Taxidermy Record: Giant Velvet Buck on Wall In 1 Month!

velvet buck mount 1On September 29 I posted this blog on the velvet monster that Kentucky hunter Jeff Fogle shot with his bow earlier last month. The other day Jeff sent me an email with these pics:

Just got my buck back from the taxidermist! Green scored 184 2/8″. Most amazing taxidermy work I’ve ever seen. I wish it was possible to capture all the detail in the pics.

I wrote Jeff back and asked how in the world he got his buck back so quickly. He said:

My taxidermist is quick! Mine was the first deer of the year for him. He only takes 20 a year. He would’ve had it done in 2 weeks if he hadn’t had to soak the velvet in denatured alcohol for a week. He doesn’t freeze dry it, he injects the blood vessels with something, then soaks it and sprays the velvet with raid. He said he did it all in 2 weekends worth of work.

Now that is amazing!


Rut Tactic: Best Buck Sign

winter rub

The big-buck hunting is just about to get good, really good. To confirm that a shooter buck you’ve been seeing is still in your woods, or to learn that a “new” buck has rolled in and is searching for does, look for 3 things:

Tracks: Ordinary-looking tracks 2 to 2 ½” long tell you little (could be a buck or an adult doe). But a deep, splayed print 2½ to 3 1/2” long screams buck, although the size of his rack is anybody’s guess. Lots of big, fresh tracks in the mud in a small area indicate good buck activity in that area—move in and hunt that spot.

Rubs: The buck that blazed the first big rubs you found back in mid-September might still be around—or he might be 2 miles away. But find a flurry of freshly thrashed trees as thick as your forearm or even your calf now, and you know a big buck is working that ridge or bottom now. Set a stand on that ridge or bottom, along a trail or in a funnel with fresh tracks, and you might see him.

Scrapes: With the rut comes a sudden surge of new rubs and scrapes. Find a ridge or bottom littered with musky, red-hot scrapes, hang a stand and sit in it for a week. You’ll see bucks. Simple old-school advice, but still the best advice.

iPhone/Scope Buck Photo

iphone scope buck photo

Today’s great blog comes from Maryland hunter and longtime Big Deer blogger Danny Myers:

Mike: Maryland had its 3-day early muzzleloader season last weekend. I had taken my nephew on Thursday and Friday with no luck. We were a bit discouraged with the lack of deer sightings, so we decided not to go Saturday morning.

I texted his dad around 4:00 Saturday afternoon to see if he wanted to give it one more try and he said no.  I told him that if he didn’t go a buck would probably come out. Sure enough within 15 minutes of sitting down this young 8-point came out.

It took me awhile to get the scope and iPhone lined up, but I was able to get this pic. I sent the pic to his dad and he said my nephew could only shake his head in disappointment.  I watched the deer for about 30 minutes, giving him updates of all the shot opportunities he was missing by not coming with me. Eventually the deer fed back into the woods.

Later in the evening I was surprised by the sight of a 130-class deer.  I would love to have attached a picture of me holding that deer, but I somehow clean missed…100 yards, broadside, and I was kneeling with a sturdy rest. Took my time, the deer had no idea I was there.  Squeezed the trigger.  When the smoke cleared the deer was gone.  I followed his tracks in the mud till they reached the woods.  Not a drop of blood or clump of hair.  Found where the bullet hit the dirt.  I somehow must have shot under him.  I went again the next day to search for a couple hours and came up empty.  I even shot my gun again to verify it was accurate.  And, it was.

It’s been a long time since I missed a deer.  And, the ribbing I’m getting from my buddies is pretty bad.

I have been sitting up on my high horse since I killed my big buck last year.  And with the squeeze of a trigger I have been brought back down to reality.

I told my nephew I was glad that it happened to me instead of him.  And that I would have felt even worse if he had missed that deer.

Without hesitation he looked me right in the eye and said, “Uncle Danny.  I wouldn’t have missed.”


Buck Deer 1, Wife and Car 0


car deer smash

From longtime BIG DEER blogger Cory S.:

Hey Mike! Wanted to pass along a pic of what happened a few hours ago. My wife and I were driving with my daughter when a doe suddenly crossed in front of us. Apparently she was “hot” because a couple of seconds later a massive 10 pointer exploded out of the woods and took the car out! The buck bounced off, got up, looked at us like we were crazy and then got back the chase for the doe! Incredible animals I tell ya!

We are all ok. Olivia was a mess and crying though, she thought she had hit and killed the deer. My daughter and I told her the buck was fine and ran off. Her car does smells of rutting buck, though, lol. Tell everyone to be on the lookout for traveling bucks, it’s that time!

Good luck to all this season, and be safe.–Cory

New Science: Whitetail Buck Home Ranges

VA 2014 jack great cam

For his graduate research project at Auburn, deer researcher Clint McCoy tracked the movements of 37 GPS-collared bucks on a 6,400-acre hunting site with excellent habitat in South Carolina. Read the full story at; here are a few highlights with my observations:

Clint found average fall home range size for a buck was 350 acres. A buck’s age did not seem to play a role in how far he moved. “Our two smallest home ranges were yearling bucks at 60 and 90 acres. Our two largest home ranges of 754 and 640 acres were also yearling bucks.”

This seems to contradict some earlier studies which found that older bucks have the smallest home ranges of all bucks. But this finding in Clint’s study might be an anomaly. To me, it’s quite possible that the yearling bucks he tracked for 600-700 acres were going through the “drifter stage,” when juvenile bucks travel far and wide in search of a comfortable place they will call home for the rest of their lives. Several earlier deer studies have suggested young deer do that.

Clint found that more than age, a buck’s individual personality drives his movements. Some bucks tend to cover large acreage while others are content to stay closer to a home base. Clint points to two 4½-year-old bucks in his study: one had a home range of 521 acres, and the other only 108 acres.

This is a finding that confirms something I have been writing about for years—and something that many hunters fail to understand. Like people, all big bucks have different personalities. Some are bold and aggressive, and these are the ones that travel the farthest and show up the most times on trail cams. Other deer are more passive and secretive; they probably travel the least and are seen infrequently.

The more you understand the personality of the buck you are hunting, the more you can get in his head and try to predict how much and when he’ll move…and the better chance you’ll get him.

To me, the determining factor here is the high-quality habitat of the South Carolina study area, which is actively managed for wildlife and timber production. Some 300 acres of food plots are planted on the property each year. On an area like this, bucks don’t need to move far to find food, cover and does in the rut, hence the average home range size of only 300 acres.

If you did a similar study on 6,000 acres of wild, rough habitat with little or no agriculture or food plots, the home range size of all bucks would likely be larger, but probably still under 800 acres, as other studies have found.