Ohio “Triple Brow” B&C Buck

ohio gary nov 8 2018

Great guest blog from Ohio hunter Gary Bendele:

November 8, 2018 is a day I will never forget.

It started out like so many other November days, as I spotted deer cruising fence lines and creek bottoms in Fayette County, Ohio.

I saw a little buck cruising a fence about 3/8 of a mile away. I wanted to know exactly which deer this was, so I grunted and rattled at him. It was dead calm and the rattling caught his attention right away.

As the buck started coming my way, a huge buck stepped out of the timber and seemed mad that the little buck was there. He postured up and started out toward the inferior buck. I video my own hunts so I was just content on getting some nice footage. All of the sudden the Triple Brow Buck was pushing the little buck down the creek right toward me!

Two days before I had missed a 150s 10-point, so I told myself calm down and make it count this time. The little buck passed and I ranged him at 14 yards. I clipped my release on and waited, but not for long.

Triple Brow was trying to catch up with the little buck and passed by at 7 yards! My shot was right on. To my amazement, the big buck turned and walked super slowly to 63 yards and just stood there. I could see he was hit well, so I elected not to shoot again. He walked 30 more yards and bedded down.

I thanked God and turned the camera off. I sat in my stand and texted my buddy Frank Justice, who said he would take off work to help me get him out. I didn’t walk out to the deer, but waited on Frank.

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When we finally walked up on Triple Brow, there was no ground shrinkage! I realized which deer this was right away–I had night trail camera pics of this buck for the last couple years, but no daylight sightings or pictures.

Boy had I misjudged him. Every picture I had of the buck, he was right on top of the camera–I could see the brow tines but I didn’t realize how big he was. He’s a 14-pointer that grosses in the 180s and will net in the 170 range. My first Booner and a lifelong dream for me.

I am so glad I missed that 10 point a couple days before. I would rather be lucky than good!

Thanks to Frank and everyone that had a hand in this harvest and recovery. And thanks for your Big Deer site.–Gary Bendele

P.S You did an article on me and the “Ghost Buck” in 2015. Triple Brow came off the same farm and from the same tree, it’s been a good one for me.

Deer Tactics: 4 Tips For The Post-Rut

ny adriondack 1By now the rut is winding down in most areas, and there’s been pressure in the woods—people stomping around, riding ATVs, shooting guns… A bunch of bucks have been removed from the gene pool, and the survivors are spooky as stray cats. You’ve hunted all day without seeing a rack, right? Well, keep the faith and stay out there. More old deer than you think still cruise your woods into mid-December, hoping to hook up with one of the hot does of the season. You might score big yet.

Hunt Midweek

One good thing about the post-rut is that 75 percent of the “rut hunters” who were in the woods two or three weeks are long gone. Some of them got their bucks; others have lost interest or had to go back to work. Whatever, there’s less competition. Hunt mid-week and you’ll have the woods to yourself most days, especially after Thanksgiving. Deer will move best on days when there’s less commotion.

Key on Rubs

Cruising bucks are tired and battered, but still running on testosterone and still rubbing, so keep hunting your best stands on ridges with heavy rubbing sign. Alternatively, if you notice a bunch of fresh rubs in a creek bottom or along a field edge one day, hang a new stand there and hunt it for a week. A cruiser is working the area and he might be back one day in shooting light.

Keep Rattling

Working toward his doctorate in wildlife biology at the University of Georgia years ago, top whitetail scientist Mick Hellickson conducted an intensive three-year study on the movements and behaviors of mature bucks. Part of that research project produced some groundbreaking research on antler rattling.

“If you are interested in rattling in big numbers of bucks the peak of the rut is far and away the best time,” says Hellickson. During those wild days, 65 bucks responded to 60 rattling sequences—a 108 percent response rate. “But the first weeks of the post-rut, when old bucks cruise for the last hot does, are prime for trophy hunting.” This is the phase when Hellickson and his team rattled up the most mature bucks. Of the 29 bucks that responded to their 51 post-rut rattling sequences, 10 were 5 ½ years plus, and another 10 were 3 ½ to 4 ½.

So don’t give up on your rattling too soon. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind. Rattling works best on a still, chilly to cold morning, when a buck can hear your horns almost a mile away. The best spot to set up is downwind of one of those scraped/rubbed/thick-cover ridges or bottoms we talked about earlier. Sit in a stand until 11:00 AM, and rattle and once or twice every hour; toss in some big grunts for effect. Again, it is apt to work best on a Wednesday or Thursday, when nobody else is in the woods.

