2 Awesome Bow Stands

hanback w Milk River buck

Forget the rut for now. The first days of your archery season in September or October can be a great time to whack a 10-pointer. The bucks are relatively docile and locked into their summer/early fall bed-to-feed patterns. So long as you don’t press them too hard, they’ll keep moving reasonably well at dawn and dusk. Tweak these setups to your land and tag out early.

The Choke Point

One September I hunted in sprawling alfalfa and corn country where you could see deer coming and going for miles. The only way to have a fighting chance with a bow in a big spot like that is to narrow the country down, way down.

During the middle of the day when the deer were inactive, I looked around for two hours and sized things up. Then I tucked a tree stand back in a shady edge where a tractor path crossed a strip of weeds. There was a thin strip of timber upwind of my stand, and another strip 40 yards east of the farm road. I figured any deer that came off the alfalfa the next morning would gravitate to this choke point. If a shooter walked through there…

An hour after dawn, I glassed two racks a mile away. It took them a while to get to me. Around eight o’clock, the bucks hit the dirt road and walked down it. They turned, took the weed funnel between the tree strips and walked broadside 30 yards below. I nailed the 8-pointer in the lead.

To me, bowhunting for whitetails is all about edges and choke points, or spots where old roads, strips of trees, pockets of weeds and other terrains and covers converge. The more of these “fringe areas” the better. Deer walk the edges year-round, and they especially use them when traveling to and from food sources in archery season. Set up where three or four strips and edges meet, and you’re apt to smoke a good buck like I did that morning.

Corner a Buck

Anytime I hunt a crop field I look for the nearest fence and walk it out to the corners. You can never scout too much, just be low-impact about it. Inevitably I find a corner with a lot of deer sign—tracks, a trail and maybe tufts of hair on the barbed-wire where deer are jumping it.

A fence corner is a natural place for deer to travel, and a natural spot for you to set up. A prime corner to hunt will have lots of brushy cover, and at least one stout tree nearby for a stand. But if the sign is there and cover is sparse, I’ll play the wind and set up a small brush blind 35 yards or so off the corner. On the ground makes it tougher…and all the sweeter if you stick your buck in the corner.

Trail Cam: New York Albino Buck

NY albino

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) recently held a Velvet Buck Photo Contest, and not surprisingly Dennis Money’s shot of this New York albino buck took first place. Dennis’ grand prize was a Bear Legion compound bow package.

ny 2 buck scrape

Second place went to Jeffery Antes, who captured this Michigan buck working a lick branch, with what I assume is a buck fawn looking on, hoping to learn the scraping ropes. Bucks make and use scrapes in July more than most people realize.

BTW, you need to join the NDA, whose mission is to monitor current events in the deer-hunting world. CWD, new state laws, conservation, anti-hunters… This organization is dedicated to keeping us informed, to benefit America’s deer herds and to protect our hunting heritage. It’s free to join. You’ll receive a weekly newsletter with all sorts of current deer information and photos.

 

2018 Deer Season Kicks Off With Big Velvet Bucks

manitoba 2018

One good thing about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is that once early deer seasons open up, big velvet bucks start popping up on your phone. From what I’ve seen so far from this anecdotal evidence, 2018 is shaping up to be a good if not great year for big racks across North America.

The buck above was killed in Manitoba, where archery season opens in August. I’ve seen a few big deer from Saskatchewan too, but Alberta has been the best, with hunters having shot several deer pushing 200 inches. This portends more huge bucks will be killed in Canada in 2018 as the rut comes on and rifle seasons open in November.

Tennessee held its first velvet buck hunt in August, and some good deer were shot. Once again, monsters were shot in early September in Kentucky, though I have not seen as many posted as last year. New Jersey, a sleeper state for archery whitetails, has produced some nice bucks.

manitoba 2018 2

It has been an unusual summer of 2018. I’ve talked to hunters across the country who have gotten far fewer big deer on their trail cameras than in summers past, though with the velvet now off more good bucks are starting to show up. It’s been like that here in the Virginia Piedmont, and I think all the rain we’ve has this summer has something to do with it.

Actually, the fact that it has been so wet in so many places this year is another reason I predict the hunting will be good this fall. Good moisture years grow big racks.

Better yet, there were minimal reports of EHD anywhere in the country, and with the first frosts coming on that threat has largely passed.

Bottom line: You have a good to great chance to shoot a big deer this season, so hunt hard and safe. Good luck!

How Will Hurricane Florence Affect Deer?

floods deerIf you are hunting in North or South Carolina or Georgia right now, Florence is going to wreck your plans for at least a week and probably longer. For many of you, access to your hunting land will be flooded and blocked. Tower stands could be blown away or damaged.

How will this massive wind and rain event affect the whitetail deer themselves? In 2 words: not much.

Many studies over the decades have shown that rising floodwaters of rivers and creeks won’t kill many if any adult deer, though it will displace the animals for days and weeks as they flee to higher and drier ground. But the deer will eventually filter back into their home habitats and core areas once the waters recede.

There is recent research to support this. A year ago, on September 10, 2017, the eye of Hurricane Irma, packing 135 mph winds and dropping 12 inches of rain, passed within 13 miles of a whitetail study area in southwest Florida monitored by researchers from Virginia Tech. Of the 60 deer that had been fitted with GPS collars in the study area, not one died during the hurricane.

The researchers did find that collared does significantly increased their movements the day of the storm. Bucks moved a little less compared to the week before. All deer selected areas with higher elevations where flooding was less likely.

Bottom line: While Hurricane Florence is not likely to kill many deer, it will certainly displace them for weeks. When things dry out and get back to semi-normal in a month or so, the hunting will be a little unpredictable as deer come and go back to their home ranges. But the bucks will be back, so hang tough.

To all in the path of Florence, good luck and be safe.

Maryland Girl Bags “Long Brow” Buck

lexi long brow 2018

Today’s guest blog from our friend Dan Myers, who had been scouting and watching a tall and symmetrical 8-pointer all summer:

I wish there was more to the story, but it happened so fast there isn’t much to it.

Opening day in Maryland it was almost 90 degrees and to no one’s surprise we didn’t see much deer movement, just one little spike. The second day the temps dropped into the low 60’s with heavy rain most of the day.  The rain stopped around 5:00 pm and we were in the blind by 6:20.

My daughter Lexi being a 7th grade girl, most of her evening was spent texting friends and playing games on her phone. I’ll admit that after an hour of staring into an empty bean field I was playing a game on my phone as well.

At 7:30 Lexi looked up, tapped my leg and said, “Daddy big buck.” I looked up as 2 nice bucks came busting out of the corn field and were now about 20 yards away. One buck was still in full velvet and the other was hard horned. According to all my recent trail cam pictures this was Long Brow and his summer buddy.

md danny lb 2018 august

I told Lexi, “Top line,” referring to her 20 yard sight.

She asked, “Which deer?”

“The big one that’s standing broadside, goofball,” I whispered.

Her shot was perfect, and he ran about 70 yards and toppled over. The entire experience lasted 15-20 seconds at the most.  There was no time for nerves to set in, until after the shot. We both sat and shook for 10 minutes!

I am very proud of my princess, but her taxidermy bills are starting to add up.—Thanks, Dan

Way to go Lexi, beautiful deer! The symmetrical rack scores 136.