Trail-Cam: More Great Bucks!

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A group of fellow Virginia hunters in the southern part of the state is practicing quality management and growing some big deer. This year they’ve added a few more food plots and gone heavy on corn plots to mix it up. They have some studs on the farm this year, including the two great 8-pointers above. The top buck is “Junior,” now fully mature at 4/5 years old. The guys say: “Thank God for passing hunting on Sunday in Virginia! Should be a special year here…”

cam cody

Here’s a buck one of our bloggers in the Midwest is looking forward to seeing to this fall. He asked for thoughts on age and score. Hard to tell in camera photos sometimes, but looks like a 3/4-year-old 140-class buck w/really nice brows. What do you think?

Keep the trail camera photos coming, bucks are looking good!

Hunt Skills: Do Deer Look Up?

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I once had an old Alabama redneck (term used fondly) tell me, “Boy, our deer walk around with their heads craned back, looking up into the trees cause so many of their brothers and sisters and cousins have had an arrow through ‘em.” If you have hunted pressured, spooky Southern bucks you know what my redneck friend is talking about.

I recall that because I read an article in which a biologist said a deer’s eyes are oriented to pick up predator movement at or just below the horizon. He said a deer is much less adept at picking up movement above the horizon, so you can get away with more movement in a tree stand than on the ground.

Sometimes…maybe…

But when a buck or especially an old doe is 120 yards out and coming straight in on a string to your tree stand you’d better be careful or you’ll get picked off and busted. Deer not only have a super-wide field of view, their eyes are also adept at picking up the tiniest flicker of movement.

When a deer is boring in, freeze. Shift and move only when its head/eyes go behind a tree or cover. Sometimes when I’m bowhunting, if the woods are pretty open, I let a buck walk in tight below my stand, then move. This is nerve-racking! But a deer usually will not crane its head way back and look straight up, unless you bang the stand with your boot or do some other foolish thing.

While I say “not usually,” I have had deer beneath my stand all of a sudden take a step or two back, look straight up, stamp and blow, and then whirl and blow the hell out of there. I swear they have a sixth sense. I have seen whitetails do a lot of crazy things in all the days I’ve hunted them.

In my experience while Eastern and especially Southern whitetails often look up, deer in the Midwest and West don’t seem to do it as much. Do they look up where you hunt?

Wood Arrow Skull Pole

arrow wood mounts

“Thought I would send you a pic of a unique mount I had done by a taxidermist friend of mine. Was sick of antler plaque mounts so we tried something a little different.”—Jonathan

Pretty inventive and cool, what does everybody think?

Trail Cam: 7-Year-Old Ghost Buck

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trail cam shane 2

Hey Mike: I sent you a photo of this buck last summer. The first picture is another one of the buck from last year, at the beginning of September. The black and white picture is the buck this summer.

I’ve been watching this deer going on 5 years now, and I’m pretty sure he’s pushing 7 years of age. He’s not an absolute monster, but it would be nice, and bitter sweet, to finally catch up with this “ghost buck.” I’d say he’s probably going downhill. He’s on the hit list for sure.

A 7-year-old wild buck is the pinnacle in our world. Once a buck survives past 4½ on hunted land, he morphs into an entirely different animal…super sensitive to the least bit of human presence, skittish, unpredictable and nocturnal, a ghost for sure.

Good luck to the hunter. If he kills this ghost with his bow, it will be a major accomplishment.

Best Deer Hunting Weather

sioux falls south dakota buck

 

From this new book from the Boone and Crockett Club, interesting weather data as reported by thousands of hunters that shot monster bucks for the record book.

–93 percent of those giants were shot on dry days; half the days were sunny, and half were overcast

–the wind was calm, 5 mph or less, on 85 percent of the days when the big bucks were killed

–8 out of 10 of the monsters were shot when the temperature was 50 degrees F or less

My take on the numbers: Regarding the 93 percent that were killed on dry days, I bet if we look deeper inside that data, we’ find a pattern that consisted of dry, high-pressure days after a cool-to-cold weather front, something I’ve blogged about a lot. Those 2-3 days after a front blows through an area are great hunting days.

While calm to low-wind days are definitely best for big bucks, I was surprised at the high 85 percent number, and the 5 mph or less. I’d have thought 10 mph or less maybe.

We all know that the cooler the better for big deer, and this data reaffirms that. However, I do add that during the very best rut days of November–those 2-4 days of the peak when old bucks are on their feet in daylight–hunt all day even if the temperature soars to 70 or more, because a buck’s desire to breed does will override the weather and all other conditions.