SKALICKY: Deer troubles mount in urban communities

A white-tailed deer buck roams on a subdivision in Columbia, Mo

Can you examine a pile of deer poop and learn anything from it? The answer is yes! 

Not only are the largest individual pellets most likely to be from bucks, but research has revealed a mature buck will leave a pile of 75 or more pellets. I sure hope that wasn’t a study funded by our tax dollars. If it was, I would rather see it spent on studying politicians in Washington D.C., because most of them are full of poop.

Here’s something you can do with deer poop. When you are walking to your stand and come across a pile of fresh deer poop, grind your boots in it. Deer poop can help hide your scent. A word of warning from personal experience though, to keep from having a very upset wife, do not wear your boots in the house when you get home.


If we have a new guy at camp, I like to take Tootsie Roll midges, tear off pieces and roll them until they look like deer poop, and go put them in the woods. I then take the him out, act like I find them, and take my knife and slice them in two. I tell them I am looking for what the deer are feeding on, so I know where to hunt. I then tell them if you can’t tell by looking, you have to figure it out by tasting them. Then I put some pellets in my mouth and chew them. The look on their face is priceless. I try not to get choked on my fake deer poop.  


If ducks flare away from your blind for no apparent reason, check to see if empty shells are lying around where you pump or autoloader has shucked them. Glitter from the brass may be scaring the ducks.


My family loves the hunting seasons. Not for the killing of the game but for all the special moments and memories that come when we are out there in squirrel woods, duck blinds, upland fields, turkey blinds and deer stands. It is a family tradition.

Hunting has been an important part of our family. Eating the wild game nourishes our bodies. Time together out hunting nourishes our souls. I hope each family member will always remember the memories and go on to create their own.

I have no doubt my grandkids will all pass their love of hunting on to their kids and their kids’ proud grandpas will be out there with them, too, just like I have been. The family tradition of hunting will continue, and I will look down from heaven and smile.


“But for us, there was no wilderness, nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings.”     

—Chief Standing Bear

Larry Whiteley was born and raised in Nixa and was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 2019 for his more than 40 years of communicating the great outdoors all over the world through his articles and radio shows.

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