Late Scent Trick

Everybody tries scents during the rut, but sometimes they work better the first two weeks of the post-rut. Think about it. During the peak, estrus does mist the woods everywhere. But later on, when there are only a few hotties left, the sweet scent of just one might bring a buck running. I lay a doe-in-heat trail into all my late-season stands, and then I hang wicks to float more lure in the woods.

Indiana Big Buck

IN Jason buckToday’s guest blog from BIG DEER blog fan and our friend Jason Lough:

Hi Mike: It was opening weekend in Indiana and I was excited to share another weekend of deer hunting with my Father, as it’s something we look forward to every season.

We put cameras out every year to determine the quality of bucks on the property so that we have an idea of what to expect. Based on the camera pictures and our scouting this year, we knew we had a few good bucks in the area.

 Opening day came and I set up in our best stand in a funnel. I began to see deer early in my sit. The does and small were chasing and rutting hard so I knew it was a good opportunity to catch a good buck cruising.
About 8:30 I had a nice 8 point come within 25 yards of my stand, but based on our scouting I knew there were better bucks in the area.
It was quiet for about an hour and all of a sudden about 10:30, over my right shoulder, I heard a loud crack and figured it had to be a deer larger than a doe coming through the woods. I looked and noticed a doe heading my direction, and behind her what appeared to be a buck. As they got closer I could tell this was more of the type of buck I was looking for, and with my binoculars I confirmed this was a great deer!
The buck was chasing the doe hard and grunting all the way as he came toward my stand. The doe could have gone multiple different directions, but luckily she brought him down a trail 45 yards from my stand. Watching the doe closely in order to not make any sudden movements to spook her, I waited for the buck to enter a small window we had cleared earlier in the season. Once he entered my window, I rested my crosshairs just behind his shoulder and pulled the trigger. He bucked, took off and I immediately pumped in another shell so that I could get another one in him to ensure a quick and ethical kill.
The buck went about 60 yards and while I couldn’t see him, I heard a familiar crash that has so many times resulted in a successful hunt. I immediately called my Dad and told him I just shot what appeared to be a nice 10 point and was climbing down to confirm my buck had indeed expired. A few minutes later, I found an easy to follow blood trail that led me right to my deer. What I found was my second best buck ever and another one for the Indiana record book.
I was pumped, my Dad was pumped and we shared another awesome day together dragging out a great buck on opening weekend.–Jason
P.S. This is the same stand from which my Dad killed his giant buck last year, it grossed 169 (below).
in ed lough

Deer Hunt Tip: How To Make A Doe-In-Heat Scent Trail

scent trail 1Twenty ago one of the top scent strategies was to lay a hot-doe trail to your stand on the walk in every morning or afternoon. You heard many testimonials of bucks smelling those scent trails and following them straight to a hunter’s stand.

You don’t hear much about scent trails anymore, but I still make them and you should to.

Park your truck and sneak off down through the woods. When you’re 150 yards or so from where you plan to hunt, tie a drag rag to your boot, soak a wick with hot-doe lure and walk the rest of the way in.

Make a couple of big sweeps around your stand. A buck that comes from any direction might cut the scent and circle in to see what’s up.

Slipping on boot pads or pulling a drag rag can be a hassle, and I think that’s one reason many hunters don’t lay scent trails anymore. Okay, but now it’s a lot easier.

scent trail 2

Get a can of the new Golden Doe Spray from Wildlife Research Center. On the sneak into a stand or blind, carry the can low in your hand and spray here and there as you walk to create a doe scent trail into your spot. No fuss, no muss, no need to hassle with a rope or scent drag.

While a hot-doe trail can work anytime during the rut, it can oftentimes work better during the first 10 days of the post-rut in late November or early December. There are fewer hot does left to breed, but the bucks are still on the prowl for some action. One of those randy boys might cut your trail and sniff his way right to your stand.

Note: Some states now require you to use only synthetic deer scents, so check your hunting regulations.

