline as part of the aging process.

Today many cities allow bow hunting to trim deer damage to vegetation and reduce vehicle collisions. Usually hunters are required to shoot does, which allows urban bucks grow old and large.

Every year, usually in March or April but sometimes as early as December, bucks shed their antlers. By late April they begin growing new ones. So, the very large antlerless deer spotted in late winter could be a buck. Hunting shed antlers in late winter is becoming a popular activity.

Although big bucks live near people all year, winter is a great season to observe them.