New York: Adirondack Camp Bags 11-Point “Big Mac” Buck

NY adirondacks 2018 3

Great guest blog from my buddy Connor Burns from up in the Adirondack Mountains:

Three summers ago, we set out trail cameras at our camp in the great Adirondacks. We knew we had some good bucks on our property; we’d seen them during deer season the previous year.

The cameras had only been out a few weeks before the excitement got to us and we had to make the trip to camp to check them. As we scrolled through the pictures we were surprised at just how many bucks were on the property and consistently on camera.

NY adriondack 2

One picture completely stunned everyone. There stood a beautiful, tall 11-point with a kicker off his left brow tine. Needless to say the picture made the rounds to every camp member very quickly. We knew then and there that this was the deer that we were determined to lay our hands on. This is the buck we would forever call “Big Mac.”

The deer season following came and went with pure disappointment–no sightings of Big Mac although we did end up taking a couple nice deer. Our hopes were still high that Big Mac was alive and well.

The next summer we put out our trail cameras like we always do. A few weeks passed before we checked them… to our surprise, there he was! Big Mac was back on camera and as big and beautiful as ever!

Unfortunately another season passed and we never saw Big Mac. We had a fantastic year and took quite a few nice bucks, but we were starting to wonder if we would ever see this magnificent buck in the wild. But his pictures kept our hopes high and kept us going.

This past summer 2018, we were more anxious than ever to get the cameras out and see if Big Mac had made it through the previous season and winter. Just like he had done the past two years, he stunned us again and showed himself on one of our cameras.

He had almost grown an identical rack for the past three years in a row. But now, he was bigger than ever. He was much thicker, taller and his belly sagged a little more.

On Saturday, November 10th, with a fresh 6 inches of snow on the ground and cold temperatures, we set out with high hopes. We pushed one of our most productive mountains on the property with four drivers and seven watchers on the back side of the mountain. It wasn’t long before the drivers were seeing fresh tracks all over the place and mostly headed to the watch line.

ny adriondack 1

About halfway through the drive, the best sound in the world rang out across the mountain. A watcher had shot. Word spread quickly he had shot at a good buck with two does, but unfortunately he had missed. But we knew the deer was still in our drive and headed toward the next watcher.

With everyone’s hearts beating out of their chests, anxiously waiting to see what would happen next, another shot rang out from the watch line, this one higher up the mountain where the big deer and the two does were headed. Zach Palmer got on the radio and said we had a buck down! He said he had shot the deer at about 100 yards, and didn’t know exactly what he was, that all he had seen was horns.

The drivers finally came out to the watch line and the drive ended. We knew we had to head up the mountain to help with the buck that was on the ground. About halfway up the mountain, all we could hear was screaming and yelling. We heard, “You aren’t going to believe this! It’s him! It’s Big Mac!” Everyone starting sprinting up the hill.

We finally made it up to where Zach had shot and there the deer lay. The buck that had been haunting us for three years was in the snow in front of us, more magnificent than the pictures had ever shown us. We couldn’t believe our eyes as we knelt down and wrapped our hands around this beautiful buck, Big Mac.

This was truly a very special moment for all the guys of Trails End Camp and Northern Brothers Outdoors. It was a moment we will all remember for the rest of our lives. This was the buck that had kept us going year after year. We hiked miles and miles and worked our tails off each season in hopes of this moment.

This is the end of a chapter for us, but also the beginning of a new chapter. The chase is never over for us. This is what we love doing and is truly a brotherhood. We can’t wait to see which buck will show up next, and we’ll begin another amazing chase for the following seasons.

Big Mac was an 11-point that weighed 172 pounds dressed and was rough-scored at 143 7/8. He was mid-rut with a swollen neck and bark still stuck in his horns.—Connor Burns, Northern Brothers Outdoors and Trails End Camp.

POSTSCRIPT: I have hunted with this great group of guys up at Trails End Camp in the awesome Adirondack Mountains. They are dedicated and love what they do, hiking and pushing miles of rugged mountains day after day in search of a deer. This is one of the toughest places I’ve ever hunted, terrain-wise and deer density-wise, and I’ve hunted most every state where whitetails live. To kill any buck is a great accomplishment…to kill a mature 143” deer like Big Mac is off the charts great. Best part about it is that to these guys, who pulls the trigger means little. A buck like Mac, or a spike for that matter, is a trophy to cherish for all the camp members. Way to go guys, can’t wait to get back up there and run those mountains again with you soon.–Hanback